Tenerife Carnival claims to be the second largest carnival party in the world after Rio de Janeiro! Tenerife Carnival is growing bigger, more vibrant and lively with every passing year! Here are some of our top suggestions to enhance your carnival experience!
Watch The Murgas Competition!
What is a Murgas?
The “Murgas,” are Spanish carnival groups which feature satire artists. They perform satirical songs about current political and world events. The Murgas Competition is one of the most unique and special parts of Tenerife Carnival. The Murgas groups add a lot of humour to carnival and compete in the competition to sing the most entertaining and funniest songs! d and bawdy galas.
See the Election of Carnival Queen
A Carnival Queen is selected for the Tenerife Carnival. A Carnival Queen is selected from several age groups including children, adults and seniors. The Carnival Queens are always made a focal point during the parades, riding the floats while looking glamorous.
Crowning the Carnival Queens is a popular event that is even broadcast on TV. The contestants take this event very seriously with the costumes being incredibly expensive and they can even weigh up to 200 kilos!.
Watch the Cabalgata!
The Cabalgata is the opening parade and opens the carnival with a bang. It is a vibrant parade that features the carnival queen, murgas, dance groups and more. The atmosphere is electric as everyone excitedly enjoys the start of carnival.
They ride around the city announcing the start of carnival. It a four hour procession filled with Latin beats, epic costumes and impressive dance groups. All the streets are crowded and filled with joy, colour and rhythm!
You absolutely must dress up for carnival in Tenerife! In fact, if you don’t dress up then you will be the odd one out. The costumes at Tenerife are a huge spectacle and people really put in lots of effort!
Lots of people dress up in the carnival theme however you can wear whatever you like. Don’t worry if you arrive unprepared as there are plenty of street vendors selling costumes, wigs and masks all over the place.
Check out all the Live Music shows
Carnival Monday is a great day to hit the streets up and see some live music. Many of the main stages feature world class DJs. There were plans to make this day an official electronic music festival, but they didn’t officially go ahead. However, it is still like an electronic music festival.
Carnival Saturday is a more relaxed day where people will go to watch some open-air music concerts. The music ranges from Latin tunes all the way through to DJs. It’s a great day to wander the streets and be part of the crowd. The concert venues are the Plaza de España, Plaza de Príncipe and Plaza de Europa.
Party all day and night at the street parties!
Every single night of the week during carnival tens of thousands of people take to the streets to party. The street parties are some of the wildest you’ve ever been to! Everyone dresses up in fancy-dress. The parties kick off around midnight and go right through until dawn. The best street parties occur on the opening and closing weekends, as well as carnival Monday.
Attend the Day time carnival
In 2008 Tenerife City Council had the great idea of making a Daytime Carnival for people of all ages and families to enjoy. A project that was met with scepticism until the next day there were 250,000 people of all ages, since then this carnival is always celebrated! It is a great day for the whole family to come out!
Watch the The Grand Carnival Parade Main Parade also known as Coso Apoteosis
This parade which is known as the Coso Apoteosis announces the end of carnival in Tenerife. The Tenerife Closing Parade is the absolute highlight of the carnival. The parade attracts the most crowds from all over the world who come to witness this spectacle. The Closing Parade features all the Carnival Queens and all the Carnival Groups. It is an amazing spectacle full of colour, costumes, floats, incredible dance routines and music.
Watch the Burial of the Sardine
This is the first day of Lent and on this day is an event that officially closes carnival known as the Burial of the Sardine. This is one of the most surreal carnival celebrations that occurs around the world. It sees the burial of a giant papier-mache sardine.
The Sardine is paraded through the streets of Tenerife, followed by men dressed as priests and women dressed as widows, and they all pretend to mourn the sardine. The sardine is then thrown into a huge bonfire, set alight and a huge firework show officially closes the carnival.
Say Goodbye to Don Carnal at Piñata Sunday
On the closing weekend of carnival, the locals bid farewell to Don Carnal also known as Mr Carnival! During Pinata Sunday there are traditional performances and celebrations that are finished off by an awesome firework display!
Where to stay Tenerife Carnival?
There are plenty of options for accommodation in Tenerife. From luxury resorts, hotels, B&B, private rentals, inns and hostels. It all comes down to your budget and the level of comfort you are seeking. We recommend booking your accommodation in Santa Cruz de Tenerife so that you can be close to the action, and you want to be able to walk from your accommodation to the party easily!
If you want to be close to the party then book accommodation near Weyler, Calle Anaga and Teatro Guimera. But if you are looking for something close to the action that that offers some peace and quiet so you can get some sleep, then stay around Las Ramblas. If you haven’t yet booked your accommodation then we recommend doing so asap because a huge amount of tourists that come for carnival and in this small city accommodation books out quickly. Check out some accommodation deals here.
However, if have no luck finding accommodation in Santa Cruz then consider staying about ten minutes up the hill in the UNESCO World Heritage city of La Laguna. This charming city is absolutely worth exploring and full of charm. You can check out some accommodation deals for La Laguna here.
What to do and see in Tenerife?
Carnival is just the icing on the cake in this bustling capital! This handsome and friendly port city is one of Europe’s most promising destinations when it comes to having it all, a Spanish city, beach, historic architecture, awesome shops, brightly painted buildings, sublime natural landscapes, museums, art galleries, amazing restaurants, bars, cafes, tropical parks, hiking trails and on top of all that are the super friendly locals!
In fact back in 2012 The Guardian newspaper named Santa Cruz as one of the best five places in the world to live back in 2012! Because of the city’s deep natural harbour it has led to a period of wealth which can be seen in the many stunning historic buildings around the city. Santa Cruz’s main beach is ‘Las Teresitas’ considered the most beautiful beach in Tenerife due to its gorgeous golden beach filled with palm trees and a stunning back-drop of the Anaga mountains it is.
In town head to Plaza de Espana close to the harbour which is the biggest Plaza in the Canary Islands. Between there and Plaza de Candelaria you will find excellent shopping. Calle de Castillo is actually the main shopping street. For a lively nightlife head down to Avenida Anaga on the waterfront. Don’t miss the Mercado de Nuestra Senora de Africa which is a lively food market.
Visit the Auditoio which is the most iconic building in Tenerife and has a style similar to the Sydney Opera House. Also close to the port is one of Tenerife’s water parks, the Parque Maritimo Cesar Manrique which is an area of about 22000 square meters filled with saltwater pools. Next to this is Palmetum of Tenerife a huge botanical garden with some of the biggest collection of palm trees in the world. Another great Santa Cruz park is the Parque Garcia Sanabaria.
A main monument of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, a stunning church that dates back to the 16th century, in fact it was one of the first churches to be built on Tenerife. Also see the Iglesia de San Francisco which is considered the best example of Baroque architecture in the Canary Islands and contains a number of impressive artworks.
There are plenty of great museums in Santa Cruz like The Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre which contains the cannon that shot off the arm of Admiral Nelson, Guanche mummies and an impressive collections of archaeology and biology. Or check out Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, a fabulous contemporary art museum.
How to get to Tenerife Carnival?
By plane: Tenerife has two major airports, Tenerife South Reina Sofia International Airport (TFS) located about 60 km away from Santa Cruz, in the south of Tenerife. And Tenerife North Los Rodeos International Airport (TFN) which is located close to Santa Cruz. To get a quote for a flight click here. There are over sixty airlines companies servicing these airports with connecting flights to many major European cities. Reina Sofia is the larger airport open 24/7 and has over 9 million annual passengers. Los Redos is predominantly only domestic flights with a few international options.
From the airports a taxi to Santa Cruz will cost about €60 from Reina Sofia and €15 from Los Redos. Or alternatively you can catch the Bus Line 111 from Los Redos and from Reina Sofia you can take bus lines 102, 108, and 109. Line 340 connects between the two airports.
By boat: The Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the main ports of Spain. You can reach the city with a Ferry that connects Santa Cruz de Tenerife with Cadiz, in Mainland Spain, but the trip will take about two days and Is operated by Acciona Transmediterranea. Of course you can also take a ferry to travel between the islands.
How to get around Tenerife Carnival?
The best way to get around is to go on foot, which is why we recommend booking your accommodation close to the carnival. You can rent a car but lots of roads will be shut, and carnival traffic is crazy and there is limited parking. But if you dont stay close by or you want to explore more of the island then you can rent a car. Get a quote for a rental car here. If you are staying further away there are buses that are cheap and fairly regular going around the island of course you can take a Taxi/Uber. You could always hire a bike or scooter too, to rent a bike or a scooter get a quote here.
Take a tour
Honestly there is so much cool stuff to do and see in Tenerife, we definitely recommend doing some sightseeing when you are there. If you check out Viator or Tours by Locals you find loads of different, excursions, day trips and sightseeing tours. Everything from gastronomic tours, whale watching, cycling or exploring national parks, see here.
Or if you are incredibly lucky and are able to take a longer vacation then just coming out for carnival, take a look at Tour Radar, as they have lots of different itineraries for amazing vacations around the Canary Islands, which we highly recommend because it is such a unique part of the world.
Is Tenerife Safe?
Tenerife is generally a very safe place to visit but be aware of pickpockets! Especially during carnival when there are big crowds and it is easier to get your stuff stolen.
So be aware of your valuables at all times or even leave them back at your hotel and only bring some cash with you. Or check out Amazon and invest in one of these travel safety accessories, like a fanny pack hidden under your clothing to store your essentials in. If you have to take your phone out with you, don’t have it on show for long.
Here is your ultimate guide to the Tenerife Carnival!