Any description of Tenerife is really a tale of two islands within one. The largest of the volcanic Canary Islands, Tenerife lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 325km (200 miles) off the coast of North Africa and enjoys a startlingly stable climate that changes little through the year (thus its nickname as the island of eternal spring). Travellers book cheap flights to Tenerife year-round to enjoy the weather.
The island is dominated by Mt Teide in the centre of the island which stands 3,718m (12,200 feet) high, making it the highest peak in Spain, that separates the north of the island from the south. Travellers inclined to tour all of Tenerife, should be sure to take the cable-car ride to the top for spectacular views of the local landscape, dominated by the moon-like appearance of the volcanic rock, which can catch the sun and feature a rainbow-like combination of vivid colours.
Most of the local population is located in the north of the island where the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is located. Few tourists visit the city because it lacks major attractions but is an excellent place to see how the locals live. Nearby La Laguna is a student town and as a result features a healthy nightlife scene.
Puerto de la Cruz, on the island's north coast is probably the oldest tourist centre in the Canary Islands and exemplifies the multiculturalism that exemplifies much of Tenerife's population that includes the influence of Europe, Africa and the Americas. The Paseo Marítimo promenade is perfect for easy strolling while on the outskirts of town visitors would be well advised to seek out the aviary, Loro Parque.
Depending on when you plan on arriving, you may be lucky enough to witness Tenerife's Carnaval celebrations that begin every February and continue for three weeks. The festivities feature street parties and parades punctuated by local musicians performing late into the night. The biggest displays on the island take place in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz but Carnaval is celebrated in every town and village on the island giving rise to its claim on the largest such festival outside of Rio de Janeiro.
The southwest of the island, meanwhile, is where a coastal plain hosts a series of world-famous resorts including Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos - two that have expanded over the years and now form one continuous resort with beaches, bars and restaurants catering to visitors young and old alike. The area resembles a paradise, explaining why many arriving in Tenerife are content to remain here without venturing to see the rest of the island.
Beach lovers who arrive from flights to Spain may be surprised to know that they are enjoying a bit of African sand ? the beaches in Tenerife are artificial in that the sand is shipped here from the Sahara desert. Needless to say the resorts are world-class and cater for each visitor's every beachside need.