You've booked your flights but now where to stay? Tenerife's many resorts all have something different to offer as Shameem Allen discovers with a visit to five of the island's most popular places.
Thanks to its position close to the warm coast of North Africa, Tenerife offers near year-round sunshine that attracts more than five million holidaymakers to its shores each year. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Spain, with a long history of foreign visitors who first began flocking to the island in the 1880s. Queen Victoria even famously escaped England's gloomy weather with a stay on the island in the 19th century.
As the largest of the seven Canary Islands, Tenerife has nearly too many resorts to choose between, from beach towns packed with thumping clubs and sunburnt tourists to sleepy villages with picturesque views and luxury five-star expanses. But never fear, whether you're the Queen of England or simply Queen of the Beach and Bar Scene, our handy guide to five of the island's most popular resorts will help you find an area to suit your stay.
Costa Adeje - Fit for Royalty
This five-star resort is sophistication at its finest, adorned with luxury hotels, waterfront restaurants and designer boutiques galore. Bordering Playa Las Americas on the island's south coast, Costa Adeje is Tenerife's newest resort and runs west from the Veronicas towards La Caleta with a wonderful traffic-free promenade along its full length. There are two blue flag beaches to choose from, with dark volcanic sands at Playa Fañabe for an authentic Tenerife experience, or golden stretches at the very up market Playa del Duque. Whichever you go for, both provide an array of water-sports and sun loungers surrounded by a choice of chic beach-side bars.
If you fancy a day out, take a boat tour from the purpose-built marina of Puerto Colon for a dolphin and whale watching excursion, returning in time for a late lunch overlooking the expensive yachts at the reasonably priced Colon Beach Restaurant. If you tire of the coast, move a little inland for a wander through the old town of Adeje and then on to the Barranco del Infierno or 'Hell's Gorge' for a hike with outstanding views. Golfers are well served with the superb Golf Costa Adeje 27-hole championship course found next to La Caleta, and if it's serious pampering you're after and have some money to spare, look no further than the opulent spa at the Bahia Del Duque which specialises in signature island treatments using volcanic mud and banana leaf products.
Playa de las Americas - Party Like a Princess
Neighbouring Costa Adeje on the southwest, Playa de las Americas has vastly different credentials. Although it boasts no less than six sandy beaches with calm waters, most come to Playa de las Americas for its party scene.
Cocktails, clubs and karaoke pull in the tourists and you’ll find the main nightlife hubs at Veronicas strip, the Starco Centre and the Patch. If you fancy a flutter, Casino Las Americas will be happy to take your money off your hands and for daytime fun and frolics, Siam Park waterpark won't disappoint.
Los Cristianos - For Kings of Culture
Still a dusty, traditional fishing village until 1955, Los Cristianos has grown to become one of Tenerife's most popular resorts. However unlike Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos has a history that pre-dates its transformation into a tourist resort.
While the beach-side is now mostly lined with newly built luxurious apartment blocks, behind the promenade along the car-free streets of the town centre you'll find classic Canarian buildings which can be identified by their wooden balconies and interior patios. In the town's central plaza sits the blindingly-white church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel which is focal point for local fiestas and concerts and still chimes on the hour every hour.
Its two beaches, Los Cristianos Beach and Playa Vistas - which was created with sand imported from the Sahara, are bordered by a long promenade of good quality restaurants, many offering typical Canarian dishes such at Restaurante Abordo. For culture of an entirely different kind, head back to the promenade after dark to find it transformed into a lively, brightly lit strip enjoyed by night owls.
Los Gigantes - Majestic Views
The small, quiet resort of Los Gigantes lies almost on Tenerife's most westerly point, against the incredible backdrop of the dramatic 300-metre mountain range known as The Giants. This imposing cliff face can be seen from almost anywhere in the resort but it's probably best enjoyed at the Mirador Archipenque view point. Downright spectacular at sunset, the cliffs are cast in a golden glow that stretches all the way to neighbouring La Gomera. The sleepy town's small black-sand volcanic beach might not be as traditionally pretty as its paler cousins, but its unusualness quite simply invites photographs.
Los Gigantes is just a 40-minute drive from the mountain village of Masca, one of the most picturesque parts of Tenerife. The village sits at the foot of the Teno Mountains in a truly magnificent setting that makes the hairpin mountain bends well worth the journey. Masca's houses appear to perch magically on the narrow ridges of dramatic rock formations, set at the head of a gorge. Take the popular but strenuous trek down the forested trail from the gorge to the Bay of Masca for a well deserved few hours of sunbathing. Rent a car and visit at your leisure, or if you don't fancy navigating the hairpin bends yourself, book a jeep safari tour.
Santa Cruz - Hold Court in the Capital
Tenerife's capital Santa Cruz is a rich mix of history, culture, fine dining and nightlife. Situated at the eastern tip of the island at the foot of the stunning Anaga Mountains, this vibrant port city is large enough to provide an endless variety of things to do and see, yet compact enough to explore on foot.
We recommend visiting fascinating Museum of Man and Nature which charts the evolution of the Canary Islands from their beginnings to the present day over three floors of interactive exhibits which even include the mummified remains of the earliest inhabitants of Tenerife, the Guanche. Stop for lunch at Restaurante Los Pinchitos and mix with the locals at chic Chema Gin Club.
Santa Cruz is a main departure point for tours of the spectacular Teide National Park. Arrive at sunset to see the the otherworldly volcanic topography bathed in soft pink and red light before the Milky Way emerges and the constellations appear for the ultimate stargazing experience.
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