Eight years ago my parents decided to change Christmas forever by taking me and my sister away to Tenerife, and this Christmas was no different.
Touching down on Canarian soil it feels just like coming home, with temperatures averaging around 23 degrees during the winter months what better way is there to warm your bones and to chase away the winter blues!?
With travel agents guiding many holiday makers towards coaches and taxis lined up outside the arrivals terminal you would be forgiven for forgetting that Christmas was approaching. But the festive period does not stop people coming to enjoy what the island has to offer.
There is a vast choice of accommodation on the island, from self-catering apartments to four star hotels, each appealing to different needs. In the south of the island, Playa de Las Americas is the centre for nightlife in Tenerife and is a holiday resort full of high end shops, hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Contrasted with Playa de las Americas, and located just around the bay, Los Cristianos is an old Spanish town that was once a quiet fishing village but is now a growing tourist hub. The town is full of character with the old fishing harbour still in use and the village buildings surrounding the centre square but is expanding each year with shops, restaurants and hotels to cater to the growing tourist market.
And this town is where my family have made our second home for the past seven Christmases. We load our bags into the back of the taxi and whizz through the south of the island to our destination, Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle Hotel, Los Cristianos.
Turning up at the hotel with the sun shining and the Christmas decorations in the lobby is the perfect juxtaposition. The staff are always friendly and accommodating, and really do live up to the name and profile the hotel promotes, ‘fun’. With our room keys in hand and the all-inclusive wrist bands on we unload our bags and we are free to enjoy the rest of the week as we like, most importantly enjoying all the food and drink on offer!
The best part of going away to Tenerife for Christmas is that although the sun is out and people are sunbathing by the pools, you still get to celebrate the festive season. Christmas songs play in all the bars that line the streets, staff wear Christmas hats, decorations are in hotel lobbies and lights cover the streets.
As with most holiday destinations there are many different excursions that you can do, but I recommend that you go on a trip to Mount Teide. The third largest volcano in the world from its base, and the highest point of Spain, Teide is an active volcano that sits in the centre of the island.
Getting the early coach to Teide we started our ascent through the island and entered the Teide National Park. Pine trees cover the mountains until you reach the craters that surround the volcano. Here you get the opportunity to gaze out across the craters left behind by previous explosions and the lava rocks that span into the horizon.
This is where we took the decision to take the cable cart up to the top of Teide. Gliding up the side of the volcano we were treated with the sight of the snowy summit. If you are missing the cold air and fancy a white Christmas, this could be for you. Just remember to wrap up warm (something we may have failed to do! Note to self, snow and gladiator sandals are not recommended)
Back down the volcano we took the coach around the lunar landscape to an idyllic village located on the side of the mountain.
With nerveracking hairpin bends and sheer drops, this is definitely not for the faint hearted. The village is unspoilt by tourists and offers a quiet place for reflection and to enjoy views across the island on a clear day.
Back down in Los Cristianos there are three beaches to enjoy, from the rocky black sand beach near the mountains, the sandy beach Playa de Los Cristianos in the harbour which offers a wide variety of water sports, to the man made beach of Las Vistas.
Las Vistas is our favourite beach as it curves around the bay and has plenty of sun beds to choose from, allowing you to spend Christmas Day on the beach. It is definitely a great thing to walk across the beach with your feet in the water.
If the beach is not your thing then Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle Hotel has five pools to enjoy which are perfect to sit by and lose yourself in a good book.
Even though it is not your average way to spend Christmas it has become my tradition, and I can’t imagine spending it any other way.