International Office - Aberystwyth University

Routes Lingomap: Life in Tenerife

Tenerife is, most probably, one of the best places you can see in Europe. The island is filled with touristic attractions, friendly locals and the best beaches you’ll ever see. Although most people might think “It must be quite hot down there in the Canary Islands, so close to Africa”, that thought is often untrue. Tenerife presents a tempered climate, which means that it doesn’t get neither extremely hot nor very cold. I arrived in January to find out that the average temperature for that month was 17°. A quick stop at the information center and I found out that this the typical weather almost all year around. What’s better than having a reasonably warm weather and living in an island? I can’t think of many things.

One of the most important characteristics of Tenerife is that, wherever you look, you’ll see three things: sea, mountains and “los turistas”, also known as tourists. The sea always gives a nice touch to the scenery, making the environment look as if it’s coming out of one of those adverts on TV. The sunsets are beautiful: there is nothing more relaxing than watching the sun sinking in the sea and seeing the horizon changing colours. As mentioned previously, mountains and valleys are also part of the view. In fact, one of the nicest, and most annoying, characteristics is that, wherever you go, you’ll find hills. Although cars handle those very well, you can be sure that your legs will be stronger than ever after walking for hours each day in Tenerife. Lastly, tourism is an extremely big and important part that defines Tenerife’s everyday life, as well as being one of the main sources that reinvigorates the island’s economy. About 5 million tourists come see Tenerife every year. A lot of them are trying to escape the cold weather of mainland Europe during winter, while others are just attracted by the beauty of the place, rather than its warmth. Tenerife, furthermore, is one of the most important tourist destinations not only in Spain, but actually worldwide. Some of the visitors decide to visit South Tenerife if they are looking for a more youthful, active period of time, as the southern part of the island is consistently warmer and has a younger-in-age population, while others head to North Tenerife if they are looking for a more green and relaxing time. Tenerife is mainly composed by Spanish natives, however, with the years, English and Germans have slowly started to move to the island, permanently living here. Due to this, and the continuous tourism all year long, Tenerife’s culture is a bit confusing and almost on the background, due to the fact that we see more of a mix of different cultures rather than one overpowering the others.

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Although Tenerife has to thank the sun for the nice weather, it is important to mention how warm the population is. Everybody is extremely polite, and will say hello when they pass by you on the street. Every family I’ve had the chance to visit has opened their doors and politely asked me whether I wanted anything to drink or eat. For a lot of people this might not be something special, but if you’re there to live it, you’ll see how amazing generosity is, and how it can change your day in a second.

Tenerife also has some artistic sides of its life: one of the most famous artistic attraction is “el Auditorio”, which is located in Santa Cruz De Tenerife. It is one of the most emblematic works of Spanish architecture, a major attraction of the island and last, but not least, home of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra.

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Tenerife also hosts one of the world’s largest carnivals in the entire world. Believe me, trying to catch a bus from Santa Cruz is almost impossible when people have started to celebrate carnival. The cities fill with colours and attractions, you’ll likely see youths, adults, children and older people all dressed up, running around, singing and dancing on the street. It was one of the best experiences of my life, as well as one of the most interesting celebration I’ve ever seen.

Tenerife doesn’t really feel like part of Europe, sometimes. Besides its advanced life style, it feels a little like visiting a new continent. Tenerife will make you fall in love with art and nature, music and adventures. I hope one day you’ll be able to visit this amazing place.

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