Part of the Canary Islands archipelago, Tenerife attracts many holidaymakers with its volcanic relief, rugged beauty and water sports possibilities. Of course, yacht charter Spain aficionados know this island as the last stop before the cross-Atlantic cruises which makes that more important and frequented.
Sea & Coast
The island of Tenerife is part of the well known and very appreciated Canary Islands, a haven and a Mecca for all those party seekers. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa but it is considered a part of Spain.
Since its discovery by the ancient Romans, the island has been called in many ways, including Nivaria (snowy island), Isla del Infierno and finally, Tenerife (white mountain) after the volcano Mt. Teide which dominates the whole island. The area of Tenerife is just over 2000sq km with a triangular shape. Apart from the mountainous center (Mt Teide is incidentally the highest Spanish peak at 3718m), the tourist will notice a distinct difference between the north and the south side.
The north has lush vegetation and a more humid climate while the south side of Tenerife is more arid and lacking significant vegetation. It’s the south side that draws up the most holidaymakers, to its warm beaches. The unique volcanic landscape of the island served as a backdrop for many famous movies such as Star Wars and Planet of the Apes.
The vegetation is varied according to altitude, starting with shrubs and grasslands in the south that are adapted to long periods of draught and strong winds, then a region of transition comprised of juniper and palm forests, followed higher up by laurel forests that finally give way to wax myrtle and tree heath over 1000m. Overall, the vegetation is very interesting, and not just for visitors but also for scientists who come here to study it.
Tenerife enjoys lovely temperatures all year round, which is why so many enthusiasts flock to its shores. The southern and western coasts receive the most sunshine, the least winds and rain and have the biggest averages and smallest variations when it comes to temperatures.
Culture & History
With the strategic position of the island within the Atlantic as a starting point for the Americas, Tenerife was much disputed over the course of its long history. After initial discovery by the Phoenicians there is a long hiatus until it’s “rediscovered” by Portuguese sailors in the middle ages. The Spanish settled it and made them prosperous but that also attracted attacks from the British.
Tourism took on an important role in the economics of the island as early as the 1890s, at first to study and document the vegetation and fauna but then it took on a more commercial approach as people came for the weather and beaches around the Santa Cruz region.
Today, the most important resorts are considered to be Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Puerto Colon and Puerto de la Cruz. These received the biggest numbers of tourists, mainly from Spain, Germany, the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, France and Austria.
Seamanship & Experience
One could say that Tenerife was particularly created for water sports. Its position and the northern trade winds blowing here regularly, especially in summer, have turned it into the surfing and windsurfing capital of Europe. sailors too can benefit from these predictable winds, from the good visibility and high temperatures all year round.
The tidal range is no greater than 2.5 with very few tide currents, there are lots of harbors and marinas which provide safe mooring and, above all, there is very little shipping in the area, which means that the waters are not at all crowded. Also, crews are spoiled for options when it comes to itineraries, as there are several islands in the neighboring waters forming the rest of th