Tenerife Carnival 2023: One of The World’s Wildest Carnivals Feathers, bejewelled beards and every colour of satin possible will dazzle the eyes at the biggest and best carnival held in the Canary Islands every February. Gala parades, hundreds of theatre shows as well as hundred complimentary side street shows make up the colourful chao that […]Tenerife Carnival 2023 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain Santa Cruz de Tenerife Tenerife Spain
Feathers, bejewelled beards and every colour of satin possible will dazzle the eyes at the biggest and best carnival held in the Canary Islands every February.
Gala parades, hundreds of theatre shows as well as hundred complimentary side street shows make up the colourful chao that is carnival in paradise.
Lasting for up to three weeks, the notoriously entertaining festival takes place amongst the resorts and nightspots of Tenerife. The costumes dazzle, the dancing never ends, with activities tailored for children all the way to seniors. Mardi Gras pale in comparison to the extravagant parade floats, theatre shows, musical acts, carnival queens, drag queens, vintage car shows and even clay pigeon shoots.
Get your freaky on by joining in and dressing up, the wilder your own costume, the more you will fit in. See fair maidens and Queens of the Carnival as they are elected, watch dancing troups and musical acts.
Enjoy Murga style of theatre which is unique to Tenerife’s carnival. Theatrical acts of about 40 people come together on stage, all with their own theme, they sing satirical and critical songs, backed by percussion and whistling instruments. The Murga groups compete for prizes and the crowds in the massive venues go wild for this!
“You can become anyone at Tenerife’s Carnival, where lighthearted deception, theatrical flamboyance and cross-dressing are wildly encouraged.”
Welcoming and friendly, carnival is for the whole family. If you do not dress in costume, you will stick out like a sore thumb.
The majority of the big shows take place in the Tenerife International Centre for Trade Fairs and Congresses or The Fair Recint, which is a massive venue that sits on the seafront of Santa Cruz. The building covers 40,000 sq metres of prime waterfront. The Great Hall is located on the top floor, where many shows take place and holds 15,000 people.
While all the big shows are easily accessible, its important to get the tickets early.
The Carnival Queens Gala should not be missed, as it is quite the spectacle! All the best things about carnival are showcased here like Murga, salsa, troupes and music groups. The carnival queens spend all year training to wear their dress, which can be up to 200 kilos in weight. These dresses have wheels for easy movement, and are so sparkling that you may need some sunglasses.
Nothing can compare to the big open air parades that go in the main part of town, with thousands of joyful participants and members of the crowd, dressed up, hugging, its a celebration of what it means to be human and not to be missed. No matter where you are, if you are near carnival, you will be entertained.
Fancy dress – or you will feel left out. They wont make you feel that way, but you will, cos you didn’t pack it!
Body Glitter – gender does not matter, slap it on!
Fake breasts, tight skirts, wigs, big hats and face paint – you get the idea.
In February the weather is in the low 20’s during the day.
Jeans and long skirts.
Long sleeve shirts
A fleece or light jumper.
Footwear and an umbrella.
You can buy tickets from the official carnival booking agency for all the shows in venues. Prices range from $27 US to $277 US depending on whether you are seated in the general grandstand, or up in a covered box.
Well this is quite the event, it begins way back in January and then gains momentum, before finishing in grand style at the very end of February.
Here are the dates of importance for 2023, to demonstrate just how huge this event really is!
Friday, January 20 – 9.30pm the Carnival Opening Gala sets off the biggest event of the year.
Wednesday February 15 – Big Queen’s Election Gala of 2023’s Carnival at 9.30pm in The Fair Recint.
Wednesday February 22 – Burial of the big sardine at 10.00pm. Starting in Calle Juan Pablo II,and ending on Plaza de España. Burning of the Sardine takes place in Avenida Marítima.
Saturday February 25 – All day carnival from 1.00pm all over Santa Cruz, starting early, you must be colourful.
Learn some basic salsa steps before you go, so you can dance in the streets.
Get costume inspiration from sci-fi movies and hollywood.
Bring your most comfortable shoes, days of walking around parades and dancing do take their toll.
Carnival in Tenerife can be thought of as having more of a Latino background than Spanish. The Carnaval spirit was brought to the Canary Islands by Portuguese and Spanish sailors. They were sailors on their way to the New World that discovered the area in 1496.
Tenerife had strong associations with carnival in The America’s and became more Latino in flavour.
Like other carnival traditions in other parts of Europe, it was a celebration tied with religion, in the lead up to Lent. The Catholic Church did try to ban it, but it didn’t work. The carnival was disrupted by the Spanish Civil War, although a smaller version still went ahead, which they called a “Winter Fiesta.”
During Franco’s regime, authorities turned a bling eye to carnival, despite the fact that it was officially banned. In the aftermath of Franco’s death in 1975, “Winter Fiesta” became Carnival again and the party has become the second biggest in the world, only to Carnival in Rio.
Historically, people dressed in elaborate costumes for entertainment purposes, but also so that ‘common’ people and aristocrats would mix together on an even level. Men could dress as women, and women as men, so gender could be blurred, it was another form of trickery. It’s this spirit of acceptance and that all humans are essentially all united and the same that carnival is essentially all about.
Fancy doing something rad like sightseeing at a volcano?
Volcan El Teide – yes you can take a cable car right up to the summit or there are plenty of pleasant walks around the volcano. Rarely is a puff of smoke seen.There are amazing panoramic views at the top, and you get to walk out to the edge of a volcano… carefully we hope!
Carnivals are more than just parades. The festival entices with the best food the canary’s have to offer.
Fresh simply cooked fish is perfection from local eateries. Caught fresh every day locally, its hard to beat in this location.
The area is known for its fresh bananas, which are delicious.
Also it is renowned for almond based desserts, local wine, honey and cheese.
Potatoes are a fresh staple and are served everywhere with “Mojo” sauce, which is made from peppers, olive oil and garlic. There are red and green varieties, which are served with the dish papas arrugadas. So if you’ve lost it, you know where you can find it!
A year round destination, its quite easy to get to Santa Cruz in Tenerife. There are two airports in Tenerife with flights landing every six minutes on those rad busy days.
There are many car hire options and its a popular choice among visitors. Weekly rates are very cost effective.
Uber, taxi and bus can take you into town from there.
Tenerife is full of hostels, guesthouses, resorts, hotels, motels and anything else you can think of!
Be Live Experience is an adults-only hotel, a rarity in family friendly Tenerife. For a relaxed and quiet break between carnival venues, you can enjoy swimming, roof terrace sea views, WIFI, and an on-site restaurant, ensuring you will be chilled out!
One dedicated bus service covers every centimetre of the island. It will get you where you wanna go,
Local taxis can bring you to every district.
It’s pleasant to walk from local accommodations and take in the sights.
There is a tram service at tourist stops, for those with weary legs.
Plan ahead: Book your perfect trip with our Spain travel guide and destination information. Does Spain require a visa? Check the visa requirements before you get caught up during your travel.
Spend money wisely: Take public transport and dine in from time to time are common saving tips during traveling. How to spend money wisely in Spain? Make use of technology. There’s an app for everything.
Have you subscribed to our Newsletter or Podcast? Listen to us on Apple Podcast and Spotify and follow us on Facebook, Instagram Twitter and YouTube.
Rad Season is providing you with rentals and hotels at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Tenerife Carnival 2023 using the map below!