Flights To Tenerife

If there is any spot on the globe that enjoys a perfect climate, Tenerife in the Canary Islands is it. There is markedly little variation in the average temperatures between summer and winter, which hover between 59ºF and 75ºF (15-24ºC), and there is only very occasional rain. Throw this in to a mix of verdant forests in the northern part of the island as well as mountains, deserts, volcanoes, exotic plant and animal life, and spectacular beaches (with black volcanic sand) - and you have a true holiday paradise.

Tenerife offers the unique experience of swimming and sunbathing on a beautiful beach while just a few miles away snow sparkles on the crest of Mount Teide. The island's central mountain stands at 12,200 feet (3,719m), the highest in Spain, and a cable-car ride to the summit offers unrivalled views of the lunar-like landscape of the volcanic slopes.

The island's capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is an upbeat town geared for tourism. Its port, where once the first shots of the Spanish Civil War were fired, is today a morass of ferries, jetfoils and freighters.

There are plenty of metered taxis available in all resorts and a good, cheap bus service operates around the resorts and between all the main towns on the island; there is nowhere on the island that takes much longer than an hour to get to by bus. Local car rental companies have offices in all the main resorts, and are good value and popular with those wanting to explore the north of the island.

Tenerife is famous for its raucous and varied nightlife, rangingfrom Ibiza-style nightclubs and boozy karaoke joints, to authentic Spanish tapas venues and bars playing great live music or hosting traditional dance. Venues tend to stay open as late the clientele wish, and the prices of drinks and dinner compare extremely well against mainland Europe.

The best nightlife is concentrated in the south of the island around Playa de las Americas. There are three main areas to explore in this resort: Veronicas, the Patch and Starco Commercial Centre, each of which are densely packed with clubs (many of which are open 24 hours), bars and English-style pubs. Most bars are child friendly and serve decent food. The most famous club in Playa de las Americas is Tramps, in the Starco complex, regularly attracting top DJs for epic style parties.

Nearby Los Cristianos is a better bet for quieter bars and restaurants, and is consequently more popular with families with young children. In the north of the island Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz have a good variety of nightlife venues but lack the concentration of clubs in the south. Casinos are another popular way to enjoy a night out in Tenerife. There are three to choose from: Casino de Taoro in Puerto de la Cruz, Casino Santa Cruz in Hotel Mencey in Santa Cruz, and the Playa de las Americas Casino in the Gran Tenerife Hotel.

A popular family night out is the Medieval dinner show atCastillo San Miguel which has jousting, horse and sword feats, and bawdy serving wenches. For some more traditional Spanish entertainment don't miss the Spanish flamenco performances at the Pyramid de Arona Auditorium at Playa de las Americas, and the cabaret and dancing on display at the Palace Show in Playa de las Americas.

Tenerife is well geared for shoppers, with plenty of supermarkets in the larger towns providing all basics and foodstuffs for self-catering tourists, and plenty of markets and smaller shops all around the island for gifts and bargains.

Of course, the Canary Islands is a duty-free zone, so tobacco, alcohol and other goods are much cheaper than continental Europe. Take note of duty-free limits before returning home: technically you're only allowed to bring back 1 litre of spirits and 200 cigarettes, although in practice most countries allow enough for personal consumption. Clothing is also great value in Tenerife, a fact that many visitors take advantage of. Popular brands such as Zara and Mango have outlets around the island.

The best shopping is in Santa Cruz, particularly on Calle Castillo where all the fashion stores are. There is also a newly mega-mall - Meridiano on Avenida La Salle - and El Corte Ingles, an enormous department store. Just outside of town is the enormous Carrefour hypermarket.

Most of the resorts and small towns have weekly markets. The huge Sunday market in Los Cristianos is a fleamarket extravaganza selling everything under the sun from fabrics and books to knock-down property! In Santa Cruz, the African market is wellworth exploring, with 300 stores selling fresh produce and interesting curios. On Sundays the area around the market becomes the El Rastro Flea Market, a good place to pick-up quality handicrafts and bargain souvenirs. Golf del Sur has a good market near the marina on Friday mornings; Los Abrigos puts on a decent night market every Tuesday evening; while Guaza has recently begun hosting a Sunday fleamarket.

Best buys in Tenerife, apart from booze and cigarettes, are the award-winning local cheeses and honey, leather goods such as shoes and belts, and Turrón, the almonds and honey confection available around the festive season. Avoid shopping at the airport where prices tend to be significantly inflated. Note that if you paying via debit or credit card you will need to show your passport. Many shops still observe the very sensible custom of closing over siesta (1.30 to 4.30pm) and will close all day Sunday.

Tenerife's main attraction is its ideal weather, which offers warm sunny days all year round. There are plenty of great beaches, lively resorts, charming ports and villages, and even a volcano to explore in the centre of the island. The tax-free status enjoyed by the Canaries makes nightlife and shopping additional draw cards. Watersports are another popular attraction: windsurfers and kite-boarders will enjoy the strong winds of the east coast, while surfers have perfect conditions in the south of the island. For the kids, there are numerous themeparks and aquaparks that guarantee a cooling day out for the whole family.

Tenerife has a wonderful climate; the average temperature is comfortable all year round, rarely dropping below 63°F (17°C) and more often above 82°F (28°C) during the day. The cooling breeze ensures that there is little humidity. Duringwinter the evenings can get relatively cold. Rainfall in the summer months is almost non-existent, but showers are likely between October and April. In-land, particularly around Teide National Park, temperatures can drop far lower so dress for cool evenings and rainfall if exploring the high altitudes around the interior of the island.