Six Things You Never Knew About Tenerife in the Canary Islands

Found just off the north western coast of Africa, Tenerife in the Canary Islands is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, thanks to its year-round warm weather, stunning beaches and fantastic resorts. Yet apart from the fact that the food is delicious, the water sports are great fun and the almost constant local festivals are a laugh to join in with, some visitors know surprisingly little about the island.

6 Things You Never Knew About Tenerife

If you want to brush up on your knowledge before you visit or just want to impress your friends and family with some little-known facts, check out this list of 6 things you never knew about Tenerife.

1. There are three Michelin-starred restaurants

There’s one independent restaurant in the south of the island and two hotel-run restaurants in the north of the island which have a combined total of five Michelin stars. The head chef at El Rincon de Juan Carlos restaurant in Los Gigantes is the latest chef to be rewarded with a star for his tempting and innovative dishes, such as belly of pork with mango and prawn chutney and black pudding turrón with almond cream.

6 Things You Never Knew About Tenerife: A typical seafood platter made of freshly-caught, locally-sourced fish and shellfish.
A typical seafood platter made of freshly-caught, locally-sourced fish and shellfish.

2. There are pyramids and mummies

So they might not be as mesmerising as the ones in Egypt, but it’s true – Tenerife has its own pyramids and mummies. The pyramids are found at a museum in Guimar and there is much speculation as to their origin – no one is 100% sure why they’re actually there. The mummies’ origins are much more straight forward. They’re the bodies of Guanches (the island’s original inhabitants) and can be seen at the Nature and Man Museum in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

6 Things You Never Knew About Tenerife: No one is quite sure where the pyramids of Guimar came from or why they're there
No one is quite sure where the pyramids of Guimar came from or why they’re there: Photo on Flickr by Marko / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

3. Mount Teide is the third tallest volcano in the world

Standing tall at 3,718m above sea level, Mount Teide is not only the highest peak in Spain, but it’s the third tallest volcano in the world, only just being beaten by Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii.

6 Things You Never Knew About Tenerife: Mount Teide is so tall that it often gets covered in snow in winter, image via Flickr, Perlaroques, CC 2.0
Mount Teide is so tall that it often gets covered in snow in winter: Photo Perlaroques / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

4. Admiral Nelson lost his arm there

During a battle in 1797 when Admiral Nelson was attempting to invade Tenerife, local soldiers blew his right arm off with a direct hit from a cannon. There is a re-enactment held each year to commemorate the event which includes “El Tigre” (The Tiger) which is reportedly the exact cannon that removed his arm.

6 Things You Never Knew About Tenerife: Plaza de España in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where the annual re-enactment battle takes place
Plaza de España in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where the annual re-enactment battle takes place: Photo on Flickr by JMiguel Rodriguez / CC BY-NC 2.0

5. It’s home to the second-best carnival in the world

After the one in Rio de Janeiro, the Santa Cruz carnival is said to be the best one in the world. Celebrations begin at the end of January each year and continue on for at least one month with beauty queen pageants, parades, theatrical performances and street parties being held every day.

6 Things You Never Knew About Tenerife: Dancers in the main parade held throughout the streets of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Dancers in the main parade held throughout the streets of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

6. It has award-winning world-class attractions

If you’re wondering whether Loro Parque and Siam Park are worth spending your money on the next time you’re in Tenerife, the answer is certainly yes. These two family-friendly attractions have won numerous rewards and titles. Most recently, TripAdvisor declared Siam Park the best water park in the world and Loro Parque the best animal zoo in Europe.

6 Things You Never Knew About Tenerife: Loro Parque is home to the largest collection of parrots in the world
Loro Parque is home to the largest collection of parrots in the world: Photo on Flickr by Wolf4Max / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If these facts have tempted you to visit Tenerife in the Canary Islands, get booking! With the exception of during school holidays, prices for flights and accommodation are generally reasonable all-year-round. If you’re more into cruising than traditional hotel holidays, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of Canary Island cruises which stop off at Tenerife, too.
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About Nicola Quinn

Website: http://www.happyhealthymotivated.com

Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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