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9 quiet towns in Tenerife that are still off the radar

Photo of Tamara HinsonPhoto of Tamara Hinson
By Tamara Hinson

27 November 2020 | Updated 26 January 202411 min read

Top view on Garachico town on northern part of Tenerife island.

Garachico, Tenerife Find Tenerife's quieter side in this traditional fishing town.

Whether you’re seeking winter sun without the long-haul flight or you’re longing for a cheap and sunny beach break, Tenerife ticks all the boxes.

But don’t just think about its most famous towns and beach resorts – this is a place where venturing off the beaten path pays huge dividends, which is why we’re shining the spotlight on its lesser-known, crowd-free destinations that often slip under the radar.

1. Buenavista Del Norte

Pretty Buenavista Del Norte, on Tenerife’s northwest coast, is the best of both worlds – it’s easily accessible but feels wonderfully remote. It’s a hit with hikers and cyclists, with 80% of the area designated as a nature reserve.

It’s also one of Tenerife’s oldest towns, and highlights include the ancient lighthouse at its heart and the Franciscan monastery you’ll find in the museum-like historic quarter.

Nearby, you can head to the Teno Rural Park for its mountains and ravines, or to the area around the spectacular Los Gigantes cliffs.

Where to stay in Buenavista Del Norte

There are limited hotels in Buenavista Del Norte and that’s part of its charm. Its top offering is Hotel Hacienda Del Conde, a Meliá Collection Hotel, a brilliant five-star property that’s perfectly positioned for anyone keen to make the most of Buenavista Del Norte’s best bits. It’s ideal for active types – a sprawling golf course wraps around this adults-only hotel and activities available nearby include horse-riding.

Other options include holiday homes and apartments, but the surrounding area has plenty of choices too, and you’ll find wonderfully chilled-out hotels in converted, rustic farmhouses. One example is Oasis Hill Icod de los Vinos, where perks include vineyard views and antique-filled bedrooms.

2. Garachico

The town of Garachico, in northwest Tenerife, was rebuilt in 1706 following the eruption of the Trevejo volcano. Not that you’d notice – the town is still packed with traditional Canarian architecture, and its historic centre has some of the island’s most beautiful buildings (don’t miss the Church of Santa Ana, with its striking stonework and beautiful sculptures).

You’ll also find some of the best black-sand beaches in Tenerife nearby. Nervous swimmers should head to the gentler El Caletón natural pools, created in 1706 when the erupting volcano’s lava flow reached the sea, quickly cooling to form weird and wonderful shapes.

Where to stay in Garachico

Garachico has several gorgeous boutique hotels, many of which are tucked into historic buildings. Travellers on a budget should consider the Hotel Livvo La Quinta Roja, a boutique hotel inside a heritage property that dates back to the 16th century. Its location near the coastline makes it a great spot for walks along the beach, although staying put at this hotel, with its Insta-worthy combination of contemporary and traditional décor, is just as tempting. Garachico’s hotels often book up well in advance during peak season, so don’t be afraid to consider properties further afield. The Drago Hostel in nearby Icod de los Vinos is another great option for a super affordable stay.

3. San Cristóbal de La Laguna

San Cristóbal de La Laguna is actually a small city not far from Tenerife's capital, although it's often overlooked by visitors. The UNESCO-listed city is famous for its historic layout – it was planned in the 1600s and inspired the layout of several urban centres in Latin America, including Old Havana in Cuba. Start with an exploration of its historic centre, filled with historic churches, cathedrals and palaces.

Another highlight is the Cathedral of La Laguna, with its neoclassical façade and stockpile of priceless treasures, including paintings by 18th-century artist Cristobal Hernandez de Quintana.

Where to stay in San Cristóbal de La Laguna

Laguna Nivaria Hotel & Spa is a four-star spa hotel with slick décor and an abundance of space. You’ll be just a short walk from some of San Cristóbal de La Laguna’s best restaurants (which is a major bonus, given the town’s reputation for serving up some of Tenerife’s most delicious Spanish cuisine) and the spa is a brilliant spot to retreat to after a day pounding San Cristóbal de La Laguna’s cobbled streets. The large number of connecting rooms makes this a great option for families, too. Nearby Il Sogno di Gio della Laguna is equally family-friendly – the hotel has its own playground, and guestrooms have dishwashers and microwaves, so it’s ideal for families who don’t want to eat out every night.

4. La Orotava

The pretty town of La Orotava is located around 35km southwest of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It was once a hangout for the region’s elite – and it shows. There’s an abundance of historic buildings (many of which are open to the public) and the majority have beautiful balconies and spacious courtyards. The wonderfully grand Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, built in the 18th century, is one of Tenerife’s most beautiful churches.

The town is in the heart of one of the Canary Islands’ most fertile winemaking areas, and at Casa Mendez-Fonseca, you can learn more about the process, before sampling some of the island's best wines. It's also worth visiting Casa Lercaro. This 16th-century property, with its traditional wooden balconies featuring hand-carved designs, has been turned into a restaurant.

Where to stay in La Orotava

Despite La Orotava’s blissful lack of crowds, it’s surprisingly accessible, so there are plenty of hotels to choose from. If you’re all about the location, check in at Hotel Rural Victoria, which is just a five-minute walk from La Oratava’s fabulously baroque Church of Our Lady of Conception. Basing yourself in nearby Puerto de La Cruz is also an option – it’s just 6km away, and there’s a regular bus service between the two destinations. Puerto de la Cruz is also where you’ll find one of our favourite hotels – Hotel Vallemar. The property opened in 1950, although you wouldn’t know it – the most sought-after spots include the slick swim-up bar and infinity pool.

5. Los Silos

With a backdrop of the Teno mountains and its tangle of narrow cobbled streets, Los Silos, located in northwest Tenerife, is a wonderful escape if you’re looking for some time away from Tenerife’s busier resorts.

Stop in on the town hall, in the Plaza de la Luz, to admire the ancient wooden architecture and for information about the area. Then, check out the town's highlights, which include the San Sebastián convent and the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de La Luz.

While Los Silos has two small beaches, both around a 20-minute walk from the centre, and an open-air beachfront pool complex that's a great option for younger swimmers, the town's main drawcard is its proximity to the mountains – ideal if you're a keen hiker.

Where to stay in Los Silos

Many of the visitors who base themselves in Los Silos opt for homestays, although there are some fabulous boutique hotels. Luz Del Mar is a pint-sized hotel (there are just 49 rooms) with amenities which bely its small size – there’s a heated pool with a swim-up bar, along with a sauna and a gym. Families can opt for two-room studios (bag a room on the upper floors for stunning views) and the (mostly local) staff are particularly knowledgeable about local hiking routes. This is another town close to Buenavista Del Norte, where you’ll find a slightly wider range of hotels too.

6. Masca

Masca is more of a village than a town, but it’s another destination that's worth leaving your sun-lounger for. You’ll find it nestled in the Teno mountains, on the western side of Tenerife.

A historic hotspot that’s been incredibly well preserved due to its inaccessibility (there’s only been road access since 1991), Masca is famous for its traditional squat cottages, many of which cling to the sides of a steep ravine.

It’s a great base for hikes, and one of the best trails is the Camino de los Guanches, which for years was the only route in and out of Masca. It's also worth hiking to the Cherfe lookout (Mirador de Cherfe) for unbeatable views over the surrounding mountains. You’ll find it on the road that connects Masca and Santiago del Teide.

Where to stay in Masca

Masca’s small size means most people keen to fit this gorgeous spot into their itinerary stay on its outskirts, in places such as nearby Los Silos. Another great option is La Casona Del Patio in Santiago del Teide. Amenities include a fleet of bicycles for guests who fancy a spot of pedal power. Alternatively, make your base one of the hotels in nearby Buenavista Del Norte. These include the Hotel Hacienda Del Conde Meliá Collection Hotel – stay here and you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds: easy access to Masca and a base in another of Tenerife’s prettiest areas.

7. Arico Nuevo

Easily accessible from the capital of Santa Cruz and known for its rugged beauty (it’s located between two ravines, La Atalaya and Lere or Los Caballos), Arico Nuevo is a small, rural community filled with whitewashed houses and perched above a particularly rugged stretch of Tenerife’s coastline.

Although there’s not a huge amount to do here, it’s a brilliant, quiet example of a traditional Tenerife town – in this case, one which dates back to the eighteenth century, when travellers came here to bathe in its natural springs.

It’s also got two stunning, artefact-packed churches – the Nuestra Señora de la Luz, which has a Madonna and Child sculpture carved in the 1500s, and the Church of San Bartolomé, where you’ll find a trove of 17th-century statues.

Where to stay in Arico Nuevo

Hotels are slim on the ground here (read: non-existent), which we’re seeing as a good thing, because it means that Arico Nuevo rarely gets crowded. Visitors generally base themselves on the coast, or at one of a handful of independent hotels on Arico Nuevo’s outskirts. These hotels tend to have a focus on wellness, and one example is EcoHotel El Agua, where guests come to embrace everything from yoga retreats to workshops focusing on Hippocratic medicine.

8. Icod de los Vinos

Icod de los Vinos’ most famous landmark? The Millennial Dragon Tree, a national monument that’s 800 years old and the symbol of Tenerife. Other reasons to visit this northern town include the awe-inspiring La Cueva del Viento, which is Europe’s largest lava tube, and the black sand of the Playa de San Marcos, one of Tenerife’s best beaches for families – it rarely gets crowded, and the water is calm and shallow.

Icod de los Vinos was named in honour of the surrounding vineyards (many of which date back to the 1500s, when vines were brought here from Greece), and the town is filled with elegant buildings constructed by 18th-century vineyard owners. And if you fancy sampling some Spanish wine, you’re in luck – Icod de los Vinos proximity to several vineyards means it's a great spot for a sip or too (the red wines are particularly highly regarded, and you’ll find plenty of traditional Spanish cuisine here. Try the rabbit stew (trust us, it’s delicious), typically served with Canarian potatoes.

Where to stay in Icod de los Vinos

For wow factor, it’s got to be Hotel Emblematico San Marcos, a heritage property in the centre of Icod de los Vinos. This spectacular hotel feels both homely and decadent, and it’s packed with original features, such as ornate tiling in the hallways. Also in the centre of Icod de los Vinos is Apartamentos Estrella del Norte – a three-star aparthotel perfect for a few days’ stay – there are laundry facilities and microwaves in the rooms. It’s also ideal for those who love spending time in the great outdoors – there’s a large picnic and barbecue area, and guests can saddle up on one of the hotel's bicycles.

Hovima Santa María

  • Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain
  • 8 June 2024
  • Half Board
  • From Edinburgh

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with partner before booking.

Prices from

£564

pp
View deal

9. Taganana

We love Taganana, which is home to just 600 people and is well worth a visit for its backdrop of soaring peaks (its name is derived from an old Guanche word meaning 'surrounded by mountains’). For hikers, easy access to Anaga Rural Park, where you’ll be met with laurel forests and deep ravines, is also a bonus.

Don’t leave without hiking to the El Bailadero viewpoint for unbeatable vistas over the ocean, or visiting the Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, which is one of Tenerife’s oldest churches and contains a beautiful triptych painted in the 1500s.

Where to stay in Taganana

Taganana’s small size means the majority of visitors stay elsewhere. There are no hotels here, but it’s just 22km north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where you’ll find a wide range of hotels. Hotel Colon Rambla has 55 spacious rooms, and its cosy lounge bar is a great spot to unwind after a day exploring the landscapes around Taganana. There is an upside to being based outside the vast expanse of wilderness in which Taganana is located, though – the drive to this small commune is truly stunning, and will hammer home the wonderful remoteness of Taganana.

Hovima Santa María

  • Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain
  • 8 June 2024
  • Half Board
  • From Edinburgh

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with partner before booking.

Prices from

£564

pp
View deal

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