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Tenerife Carnaval Dates

The key date for Carnaval Events in Tenerife is Shrove Tuesday, which is when the Gran Coso Apoteosis - Carnaval's Main Parade - takes place in the capital, Santa Cruz. This is the same day as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so we've borrowed their dates and cross-checked them with a local carnaval calendar.

YEAR Santa Cruz Main Parade Burial of the Sardine Puerto de la Cruz Parade
2008 Feb 05 Feb 06 Feb 09
2009 Feb 24 Feb 25 Feb 28
2010 Feb 16 Feb 17 Feb 20
2011 Mar 08 Mar 09 Mar 12
2012 Feb 21 Feb 22 Feb 25
2013 Feb 12 Feb 13 Feb 16
2014 Mar 04 Mar 05 Mar 08
2015 Feb 17 Feb 18 Feb 21
2016 Feb 09 Feb 10 Feb 13
2017 Feb 28 Mar 01 Mar 04
2018 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 17
2019 Mar 05 Mar 06 Mar 09
2020 Feb 25 Feb 26 Feb 29
2021 Feb 16 Feb 17 Feb 20
2022 Mar 01 Mar 02 Mar 05
2023 Feb 21 Feb 22 Feb 25
2024 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 17
2025 Mar 04 Mar 05 Mar 08
2026 Feb 17 Feb 18 Feb 21
2027 Feb 09 Feb 10 Feb 13
2028 Feb 29 Mar 01 Mar 04
2029 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 17
2030 Mar 05 Mar 06 Mar 09
2031 Feb 25 Feb 26 Mar 01
2032 Feb 10 Feb 11 Feb 14
2033 Mar 01 Mar 02 Mar 05
2034 Feb 21 Feb 22 Feb 25
2035 Feb 06 Feb 07 Feb 10
2036 Feb 26 Feb 27 Mar 01
2037 Feb 17 Feb 18 Feb 21
2038 Mar 09 Mar 10 Mar 13
2039 Feb 22 Feb 23 Feb 26
2040 Feb 14 Feb 15 Feb 18
2041 Mar 05 Mar 06 Mar 09
2042 Feb 18 Feb 19 Feb 22
2043 Feb 10 Feb 11 Feb 14
2044 Mar 01 Mar 02 Mar 05
2045 Feb 21 Feb 22 Feb 25
2046 Feb 06 Feb 07 Feb 10
2047 Feb 26 Feb 27 Mar 02
2048 Feb 18 Feb 19 Feb 22
2049 Mar 02 Mar 03 Mar 06
2050 Feb 22 Feb 23 Feb 26

Carnaval’s events follow a regular pattern each year, which makes planning a bit easier. At least they do, mostly, in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz. We had hoped to include the Los Cristianos Carnaval dates in this table too, but we discovered that arrangements there are more of a moving target than a moveable feast, so it isn't possible to predict their timetable with the same certainty.

Any Year Tenerife Carnaval Schedule

  • The Wednesday BEFORE Shrove Tuesday: Gala for the Election of the Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz. This event is a huge evening gala, usually lasting for hours and is probably best seen on TV - if the costumes will fit into your screen!
  • The Friday BEFORE Shrove Tuesday: Once it has it's Queen, Santa Cruz Carnaval takes to the streets on the Friday evening, with the Cabalgata Anunciadora (Announcing Parade), followed by the obligatory fireworks.
  • Shrove Tuesday: (Carnaval Tuesday): The Coso Apoteosis (Main Parade) along the front at Santa Cruz (the Avenida de Anaga and Marítima), from around 4 p.m. Terminates in a great firework display at around 9.p.m.
  • Ash Wednesday: Burial of the Sardine. This takes place in both Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz on the same night, so you have a choice. Either way, it's essential for men to dress up as "Widows" to mourn the poor old defunct sardine and generally have a blasphemous night of it. 
  • The Friday AFTER Shrove Tuesday: The unmissable Mascarita Ponte Tacón, known in English as the High Heels Drag Marathon, in Puerto de la Cruz.
  • The Saturday AFTER Shrove Tuesday: In recent years, this day has seen the events of Carnaval de Día (Daytime Carnival); free, live concerts in and around the streets and plazas of Santa Cruz from lunchtime onwards. In the early evening you can see the kids in the Coso Infantil (Junior Parade) in Santa Cruz. This is also the day of the Main Parade in Puerto de la Cruz.
  • The Sunday AFTER Shrove Tuesday: Sunday morning the Gran Concurso en la Ciudad de Automóviles Antiguos, which is when some really beautiful classic cars parade around the city.
Those are the main events that I believe you could be interested in seeing as a casual visitor. In the run up to the Carnaval, there are many other contests and events involving all the various singing and dancing troupes that form part of the Carnaval and, of course, alongside all of this is the fun fair, the food stalls, orchestras, dancing and concerts that go on in the streets until dawn.

And, just when you think it's all over, it all moves on to Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes and many other towns a week or two later.

Getting to Carnaval in Santa Cruz

If you're staying in the south of Tenerife, there's no problem as extra buses are laid on each year, even during the night, which will take Carnaval goers between Playa de las Americas / Los Cristianos and Santa Cruz. Don't take a car, because there will be nowhere to park it. Catch the 111 bus from Las Americas bus station or Los Cristianos and enjoy the journey that's an extension of the party!

Where to stay in Tenerife for Carnaval

Anywhere you might usually stay, such as the resorts on the south of the island.

However, if you're coming to Tenerife for the express reason of going to Carnaval, then you may as well stay right in the thick of things, so you can sleep by day, just falling out of your hotel into the street in the afternoon or evening when there are parades or events you want to go to. In Santa Cruz, we can recommend, because we've stayed there, the Hotel Pelinor. It may only have 2 stars (don't expect a high level of English), but it's clean and has everything you need for the purpose.

If you must go the the beach, Las Teresitas is just up the road.

What to wear to Carnaval?


Sardine on ParadeYou can wear anything you like and nothing is too risque, although people not in costume / fancy dress are the odd ones out. Each year, each carnaval has a theme, but it is not necessary to follow that unless you wish to do so. If you're a man, it's almost obligatory to dress up as a woman - however unconvincingly: excess facial hair need not be removed - and cross-dressing is essential when attending The Burial of the Sardine.

DISCLAIMER: Of course, all of these details are subject to changes that are way beyond our control. Hopefully, Carnaval will continue in more or less the same manner for the foreseeable future, especially when you consider that it has already overcome prohibitions during dictatorships and survived for more than 200 years and possibly as many as 400, but nothing is guaranteed.

We've taken great care to check dates and take leap years into account when working out the dates of the various parades, but we accept no responsibility for errors (probably due to going cross-eyed.) Use this as a guide and double-check nearer to your dates of travel for best results. Batteries not included.

Tenerife has a poor reputation where events are seldom publicised sufficiently in advance - hopeless when you need to book flights, hotels or holidays, months ahead - so we hope to partially overcome that problem and provide just enough notice to satisfy even the most fervently obsessive of forward planners.
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