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Tenerife Carnival 2023, Santa Cruz

January 17 - February 26

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They sure know how to throw a fiesta in Spain, and the annual Tenerife Carnival (Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife) is a shining example of a pumping party. As Tenerife’s alternative to the Sitges Carnival, this is a feast of colour, music, dance and a dazzling array of extravagance.

This year’s edition of the second-largest carnival in the world and one of its greatest, the Tenerife Carnival, will honour New York.

The Tenerife Carnival, which has been designated a “Festival of International Tourist Interest,” is anticipated to welcome thousands of visitors to Santa Cruz, the island’s main city, beginning on January 17, when it will begin in earnest.

The contests as well as the street celebrations are the two components of the Tenerife Carnival.

The fairgrounds in Santa Cruz will play host to a broad range of competitions, such as “murga” street music groups and “comparsa” bands, as well as the perennially famous Carnival Queen Election Gala on February 15. On that evening, more than a dozen applicants will compete in amazing costumes. The Carnival Queen will be chosen by an expert panel as the contestant with the most attractive outfit.

Tenerife Carnival
Join the carnival in Tenerife

Programme for the Tenerife Carnival 2023

Beginning on February 17 with the Carnival’s Opening Parade, there will be street celebrations. A variety of floats, adorned automobiles, and musical ensembles will march through Santa Cruz’s principal streets under the direction of the Carnival Queen. Méndez Nez Street and Pilar Street are excellent locations to view the Opening Parade. Late at night, they and other locations will transform into impromptu dance platforms where residents and guests may enjoy the night party – dressing up is required.

On the evenings of Friday, February 17, and Saturday, February 18, street parties are quite popular. The “Ritmo y Armona” event, one of the carnival’s most well-liked “comparsa” band competitions, will take place on Saturday night. Drums will be used to accompany the colourful choreographies performed by the competing dance groups. This is a totally free event that will take place on Avenida Francisco La Roche.

On Sunday, February 19, at 1pm, the Day Carnival will begin. It will last all day and is intended for both adults and kids.

The festival visitors will enjoy different street parties till the wee hours of the morning on Shrove Monday, which will be held on February 20.

The “Coso Apoteosis” parade, an undoubted highlight of Tenerife Carnival celebrations, will take place on Shrove Tuesday. The procession will feature the Carnival Queen, maids of honour, and all “murga” and “comparsa” street music groups. A spectacular fireworks show will round off the evening and, in theory, finish the carnival.

santa cruz carnival
Burial of the Sardine

The weekend of the piata and the sardine burial

Nothing could, however, be farther from the truth. After the “Coso Apoteosis” procession, there will still be a lot to enjoy during the Tenerife Carnival. The “Burial of the Sardine” will occur on the evening of Wednesday, February 22. Locals participate in this absurd and ugly parade to lament the “death” of the carnival, which is presented in the shape of a sardine to honour Santa Cruz’s fishing heritage.

The next weekend will mark the official “farewell” to the carnival: Friday, February 24, Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26 (Piata Sunday). A last pyrotechnic performance on this day will bid the event farewell until 2024.

Can’t make this carnival, then try our round-up of the best carnivals around the world.

santa cruz carnival

Tenerife Carnival History

The Carnival is a religious annual celebration and Santa Cruz’s outing is considered by some as the world’s second-best after the Rio Carnival. Written documents date back to the early-17th century and describe carnival-type fever erupting on the streets of the island’s capital.

The celebration has even defied bans. During the Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-1935) and General Franco (1940-1960) dictatorships, the festival was officially banned. Despite this it carried on under the guise of Winter Holiday. In 1980, the festivities were officially bestowed the title of Tourist Festival of International Interest.

When is the Tenerife Carnival 2023?

It’s from 17 January to 26 February.

Accommodation in Santa Cruz

If you are looking for accommodation during the Santa Cruz Carnival, please fill in the form below.

Things To Do in Tenerife

For travel inspiration either visit or read Mark Bibby Jackson’s 4 Eco Things To Do in Tenerife.

For more information on the Santa Cruz Carnival

Click here. You can also download the Carnival App at: www.carnavaldetenerife.comPhotos provided by Ayuntamiento de Santa Cruz and the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. 


January 17
February 26
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