Forget those fuel bills and book yourself a flight to Tenerife where you can celebrate this year’s festive season in the sun. Festive activities all around the island ensure there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy at Christmas in Tenerife. So pack your bags and get ready for a holiday miracle!
Getting There: There are many international flights to Tenerife South from the UK with budget airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2. Prices for the Christmas period tend to be at a premium so it pays to book as early as possible. Flights to Tenerife North are exclusively for domestic arrivals.
Weather at Christmas in Tenerife: Daytime temperatures in Tenerife South can reach as high as 25C over the Christmas and New Year period although the evenings can get a little chilly. Tenerife North is usually a few degrees colder but is still ideal fan ideal winter sun destination.
Where to Stay in Tenerife for Christmas: The south of the island is usually warmer and brighter than the north during the winter months so resorts such as Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje tend to be the most popular. For a more traditional Spanish Christmas you could book accommodation near the beaches of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the north.
What Happens at Christmas in Tenerife?
Christmas Eve in Tenerife (Noche Buena)
Christmas Eve in Tenerife usually begins with with early evening drinks with family and friends before returning home for a a traditional feast often comprising of prawns, roast lamb and typical Spanish sweets such as turrón, and polvorones. Presents aren’t exchanged on nochebuena so the children will have to wait for the gifts from the Three Kings on 6th January.
In many parts of Spain, bars an restaurants close early on Christmas Eve so that the staff can dine with their families. However, in popular holiday destinations such as Tenerife there will be plenty restaurants which remain open although pre-booking a table is recommended. Many hotels will have special banquests for guests on this evening.
Christmas Day in Tenerife
Christmas Day isn’t celebrated in the same way in Tenerife as it is in the UK and other western countries as it isn’t the day that children get their presents. And although many families might have a get together, Christmas dinner is not nearly as important as the meals on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
From the point of view of visitors to the island you can enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner at a number of bars and restaurants but advance booking is essential. Many hotels offer elaborate Christmas dinner as part of the booking over the festive period. If you want to get away from tradition you can simply enjoy some tapas in a Spanish bar or head down to the beach with a picnic and a bottle of cava.
Top 9 Things to Do at Christmas in Tenerife
Christmas in Tenerife can be a fun and festive time for the whole family. You can visit the Christmas markets and nativity scenes or enjoy some typical local activities such as taking a boat tour. Here are a few suggestions which are fun for all the family:
Shop at the Christmas Markets
Christmas markets are a popular tourist attraction in many freezing European cities so visiting Tenerife’s Christmas markets is quite a novelty. These markets sell seasonal food and drink, beautiful crafts and decorations, festive music, and maybe Santa himself will make an appearance. Some of the best Christmas markets are held in San Cristóbal de La Laguna, La Candelaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Puerto de la Cruz.
Visit Christmas Nativity Scenes
There’s no better way to kick off the Christmas season than by visiting the nativity scene in Candelaria (Belén de Candelaria) which lies on the east coast, some 20km south of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Other notable nativity scenes around the island can be found in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and at La Orotava near Puerto de la Cruz on the north-central coast.
Attend Christmas Concerts
The Tenerife Symphony Orchestra has a traditional Christmas concert that you can’t miss if you love classical music. Its best musicians meet in Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s harbour on Christmas Day for a musical event which has been taking place for the last 25 years. A number of other notable musical events take place over this period including the end of year classical music concert at the Auditorio Teobaldo Power in La Orotava on 30th December.
Go to the Beach on Christmas Day
Just for the pure novelty of it, there’s nothing like going to the beach on Christmas Day in Tenerife. With blue skies, a warm climate and mild sea temperatures there’s nothing like a festive dip in the sea. As a lot of restaurants close on Christmas Day in Spain, or are fully booked, many holidaymakers choose to take a picnic to the beach and celebrate in the sand. If you do want to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner you should book a restaurant well in advance or check out what packages your hotel is offering to guests over this period.
Drive up Mount Teide
If you’re looking for a great day out, take a festive drive up Mount Teide. This active volcano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. It can be reached by car from any part of the island and there are coach tours from all the main resorts. After parking the car there’s a cable car to the top from where you can take in magnificent vistas over the island. Another interesting option is to go to the Teide Observatory after dark and stargaze.
Take a Boat Trip
Another exciting activity over the Christmas period is to take a boat trip from your nearest port. These tours provide remarkable coastal scenery and if you’re lucky you might see some whales and dolphins. Activity boat tours may include snorkel or dive options whilst deep sea fishing trips can be arranged. There are departures from all over the island including the docks of Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Go to the Siam Park Waterpark
If you’re feeling a bit more active, then head to the outstanding Siam Park waterpark in Costa Adeje. This Thai-themed attraction is an excellent place to spend a day surrounded by slides and pools. There’s also a play area for young children and plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Visit Loro Park Zoo
Loro Park Zoo in Puerto de la Cruz is a great place to spend a day out with the kids. It has an extensive collection of animals from all over the world, including tigers, lions, gorillas and elephants. There are also several play areas for children and a variety of restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Spanish Christmas food.
Play a Round of Golf
Most of Tenerife’s golf courses are on the south-west coast near Costa Adeje. The best ones which welcome non-members include Abama Golf Resort, Golf Costa Adeje, Buenavista Golf, Las Américas Golf Course and Golf del Sur. With the growing popularity of the Canary Islands as a golfing destination it’s strongly recommended that you pre-book your tee times before travelling.
What Happens at New Year in Tenerife?
New Year’s Eve in Tenerife (Noche Vieja)
Most of Tenerife’s main towns and holiday resorts will have programmes of New Year’s Eve parties and fireworks planned. Restaurants offer special end of year dinners and many hotels have special events planned. It is believed that successfully eating all the grapes on time will give you a year of luck and prosperity. After midnight people head for the pubs and clubs to enjoy a night of partying into the early hours.
New Year’s Day in Tenerife
New Year’s day is a public holiday which gives locals a chance to sleep off the excesses of the night before. For holidaymakers it’s business as usual in the resorts with bars and restaurants doing a roaring trade and many visitors enjoying a day on the beach or at one of the island’s many tourist attractions mentioned earlier.
The Three Kings (Día de los Reyes Magos)
The Reyes Magos arrive in Tenerife from the Orient on the evening of January 5th. They visit towns and villages all over the island in parades known as the Cabalgata de Reyes. From their elaborately decorated floats they throw sweets to all the children along the route and listen to the youngsters’s requests for presents.
The children receive their gifts that evening or the next morning (just in time to go back to school!). Some of the largest parades on the island are held in Santa Cruz, Los Cristianos, and Adeje Town. Spanish families typically et together this lunchtime for a large meal followed by typical festive dessert called a Roscón de Reyes.