Miles of sandy beaches, year-round sunshine and dramatic volcanic scenery – holidays to Tenerife take getaways up a notch.
Beaches, beaches, beaches
Tenerife’s big-name resorts, like Playa de las Americas, Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos and Playa de la Arena, boast XL sandy beaches that keep package holiday crowds returning year after year. It all started with Britain’s Queen Victoria in the 19th century, and – despite the hotels and resorts looking newer – it’s still one of Europe’s top picks. The year-round sunshine, plus watersports, seafront cafes and bars, make this Canary Island’s beaches hard to beat. Flights from Ireland’s Dublin Airport don’t take any longer than a box set binge, either.
Although the beaches of Tenerife understandably get most of the good press, the island also boasts the tallest point in Spain – Mount Teide. Topping out at 3,718 metres, the summit of this gigantic peak – which has taken a break from eruptions for over a hundred years – is accessible via cable car. As you can imagine, the views from the top are nothing short of breathtaking. No Tenerife holiday’s fully complete until you’ve snapped pictures from the summit. And when you’re back at ground level, the surrounding volcanic landscape is a dramatic, lava-scarred scene that’s begging to be explored.
You might not realise it, but Tenerife’s got plenty of history to go with its sunbathing set-up. Colonial towns and villages crop in some of the island’s quieter corners. For example, Garachico is well worth a visit. As you walk through its cobblestoned streets, you can soak up sites that date back to 1496, when the town had to deal with pirate landings and volcanic eruptions. Also, check out the university town of La Laguna, with its lively social scene and typical Canarian architecture.
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The volume’s lowered in this typical Canarian village, which is set just along the coast from Tenerife’s raucous duo – Costa Adeje and Playa de las Americas. Here, chilled-out tapas bars share the mantle with places serving home favourites on the main street, and the hotel offering’s tailored to a family crowd.
Guia de Isora
This hillside village delivers standout views of Tenerife’s south-west shoreline, thanks to its position at the foot of Spain’s highest peak – Mount Teide. Its secluded spot makes for a quiet atmosphere, too. Restaurants are cut from a traditional Canarian cloth, and you’re more likely to see locals out and about than tourists.
Playa de la Arena
This resort’s a little way up the coast from Tenerife’s livelier towns, so peace and quiet’s definitely on the cards. Traditional restaurants and family-friendly hotels are in good supply, and the seafront promenade has a gentle buzz after dark. It’s got everything from tapas bars to familiar Irish bars, plus souvenir shops where you can stock up on beach gear.
Playa de las Americas
Nowhere in Tenerife draws a bigger holiday crowd than Playa de las Americas, and everything from the hotels to the dinner menus are designed with overseas visitors in mind. It’s set on the west coast, with up-and-coming Costa Adeje on one side and traditional Los Cristianos on the other. Every inch of space is put to good use in between, with waterparks, bar-packed streets and one of the island’s best golf courses slotted in.
- Gran Oasis Resort
- Mediterranean Palace
- Parque Santiago III Apartments
- Parque Cristobal Bungalows & Siam Park
- Hotel La Siesta
- Coral Compostela Beach
- Spring Hotel Bitacora
- Parque Santiago IV Apartments
- H10 Las Palmeras
- Las Piramides Resort
- Aparthotel Columbus
- Spring Hotel Bitacora - Half Board
- Hotel Gala
- Vanilla Garden Boutique Hotel
- Las Piramides Resort Hotel - Half Board
- Andorra Hotel Apartments
- Hotel Catalonia Oro Negro
- Colon II Apartments
- Hotel H10 Gran Tinerfe
- Sol Tenerife
- Compostela Beach Golf Apartments and Siam Park
- Columbus Aparthotel - Self Catering
- Aparthotel Granada Park
- Marylanza Suites & Spa Resort
- Hotel Villa Cortes
- Villa Mandi and Siam Park
- Hotel Best Tenerife
- Hotel H10 Conquistador
- Hotel Troya
- Spring Hotel Vulcano
- Garajonay Apartments
Puerto de la Cruz
This town, on Tenerife's northern shores, has sussed out the perfect old-meets-new balance. It's bigger than the island's tourist-free villages, where you won't hear a word of English, but doesn't adopt the same Brit-friendly approach as Playa de las Americas. Instead, you've got a melting pot of museums, cannon-lined promenades and multi-coloured plazas. Contemporary hotels add a dash of familiarity, and the two black-sand beaches play to a sun-seeking crowd.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Along with Las Palmas, in Lanzarote, this place is the capital of the Canary Islands. That gives you an idea of its size, and there’s plenty of substance to go with it. Modern shopping ‘ramblas’, or esplanades, criss-cross on the western side, while cruise ships and daytripping boats call at the eastern shores. In between, there’s everything from modern-art-style architecture to an old town filled with classic Canarian buildings.
This stretch of Tenerife’s shoreline’s like an extension of popular Playa de las Americas, with an extra sprinkle of style added to the hotels, harbour and restaurants. Volcanic pockets of sand create a horseshoe effect along the waterfront, and biscuit-coloured Playa del Duque beach looks more tropical than Canarian. Elsewhere, a selection of shopping malls, watersports centres and tapas bars complete the picture.
- Hovima Hotel Costa Adeje
- Adrián Hoteles Jardines de Nivaria
- Sheraton La Caleta Resort & Spa
- Royal Hideaway Corales Suites
- Iberostar Anthelia
- Playa Real Tenerife
- Iberostar Las Dalias
- Hotel Bahia Del Duque
- Parque Del Sol
- Guayarmina Princess Hotel - Adults Only
- Hotel Royal Garden Villas
- Iberostar Grand El Mirador
- Riu Arecas Hotel
- Iberostar Sabila
- Hotel Jardin Tropical
- Panoramica Heights
- GF Gran Costa Adeje
- Royal Hideaway Corales Beach
- Labranda Isla Bonita
- GF Victoria
- Parque Del Sol - Half Board
- Vincci Selección La Plantacion del Sur
- OLE Tropical Tenerife
- Hotel H10 Costa Adeje Palace
- Iberostar Bouganville Playa
- Hotel Riu Palace Tenerife
- GF Fanabe
- Hotel Bahia Princess
- Baobab Suites
- GF Isabel
- El Duque Aparthotel
- Melia Jardines del Teide
- Adrian Hoteles Colon Guanahani Hotel
Puerto de Santiago
Puerto de Santiago’s on the small side, and once devoted all of its time to the fishing industry. As Tenerife’s tourist pedigree improved, though, it’s joined the island’s growing list of holiday haunts. Things are more chilled than the bigger towns, so it’s a popular pick for families. The setting blends into the neighbouring villages of Playa de la Arena and Los Gigantes. Strolling between the trio only takes half an hour, and triples the stock of beaches, bars and restaurants on offer.
This town first made its name in the fishing business, but it’s gone on to play an ever-increasing role in Tenerife’s tourist game. It’s the smaller sibling of neighbouring Playa de las Americas, which draws one of the island’s biggest holiday crowds year after year. Things aren’t quite as lively here, but the selection of bars, restaurants and up-to-date hotels is still enough to turn heads.
For a true taste of Tenerife, away from the bustle of the modern resorts, this town’s just the ticket. It’s rare to hear English spoken anywhere, and the offering of bars and restaurants is Spanish to the core. Even the hotels blend in with the trademark milk-and-cereal colour scheme, so it’s easy to slip into the local way of life.
Dig out a Spanish phrase book, and you’ll see that Los Gigantes translates as ‘The Giants’. There’s no mythical undertone to this nickname – it’s actually based on the mighty cliffs which rise out of the Atlantic Ocean to the north. They reach more than 2,500 feet at their highest point – the town’s marina faces the nearest sheer rock faces, and you’ll get some of the best views from here.
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