Forget the fact that Tenerife is a subtropical island off the coast of Africa. Forget the fact that the sun is shining, there are palm trees and you’re wearing T-shirt and shorts. There’s plenty of festive fun to be had during Christmas on Tenerife.
If you happen to be on holiday on Tenerife you can escape the frantic Christmas crowds at home but still enjoy a magical Christmas atmosphere. Here are our top 10 things to do at Christmas on Tenerife.
Pig out on Turrón
This scrumptious cake borne from a grand romantic gesture is only found on supermarket shelves on Tenerife at Christmas (well…until stocks run out). It is sinfully good especially when paired with a cup of coffee. There are oodles of different varieties to choose from, but the original almond, sugar, honey and egg yema tostada is still the best.
Slip on some Sexy Red Underwear
Apparently it’s good luck to see in the New Year wearing red underwear (it doesn’t say anywhere it has to be sexy, but ‘slip on some plain red underwear’ just doesn’t sound the same). Two conditions for guaranteeing good luck for the coming year is that the red underwear has to be new and also that it’s a present. Who knows how many people follow this tradition; it’s a difficult one to research ““ ‘excuse me, what colour is your underwear?’ is more likely to result in a slap than an answer.
Enjoy a Sparkling Christmas
The Christmas street decorations in some of Tenerife’s towns make a visit after dark an enchanting experience. Some of the resorts put on decent displays but to walk the cobbled historic streets in la Laguna and La Orotava after dark evokes warm and fuzzy memories of childhood Christmases.
There’s usually a popular musical at the Tenerife Auditorium Adán MartÃn and this year it’s The Sound of Music. Actually it’s the Spanish version Sonrisas y Lagrimas, so the music might sound familiar but the words might not; somehow ‘Doh a cierva’ just wouldn’t seem right. Possibly a better option is the free open air Christmas Day classical concert in Santa Cruz.
Eat Early on Christmas Eve
This applies more if you’re in a traditional town on Tenerife where every Canarian restaurant shuts early on Christmas Eve so that families can enjoy their big Christmas dinner together.
Of course if you’re one of those people who eat their dinner in the middle of the afternoon (around 6pm) then it won’t be a problem.
Forget Santa Claus and Cheer on the Three Kings
There’s no big portly guy squeezing down chimneys here. Tenerife’s version, like the rest of Spain, is the Tres Reyes (Three Kings) who pay a visit to Tenerife’s towns on the evening of the 5th January to bestow gifts on the children. Lots of towns on Tenerife have Tres Reyes parades, in some the kings arrive on camels. The tradition makes a lot more sense than the whole Santa Claus deal.
Let Them Eat Cake
It’s traditional to eat Roscón de Reyes (the Kings” Cake) on Tres Reyes (6th January) but you can buy these throughout the Christmas period on Tenerife. Riscón de Reyes is a wreath shaped bready cake topped by candied fruit. It used to be traditional to put a dried bean and a figurine in the cake mix. Whoever got the figure was made honorary king for the day and the person who got the bean had to fork out for the cake (approx €8). Last time I tried Roscón de Reyes I got the bean, so I haven’t bothered since (you can take the boy out of Scotland but…).
Build a Snowman
Honestly, this is a popular local tradition if we get enough of the white stuff on Mount Teide. But on Tenerife there’s a bit of a difference. You build the snowman on the bonnet of your car and then try to make it to the coast before the snowman completely melts…and without crashing because you can’t see as you’ve got a snowman on your bonnet.
Check out the Beléns
These nativity scenes found everywhere on Tenerife (town halls, shop windows, hotels) can be incredibly detailed with intricate moving parts. Adults and children love them, especially when they spot el caganer ““ the guy who always gets ‘caught short” out in the open.
Sunbathe on Christmas Day
If you haven’t done it before, there’s something bizarre about lounging about on the beach in your swimwear on Christmas Day, especially if there’s snow on Mount Teide and it’s a white Christmas on Tenerife.
¡Feliz Navidad a Todos!