Tenerife is the largest island of the Canarian Archipelago. It has a surface area of 2,034 square kilometres and is in a central position between the islands of Gran Canaria, La Gomera and La Palma. It is located over 1000 kilometres from the Spanish mainland. The shape of the island looks like an irregular triangle. Its three corners are formed by the Anaga, Teno and Adeje Massifs and at its centre, rising above the Cañadas Caldera is Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain at 3,718 metres above sea-level.
The natural diversity on Tenerife is extraordinary and the efforts to conserve it by the island's institutions and citizens are increasing every day. Today over half its territory is protected and there are almost 50 sites of ecological interest listed. The most famous of all these sites is the Teide National Park, one of the four national parks in the Canaries, and the most visited in Spain. The Corona Forestal Nature Park and the Anaga and Teno Rural Parks are also worth a mention. The exceptional ecological value of Tenerife includes over 600 species of flora and fauna that are unique in the world.
Tenerife is divided into 31 administrative districts grouped together in three different zones. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (the capital) and the adjoining districts of La Laguna (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Tegueste and El Rosario make up the metropolitan area of the island creating an important business, commercial and cultural centre. The Anaga Massif and the Esperanza Mountains are outstanding areas of natural beauty in this zone. As for beaches and swimming, the best ones are Playa de Las Teresitas, the Parque Marítimo César Manrique and the seaside towns of Bajamar and Punta del Hidalgo.
The north of the island, from Tacoronte to Buenavista del Norte, enjoys a pleasant subtropical climate, wetter and cooler than the rest of Tenerife. After the conquest, the north was the most important area in terms of population and industry. Although they are not as important today, the towns still preserve their rich heritage based on trade with Europe. Puerto de la Cruz - Valle de la Orotava and the Isla Baja are the main tourist areas in this part of the island.
In the south, from Candelaria to Santiago del Teide, the climate is the warmest and driest on the island. Here you have the main tourist resorts apart from Puerto de la Cruz in the north and the largest farming areas (inside greenhouses) that grow tomatoes, bananas and other crops. The south, for years the least populated and most isolated area of the island, is now experiencing the fastest growth and development.