Tenerife, Canary Islands, for the Holidays

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The most populated island of Spain and largest of the Canary Islands, triangle-shaped Tenerife stands out as you fly over it in a private jet because of the towering peak of dormant Mt. Teide. To the north of the peak, you’ll find pine-covered land. To the south are barren lava fields. Lining the island are white-sand beaches. The extraordinary diversity and warm, sunny days make Tenerife a top winter destination.

Sleep

Botánico

A luxury hilltop hotel in Puerto de la Cruz, Botánico is popular for its excellent reviews and celebrity guests. While the exterior might seem plain, the gardens are stunning and the spacious interiors with Asian-inspired details are elegant. While all the rooms and suites are large, the exclusive Penthouse Suites offer a private terrace with a hot tub and views of Mt. Teide. Throughout the hotel, you’ll find the largest private collection of local artwork on the island on display.

Gran Hotel Bahía Real

Surrounded by the sands of Corralejo Natural Dune Park, the Gran Hotel Bahía Real is an oceanfront resort that will remind you of old Moorish monuments and temples. From the dreamy tropical gardens to the dome in the lobby, everything drips with magnificence. The bright spacious rooms have balconies and views of the gardens or ocean. Large exclusive family rooms are also available. At the time of publication, spa treatments at the Salus Per Aquam are included in the room rate.

Eat

La Cúpula

Located within the Jardines de Nivaria Hotel, La Cúpula dazzles from the moment you walk through the door with its waterfront view, mesmerizing ceilings, and artistic lamps. Chef Rubén Cabrera and Michelin-star chef Gilles Joye fuse French cuisine with Spanish and local Canarian touches to create dishes such as black Canarian suckling pig with beetroot and Asian flavors; beef fillet with potato puree, onions and cabbage; and butterfish with kafir lime sauce and daikon radish with potato cream. A tasting menu is also available.

La Vieja

Overlooking the harbor in the small fishing village of La Caleta, La Vieja is named after a local fish and is just a few minutes away from Costa Adeje by car. In the evening, sit at a table on the deck to watch the sun go down as you dine on fresh seafood and shellfish. Try La Vieja fish soup, stone bass, black wreckfish with garlic, cod with clams, Canarian-style parrot fish, monkfish in sea urchin sauce, or the seafood platter. La Vieja also has an extensive wine list with a multitude of wines made on the island.

Play

Parque Nacional Timanfaya

The only Spanish national park that’s “eminently geological” and features the aftermath of volcanic eruptions, Parque Nacional Timanfaya (Timanfaya National Park) in Lanzarote is popularly known as the “Fire Mountains.” Take a 20-minute camel trek through the bumpy volcanic landscape to see cinder cones, craters, heat fissures, and lava formations. The park is only accessible via the Ruta de los Volcanes bus tour. During the busy season, take a tour in the later afternoon to avoid crowds.

Parque Nacional Teide

A trip to Tenerife isn’t complete without a cable car ride to the Mt. Teide’s summit, Spain’s highest mountain. The summit gives you panoramic views of the 10-mile-wide crater, the island, and Canarian archipelago.

Diving

The waters surrounding Tenerife stay warm throughout the year, making a dive to see volcanic columns teaming with marine life comfortable. Among the best dive sites are Los Gigantes, Los Cristianos, Las Galletas, and Puerto de la Cruz.

Dolphin and Whale Watching

About 28 species of dolphins and whales—resident and migratory—feed in the waters between Tenerife and La Gomera. Charter a boat for a private cetacean-watching cruise.

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