If you love Christmas but not the cold weather in Britain, Tenerife is a lovely alternative because it is full of lights, colour and fabulous decorations. The Spanish Christmas is not quite like the British one but in the Canaries there is a fabulous fusion of all that is seasonal and with nativity scenes, singing, open air concerts mixed with warm weather, it gives a Christmas season to remember. Because the Canaries are off the coast of Africa, many of the plants are not what you would generally find growing outdoors so to see poinsettia (the classic Christmas pot plant in the UK) in their thousands, decorated with lights like Christmas trees are usually is amazing; seasonal and exotic at the same time. There are holiday markets, particularly in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz and there are also many concerts particularly in Adeje. On Christmas Day itself the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra gives a concert which is a must – booking early is essential as it is very popular with locals as well as tourists.
How to get there
The Canary Islands are a very popular holiday destination throughout the year, so there is no problem with finding a flight to suit. You can have a glance on for example the First Choice website for package deals. There are two airports to choose from on Tenerife and with Christmas celebrations happening across the island, the options are completely open. Getting around is easy because there is a very extensive bus system – travel like the locals with a go anywhere ticket which makes the whole thing even cheaper. Eating out is easy with loads of restaurants although don’t look for turkey and all the trimmings just because it is Christmas – the festive food is very different in Spain but totally delicious nonetheless. The main meal is on Christmas Eve, shared with family before midnight mass.
You’ll have a very busy Christmas in Tenerife
Christmas markets are all over the place, so you will probably bump into one serendipitously, but some of the best are at Las Torres with Christmas gifts, food and music. Christmas is all about carols and there are many concerts to enjoy, from church choirs (look out for the procession from San Jose in Los Olivos) and also folk groups and larger orchestras.
Nativity scenes are very popular in Spain and some of the most lovely services in the churches throughout December are the crib blessings. Most churches will have the dates and you really should see at least one to share the reverence of Christmas in this Catholic country. There is a lot of fun when the Royal Postman does his round – he collects from all the villages and shopping centres where the children leave their lists for Three Kings, January 6th being the day children get their presents in Spain.
Only Britain has Boxing Day of course, but there is fun on 28th December in Tenerife – it is the Day of the Innocents, originally a church festival but now a day of joking and pranks very like April Fools’ Day.