Carnival on Tenerife: join the second largest carnival in the world

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carnival Tenerife

Carnival is almost upon us again. Did you know that they also celebrate it in a big way on Tenerife? The island’s most symbolic festival has been bringing smiles to revelers’ faces for centuries, with the rhythmic sounds of music, glitter, and exuberance filling the streets of Tenerife.

The carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is considered the second largest in the world and has even been declared a “Festival of International Tourist Interest.” With its swirling parades, extravagant costumes, and uplifting music, it is a celebration deeply rooted in the island’s history. The festival also provides an unforgettable experience for both residents and tourists. Read all about it below!

Visit the European carnival capital, Santa Cruz

From January 12 to February 18, the capital, Santa Cruz, is immersed in the carnival atmosphere, this year under the theme of ‘Television’. The carnival of Santa Cruz is a festival comprising various competitions and galas for all ages.

Every year, Santa Cruz searches for its queen during the Carnival Queen Election Gala, but a Children’s Queen and a Senior Queen are also crowned. Expect an exuberant mix of sequins, feathers, colors, and textures during these galas. Music lovers can also indulge in the carnival festivities with the Musical Groups competition, the Comparsas competition, or the Rondallas competition. These contests reflect the musical passion of the residents and result in a sparkling evening filled with the most beautiful live music. The Announcement Parade is another event not to be missed. Celebrated on February 9, it marks the start of a lavish celebration in the streets of Santa Cruz that lasts until February 18.

Coso: the impressive highlight of Carnival

On Tuesday, February 13, the carnival festivities reach their climax with the spectacle known as Coso. This is the grand finale of the festival consisting of an avalanche of color, rhythm, and joy that marches along the city’s boulevard for hours. Floats and musical ensembles create a vibrant parade that sets the city ablaze. The presence of the carnival queen with her royal entourage adds an extra element to the spectacle, making it a magical and unforgettable experience for all attendees.

A tour of Carnival festivities across the island street parade carnival

Beyond Santa Cruz, there’s much to discover during the carnival season! The island has a wide variety of municipalities that celebrate their own versions of carnival. Discover below some festivities you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Tenerife:

Güimar

Güímar: This municipality in the south of the island celebrates its own carnival with a very unique event. Las Burras is a tradition involving a street theater performance in Güímar, where participants portray witches transformed into she-asses invoking the devil. Hundreds of local residents participate in this traditional event, creating an impressive reenactment of a battle between good and evil.

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Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz: The carnival of Puerto de la Cruz is one of the most traditional carnival celebrations on the island. In addition to typical carnival events, an antique car rally, Drag Gala, the election of the Carnival King, and a Mascarita race on heels are organized. The latter is a competition where men, dressed in the most bizarre costumes, must complete an obstacle course in high heels.

Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes: The town of Los Gigantes, located in Santiago del Teide, celebrates its own carnival week after the festivities in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz have ended. The festivities fill the streets with music and enthusiasm for four days, featuring typical carnival events. Most of the events take place in La Buganvilla square, right in the center of the village.

Los Cristianos

Los Cristianos: Playa de los Cristianos, one of the island’s main tourist areas, celebrates its own carnival a week after the festivities end in Tenerife’s capital. Each year, the streets of the municipality host the election of the festivities’ queen, the first act of an attractive carnival program.

Consult the full agenda for more information on the dates and activities of all municipalities.

carnival Tenerife

About Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, characterized by a unique combination of nature, culture, and endless possibilities for both activities and relaxation. Thanks to its pleasant climate, the island is a perfect holiday destination for all ages. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking natural beauty all year round, including lovely beaches, varied cuisine, adventure, sports, and wellness. Whether it’s exploring the unique landscape in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Teide National Park, taking a beautiful walk in Anaga Rural Park, dining in one of the five Michelin-starred restaurants, visiting the capital Santa Cruz or nearby San Cristóbal de La Laguna, or simply relaxing on one of the beautiful beaches in the south of the island, there is something for everyone on Tenerife.

Also read: Carnival in Spain, but when, where and how?

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