Europe Partying Tradition Travelling

Colours of Carnival, Tenerife

Everybody knows about the Rio Carnival, right?

Even people who have no intention of ever visiting Brazil can tell you that every spring the streets of Rio de Janeiro come alive to the seductive sounds of samba and the sashaying of over-sized feather headdresses.

And any traveller worth their salt longs for the day when they too will join the famous street parties that occur during Carnival.

It’s such a shame then that Brazil is so far away and expensive, isn’t it?

Don’t worry! If you want a taste of the Rio Carnival but just can’t afford the pricey flight and extortionate hostel fees of Brazil then you can celebrate Rio-style for half the price on Tenerife – the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands.

For such a big event, the Tenerife Carnival is surprisingly little-heard of away from Spain and the islands. Having visited Tenerife twice as a teenager, I had never heard of the Carnival that occurs on the island every spring.

The Carnival begins in February in Tenerife’s capital city, Santa Cruz.

Such is the scale of the festivities, Santa Cruz is officially twinned with Rio de Janeiro, and the carnival held here is considered the second largest in the world behind Rio.

Once the Santa Cruz carnival has finished, the festivities spread to other municipalities around the island, each deciding their own theme.

For a few weeks every spring the blackened, volcanic landscape of Tenerife becomes awash with vibrant colour, and samba beats pulse through the humid air.

It’s true! The Rio Carnival is here on the doorstep of Europe 🙂

Here is a selection of my Carnival photographs:

It’s not just the women wearing the feathers
The dancers are very agile despite the weight of their gear
The costumes get more exotic…
…more ornate…
…and more friendly!

It’s not just for the adults, kids join in too.

Mini dancers
spingtime yellow flower-children
Too cute!

And any costume counts!

A happy milkmaid
A celebrity appearance from Darth Vader

But nothing beats the Carnival Queens!

The Queen and her serpent
Strong South American influence
Who wants to be a Carnival Queen? I do!

What’s your favourite picture? Leave me a comment below.

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  1. Fantastic photos! We arrive in Tenerife on Sunday – just missed it, Boo!

    1. What are you doing in Tenerife? Where are you staying? Give me a shout if you want/need anything!

  2. says:

    Can’t believe I’ve never heard of the carnival in Tenerife! Love these photos – so colourful and jazzy.
    Sophie recently posted..Newquay for kidsMy Profile

    1. I know, I hadn’t either but it is a big deal, and the second in the world to Rio! Unbelieveable that it is so under-promoted!

  3. More and more carnivals start appearing in the World – obviously Rio is inspiring everyone.
    Plus: exhibitionists find themselves another motive to get butt-naked in public!

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