Tenerife Carnival 2020 - Dates, Schedule, Parades & Events

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival poster by Javier Nóbrega

The dates and the theme for the 2020 carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife are already announced and you can plan your trip to the island if you want to take part in the largest event of this kind happening in the Canary Islands.

Tenerife Carnival 2020 Dates:
 February 19th, 2020 - March 1st, 2020

The carnival usually lasts for several weeks, but the first weeks are usually dedicated to indoor events and competitions where the queen of the carnival is elected. The last part of the carnival is when the outdoor parties happen, the big parade and also the burning and burial of the sardine.

Amazing costumes at the parade in Tenerife

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 party 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

Schedule of Events for Tenerife Carnival 2020

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

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

Main Events at the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

  • The big Carnival Parade in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
  • Burial of the Sardine - Entierro de la Sardina
  • Daytime Carnival / Carnaval de Dia

This is a provisional calendar and it might suffer changes. A final program of the carnival will be announced at a later date, but the order of the events is usually the same every year. We will update this page if there are changes to the schedule.

Friday 24/01/2020

  • Inaugural Gala of the Carnival 2020
  • Time: 21:30 h

Thursday 30/01/2020

  • Phase I of Competition for Murgas Infantiles
  • Time: 19:00 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Friday 31/01/2020

  • Phase II of the Competition for Murgas Infantiles
  • Time: 19:00 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Saturday 01/02/2020

  • Phase III of the Competition for Murgas Infantiles
  • Time: 19:00 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Sunday 02/02/2020

  • Festival Coreográfico
  • Time: 17:00 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Monday 03/02/2020

  • Phase I of the Competition for Murgas Adultas
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Tuesday 04/02/2020

  • Phase II of the Competition for Murgas Adultas
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Wednesday 05/02/2020

  • Phase III of the Competition for Murgas Adultas
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Friday 07/02/2020

  • The final of the Competition for Murgas Adultas
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Saturday 08/02/2020

  • Musical Groups
  • Time: 20:00 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Sunday 09/02/2020

  • Gala for the Election of the Kids Queen
  • Time: 18:00 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Wednesday 12/02/2020

  • Gala for the Election of the Carnival Queen
  • Time: 17:30 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Friday 14/02/2020

  • La Canción de la Risa
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Teatro Guimerá

Saturday 15/02/2020

  • Competition of Comparsas
  • Time: 20:00 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos

Sunday 16/02/2020

  • Festival de Rondallas and Costume Competition
  • Time: 11:00 and 17:00 h
  • Where: Auditorio de Tenerife and plaza de La Candelaria

Tuesday 18/02/2020

  • Concert of the Group Lírico Musical Los Fregolinos
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Teatro Guimerá

Wednesday 19/02/2020

Election of Tenerife's Carnival Queen

  • Gala for the Election of the Carnival Queen
  • Time: 21:30 h
  • Where: Centro Internacional de Ferias and Congresos
  • You can also watch the Gala on TV or Facebook, transmitted live

Thursday 20/02/2020

  • Festival de La Zarzuela
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Teatro Guimerá

Friday 21/02/2020

The Opening Parade of Tenerife Carnival (Cabalgata Anunciadora)

  • Announcing Parade of the Carnival 
  • Time: 20:00 h
  • Where: Avenida Bélgica

Saturday 22/02/2020

  • Ritmo and Armonía
  • Time: 21:00 h
  • Where: Avenida de Francisco La Roche

Sunday 23/02/2020

Daytime Carnival / Carnaval de Día 

  • Performance by Filarmónica Ni fú – Ni fá at 11:00 h in Plaza del Príncipe
  • Performance by Agrup. Lírica Los Fregolinos at 12:00 h in Plaza del Príncipe 
  • Carnaval de Día / Daytime Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife - From 13:00 to 20:00, performances all stages.
  • At 17:30 there will be shows on all stages in Plaza del Principe, Plaza de la Candelaria and Avda. Fco. La Roche.
  • 22:30 pm Dances and performances of great orchestras. Candelaria Square

Monday 24/02/2020

  • Carnival on the streets of Santa Cruz

Tuesday 25/02/2020

Tenerife Carnival Parade (Shrove Tuesday)

  • 11:00 h. Performance of the Aflarmónica Ni fú - Ni fa. in Plaza del Principe
  • 12:00 h. Performance of the Group. Lyric The Fregolinos. in Plaza del Principe
  • 16:00  "Coso" Apotheosis - The big carnival parade of Santa Cruz on Francisco La Roche and Avenida Maritima
  • 20:00  Dances and performances of great orchestras. Candelaria Square

Wednesday 26/02/2020

Burial of the Sardine (Ash Wednesday)

  • Entierro de La Sardina / Burial of the Sardine
  • Time: 22:00 h
  • Where: Juan Pablo II

Thursday 27/02/2020

  • Festival de Rondallas
  • Time: 20:30 h
  • Where: Teatro Guimerá

Friday 28/02/2020

  • Kid's Parade
  • Time: 18:00 h
  • Where: Parque García Sanabria
  • Festival Galardonados.
  • Time:20:00 h
  • Where: Plaza de La Candelaria

Saturday de Piñata 29/02/2020

Daytime Carnival - Saturday de Piñata

  • Carnaval de día - This is the largest street party during Carnival in Tenerife
  • Time: 13:00 h
  • Where: Plaza del Príncipe, Plaza España and Plaza de la Candelaria.

Sunday de Piñata 01/03/2020

  • Performance by Afilarmónica Ni fú – Ni fá and La Zarzuela
  • Time: 11:00 h
  • Where: Plaza del Príncipe
  • End of the carnival and group parade. 18:30 h.
  • Fireworks at 21:00 h
A lot of elaborate floats at the Carnival parade in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

2020 Theme for the Carnival in Tenerife

The Coquette '50s

The poster for the 2020 edition was also revealed on October 1st 2019 and the author is Javier Nóbrega.

The themes proposed for the 2020 edition were the following:

  • From ancient to modern Japan
  • Modern Art to Pop Art
  • Route 66
  • The coquette '50s
  • New York, the city that never sleeps
  • Urban Tribes
  • Cowboys and American Indians
  • Bella Italia

It seems that New York was a big favourite for 2020, but in the end, the public voted for "The coquette '50s" as a theme for the carnival in Santa Cruz.

What to do in Tenerife - Our recommendations

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 February, 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. There are lots of nice Airbnbs in Santa Cruz if you want to be there for just a few days while the big events are taking place. Use our Airbnb code when you create your new account and you will get a 34 discount to use for your first booking.

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