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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.
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.
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.
The theme for the 2023 Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife will be NEW YORK.
The poster was created by Nareme Melián Mahugo.
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.
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.
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.
Friday, January 20
Thursday, January 26
Friday, January 27
Saturday, January 28
Sunday, January 29
Monday, January 30
Tuesday, January 31
Wednesday, February 1
Friday, February 3
Saturday, February 4
Sunday, February 5
Wednesday, February 8
Friday, February 10
Saturday, February 11
Sunday, February 12
Wednesday, February 15
Friday, February 17
Saturday, February 18
Sunday, February 19
Tuesday, February 21
Wednesday, February 22
Saturday, February 25
Sunday, February 26
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.
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.
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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!
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!
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.
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.