November can be an unpredictable month on Tenerife. It represents the start of the winter season when numbers of Northern European visitors increase and mature Europeans who spend their winters here, known as ‘swallows’, return. It also is often the month when the rains usually return after a hot dry summer. After last year’s drought it looks as though things might be back to normal for 2012 as November has begun with a bit of a deluge. However, this is Tenerife and the rain rarely lasts long on any coast. Temperatures fall to around the mid twenties, events move indoors and Canarios change from shorts and T-shirts into their stylish winter wardrobe; the sight of locals in woollies sharing pavement space with Brits in beach clobber always brings a smile.
The big fiestas this month are something to be toasted as they involve the launching of the season’s new wines. Wine lovers should definitely head to northern parts in November where the new wine is quaffed with mucho gusto.
The best fiestas on Tenerife in November
Fiesta de San Andrés – Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz celebrates the wine season big style with kiosks selling country wine (vino del pais) and braziers roasting chestnuts set up around the harbour from early November. It is an enchanted scene and harbour-side tables are claimed almost as soon as those chestnuts start roasting. The big party takes place on and around the 29th when there are wine fairs and the noisy tradition of arrastre los cacharros.
Fiesta de San Andrés – Icod de los Vinos
Icod de los Vinos also holds stand out celebrations that are a bit wilder than Puerto’s when local youngsters use the town’s steep streets as urban and snow-less toboggan runs. They scream down them on trays as part of a tradition called the arrastre de las tablas; a hi-octane interpretation of the way wine was brought down the streets on wooden boards in days gone by. Fuelling up on the local wine leads to more adventurous descents and also helps numb the pain when the racers crash into the mountain of tyres at the bottom of the street. This also takes place around the 29th and 30th.
The arrastre de las tablas are held in hill-towns around Tenerife but Icod’s are the most famous.
Music Festivals on Tenerife in November
Keroxen12 (Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Santa Cruz, 2,9,10,16,17,23,24,30 November)
If you haven’t been to the El Tanque (the cultural venue, not the town) it’s worth a visit as it’s inside an old petroleum tank. This is avant-garde music on Tenerife with five artists/bands performing on each night from 9pm. Tickets are expected to be around €6.
Canarias Folk Fest – Los Cristianos & Playa de las Américas
The Canarias Folk Fest returns to Los Cristianos (Promenade, Thursday 8.30pm) and in Playa de las Américas (Plaza del C.C. City Centre, Friday 8.30pm) until March 2013. The fiesta features traditional Canarian dancing and music and is staged for visitors, bringing some of the local colour and culture from the traditional towns into the main southern resort areas.
Mes de Vino (La Laguna & Tacoronte, throughout the month)
The whole month is devoted to events connected with wine and food in La Laguna and Tacoronte with wine tastings and tapas treats in various places throughout November, there’s also music, dance art and cinema screenings including the warm and fuzzy titled Bon Appétit – recipes for friends who kiss. Attend all the events that are going on and the chances are you’ll be well on the road to full blown alcoholism by the time December dawns.
XV Festival of Theatre & Dance (Adeje, 1,3,10,17,23,24 November, All performances 9pm)
For some contemporary dance and theatre head to Adeje town where you’ll find that performances such as Amor o Sexo (Love or Sex) and In Darkness Let Me Dwell are a wee bit different than the traditional twirling around in a rainbow coloured skirt. Ticket prices range from €4 to €8.
IV World Music Festival (Ermita de San Cristóbal, La Laguna, 2,8,15 November, 8.30pm)
There’s still time to catch Argentinian tango, East African sounds and some classical Canarian guitar at the IV World Music Festival in Tenerife’s former capital. Entrance is free.
Alternative Events to Perk Up the Interest on Tenerife
Cochinilla Farming (Municipal Football Stadium, Buzanada, 4 November, 11am)
An interesting little activity and an insight into Tenerife’s past is the demonstration of how cochinilla was farmed for dye. This was big business on Tenerife before there was a collapse in worldwide demand.
Fashion Show (Harbour, Los Cristianos, 2 and 3 November, from 5pm; main parade on 3rd at 9pm)
Los Cristianos gets glammed up for a couple of days of high fashion with beauty stalls, hairdressers and fashion parades; it’ll be nice to see some style on the Los Cristianos sea front for a change.
Exposaldo (Recinto Ferial, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 8 to 12 November, 11am to 9pm, entrance €3.50)
Fancy a shopping spree? Exposaldo in Santa Cruz is five days of discounted goodies as Tenerife’s merchandisers try to slim down their stocks. If you’re interested in picking up cut-price fashions, shoes, electronics and even cars, then this might be up your street.
Feboda (Recinto Ferial, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 30 November to 2 December, 11am to 9pm, entrance €3.50)
Also at the Recinto Ferial this month is the annual wedding fair where blushing brides can tick off their wish list for ingredients for that perfect wedding and bankrupt their parents in the process.
Tapas Route (La Orotava, till 10 November)
There’s still time to taste the best of tapas in and around La Orotava and explore this great Tenerife town in the process. There are 32 restaurants offering delectable tapas at €1.50 a tapa (drinks are separate). I quite fancy the sounds of Fantasía Venecia at Cafetería Venecia and Explosíon de Mar at Café el Cuartito.
Science Fair (La Orotava, Plaza de la Constitución, 25 November, 11am to 7pm)
With a game zone, planetarium and all sorts of experiments, La Orotava’s Science Fair sounds a lot more fun than what I remember of physics lessons at school, but then having a tooth pulled out with pliers would be a lot more fun that those.
Sabores de Isora (Guia de Isora till 25 November)
Sabores is a gastronomic route rather than a tapas route. It’s based around the theme of honey and almonds and meals with drinks at participating restaurants cost €18. There are nine restaurants involved with a couple in Playa San Juan and Alcalá.
Saborea San Miguel (San Miguel de Abona, 1 to 24 November)
The good news is that there’s a tapas route in San Miguel de Abona, the bad news is that the council website hasn’t actually listed where yet. Best bet is to go into the nearest tourist office in the San Miguel area and ask for details and hope the response isn’t a blank ‘¿Que?’
Whilst these are our pick of the most interesting events on Tenerife, there is an overwhelming amount of interesting activities on Tenerife each month. Most are outside of the purpose built tourist resorts and only ever advertised in Spanish. Cultural Centres are excellent places to find out what’s happening wherever you are on Tenerife.