The largest and most-populated of the Canary Islands is Tenerife, found off the coast of Africa.
Sunshine data obtained from Santa Cruz de Tenerife weather station
Tenerife alone is home to approximately two-fifths of the entire Canary population, and takes its name from an old native name for Mount Teide - White Mountain, from the snowy peaks of its dormant volcano whose emissions created the island itself millions of years ago.
The island was conquered in the late 15th century by Spanish forces and served as a major stopping point for ships on their way to the Americas. A mass emigration by Tenerife's residents to Latin America is what sealed its bond to the then-New World, as the island's grape production was by far the strongest facet of its economy.
British forces would try to take the island during the Revolutionary Wars; Nelson famously lost an arm while he battled in vain to capture Tenerife, while Sir Walter Raleigh was involved in another failed attempt.
Tenerife view of beach and hills with buildings Tenerife is served by two airports; one each on the north and south of the island. The northern airport is only a few miles away from Santa Cruz de Tenerife; the joint capital along with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria of the whole island group. Known as the Island of Eternal Spring, temperatures on the island are mild enough for agreeable weather all year round - however it is not unusual to see snow-covered hills off in the distance during t-shirt weather!
Santa Cruz is the administrative capital of the Canary Islands, and has a wide range of attractions, events and nightlife which bring tourists from all over the world; principally Germany and Britain are two of the biggest countries whose residents visit the island for holidaymaking. Each year the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife takes place on the capital's streets; such is its cultural importance as a seat of identity that it is currently seeking to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parades, performances and shows take place in and around the city streets attracting many visitors.
While all this much-vaunted culture takes place up north, the south of the island is given over to resorts such as Playa de las Americas which are famous for their high-quality beaches and accommodation, though the island does afford travel between both areas enabling visitors to get the best of both worlds. The Tenerife Auditorium is a beautiful venue still used today for concerts of both classic and popular music, while the architecture and sculptures can be enjoyed all over the island.
Last updated: 14 April 2015
The seven islands that form the Canary Islands experience a Mediterranean climate typified by extremely dry summer months with warm temperatures and mild winters with more rainfall, particularly to the north of the region.
Spain has three main climate zones with the south and east coasts characterised by a Mediterranean climate, the vast inland areas of the central plateau experience a continental climate while the north and northwest regions are classified as an oceanic climate.