Going to Spain? Visit Tenerife

(Writer’s note: I’m a little biased because my family is from La Laguna, Tenerife, but it’s definitely a place worth visiting!)

Planning a trip to or studying abroad in Spain? Instead of just going to typical places like Madrid or Barcelona, why not go someplace a little more exotic like Tenerife?

Tenerife is one of seven of the Canary Islands located off the northwest coast of Morocco. It is where many Europeans go on holiday, but most of these vacationers never stray past the resort on the south of the island. Just an hour away by car, the north of the island has hidden treasures you don’t want to miss. For example, the town of La Laguna, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, has cobblestone streets and delicious little tapas bars serving food from the region; it is a must-see where you can spend a lazy afternoon walking around the historical center.

Above is the view from the apartment of the author’s grandmother, which shows a cathedral located in the center of La Laguna.

Above is the view from the apartment of the author’s grandmother, which shows a cathedral located in the center of La Laguna.

The Canary Islands have a language and culture that is very different from the mainland.  Despite centuries of colonizers from southern Spain plundering and pillaging the Guanche, the indigenous people, there are words leftover from the native language still heard in the local lexicon. An example of the Guanche language is the word gofio, which describes a toasted cornmeal that is usually mixed in with other types of food like yogurt, honey and coffee. There is also a huge Latin American language influence, as thousands of Canarians left the islands to go to Venezuela to earn money, returning home decades later with the profits.

View of a banana plantation located in the north of Tenerife.

View of a banana plantation located in the north of Tenerife.

With special type of food like lapas (barnacles), queso asado con mojo (fried cheese with a special Canarian sauce), and papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes), the cuisine of these islands is delicious and unique.

Pictured below is a typical plate of fried cheese with the two types of Canarian mojo: mojo rojo y mojo verde.

One of the most important events that happens all year is the Carnival. The carnival of the Canary Islands rivals that of Brazil, where visitors flock to see The Grand Carnival Queen Contest, located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Each year, the carnival has a different theme; this year it will be the deep sea and will be held from February 27 to March 10.

Lava field with rocks that have formed from dry lava that formed thousands of years ago.

Lava field with rocks that have formed from dry lava that formed thousands of years ago.

Even Ed Sheeran has been seduced by Tenerife, coming out with the song Tenerife Sea.  No matter what time of year, it is a must-see with black sand beaches, spectacular lava fields, and a volcano called El Teide, where travelers can hike to the crater, which is the highest point in all of Spain at a height of 12,198 feet (3,718 meters).

This article is opinion in nature and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Rival. All photos are by the author.

CultureCarmen Collins