Soak up Some Winter Sun in Tenerife

With beautiful beaches, blue skies, and blazing temperatures, escape the post-Christmas chill with a trip to the largest of the Canary Islands.  There is a lot to say for a holiday haven which mixes familiarity with notes of the exotic. Tenerife is just such a destination. The biggest of the Canary Islands has long been loved by generations of British tourists-who know it to be a perfect possibility for winter sun.

With good reason. A sub-tropical fragment in the sparkling waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it lies just over four hours’ flying time from London – making it, perhaps, the place that provides the most easily accessible dose of warmth and daylight at the precise time when the UK is shivering through the cold and rain of January, February and March.

But as well as being a hugely popular escape zone where the post-Christmas blues fade to silence, Tenerife is a strikingly beautiful location which, in terms of appearance, feels much further from home than the short-haul flight to reach it would suggest. The Canaries are, of course, Spanish and European in status. But when it comes to geography, they have more in common with a decidedly hotter continent. Tenerife is an African outcrop in all but name, sitting some 200 miles west of Morocco. The result is a glorious cocktail of curving beaches, azure skies and the whisper of palm trees on the breeze – all of which can make the worst of the weather back in the UK seem like a distant nightmare.

Tenerife is exceedingly simple to reach. Whatever the month, it welcomes daily flights from anywhere, with the majority of services touching down at Tenerife South, the island’s biggest air hub. The joy of landing at Tenerife South is that this delivers you to the comfortable waterfront hotels and splendid strips of seafront which adorn the south-west corner of this captivating Canary Island. The airport lies a short transfer from both the resort heartland of Playa de las Americas – where you can find retreats to suit all budgets – and the increasingly popular holiday zone of Costa Adeje, where five-star enclaves offer a range of gourmet dining and soothing spas.

For those who like to live on the tee and in the bunker, there is also much to recommend Golf del Sur, a fairway focused enclave at the southern tip of Tenerife, where guests can work on their handicap playing some of the most picturesque courses in Europe.

Accommodation options on Tenerife are myriad. Whenever you choose to stay on the island, the weather is likely to be the same – hot, clear, pleasant, and a wonderful contrast to the post-Christmas cold at home. Temperatures can be as high as 18C in January and February, and up beyond the 20C mark once March arrives.

It is also worth remembering that Tenerife boasts the same latitude as Florida sunspot Orlando – but can be reached for far less expense, and in far less time.

Of course, Tenerife’s charm stretches beyond its excellent year-round weather. This is also a place which provides numerous opportunities for activity and adventure. And it’s an island which has a capacity to surprise. A more than reliable host if you want to snooze under a pasasol, it also rewards those who opt to explore.

Adding a hire car to your holiday package will let you journey far and wide. To the quieter north coast, where photogenic towns and villages (such as Garachico and San Juan de la Rambla) hang above the ocean – or even to the Anaga Peninsula, the rugged outpost which, laced with hiking trails, forms the north-east corner of the island. For all Tenerife’s size, all of it is accessible in a day-trip drive from the south – making it much more than a place in the sun.

The island was created around 12 million years ago by a volcanic eruption, and this volcano is still visible. Mount Teide rises to 12,198ft (3,718m), an impressive peak which is not only the highest point in Spain, but the whole of Atlantic Ocean.

Although feted as a winter-sun oasis, there's more to Tenerife than lapping up the sun rays and lolling on loungers.  The mountain is a wonderful location for cycling and hiking. Much of it some 73 square miles of its slopes is protected as Teide National Park.  There are local tour operators that runs guided tours into the national park.

Beyond this, the capital Santa Cruz is a captivating small city, full of restaurants and bars, while many hotels can book guests on to whale and dolphin-spotting boat tours.