How to get there
Tenerife lies at the hart the Canary Islands archipelago, off African coast of the Western Sahara. Like its neighbour Gran Canaria, it has been a traditional port of call on the shipping routes between Europe and America, and also a stopping point where vessels would pick up supplies on their way to Africa and Asia before the opening of the Suez Canal in 1870.
Flying is the fastest and most common way of getting to the Canary Islands, as maritime connections with the Peninsula (Cadiz) are longer, less frequent and practically only for freight traffic. The arrival of low cost airlines extremely affordable. Another popular option are the competitively priced package holidays that include the flight plus bed and breakfast or half board accommodation. Indeed, this option has positioned the most popular destinations in Spain for foreign tourism ( attracting some 10 million foreign visitors plus a further 4 million domestic tourist each year ). Tenerife has two internacional airports: Tenerife North-Los Rodeos, situated just outside Santa Crus de Tenerife and La Laguna, which operates most of the connections with the Spanish mainland. Airlines flying to these airports include Air Berlin, with connections to the German cities of Dusseldorf and Nuremberg; Air Europa, with flights to Barselona, Bilbao, Leon, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Seville, Binter, operated by Naysa ( a company of small aircraft) and which flies to all the airports on the islands, Finnair flies to Helsinki, Iberia operates flights to Madrid as well as Badajoz, Valencia and Valladolid in summer, whilst Islas Airways has connections with Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma. Sta.Barbara Airlines links Tenerife with Venezuela, Spanair with Madrid and Barcelona, and Vueling with Seville and Barcelona. In 1977 Los Rodeos was the site of tragic plan crash caused by the fog that frequently affects this area, in which more than 500 people lost their lives. As a result of this accident a second airport was built on the island, Tenerife South-Reina Sofia, situated just 60 km from capital, and close to major tourist resorts of Costa Adeje, Las Americas and El Medano. This is the archipelago`s second busiest airport after Gran Canaria. It handles mainly charter and international flights, including numerous connections with Scandinavia between November and May, and during the rest of the year Germany, the UK and Ireland. Companies operating flights to this airport include Air Lingus, Air Berlin, Air France, Air Malta, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Condor Airlines, EasyJet, Finnair, Luxair, Sibir Airlines or Top Fly which links Tenerife with El Aaiun. In addition, both Spanair and Air Europa operate weekly connections with most of the airports in mainland Spain. Air Europa also flies to Miami and Iberia operates flights to Madrid and Badajoz. Binter Canarias operates a daily flights to Gran Canaria from this airport.
Binter (www.bintercanarias.com, 902 391 392) operates flights on all the islands. Islas Airways (www.islasairways.com, 902 477 478) flies to all the islands on the archipelago except La Gomera and El Hiero, as well as Marrakech and El Aaun (via Gran Canaria) on Mondays and Fridays. There are around 40 connections a day with Gran Canaria, the nearest island and just 25 minutes away by plane, whilst the to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura takes 45 minutes. The second island in terms of connections is La Palma, which is some 30 minutes away by air. The reason for the high frequency of flights (20 a day) is due to the poor connection by sea. Air fares are reasonable, thanks mainly to the offers available online, especially on the connections between La Palma-Tenerife North, Fuerteventura-Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria-La Palma, Gran Canaria-Tenerife North, and Lanzarote-Gran Canaria and Lanzarote-Tenerife North.
There are frequent sea crossings, especially between Tenerife and its nearest neighbours. From the Port of Los Cristianos (in the south) there are connections with La Gomera and from there , to El Hiero and La Palma. There is also a ferry service from the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife to Agaete on Gran Canaria.
The largest freight and passenger port on the island is Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Each weeks the arrival of a ship from Cadiz operates by Acciona Trasmediterranea and which calls in at Santa Cruz de la Palma, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Arrecife in Lanzerote on its return leg. The crossing from Cadiz to the Canary Islands takes around 2 days and is used mainly to transport freight, car and caravans. The shiping companies Naviera Armas (www.navieraarmas.com) and Fred Olsen (www.fredolsen.es) operate daily connections with La Gomera, El Hierro, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.
Naviera Armas also operates a weekly service between Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Portimao on the Portuguese mainland and Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira, as well as four daily crossings to the Port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, five crossings a week to Arrecife in Lanzerote, 3 crossings a week to Santa Cruz de la Palma, crossings a week to Valverde on El Hierro and 1 crossing a week to Morr Jable on Fuerteventura.There is also a ferry service from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to El Aaiun in the Western Sahara-Moroco. Average seat fares range from between 25 and 30 euros, rising to 50 euros in the case of crossings to destinations such as Madeira or El Aaiun.
Fred Olsen operates daily services to La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro from Los Cristianos. This company also operates several ferry services day from the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife with Agaete on Gran Canaria. As with air transport, residents receive a 50 per cent discount on these fares.