Tenerife Carnival 2023 - Dates & events at the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

tenerife carnival
The biggest carnival in the Canary Islands is the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the largest event of this kind happening in the Canary Islands and in Spain as well. It is actually the second largest carnival in the world and it is considered by many the best carnival, with the best atmosphere and friendly street parties. 

Tenerife Carnival 2023 dates: 20 January - 26 February

The dates for the 2023 edition of the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife have already been announced, as it seems that the events will start on 20 January 2023, just two weeks after the big Three Kings Parade. 

Main celebrations at Tenerife Carnival 2023

  • 15 February 2023 - the Queen's Gala
  • 17 February 2023 - The Opening Parade of the Carnival
  • 21 February 2022 - the Big Carnival Parade in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Other important events at the Carnival in Tenerife are the Opening Day of the Carnival, the celebrations of the Daytime carnivals and the Rhythm & Harmony Party.

February 21st, 2023 has been set as a holiday date in Tenerife, which is the date when the main big parade in Santa Cruz de Tenerife will take place.

Theme for the 2023 Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The theme for the 2023 Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife will be NEW YORK.

Tenerife Carnival 2023 Poster

There's no poster yet for the 2023 edition of the Tenerife Carnival.

We will update this section as soon as it will be announced.

How to Celebrate the Carnival in Tenerife

The first thing you need to understand about the carnival if that this is a big celebration, comprised of several types of events, which take place over the duration of a month. 

For example, at first, you have several events for the Election of the Tenerife Carnival Queen, then you have an Opening Parade (Announcement Parade), several days of street parties in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, followed by the big Carnival Parade (Coso de Carnaval) and the Burial of the Sardine. 

If you want to celebrate like the locals, then you have to participate in at least one night of carnival parties and at least one Daytime Carnival in Santa Cruz, also known as the Sábado de Piñata.

The Daytime Carnival is the event that draws the largest crowds of people to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, to celebrate the carnival all day long - it is estimated that in 2019, there were 400 000 people celebrating the carnival on the streets of Santa Cruz, which would mean a world record for the largest gathering of people watching a concert in a public square.

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Amazing costumes at the parade in Tenerife

Tenerife Carnival Queen

The carnival in Tenerife usually has several candidates for the title of Carnival Queen, for all three categories: Carnival Queen - the phase for Young adults, candidates for Elderly Queen and candidates for the kids' Queen.

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Provisional schedule of events for Tenerife Carnival 2023

The most important events happen on the streets when the big parties take place and the city center of Santa Cruz comes to life every day and night with music and dancing.  

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Don't miss the parade in Santa Cruz, where you will see some amazing carnival costumes

Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2023

Friday, January 20

  • Carnival Opening Gala

Thursday, January 26

  • First phase of the Children's Murgas Contest

Friday, January 27

  • Second phase of the Children's Murgas Contest

Saturday, January 28

  • Third phase of the Children's Murgas Contest

Sunday, January 29

  • Choreographic Festival

Monday, January 30

  • First phase of the Adult Murgas Contest

Tuesday, January 31

  • Second phase of the Adult Murgas Contest

Wednesday, February 1

  • Third phase of the Adult Murgas Contest

Friday, February 3

  • Final of the Adult Murgas Contest

Saturday, February 4

  • Musical Groups Contest

Sunday, February 5

  • Children's Queen Election Gala

Wednesday, February 8

  • Senior Gala

Friday, February 10

  • Laughing Song

Saturday, February 11

  • Comparsa Contest

Sunday, February 12

  • Costume contest
  • Rondalles Contest

Wednesday, February 15

  • Carnival Queen Election Gala

Friday, February 17

  • Announcer Cavalcade

Saturday, February 18

  • Rhythm and Harmony Contest

Sunday, February 19

  • Daytime carnival

Tuesday, February 21

  • Coso Apotheosis - Big Carnival Parade at Tenerife Carnival 2023

Wednesday, February 22

  • Burial of the Sardine

Saturday, February 25

  • Daytime carnival

Sunday, February 26

  • Piñata and End of Party

Street Carnival in Santa Cruz (Carnaval en la Calle)

These are the events that happen on the streets of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and they are actually the heart and soul of the carnival, with big street parties where large crowds of people come together to celebrate the joy of the carnival.

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A lot of elaborate floats at the Carnival parade in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Tenerife Carnival theme

Each year the carnival has a different theme, which is selected by online popular vote by the public.

The period for online voting has recently ended and the proposal that got the most votes was "New York", so the 2023 Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife will be dedicated to the city that never sleeps.

Costume ideas for Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival

Wondering what to wear to the carnival in Tenerife?

Most of the participants to the carnival in Tenerife will be wearing a costume, and it is highly advisable that you get one as well! It doesn't have to be anything fancy or complicated, a simple wig with some funny sunglasses or a hat will do. 

Most of the locals will be dressed in costumes during the street parties, so if you want to blend in, you should try to be prepared. A lot of Chinese shops and supermarkets will sell different types of costumes during the carnival season, so it will not be difficult to find something simple and cheap.

During the parades, people don't tend to come dressed in costumes, but they will definitely be wearing costumes during streets parties like the Daytime carnival.

The Burial of the Sardine is another special day when participants come dressed up as "widows" of the sardine, mourning the poor sardine. So, if you want to be prepared, wear something black, like a black dress (men and women alike!), a veil and even a hat. This event tends to have sexual connotations, so don't be surprised when you see some extravagant costumes on the streets of Santa Cruz!

Our impressions of Tenerife Carnival

We have been to the big Carnival of Tenerife in 2019 and we must admit that we had a better time than we expected.

Since we are not big fans of large crowd gatherings, we thought that we would not enjoy the experience, but we're glad to say that we were wrong and that we absolutely loved every minute of the carnival in Tenerife!

We first went to the Announcement Parade, which took place on a Friday evening and then continued throughout the night with a big party. At this event, there were mostly locals and very few tourists, so it's a good opportunity to see the authentic atmosphere of the Tenerife Carnival. 

Although we were a bit afraid of the big crowds, we must say that there was ample space since the parade goes through several long boulevards, so you can pick a less crowded spot along the way. 

Regarding safety, although there was a lot of drinking involved, we must say that we never felt unsafe, as there were a lot of Police present everywhere and people were generally friendly, with everyone minding their own business. This might not be the case on every night of the carnival in Tenerife, but we never felt unsafe while we were there.

We went to all the different stages in the city centre, which had different types of music and atmosphere, but we preferred the vibe in Plaza de la Candelaria.

We really liked the Opening parade of the carnival in Tenerife and we would recommend it to anyone (although the big parade before Ash Wednesday is larger and much more popular).

Honestly, the carnival in Santa Cruz was so much fun and we are planning to return for another edition since we did not get to attend in all the events and we'd also like to come better prepared with costumes next time!

Tenerife Carnival Hospital (First Aid)

You must know that there is a big carnival hospital set-up close to the main area of the carnival, so in case you feel sick you can ask around about directions. We were impressed to see how big this area was and it's a good thing that they are able to provide immediate assistance to people who need it. 

Transport - How to get around the carnival

Most of the city centre will be blocked and closed to car traffic, so we would advise you to avoid coming by car in the centre area. Instead, you can use public transport and we have a dedicated article for how to get around the carnival in Santa Cruz.

Coming to the island for the big Carnival and wondering how the weather will be?

Read more about Tenerife in June, including info about temperatures and what clothes you should bring with you.

Find the best place to stay in Tenerife when planning your holiday during the carnival.

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