Tenerife, a Spanish island, is the largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. Tenerife has an area of 2034.38 square kilometers, and 899,833 inhabitants. It is the most populated island of the Canary Islands and Spain. About 43% of the population of the Canary Islands housing on this island, this is almost half the total population of the archipelago. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, which is also one of the busiest Spain resorts and the first of Canary Islands. Tenerife also has one of the world's largest carnivals, and the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site. The island's capital contains the architectural symbol of the Canary Islands, the modern Auditorio de Tenerife. Tenerife is the only Spanish island that has two airports and two ports .
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island and the seat of the island council . The city is capital of the autonomous community of Canary Islands , sharing governmental institutions such as Presidency and ministries. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands, until in 1927 a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains as at present.
The island is home to the University of San Fernando de La Laguna, which was founded in 1792. The University of La Laguna is the oldest university in the Canaries. San Cristóbal de La Laguna is the second city of the island and the third one of the archipelago. The city of La Laguna was also capital of the Canary Islands until Santa Cruz replaced it in 1833.
Tenerife also has the highest elevation of Spain, a World Heritage Site that is the third largest volcano in the world from its base, El Teide.
Tenerife is a rugged and volcanic island sculpted by successive eruptions throughout its history. There are four historically recorded volcanic eruptions, none of which has led to casualties. The first occurred in 1704, when the Arafo, Fasnia and Siete Fuentes volcanoes erupted simultaneously. Two years later, in 1706, the greatest eruption occurred at Trevejo. This volcano produced great quantities of lava which buried the city and port of Garachico. The last eruption of the 18th century happened in 1798 at Cañadas de Teide, in Chahorra. Finally, and most recently, in 1909 the Chinyero volcano, in the municipality of Santiago del Teide, erupted.
The island is located between 28º and 29º N and the 16º and 17º meridian. It is situated north of the Tropic of Cancer, occupying a central position between the other Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, La Gomera and La Palma. The island is about 300 km (186 mi) from the African coast, and approximately 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. Tenerife is the largest island of the Canary Islands archipelago, with a surface area of 2,034.38 km2 and the longest coastline amounting to 342 km.
In addition, the highest point, Mount Teide, with an elevation of 3,718 m above sea level is the highest point in all of Spain. It comprises about 200 small barren islets or large rocks including Roques de Anaga, Roque de Garachico, and Fasnia adding a further 213,835 m2 to the total area.
Tenerife is known internationally as the "Island of Eternal Spring" (Isla de la Eterna Primavera). The island, being on a latitude of the Sahara Desert, enjoys a warm climate year-round with an average of 20° - 22°C in the winter and 26° - 28°C in the summer and high sunshine totals. The moderate climate of Tenerife is controlled to a great extent by the tradewinds, whose humidity, principally, is condensed over the north and northeast of the island, creating cloud banks that range between 600 and 1,800 meters in height. The cold sea currents of the Canary Islands, also have a cooling effect on the coasts and its beaches and the topography of the landscape plays a role in climatic differences on the island with its many valleys.
The average temperatures, however, can fluctuate between 17-18°C and 24-25°C in the winter season. Evidently there are climatic contrasts which do occur on the island, particularly during the winter months when it is possible to enjoy the warm sunshine on the coast and experience snow within just miles, 3000 metres above sea level on Teide. There is also a contrast in climate between different parts of the island at a lower altitude, even in proximity, notably between the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz generally experiences a warm climate throughout the year with temperatures noticeably greater than at the bordering La Laguna, where frequently it is colder with a greater chance of rainfall.
The north and the south of Tenerife similarly have different climatic characteristics. The windward side of the island receives 73% of all precipitation on the island, and the relative humidity of the air is superior and the insolation inferior. The pluviometric maximums are registered on the windward side at an average altitude of between 1.000-1.200 ms, almost exclusively in the La Orotava mountain range. However, although climatic differences in rainfall and sunshine on the island exist, overall annual precipitation is very low with some of the summer months often not receiving any days of rainfall. In June and July in particular it is rare to receive any. The wettest season is during the winter, but in December, for instance, an average of five days of rainfall can be expected, and even this is partly attributed to snowfall on Teide.