Nadia El Ferdaoussi can't get enough of the Canary island.
There’s one place I find myself recommending more than anywhere else. It’s also the place where I spend most of my actual holiday time. The largest island of the Canaries archipelago, Tenerife just works on so many levels for so many people.
With its location close to the northwestern coast of Africa, in the Atlantic Ocean, the volcanic island enjoys year-round good weather. In fact, it’s one of the only places within
the EU you can go for a bit of winter sun. Aer Lingus will get you there direct in around four hours, flying six times a week from Dublin during the summer.
The sun isn’t the only reason for my ongoing love affair with Tenerife. It’s also home to the number one rated water park in the world (according to Trip Advisor), Siam Park, the shopping is amazing (hello H&M and Zara Home!) and there are endless possibilities for eating and drinking out. Plus, it won’t break the bank!
The southern part of the island around Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos are where most tourists base themselves. Only about 20 minutes from Tenerife Sur Airport, hop in a cab for €20 or jump on the 111 bus for less than four quid. If you want to avoid the dated aparthotels, opt for an Airbnb with communal pool. Expect to pay about €160 a night for a spacious two bedroom place with kitchen. Choose somewhere with sea views so you never have to go far for front row sunset seats. Then, stock up on as much rosé and Lays crisps as you can carry – there are no shortage of Spanish supermarkets within walking distance of most holiday apartments!
If you’re adventurous, you can hike or take the cable car to the highest point in Spain, Mount Teide. Even if it’s a scorcher down by the beach, you’ll be chilly over 2,000 metres above sea level, so bring layers. The peak is ofen snow-capped!
For closer-to-home-thrills, Siam Park has you covered. Jump on the frequent free shuttle bus to the Thai-inspired water kingdom, rent a locker and towels and pick a meeting point. I recommend grabbing a few sun loungers on Siam Beach, but if you’re really feeling it, splash some cash on a VIP cabana for the day. Then hit the slides; zero gravity on the Dragon for adrenaline junkies or Mai Thai River for a lazy meander through the park.
Now, back to the food and drink; sundowners are obligatory at Chiringuito Las Salinas, a wooden shack on the beach front that claims to make the best mojitos in the world; they certainly have a prime viewing spot to watch the sunset and live music. For traditional tapas and paella, El Gomero is as popular with locals as it is with tourists, always a good sign!
Balkonen Lebanese restaurant should demand your attention for at least one night too – the mezze style tasting menu, at €20 per person, can’t be beaten. Enough hummus, falafel, flatbreads, savoury pastries and shawarma to send you into a blissful food coma. I promise you’ll be dreaming of that hummus long after you land back in Ireland.
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