Tenerife (including rainfall and temperature averages)
The largest island in the Canaries group, Tenerife was created by volcanic activity
in the Atlantic Ocean twelve million years ago and reshaped into its current form
three million years ago when the volcano Teide erupted again, fusing three islands
into one. Humans did not arrive till the 2nd century BC, when the Guanches – tall
blonde people who looked Scandinavian – settled. Even compared with Stone Age cultures
they had little technology, so they lived in caves and wore animal hides. As time
went on, they developed elaborate social structures; before the arrival of the Spanish
in 1493 the island was divided into nine small kingdoms. After the Guanches were
defeated in 1496 many of them were enslaved, while more succumbed to non-native
diseases. They were replaced by immigrants from all over Europe, who cultivated
sugarcane, wine, cochineal and bananas. Tourists began visiting Tenerife in large
numbers in the 1890s, and have been coming ever since.
With its warm, almost unchanging climate – the temperature varies from 18º in winter
to 28º in summer – and plethora of sights and activities, Tenerife is one of the
biggest tourist destinations in the world. In 2005, four and a half million people
holidayed here. Most of the resorts are in the drier south: Costa Adeje has world-class
facilities such as quality shopping centres, golf courses, water parks, animal parks,
and a theatre suitable for musicals. Due to the darkness of volcanic sand, many
of the beaches are made of sand imported from North Africa! This is the epicentre
of Tenerife nightlife, with a vibrant and varied assortment of bars, clubs, restaurants
For nature lovers, the interior of the island offers staggering diversity of landscapes.
The extensive pine forests of the Parque Nacional de Teide surround the third largest
volcano on the planet, whose stunning crater is 18 km across at its widest point.
Teide hasn’t erupted since 1790 but an increase in seismic activity suggests that
it might do soon. A cable car takes visitors most of the way to the summit. The
Anaga Massif in the north is a lush green series of cliffs and gorges, with the
occasional black sand beach cut into them.
The capital of the island and of the Canaries is Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a sleek
modern city which is also a cultural melting pot. The university and most government
offices are based here, along with one of Spain’s busiest harbours: the result is
a cosmopolitan atmosphere that is light years from the tourist-focussed resorts
found elsewhere. The Auditorio de Tenerife was designed by Santiago Calatrava; its
iconic sail-like structure is an emblem of the city. Museo de la Naturaleza y del
Hombre has an extensive collection of prehistoric relics. The old town, with its
wide plazas and ornate fountains, is home to two castles and several beautiful churches.
Finally, Palmetum of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a glorious botanical garden that
should not be missed.
Seafood is abundant: all kinds of fish, including combtooth blennies, red progy,
sea bream and grouper are baked in salt, while fried Moray eel is also very popular.
Festivals are celebrated with marinated pork tacos or rabbit in salmorejo, a tomato
soup. Leave room for the cheese – it accounts for half of the island’s output and
people here are very proud of their delicious goat cheeses – washed down with malvasia
canary, the wine produced here. William Shakespeare loved it and it’s still as good
four hundred years later.
Monthly temperature and rainfall averages for Tenerife
Average minimum temperature
Average maximum temperature
Absolute minimum temperature
Absolute maximum temperature
Average daily rain
Avg monthly rain
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