For an island only 84 km long and 50 km wide, Tenerife has a surprisingly wide variety of resorts and places to stay. The choice of ideal destination can depend on various factors, including your age (or at least, how old you feel!), your nationality, your fitness, sense of adventure, Spanish language skills and of course, the type of holiday you are looking for (classic beach break, romantic getaway, golf, hen/stag party, partying/clubbing, hiking/climbing/cycling trip, scuba/snorkel, rustic escape, city break, sports, action and adventure holiday, wine/vineyards route etc etc). The amazing thing is that Tenerife offers all of the above, plus a lot more!
To give you a better idea of the options, we have compiled a list of the main resorts in Tenerife with information as to their offerings and typical target audience.
Perhaps the most important factor for visitors to Tenerife is the weather – Is good weather important to you during the trip? Tenerife is a system of micro-climates, meaning that certain areas have fairly predictable weather year round. For the warmest weather possible, the obvious choices are the area around Playa de Las Americas/Los Cristianos in the south all the way up the south-western coast to Los Gigantes and Playa Santiago. This 25 kilometre stretch (16 miles) typically enjoys the warmest average year-round temperatures on the island and is generally calm with no strong winds. High and low temperatures are typically 21c/16c in January and 29c/23c in August. Meanwhile, the areas between Guaza and El Medano (including Tenerife South Airport) are famous for being windy. In winter they can be a couple of degrees cooler and in summer, several degrees warmer.
In the north of the island, the city of Santa Cruz has a climate fairly similar to the south. However, as you start to climb up from the city towards the north of the island, the climate changes rapidly and dramatically. La Laguna is typically 5 – 7c colder and damper than in the south. Situated at a higher altitude, the area often sits shrouded in low cloud cover, which appears similar to mist or fog. This area also has a significantly higher rainfall than in the south or Santa Cruz.
Further up the north coast is the popular resort of Puerto de la Cruz. This is warmer and drier than La Laguna but still noticeably cooler, wetter and cloudier than in the southern resorts. Due to greater rainfall in the north, the entire area is substantially more green and verdant than the generally dry and arid landscape in the south.
LIST OF MAIN TOURIST RESORTS IN TENERIFE (In alphabetical order)
This quaint little fishing village on the south west coast of Tenerife has enjoyed a huge rise in popularity with tourists and visitors since the 5 star Gran Melia Palacio de Isora Hotel was built. However, despite the greater influx, it has retained much of its Canarian charm. Visitors love to stroll around the small fishing harbour and picturesque main square, which are particularly popular during local ‘fiestas’.
Alcala has a good choice of quality restaurants with an emphasis on traditional fish, seafood and tapas but also has come contemporary options.
The area boasts an attractive sand beach but being black volcanic sand, is not rated particularly highly among beach lovers.
Nightlife outside of the main hotel is very low key all year round except during a major local fiesta.
Located on the south-west coast just under 10km from Playa de las Americas and 22km from Tenerife South Airport, this previously small fishing village has developed into a purpose-built resort, catering primarily to British clientele and British expats but which also attracts various other nationalities. Like many modern purpose-built resorts, Callao Salvaje is often described as having little identity or personality, but many regular visitors to the resort strongly disagree with that view. However, those looking for authentic Canarian culture are likely to be disappointed here.
Although there is a small beach, the resort is not recommended for those seeking a typical beach holiday, but is ideal for those seeking tranquility and sunshine. The resort has a good selection of quality restaurants but is not famed for its culinary delights or fine dining. Nightlife is also low key and is focused around mostly British themed bars.
‘Costa Adeje’ technically refers to the entire 20 odd kilometre coastline falling within the administration of Adeje Town Hall. However, the phrase more colloquially refers to the coastal area located between Playa de Las Americas and La Caleta, most notably the San Eugenio, Torviscas and El Duque areas. The zone covers a number of distinct areas, each with its own flavour, ranging from ‘cheap as chips’ to ‘high-end-chic’. The area is mostly purpose-built and bears the hallmarks of a typical European beach resort rather than traditional Tenerife.
The area boasts some of the best hotels and amenities on the island with blue-flag beaches safe for swimming, almost unlimited dining options for all tastes and wallets and first class shops and boutiques. Nightlife in the above zones is more limited outside of the hotels, but there are several lively bars, lounges and cabaret venues. However, for the younger crowd (and ‘young at heart’) seeking late night bars, discos, all roads lead to nearby Playa de las Americas, which is only a €5 – €10 taxi ride away.
Los Cristianos began life as a tiny fishing village in the south of Tenerife. What subsequently began as a convalescent resort for Swedish patients soon grew into a full-scale holiday resort. It is also the second busiest port on the island. However, the town centre still maintains a distinct Canarian flavour with narrow streets and passageways that give it an intimate feel. For many less adventurous tourists, this is the closest they will get to authentic Canarian life. However, the town is a perfect springboard from which to explore other parts of the island, or indeed the other islands. The area has excellent (although often clogged up) road and public transport connections and the port has direct and indirect passenger and vehicle ferry connections to each of the other Canary Islands plus the Spanish mainland. The town is only 13 kilometres (8 miles) from Tenerife South Airport (TFS) via the TF1 Autopista Motorway.
Los Cristianos has an enviable range of restaurants, ranging from the simplest cafes to upscale fine dining options. In December 2017 Tripadvisor listed 434 restaurants and eateries for Los Cristianos.
Arona Council has continued with its drive to make the entire resort disabled-friendly. Nearly all public promenades, walkways and beaches have excellent disabled access and ramps.
Whilst Los Cristianos tends to cater to a more elderly demographic, particularly in the winter months, the resident population is surprisingly young. For those seeking late night action, the place to head to is CC San Telmo, a long strip of bars and restaurants located directly adjacent to Las Vistas Beach. Early evening is fairly sedate with life focused around the intimate restaurants and ‘chill-out’ terrace bars but things typically liven up after midnight when the locals come out to play, especially on the weekends. The strip also has a couple of indoor clubs/discos open until very late. The entire area has a distinct ‘latin’ feel with the majority of visitors and workers being Canarian, Italian and South American, whilst the healthy mix of international tourists and expats adds a real cosmopolitan vibe.
Los Cristianos has 2 excellent beaches, namely Las Vistas and the Harbour beach. However, Las Vistas is by far the more impressive with lighter coloured sand, turquoise waters, watersports and almost every other amenity a tourist could wish for. However, parking in the area can be a nightmare, particularly during clear weather and on the weekends or holidays.
This charming little seaside resort on Tenerife’s south-west coast boasts some of the most breathtaking views on the island, covering both the neighbouring island of La Gomera and the adjacent 300 metre cliffs of Los Gigantes (“the Giants”). The resort caters largely for British visitors and others also looking for a sun-drenched base with a relaxed, small-town feel. Many visitors consider it the perfect base to explore the rest of the island, particularly now the south motorway has been extended close to the town.
The resort’s restaurants cater largely to British visitors but there are a few other options including traditional Canarian, plus a Michelin starred offering that was voted the best restaurant in Spain a few years back!
The town has a reasonable black-sand beach, which whilst well-positioned, isn’t the most picturesque on the island.
This modern purpose-built resort is perched on the island’s southern-most tip. It is home to expat residents from all over Europe together with a fair number of locals. As it doesn’t pitch to the tourist market, some find the facilities there to be rather limited.
Whilst there are small beach areas at Palm Mar, it is definitely not viewed as a beach resort.
Don’t expect full-on nightlife here, although the Bahia Beach Club is a stylish laid-back affair with DJs and occasionally hosted events.
Playa de las Americas
(See below the various Google Maps links for specific areas)
This resort’s reputation is world renowned and most either love it or hate it.
Having sprung up in the 1980’s around Troya Beach, it has sprawled outwards in all directions, creating a surprisingly diverse resort.
Whilst the original areas still cater for the younger British market and carry a distinct ‘chips and beer’ reputation, the southern end of the resort has developed into what is dubbed ‘the Golden Mile’ and is awash with fancy hotels and apartments, marbled palm-lined pavements, designer boutiques, expensive restaurants and moving fountains with light displays.
The resort boasts a huge choice of international dining options, ranging from burgers to fine dining. However, those looking for traditional Canarian options on the main tourist strips are likely to be disappointed.
The resort has a lively nightlife, which is roughly split into 4 areas:
Veronicas/Starco, the famous strip of bars and nightclubs catering from teens through to 40 somethings, which includes the famous Papagayo Beach Club;
The Patch, a collection of predominantly live-music themed bars pitching to all ages, plus TIBU nightclub;
Safari Centre /The Golden Mile, where nightlife is centered around 2 or 3 bars / lounge-clubs pitching to an up-market glam crowd of all ages.
Salytien, an open-air complex featuring a handful of bars and late night watering holes, some of which are LGBT/Gay friendly.
Playa de Las Américas has a couple of beaches, the most attractive of which is Playa del Camisón. There is also a section of rocky coastline / pebbled beach popular with surfers which boasts some excellent beach bars (‘chiringuitos’). It is possible to walk the entire length of the resort along the impressive beachfront walkways and pavements.
Playa de la Arena
This small resort town is located south of Los Gigantes in the south west of the island. It boasts one of the best climates and hours of sunshine in Tenerife. Popular with its thousands of annual tourists and visitors but perhaps lacking any real personality. The black volcanic sand beach is regularly awarded the European Blue Flag and has views of neighbouring island La Gomera. There is a good selection of traditional Canarian and International restaurants with something for everyone. Nightlife is low key and laid back in the various bars, so party animals are likely to be disappointed.
Situated on Tenerife’s South West coast, it wasn’t all that long ago that Playa Paraiso was slated as one of the poorest quality resorts in Tenerife. However, that was before the arrival of the Hard Rock Hotel, one of the newest and trendiest luxury hotels on the island. Outside the hotel, life is still fairly sedate in the purpose-built resort, where you will find only a few shops, bars and restaurants.
The resort has a nice little beach at the southern most end of the resort.
Most visitors don’t rave about the local cuisine but apparently good meals can be found in the hotels. Nightlife is also largely non-existent with the exception of the Hard Rock Hotel, which hosts various events and party nights, including numerous international celebrity performers and DJs.
Playa San Juan
Whereas most resorts in the South West of Tenerife have a distinctive ‘resort’ feel, charming Playa San Juan has managed to maintain more of a Canarian village ambience, with its picturesque harbour and promenade with cafes, restaurants and shops. However, the result is that there are few accommodation options here, with most visitors opting to stay in neighbouring areas.
The black sand beach is one of the best for those seeking peace and tranquility, as the breakwater and nearby fishing harbour ensure that it is sheltered from the waves.
The village has an ample choice of restaurants with Spanish and Canarian flavours. Nightlife is very low key.
For more information: https://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-see/beaches/playa-san-juan.htm
Puerto de la Cruz
Located on the north coast of the island at the base of the Taoro (La Orotava) valley, Puerto de la Cruz is reputedly the first holiday resort in the Canary Islands with visitors, explorers and writers having frequented the resort since the early 19th century. Today, the resort still attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who fall in love with its verdant landscape and botany, the backdrop of Mount Teide and various stunning picture postcard views.
The resort boasts 2 excellent beaches. Playa Jardin is a 1km long strip of black volcanic sand. Due to its size, there is always room to spread out your beach towel and relax.
Playa Jardin Location Map: https://goo.gl/maps/nawnrfe9vf82
Meanwhile, Playa Martiánez is located next to the Lago Martiánez, a man-made lagoon water park with waterfalls, sub-tropical gardens and sculptures. It also features black volcanic sand, but is smaller, simple and less developed than Playa Jardin.
Playa Martiánez Location Map: https://goo.gl/maps/wmmmciHUeRz
The town has an extensive range of bars and restaurants catering for all tastes and wallets. Nightlife, whilst not as energetic as Playa de las Americas in the south, has plenty to cater for all tastes and ages. However, the locals are generally night-owls with most action taking place well after midnight, so visitors hitting the sack early each night could be forgiven for thinking the town has no nightlife whatsoever.
Puerto de Santiago
Considered by many to be the continuation of Los Gigantes, this resort has a real Canarian flavour and hosts local ‘fiestas’ each year. There is a pleasant black volcanic sand beach with the backdrop of the half-a kilometre-high cliffs of Los Gigantes, although it doesn’t attract a particularly large number of sun-worshippers.
The resorts enjoys a large variety of good quality traditional and international restaurants catering for all tastes. Nightlife is fairly low key based around the small bars and restaurants but there are one or two very popular live music venues.