When it comes to staying in Tenerife, seeking an affordable place with warm ocean water, tranquility, nearby infrastructure, supermarkets, a promenade along the coast, beautiful surroundings, secluded bays sheltered from waves, and without tourist crowds is essential.
In our quest to find the best area for vacation in Tenerife, I exhausted my brain on specialized forums and websites, vowing not to return there. With diverse opinions and a wealth of information, we spent three weeks exploring every nook of the island’s coastline.
The goal of this article is to simplify the task of identifying optimal places for a Tenerife trip. I won’t promise diversity; Google Maps serves that purpose. However, I assure you of assistance in narrowing down the choices to a few optimal locations for both relaxation and exploration of the best of the Canary Islands — Tenerife.
A bit of geography: Tenerife, although a small island, has 18 climatic zones. In simple terms, this means that weather and nature can vary every 10-15 km, sometimes significantly. Nature also differs in various parts of the island.
There’s a distinction between North Tenerife and South Tenerife. The north boasts lush vegetation, luxurious cliffs along the coast, authentic towns and villages, but a more severe climate. It caters to independent travelers. The south offers excellent beach vacations for mass tourism, a milder climate, and year-round swimming. Besides the well-known Las Americas, it includes the western part of Tenerife up to Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes, as well as the eastern part extending to the beautiful beach of Las Teresitas.
Consequently, for an active traveler/tourist, a logical division of the vacation into two equal parts — south (specifically southwest) and north — is recommended. This ensures maximized impressions from the holiday.
Why People Go to Tenerife
Understanding this is crucial for choosing a vacation spot. For those considering Tenerife for the first time:
Tenerife is more about beautiful nature and active exploration of the island than beach vacations. If you seek a good beach and sea, it’s better to choose a different destination in the summer, such as Cyprus, Greece, or Croatia, with Montenegro. On the other hand, there are few alternatives for non-seaside vacations in the fall and winter – not everyone enjoys Southeast Asia, and long-distance flights from our latitudes can be both inconvenient and expensive.
Tenerife is ideal for combining beach relaxation with short trips to beautiful places, especially from October to April. This guides the selection of basic places/areas for a holiday.
Where to Stay in Tenerife
- Vacation duration of 10-14 days; traveling to the Canary Islands for a shorter period is not worthwhile.
- Two or three locations in the south, west/east, and north of the island to explore the surroundings.
- Proximity to the ocean, necessary infrastructure, interesting places, and attractions in the vicinity.
It’s reasonable to split the trip into two parts — South and North Tenerife. Given the high probability of landing at the Southern airport, the first part of the vacation will be spent in the south — more convenient logistically and aligning with our interests. Initially, enjoying the sea, followed by venturing into the mountains and exploring authentic Canarian villages in the north. If desired, the sequence can be reversed; Tenerife is a small island.
The goal is to have a not overly dull place for the vacation, minimal hustle, and preferably, a promenade along the sea.
Las Americas, Costa Adeje, or Los Cristianos
The most popular resorts in the south of Tenerife are Los Cristianos, Las Americas, and Costa Adeje. They merge into one long tourist zone without a clear boundary, occupying a significant part of the southern tip of Tenerife.
Despite their overtly touristy nature, I would recommend starting with Las Americas if you’re looking for lively nightlife without spending a fortune or accommodation in Los Cristianos near Fanabe Beach or Del Duque Beach if you’re traveling with family and prefer a calm, respectable stay.
- Beautiful long promenade with various beaches, from light yellow sand in Los Cristianos to black sand in Las Americas and the stunning Del Duque Beach in Costa Adeje.
- A plethora of accommodation options for every budget, with a division between the expensive Costa Adeje and the more budget-friendly Las Americas (conditional).
- Excellent infrastructure, both beach-related and entertainment, with many shops, supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants.
- Great weather year-round.
- Crowded, but in February-March, it was tolerable and calm.
- Lack of authenticity; the place is entirely geared towards mass tourism.
Las Americas, Costa Adeje, or Los Cristianos is perfect for a 2-3 day relaxation, strolling along the ocean, rejuvenating, and planning the exploration of Tenerife in the following days.
What to See in the Surroundings:
- Explore all the beaches along the coast of Los Cristianos, Las Americas, and Costa Adeje – this takes at least half a day.
- Hernandez Beach near the village of La Caleta; turn left towards the ocean near the golf club. You can park your car on the roadside and walk down to the beach.
- Siam Park amusement park.
- Beautiful coast of Costa del Silensia.
- Southern marina in the village of Las Galletas – a beautiful place with restaurants and a yacht harbor.
Best Hotels and Apartments in the Las Americas – Costa Adeje – Los Cristianos Region:
Luxury Hotels and Apartments:
Mid-Range Apartments and Hotels Recommended:
- Apartment Ceyla Beach View, Los Cristianos
- Torres del Sol Sea View Apartment A 606
- Beach studio Los Cristianos VV
- Los Cristianos beach apartment
Budget Apartments and Hotels:
Los Gigantes – beautiful cliffs on the west coast of Tenerife, featuring many hotels, a marina, and a small beach with a viewpoint slightly aside.
Near Los Gigantes, there is the charming town of Puerto de Santiago, which I also recommend as a base for exploring the surroundings and beach relaxation. Its only drawback is the somewhat distant walk to the beach. Therefore, if proximity to the beach is a priority, choosing the neighboring town – Alcala – is a better option.
Alcala is a good compromise between the lively and, let’s be honest, very touristy Las Americas and the beautiful but remote villages in the heart of the island. The Los Gigantes region (Puerto de Santiago, Alcala) is perfect for exploring both the south and northwest of Tenerife.
What to See in the Surroundings of Los Gigantes:
- The village of Masca and Masca Beach, accessible by boats from Los Gigantes. You can take a bus to the village of Masca, hike down to Masca Beach through a steep ravine, then return to Los Gigantes by boat and from there to Puerto de Santiago or Alcala if you’re staying in these towns.
- Beautiful town in the north, Buenavista del Norte – many spend from two days to a week here, with the nearby stunning Punta del Teno cape being a must-visit.
- Coastal historic town of Garachico – a radial trip from the south of the island or included in a route through northern Tenerife.
- Arena Beach – south of Los Gigantes and Puerto de Santiago, among the top 8 most beautiful beaches in Tenerife.
Best Hotels Near Los Gigantes:
- Tenerife PLAYA LA ARENA – near the beach, Los Gigantes cliffs, infrastructure; a comfortable option for a mid-range budget.
- Casa al Mar – apartments near the Los Gigantes cliffs, on the front line, a popular place – often booked.
- Barceló Santiago – a beautiful 4-star hotel on a cliff near Los Gigantes with views of La Gomera Island and the Los Gigantes cliffs. The price is around 90 euros per day, very reasonable for such a level.
- Prime Homes – Tijoco Apartment – apartments in Puerto de Santiago near the beautiful La Arena Beach. Natural pools are nearby for swimming.
- Apartamento Osos – just 600 meters to La Arena Beach plus the beautiful town of Puerto de Santiago – an ideal combination.
- Coastal Hideaway – the best townhouse on La Arena Beach, often booked, so early booking is recommended, 4-8 months in advance.
Puerto de La Cruz
Puerto de La Cruz is the main city in northern Tenerife, and I highly recommend not just stopping by for at least a full day but also staying here for 2-3 nights. Besides the city itself, the famous Loro Park – a parrot park – is located near Puerto de la Cruz. If you enjoy nature and birds/animals, it is a must-visit place.
What to See in the Surroundings of Puerto de La Cruz:
- Natural pools near the town of El Guincho.
- The oldest dragon tree on the island and aboriginal caves in Icod de Los Vinos. The town itself is also very pleasant.
- The beautiful town of La Orotava and the Humboldt Viewpoint with a view of the ocean, towns, and the Orotava Valley.
- Anaga Natural Park, famous rocks near Benijo Beach – this is in the “far north” of Tenerife.
- Villages Taganana and Almáciga in the Anaga Park on the coast.
- The city of San Cristóbal La Laguna.
Best Hotels in Puerto de La Cruz:
- Luminoso apartamento con terraza y piscina – ideal apartments near a beautiful beach in northern Tenerife. A few days here would be fantastic.
- Fantastico – apartments near the ocean, between Jardin Beach and the center of Puerto de la Cruz, a top choice in my opinion.
- Fantastico studio with balcony – similar to the previous option but even more beautiful inside, with a balcony and a sea view. There are many attractions around, and a promenade with cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
I wouldn’t recommend staying in the capital, but it is conveniently located on the route. Moreover, there is the beautiful Las Teresitas Beach, which is worth spending time on or at least seeing.
Considering all pros and cons, we chose to stay for a few days in the town of Radazul, 20 kilometers from Santa Cruz. Here, there’s a beautiful and uncrowded La Nea Beach, close to Santa Cruz, the historic town of Candelaria, and, if desired, it’s not far from the lively Las Americas or the surfer’s spot El Médano.
You can also stay in the town of San Andrés near the beautiful Las Teresitas Beach.
Best Hotels Near Santa Cruz and Las Teresitas Beach:
- Casa Julia atico vistas playa Las Teresitas – 150 meters to one of the best beaches on the island. A top option for its price, so it’s often booked. If it’s full, look for alternatives in the vicinity using the Booking map – it’s convenient.
- Apt. Lourdes, close to the Teresitas & Anaga – excellent apartments near the beach, a convenient place to rent a car and explore the northern part of the island, Anaga National Park. It’s a stone’s throw from the capital, Santa Cruz, and 30 minutes by car to the beaches of the southern part of the island.
- Home2Book Sea Front Las Teresitas Beach Attic – sea view, comfortable apartments in the town of San Andrés near Santa Cruz. Top value for money.
The best cities for a vacation in Tenerife, especially for first-time visitors, are Las Americas or Costa Adeje in the south. For those who don’t like very crowded tourist areas, I recommend Los Gigantes, Puerto de Santiago, or Alcala. In this case, you may not even need to visit Las Americas – you won’t miss much, to be honest.
In the north, without any alternative, make a stop in Puerto de la Cruz and explore the surroundings.
In the southeast, make a short stop, two to three days, near the capital, Santa Cruz. We chose Radazul, or you can consider San Andrés near the beautiful Las Teresitas Beach.
From any of the mentioned places, you can reach the highest peak of the Atlantic – Mount Teide. This will take a minimum of half a day, considering the travel time.
Before departure, spend a couple of days in the surfer’s spot El Médano. Besides water activities, there are pleasant fish restaurants on the beach and a long promenade. El Médano is also conveniently close to Tenerife South Airport, from which most flights to/from Europe operate.
Sample Itinerary in Terms of Days and Locations in Tenerife
For a 12-14 day vacation, plan:
- Las Americas – 3-5 days; it can be replaced with Los Gigantes (see above).
- Puerto de la Cruz – 3-5 days.
- Santa Cruz (Radazul) – 2 days.
- El Médano – 1-2 days (optional).
Consider your preferences for beaches and warm weather or beautiful landscapes when planning to spend more time in the south or north of Tenerife, respectively.
You can comfortably reduce the number of locations to two – Las Americas and Puerto de la Cruz or Los Gigantes and Puerto de la Cruz, according to your preferences, but allocate at least 3-4 days for both the North and South of Tenerife.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments section of the article!
How to save on hotels during your travels
- Book in advance on Booking.com, as there are often promotions and discounts.
Where to buy cheap airline tickets
- I’ve been using Aviasales for several years – it’s reliable, convenient, and always offers low prices, cheaper than Skyscanner. The site also searches for tickets on low-cost airlines like Ryanair, Wizzair, EasyJet, and others.
- I also search for tickets directly on the websites of low-cost airlines.
Where to rent a car
- I choose cars on LocalRent – it’s been proven for its reliability, quality assurance, and user-friendliness. I can recommend it. They offer fair rental conditions, and there are options without a security deposit. The price for a rented car in the Canary Islands is around 22-25 Euros per day for a good new car with full insurance.