From Coast to Coast: Where To Stay in Tenerife for a Memorable Getaway
From lively towns to tranquil coastline, the island’s diverse landscape offers something for everyone
The largest of Spain's Canary Islands, Tenerife is an excellent place for a vacation. Unwind on countless beaches, catch a theatre show, trek through forests, watch whales or splash about in a water park – whatever you like to do on holiday, Tenerife has it. If you're planning a trip here and wondering where to stay in Tenerife, you've come to the right place. Our travel experts at Plum Guide have traversed the whole island in search of the best spots to stay, whether you're looking to party, try watersports or take it easy.
View of Costa Adeje Beach, Tenerife
First-timers looking for where to stay in Tenerife should head to Costa Adeje on the island's southwest coast. As far as resorts go, it's the complete package, with plenty of stunning beaches and an abundance of things to do on your doorstep. Spend long days on the beaches of Fañabé and Torviscas, where you can get the adrenaline going with activities like jet skiing, parasailing and paddleboarding – or simply kick back on the sun loungers. The town has several top-notch golf courses and a couple of water parks like Siam Park and Aqualand if you're travelling with little ones (or just fancy a change from the beach). For more family-friendly days out, head to the nearby port of Los Cristianos to set out on a fun whale and dolphin-watching excursion.
Playa del Duque
For a more high-end experience, make your way to Playa del Duque, a luxury beach on Costa Adeje. The Blue Flag man-made beach is amongst the finest you'll ever set foot on, with silky soft sands and crystal-clear waters. It's clean and well-maintained, with calm and shallow waters ideal for children to splash about in. You'll be forgiven for wanting to spend your entire holiday under the thatched umbrellas. Still, if you do feel like getting out and about on the waves, then there are a bunch of watersports to try out, like banana boating, wakeboarding and parasailing. An elegant promenade running along the length of the beach provides plenty of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy an alfresco meal in the shade.
Sun loungers, parasols, and white sand on Los Cristianos Beach, Tenerife
For another family-friendly destination, look no further than the delightful resort town of Los Cristianos. Popular with visitors seeking a more laid-back atmosphere, most of your holiday will be spent hanging out on the town's selection of golden beaches, such as Playa de los Cristianos, El Camisón and Playa de las Vistas. When you're not playing beach volleyball or paddling out to sea, take a ferry ride over to La Gomera island to explore Garajonay National Park. Swap your flip-flops for walking shoes and take on the many trails which lead you through an enchanting landscape of lush laurel forests and deep gorges. The fun continues on the mainland with attractions like the Sunday street market and Castillo San Miguel, with its thrilling medieval shows and jousting tournaments.
Playa de las Américas
Located between Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos, the vibrant town of Playa de las Américas is the main area for nightlife in Tenerife. Numerous bars, pubs and clubs line Las Verónicas Strip with something for everyone, whether you want to sip fancy cocktails, enjoy live music or dance the night away. During the day, Playa de las Américas is one of the best spots to surf the island, with numerous surf schools and rental shops. There are also smaller beaches nearby, such as Playa de Troya, which is ideal for relaxing and sunbathing. If you get itchy feet, you can always check out the nearby parks and gardens, play golf or embark on dolphin and whale watching trips from the Puerto Colon harbour.
Views of El Medano and the Atlantic Ocean from the top of Montana Roja, Tenerife
The bohemian beach town of El Medano is just a short drive from Playa de las Américas, making it an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy the south's sunny climate while avoiding the party crowds. The town's golden beaches are popular with surfers, kitesurfers and windsurfers, and there are several surf schools where you can pick up lessons. At 2 kilometres long, Playa El Medano is Tenerife's longest natural beach, with shallow waters and moderate waves attracting families with young kids. Fancy a challenge? Take your camera and hike up to Montana Roja, a 171-metre-high inactive volcano jutting out to sea – the views from up here are second to none.
Costa del Silencio
You can probably guess from its name that this part of Tenerife is the best choice for those seeking a tranquil getaway. Perched on the island's southern tip, this coastal resort offers the opportunity to put your feet up. The coastline here is quite rugged, with some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the island. Take the hike up Montaña Amarilla Natural Monument, a volcanic cone with breathtaking ocean panoramas. Down on Playa Amarilla, sand is swapped out for black volcanic rocks, which contrast the crystalline waters – don't forget to bring your snorkels with you, as this area's rich marine life is worth seeing.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Pools and palm trees in Parque Marítimo César Manrique, with Auditorio de Tenerife in the background, Tenerife
Those who enjoy being in the heart of the action will enjoy staying in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island's wonderful capital. The city has a rich culture and history and is home to the famous Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife which takes over the city each February. Not visiting at the right time? There are still plenty of things to see and do, including checking out the many museums and art galleries like Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre where you can learn about the natural history and culture of the Canary Islands. Be sure to catch a show at the Auditorio de Tenerife, one of the city's most iconic landmarks designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava. Need a quick break from all the sightseeing? Stroll to Parque García Sanabria, a beautiful public park that is the perfect spot to take a breather amongst colourful plants and fountains.
Multicolour houses built into the hillside in La Laguna, Tenerife
If you're wondering where to stay in Tenerife for amazing views, La Laguna is easily the most photogenic town on the island. It was the capital of Tenerife until the 18th century and is famous for its gorgeous architecture. The cobbled streets are lined with colourful houses, artisan shops and friendly bars. Despite being a historical town, it has a young and energetic atmosphere, and the best place to soak it all up is at Plaza del Adelantado, a picturesque square with a pretty fountain. Located between the Anaga Mountains and the slopes of La Esperanza, La Laguna makes an excellent base for nature lovers looking for outdoor adventures. Just a short drive away is the Anaga Rural Park which offers a range of hiking trails through the mountains. The Taganana Circular Trail is a popular option, taking you through lush forests for fantastic coastal views.
If you're after a quieter holiday, the seaside town of Los Gigantes is a great spot to slow down. Named after the towering sea cliffs that rise to 800 metres, the town's natural beauty is one of its main appeals. It also offers a more authentic feel compared with other towns on the island. You can spend your time hiking the cliffs and surrounding countryside, scuba diving in the azure waters, or simply relaxing on Playa de La Arena or Los Guíos Beach. For a fun day out, head to the verdant Masca Valley, home to the scenic mountain village of Masca. Take the hike down the ravine to the beach, where you can enjoy a boat ride back to Los Gigantes.
Puerto de Santiago
Sunrise over the ocean and white-washed houses in Puerto de Santiago, Tenerife
Another laid-back destination in Tenerife is Puerto de Santiago. This coastal town is just a stone's throw away from Los Gigantes, so you have a selection of fantastic cliff-top walks on your doorstep. One of the best things to do in town is cool off at the natural swimming pool on the ocean's edge, but we'd advise only swimming during low tide as the waves can be huge here. Despite its peaceful vibe, you'll still come across a good selection of restaurants and shops in town. While you're here, try fresh seafood dishes like atún en adobo, or tuna marinated with herbs and spices before being fried.
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