South Coast Tenerife
Amble along the sand, imported straight from the Saharan desert, and enjoy the spectacular beaches on offer at Los Cristianod, Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje. Be sure to bring with you a high tolerance, or an unlikely passion for, big resort complexes, neon lights and a heady nightlife.
Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Américas & Costa Adeje
Don’t forget to wear your shades when you first hit Tenerife’s southwestern tip. You’ll need them, not just against the blinding sunshine, but also the accompanying dazzle of neon signs, shimmering sand and lobster-pink northern Europeans. Large multipool resorts with all-you-can-eat buffets have turned what was a sleepy fishing coast into a mega-moneymaking resort.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Don't bypass the bustling capital, the port of Santa Cruz, in your haste to reach the beaches. This good looking and wholly Spanish city is home to evocative, brightly painted buildings, sophisticated and quirky shops, excellent museums, a showstopping auditorium, and a tropical oasis of birdsong, fountains and greenery in the city park.
Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz is the elder statesman of Tenerife tourism, with a history of welcoming foreign visitors that dates back to the late 19th century, when it was a spa destination popular with genteel Victorian ladies. These days the town is a charming resort with real character.
In the northeast of Tenerife, San Cristobal de la Laguna may not attract on first impressions but this Unesco World Heritage listed site has a youthful energy and a nightlife to boot. San Andrés and its surrounds are a worthwhile trip, if only for the excellent seafood in this region while Taganana and the Anaga Mountains offer a spectacular road trip.
La Laguna is widely considered to be the most beautiful town in Tenerife. An easy day trip from Santa Cruz or Puerto de la Cruz, the historic town centre is a gem, with narrow poker-straight streets flanked by pastel-hued historic mansions, inviting bars, and idiosyncratic small shops.
This colonial town has the lot, it seems: cobblestone streets, flower-filled plazas and more Castilian mansions than the rest of the island put together. Along with La Laguna, La Orotava is one of the loveliest towns on Tenerife, and one of the most truly ‘Canarian’ places in the Canary Islands.
East Coast Tenerife
The east coast of Tenerife is the forgotten coast of the island and at first glance that’s hardly surprising: the landscape of the east is dry, dusty and sterile, but it is speckled with bright and colourful little villages, which bring life to the otherwise stark surroundings. If you have the time, then it pays to explore this region a little more.
In Terife's northwest, is one of the Canary Island's best examples of cliché come true. Quite easily mistaken for paradise on earth, the much visited Punta de Teno has not lost its wild charms despite its popularity with tourists who come to fish, dive and generally just swan around in this idyllic setting.
Parque Nacional del Teide
Standing sentry over Tenerife, formidable El Teide (Pico del Teide) is not just the highest mountain in the Canary Islands but, at a whopping 3718m, the highest in all of Spain and is, in every sense of the word, the highlight of a trip to Tenerife. The Parque Nacional del Teide, which covers 189.
A gracious, tranquil town located in a deep valley flanked by forested slopes and a rocky coastline, Garachico has managed to retain its Canarian identity. There are no big hotels, probably because there is no real beach, though swimming in the natural, volcanic coves along the rocky coast is a rare delight.
Las Galletas is a small resort town a few kilometres south of the Las Américas strip and, in comparison, is as quiet as a Sunday afternoon in a library; for many people that is its attraction. A block back from the boardwalk, the leafy Rambla Dionisio Gonzalez, with benches and playgrounds, leads to the tourist office and the sea.
Los Gigantes & Puerto de Santiago
These two towns have merged into one, and a worrying number of cranes can only mean more building is under way, but for the moment at least the low-rise, and low-key, town that sprawls along the rocky, cove-infested coastline is a million miles from Las Américas and is certainly one of the more attractive resort towns in Tenerife.