Thanks to its blend of Spanish, Latin American and island heritage, Tenerife’s cultural calendar is always packed. Whenever you visit, there’s sure to be something going on, from colorful parades to riotous street parties. Here are some of the best festivals in the largest Canary Island.
Every February, thousands of people descend on the coastal city of Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, to participate in the world’s second-largest Carnival celebration—surpassed only by Brazil. With its enormous parade of elaborately costumed marchers, dancers, and musicians, elected Carnival Queens, and live music performances, the city center transforms into one big, colorful street party. The city of Puerto de la Cruz, on Tenerife’s western coast, although throws a good Carnival party.
Corpus Christi Festival
Another world-famous religious celebration, festival of Corpus Christi is held in June in Tacoronte, La Laguna, and La Orotava. The event features parades, fireworks, and ventorrillos (street cafes) serving up traditional Canarian foods. Among the most unique elements of this festival are the Corpus Christi carpets, which are hand-woven from flower petals and sand, then laid out in the streets to form a gigantic tapestry for the procession to pass over.
Semana Santa (Easter Week)
Holy Week on Tenerife kicks off with a solemn parade of Catholics wearing traditional cloaks with pointed hoods and carrying statues of Jesus on the cross and a mourning Virgin Mary. Each town has its own events; La Laguna, La Orotava, Los Realejos, Garachico, Puerto de la Cruz, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife host some of the island’s best.
Romería de San Roque
Throughout the year, Tenerife holds a number of Romerías, or historic festivals that combine folklore, religion, and culture. Often these include costumed parades, folk music, dancing, and displays of artistic traditions and handicrafts. Among the most famous is Romería de San Roque, which takes place in August. Locals in traditional dress, a procession of decorated carts, and herds of animals follow the image of the patron saint as it’s carried to a local church.
Fiestas de la Cruz
One of the most photo-worthy festivals in the Canary Islands, the Fiestas de la Cruz (Festivals of the Cross) takes place each May throughout the island. Each town does things a bit differently, but you’re sure to see crosses decorated with colorful, elaborate blossoms, plus costume parties, processions, and fireworks.