November 5, 2021
From the bohemian surfer vibes of El Medano and family-friendly fun in Los Cristianos, to the romantic mountain views in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife’s varied resorts appeal to all kinds of travellers.
No matter if you’re looking to get away from it all in an unspoiled location or dance until the sun comes up in a party resort, you’ll find somewhere to suit on our list of the best places to stay in Tenerife.
For a family holiday that ticks everyone’s boxes, Los Cristianos is a top choice. As the second-largest resort on the south coast, there is a huge range of accommodation to suit families and budgets of all sizes, including self-catering villas and all-inclusive resorts. The two main beaches are at the centre of the action, with Los Cristianos Beach offering calm water for little kiddies to learn to swim, and Playa de las Vistas providing watersports that thrill-seeking teenagers will love.
Away from the beach, young animal lovers will be fascinated by the parrots, sea lions and tigers at nearby Jungle Park, while water babies will love both Siam Park and Aqualand waterparks. If you’ve got a brood of little monkeys, take them to see their namesakes at Monkey Park, or for older kids who like to shop, visit the popular Los Cristianos Sunday market. When it comes to dinner, there are plenty of family-friendly bars and restaurants, so even the fussiest eaters will be happy.
With magical mountain views, a charming old town and several beaches to choose from, Puerto de la Cruz, located in Tenerife’s quieter north, feels a world away from the big, brash resorts in the south. There are several bays spread around the rocky coast here, including the pretty Playa Jardin, where sparkling black sand is backed by a tropical garden designed by the famous Canarian artist, César Manrique.
For a beach day of a different kind, pay a visit to the unique Costa Martianez complex. This is Manrique’s answer to a waterpark, with a huge, artificial seawater lake and a series of seawater pools, all interspersed by beautiful sculptures, bars and restaurants. Couples will also enjoy soaking up the local buzz in Plaza del Charco (ideally with an ice cream or Sangria), admiring waterfalls and sea views from up high in Parque Taoro, or if you’re feeling adventurous, hiking in the surrounding Orotava Valley. Various trails start near Puerto de la Cruz.
Close to Tenerife South Airport and with a good selection of cheap, self-catering accommodation, the bohemian surf spot of El Medano is ideal for travellers on a budget. The taxi from the airport usually comes under €10 and there’s a number of shops in town to stock up on goodies, so you can bank on a budget-friendly stay here.
It’s also a popular spot for surfing and kitesurfing, thanks to the reliable conditions throughout summer. Use your saved pennies to join in on the fun – there’s several kit-rental places here – then follow the crowd towards the town’s bars and restaurants. These are generally geared towards a young, slightly hippy surfer crowd, and you can expect prices to reflect that.
Big, bright and boisterous, Playa de las Americas is Tenerife’s undisputed nightlife capital. This purpose-built resort on the south coast has attracted holidaymakers since the 60s and now boasts a huge array of accommodation, from all-inclusive resorts to affordable self-catering party pads. There are five sandy beaches to choose from, all lined with bars and restaurants, and for those looking to start early, several party-boat excursions leave from the shore here too.
At night Playa de las Americas really comes alive, with bars and clubs along Veronicas Strip blaring tunes until the early hours. From Irish bars to the iconic Hard Rock Café, as well as cabaret bars and beach clubs, there is something to suit every kind of party animal here.
Contrary to its name, lovely Los Gigantes is one of the smaller resort towns in Tenerife. In fact, this picturesque resort takes its name from the epic cliffs that tower over the town and stretch out into the sea. There are a handful of four- and five-star hotels here, and lots of privately owned apartments or villas, so you’ll have a good choice of places to stay.
Paragliding and scenic boat trips are popular activities here, as is whale- and dolphin-watching (marine life tends to like the waters around these parts). As night falls, you’ll want to head to the resort’s black-sand beach for the sunset – it’s legendary in Tenerife. After dark, you won't find a ton of rowdy nightclubs like in Las Americas. Instead, head down to the marina for dinner and drinks with a view.
Costa Adeje is one of the best resorts for first timers. There’s great public transport links to get you across the island, and you’ll be close to many of Tenerife’s best beaches – Playa Fañabé and the Blue Flag Playa del Duque are here. As well as sun, sand and sea, staying in Costa Adeje puts you close to the thrill-filled Siam Park, which is widely regarded as the best waterpark in Europe, and Los Cristianos, where you can take a ferry across to La Gomera on a day trip.
When it comes to drinking and dining, head for the upmarket area of Playa del Duque. Here, your culinary journey will take you around the world: there’s Mediterranean meals at the Michelin-rated La Cupula, Japanese fare at Kensei, and local specialties at La Torre del Mirador. Along the shore you’ll find several restaurants offering freshly caught seafood and tasty tapas with spectacular sea views – ideal if you want to sample Canarian specialities such papas arrugadas con mojo (wrinkled potatoes).
The tiny fishing village of La Caleta is a must for seafood lovers. Despite being just along the coast from the big and bustling Costa Adeje, La Caleta remains blissfully quiet and impressively authentic. There is a smattering of luxurious beachside hotels along the coast to the south of the resort, but the main hub is the pretty central waterfront. Here you’ll find boats moored up after bringing in the catch of the day, and fishermen and tourists alike enjoying the sunshine in casual restaurants overlooking the water.
Stop for lunch and indulge your taste buds with delicate lemony fish, or paella laden with mussels and huge whole prawns, then wash it down with cool glasses of local white wine. To walk off the post lunch-slump, head into Costa Adeje. It takes about an hour, but you’ll be rewarded with a handful of upmarket restaurants for dinner.