An Italian in Tenerife: pros and cons of life on this island

With this article today I want to answer one of the most common questions that I have been asked in recent years.

What are the pros and cons of moving to Tenerife.

Before going to analyze and list pros and cons I would like to clarify the fact that it is something very subjective, my personal judgment.

This is to clarify that what for me could be considered an advantage maybe for someone else could be a disadvantage.

And viceversa.

These are very personal evaluations gained after the first four years of living in Tenerife.

I’ll start by listing the 5 things I appreciate most about Tenerife.

1) The serenity

I put the serenity and energy that you breathe on this island at first place.

It is something that is very difficult to describe in words.

The pace of life is less frenetic and this is also reflected in the attitude and attitudes of people in everyday life.

I give an example.

As soon as they arrived on the island, in June 2015, one morning Sara was standing in line at a supermarket checkout to pay for what she had bought.

At some point the cashier stopped working and it was not possible to pay, perhaps because the connection was lost.

The first minutes pass and Sara starts to move nervously, while the other people in line remain calm. The cashier takes advantage of this to even have a coffee.

Another 5 minutes pass, all calm while Sara becomes increasingly conspicuously nervous.

After 15 minutes Sara could no longer resist. He wanted to scream. And it was at that moment that she began to rationalize what was going on.

Why was she so nervous?

In those 15 minutes of lockouts the Canaries were taking advantage of it to enjoy them, those who had coffee, those who exchanged a chat with her friend or smoke.

Another example that I can cite is that of when a car leaves the place where it was parked. The driver loses more than five minutes of time before leaving the occupied place, arranging things in the car, the rear view mirror, the belt … while everyone is in the queue waiting behind, nobody and I underline NOBODY mentions a minimal sense of nervousness, no horn is heard.

If i imagine something like that in Catania (and I say it with full knowledge, having worked and lived for year in this city), after ten seconds you would already have the whole road honking your horn, someone who is screaming at you and cursing and probably past two minutes someone would also be ready to get out of the car to beat you.

2) The weather

Here it is always spring all year round.

The temperature ranges from a minimum of 16 degrees which can be reached here in the North during the winter nights up to 28 degrees which are on average in the summer.

The temperature range between day and night is almost imperceptible. And it is the same almost between one season and another.

A truly fantastic climate that allows you to enjoy much more every single day of the year.

Sea, sun, blue sky.

3) The canaries kindness

The warmth and kindness of the Canaries in some ways is even higher than what we have in southern Italy.

Here people often simply smile and greet you also for the simple fact that you looked them in the face while walking.

We feel to be in a big family, where everyone knows each other, even in a city like Santa Cruz that has almost 400 thousand inhabitants.

4) Public services that works

Post offices, municipal offices, roads and highways in perfect condition which are asphalted frequently. Maintenance work is almost always done at night without causing problems with daily traffic.

Often you happen to wake up and find yourself in the morning with a whole lane of completely new highway.

Then many green spaces inside the city, many playgrounds for children, cycle paths, completely free and beautiful beaches such as Las Teresitas, waterfront and parks full of equipment to be able to train freely.

5) A lower cost of living in general

And I’m not talking about cigarettes and gasoline, which are the most popular examples for their lower price.

For example, I am talking about VAT, which does not exist here. In its place there is a local tax called IGIC which is 6.5%.

In general, the cost of living is about 20% lower than in Italy.

I want to share an example, because beyond the lower cost of living there are also many other things that in Italy for example we had taken for granted and that therefore I could no longer even notice.

Two years ago we returned to Italy, on vacation from my in-laws in Tuscany.

As soon as we arrived at Pisa airport, just to take two trolleys to carry the suitcases we had with us, we had to pay 4 euros. 2 euros for each cart.

Then, taking the car, we went on the highway until we reached my father-in-law’s house. Cost of the highway is almost 10 euros.

We had arrived in Italy and in just over an hour we had already spent almost 15 euros. For the exact same services in Tenerife, we would have spent ZERO euros.

You understood perfectly well.


Trolleys for carrying free suitcases and free highways.

These are aspects that when I lived in Italy I couldn’t even see so much they were now considered normal.

15 euros saved in just over an hour. Imagine how much a family can save in a month.

And this too turns into an increase in the quality of life.

As for the cons of living on the island, I managed to find only three.

1) The impossibility of online shopping

To protect the economy of the island in Tenerife there is a custom tax to be paid on almost all the goods entering and leaving the island.

This means that many merchants decide not to ship to Tenerife.

For example, when I try to buy on Amazon, 9 out of 10 sellers do not ship the product to the Canary Islands.

You can’t imagine that frustration, in 2019 having this limit.

Especially for someone like me, who has been buying online for almost twenty years.

2) The wind

Being a small island, there is almost always wind to bother you.

So a walk or a beach day, especially with children, can be difficult.

3) Lack of professionalism that many companies have

This aspect is a bit the result of the “enjoy the life” attitude I was talking about before.

It often happens that they exaggerate a little. To the point that you have to chase the company or the professional on duty for weeks, even just to get a quote.

And in the end it is the customer who paradoxically has to chase the company, perhaps making slalom between holidays, bridges, long weekends.

(I’m not kidding, when we were looking for a house, and it was a Wednesday, a real estate agency told us that we should call the following Monday, because the day after, being Thursday, it was practically “weekend”, so better to postpone everything to the following week .)

Sometimes jokingly I say that the Canaries slogan must be “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow” ?, “mañana por la mañana”, as they say in Spanish.

It is something that makes you smile when told, but when you have to face everyday life with a similar attitude it is not always pleasant.