Tenerife Holidays – Top 10 Places for 2016

Rafał is from Poland and is an acquaintance I met through TripAdvisor. Like me, he enjoys travelling and like me, he likes to do it cheap without having to give up creature comforts.

On 20th November last, his boss called him into a meeting and said he had to use up all of his holidays before the end of the year otherwise he would lose them.

Like most people, if you are not specifically planning a holiday few have much spare cash so this left Rafal with the task of finding something different at a reasonable cost. He knew he could do it because this is how he had travelled to several places including Paphos and Corfu.

He warned his fiancé that he wanted her to take a week off work then he surprised her with a super last minute bargain of flights AND an All Inclusive hotel in Tenerife for just €400 per person.

They only had one week but wanted to see as much as possible. As a hobby Rafal has started to make travel videos, he is still learning, but as you can see from the two videos attached, he is good and one day wants to appear in front of the camera instead of behind.

He made the following video showing just 10 places he would recommend to anyone wanting to visit Tenerife or planning their holiday, but knows there is so much more on the island to see and he hopes to return some day.

He is already planning a follow up that I’m looking forward to seeing. I hope you all enjoy these as much as I did.


For weather & news updates  check
 Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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Weird and Wonderful Tenerife Carnival

Carnival, or as we spell it here in Tenerife CarnAval is a BIG event. So big it rivals Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro.

The party lasts for days and although Santa Cruz is home to the largest, loudest, most dazzling extravaganza, carnival festivities are celebrated all over the island.

For most the Grand Parade is the highlight.  Businesses and schools close so that everyone can get involved. Thousands of people, locals and tourists, line the streets as the city becomes a sea of colour, filled with excitement and fun.  It is safe to say that if you don’t go to carnival in fancy dress, you will feel like the odd one out. Costumes are worn by all from the fabulous, skimpy, sparkling sequins and flamboyant feathers in the parades to the ever popular men dressed as women, cartoon characters and even superheroes. Everyone is dressed up.

The vibe of Carnival for me boils down to throwing out your inhibitions, having a great time in pure, light-hearted fun and unbridled happiness. So join the fun at this years Carnival.

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog
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Wrinklies walk the ancient walls – Ávila

This is the first in a series of blogs about the Paradores where we have stayed on the mainland.

Paradores are a kind of luxury hotel in Spain and were founded by Alfonso XIII, who was trying to promote tourism in the country. The first one was inaugurated in 1928 in Ávila. These hotels are often located in historic buildings such as old palaces, castles, and monasteries. Having said they are luxurious doesn’t however, mean they are expensive as they always have special deals, such as bargains for seniors or 5-day specials.

We left the busy hubbub of Madrid behind and headed north. We are no strangers to Ávila, but as with most of Spain’s charming cities, there’s always more to discover.

We were staying at the Piedras Albas Palace, the gem that is the Parador de Ávila. It is next to the best-preserved walls in the world, in the historic town. Steeped in tradition, this rural idyll is welcoming. The rooms are spacious and the views of the garden and ancient walls through the glass-enclosed courtyard confirm you are in a World Heritage City.

Parador Avila

The first thing we saw when we arrived was ‘la muralla’. Ávila is known for its impressive medieval wall that you can walk. It encircles the old city and provides stunning views in every direction. Completed in the 12th century, it is just as imposing today as back then and you can’t go anywhere in Ávila without being struck by its magnificence. With 9 gates and 88 semi-circular towers, the walls are the most complete fortification in Spain.

As we entered the main Puerta del Alcazar gate it is a weird sensation. The fact that this testament of human engineering is still alive after a thousand years of continual use is an awesome experience that life goes on and nothing really changes.

Perhaps it is the looming walls or the history that radiates from every cobblestone but Ávila makes you almost feel pious. It’s easy to understand why, with its famous religious buildings; the city has the highest church to resident ratio in Spain.

We loved strolling along the parapets with swifts circling overhead and the scent of jasmine in the air and losing ourselves in the old quarter, where every street is filled with charm. We stumbled into the imposing Cathedral and the Romanesque Basilica de San Vicente. Nevertheless, the smaller places with history intrigued us most, the shops, churches and convents helped give an idea of life centuries ago. With its tiny streets and winding pathways, the juxtaposition of old and new is vivid, particularly when you watch a car pass under a medieval archway.

Ávila 3714 feet above sea level is the highest provincial capital in Spain. Even in summer, it is cool compared to the rest of Spain, which means good, old-fashioned soul food; this is a land of stews and casseroles. After our walk around the city, we headed for lunch, one of the specialities is chuletón (steak) so we took the “bull by the horns” and ordered it. Quite delicious!

As souvenirs, we bought the famous egg yolk sweets Las Yemas de la Santa named for St. Teresa and a jar of the regions almond honey so memories of our stay in Ávila would be sweet.

I think Avila has rightfully earned its nickname the city of stones and saints and it is a great stop on any road trip through Spain.

 

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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Things to do in Tenerife in February 2016

What to Expect

I find the weather in February the most unpredictable throughout the year.  If we are going to have rain in the south of the island, it seems, that this will be in February and in particular during the period of Carnival.

Average temperatures in the south last year were  21°C with a couple of highs at 25°C and a low of 17°C we will see the sun even if it shares the sky with a few clouds.  In the north last years temperatures averaged 15°C throughout the day and 11°C at night.

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Highlights

Nuestra Senora de Candelaria – Religious festival to celebrate Our Lady of Candelaria the patron saint of the archipelago and many events are held.  One of the most exciting is the Procession of Candelas – walking the streets of Candelaria. At sunset, all the lights go out, everything goes quiet and parishioners form a procession carrying their candles and praying in total silence. If you have not seen, not to be missed. (When : 2nd February Where : across the island)

Carnival –  You cannot miss the party full of colour, rhythm and music in every corner of the island from sunrise to sunset. From the opening parade, which marks the beginning of the explosion of fun to the Burial of the Sardine or the Coso. Other major events take place in Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes and Puerto de la Cruz so if you are in Tenerife at the time you have plenty of opportunities to party.

When: 3rd to 14th February Where: Santa Cruz
Grand Opening Parade Friday 5th February
The Burial of the Sardine 10th February. Men dressed as weeping widows, and a gigantic paper fish in full make-up is paraded through the streets and then burnt.
Carnaval de Día, this is the Grand Finale on 13th February.

When: January 27th to February 14th Where: Puerto de la Cruz
Marathon Mascarita Ponte Tacón (men’s high heeled marathon) 12th February
Gran Coso Apoteosis 13th February

Los Cristianos will be held beginning of March

Medano Live After the success of Red Jazz Festival 2015, Medano Live has been organised for 2016. All concerts are free and more information can be obtained from http://medanolive.com/

Programme
5 February and 12 March, the World Music Series – 17 concerts.
March 18 and April 23, Alternative Music Cycle – 16 concerts.
14 and 21 May, will take place on Red Jazz III Festival – 14 concerts. October 7 and 26 November, the Cycle of Music – 18 concerts.
And from 2 to 17 December 2016, the Jazz Festival – 6 concerts.

Image / Mark Thornton – Festival Jazz Roja 2015, Noviembre, Plaza Roja, El Médano

32nd International Music Festival of the Canary Islands The only European festival of its kind to be held in winter offers you the opportunity to listen to great music from Mozart to Michael Jackson. The tenor Juan Diego Florez, the London Philharmonic and the Vienna Boys’ Choir are just some of the internationally renowned artists performing (When: to February 11 Where: Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín, Santa Cruz)

Arona Festival of International Music – See image for info.

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Quantum Ensemble: ‘I want to live in America’ A lot of American music of the twentieth century cannot be understood without the influence of American popular culture. Quantum ensemble expands this idea in a concert that combines in quartet format (violin, clarinet, guitar and piano), music of American Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein with three of the most representative Latin American composers of the twentieth century, Heitor Villalobos, Alberto Ginastera and Astor Piazzola. (When: February 18 Where: Auditorium of Tenerife, Santa Cruz)

Fuentealta Trail – a high trail in a very special town (When : 28th February Where : Vilaflor)

Whilst these are some of the most interesting events, there is an overwhelming amount of activities on Tenerife each month. Click on the links below to see what is happening elsewhere.

Tenerife – Attractions

Tenerife offers a wealth of attractions follow the LINK to get just a few ideas.

Tenerife – Tours

Guided tours both free and private as well as numerous excursions are available throughout the year.  For a few ideas follow the link to Tenerife Tours and Days Out

Tenerife – Sporting Activities

Year round temperatures averaging 22 degrees combined with a low level of rainfall provide an ideal climate for outdoor ventures. Whether on land, at sea or in the skies, Tenerife provides outdoor adventure for all types of travellers. Check them out HERE

Tenerife – Markets

Everyone loves a market and the island is home to a wealth of covered, outdoor and street markets. Many specialise in a particular type of goods while others selling the same product move from site to site. Most open early in the morning and close early afternoon. Follow this link for a list of Tenerife Markets

Tenerife – Museums

The museums of Tenerife are accessible to all sections of the community regardless of limited mobility or communication. Follow the link to find a comprehensive list of Tenerife – Museums

For more on Tenerife including daily weather read Queenie’s Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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New York – What Again?

Not knowing what to get each other for Christmas we decided a short break in New York was an option. It is one of our favourite places but we have never been in winter. January is supposedly the coldest month but having bought the anorak, and having the fur headband (thanks, Kate) and a fur hat (thanks, Julie) I was all set.

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We stayed once again at the Edison Hotel, an ideal location at the corner of Time Square and 47th. While we had found the hotel comfortable in the past, since our last visit it had been refurbished and was very posh!  It offered free walking tours as well as airport transfers.  We were given an upgraded room with wifi, coffee and soft drinks which were also all free.

I love Time Square, there’s no better place to experience the excitement surrounded by neon lights, giant billboards and Broadway theaters, it is truly the heart of Midtown. Whether you wander around during the day or on a night there is always something to see.

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When we were last in this area it was summer time and we saw the Naked Cowboy, at -5C we didn´t expect to see him but sure enough he was there in nothing but his pants, hat and boots.  The man must be mental!

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We decided to stick close to the hotel due to not being used to cold weather so walked to the Observation deck at the Top of the Rock.  The main Christmas tree had been removed but the ice skating will remain until April when things start to warm up in the city.

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skating at Rockefella Centre

We were also only a couple of blocks from Bryant Park with its Carousel and during the winter more than 100 small booths selling Christmasy goods, as well as ice-skating on the pond.

bryant-parkWe love doing the tours. What I really like about them, is you can visit an area you would not necessarily go to on your own. I also love the fact that your guide explains what you are viewing along the way. They are great for first-time visitors, but also for those of us who think we have done all the tourist things in the city and then learn there is so much more. This time we took in a tiny corner of the huge Central Park but eventually the cold had us heading for a warm cafe and a huge hot chocolate.

Our final treat was to take in a Broadway show.  It was hard to choose with so many options, did we see Chicago, Wicked, Matilda, Kinky Boots – in the end we opted for Jersey Boys and it proved to be a great choice.  Loved the show and the artists think it is now right up there with my two favourites Blood Brothers and Les Mis.

Sadly our time was up, we took the hotel transfer back to JFK and faced the horrendous queues to get through security.  I do love America but don´t know how many more hours of my life I can lose just trying to get in and out of their country.  The words Piss Up and Brewery spring to mind each time I have to join one of their never-ending lines.

Note: Looking at the Mail Online it seems we timed our visit just right otherwise we could have been caught up in this The city that never sleeps shuts down: New York is hit by historic 26.8 inches of snow

For weather & news updates  check Queenies Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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