Tenerife’s flag is identical to the Scottish Saltire, but that’s largely where the two destinations end their similarities. A holiday to Tenerife from Glasgow Airport transports you to a classic sunseekers spot with an average daily maximum temperature of above 20°C. It’s the largest of the Canary Islands and also provides a fittingly handsome stage for the 3,718m Pico del Teide, not just the highest mountain on the archipelago but in the whole of Spain.
Tenerife is still best known for its archetypal holiday charms – there’s 350km of coastline to enjoy, collectively encompassing everything from burger-and-chips pubs to super-stylish boutiques. Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos are magnets for package-holiday tourists, while if you’re serious about watersports then the sands of El Médano are where to head – they draw a lot of surfers. And to get away from the crowds? Try basing yourself in the quiet village of La Caleta.
Capital city Santa Cruz is twinned with Rio de Janeiro, a nod to the fact that it hosts a carnival of epic proportions each February. Expect extravagant parades, round-the-clock music, street parties and generous quantities of food and drink – it’s considered by many to be second only to its Brazilian counterpart in terms of its size and scope. There’s always a theme, which in previous years has been everything from Bollywood to Flower Power.
Tenerife’s volcanic landscape is renowned for its drama. It’s possible to climb to the summit of Pico del Teide (for which you’ll need an access permit; easily arranged) but there’s ample reward to be had from walking, cycling or even horse riding elsewhere on the island. When the sun goes down, you’ll be treated to a spectacle overhead – it’s officially been designated a Starlight Tourist Destination, and if you get away from electric lighting on a clear night the display is incredible.