What to see in Tenerife South: 10 places not to be missed

I started writing this article on what to see in Tenerife South on the return flight. Four incredible months in which I have explored far and wide Canary Islands, loving them all, from first to last (I only miss Gran Canaria). However, Tenerife holds a special place in my heart, both because it is the island where I spent the most time (almost 2 months), and because in Tenerife there is the most beautiful thing of all the Canary Islands for me: the Teide volcano. A mountain almost 4000 meters high (it is 3718 meters high) that emerged from the sea billions of years ago thanks to an underwater eruption and that we can see in all its beauty, from sea level to the summit. For me this thing is unbelievable! When we are in the presence of very high mountains we usually see them starting from a certain altitude; in the case of Teide, on the other hand, in less than an hour you can go from the beach to the snow on the summit. Maybe then I'm sick of volcanoes, but the Teide (and the landscapes around) is really something that has left me speechless. If I had to say what is the thing to see in the Canary Islands, being able to choose only one, I would say the Teide without a shadow of a doubt! The peak is visible from practically all parts of Tenerife but also from the neighboring islands (La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro and Gran Canaria); even when the island is cloaked in clouds, the peak is almost always above. Oh well, now I'll stop, so I will have the opportunity to talk about Teide even later in this very long article.

Tenerife is an island with two souls, there is the south, very touristic, built specifically to accommodate tens of thousands of tourists (mainly British, French and German in Los Cristianos and Las Americas) and he north, where the historic cities are located, the most beautiful ones, the greenest and most unspoiled traditions and landscapes. Despite a good stretch of coast being massacred by eco monsters, southern Tenerife still has several beautiful things, such as the beaches, the climate (which is no small feat, there is always the sun and several degrees more than in the north of the island), the cliffs de Los Gigantes, Punta de Teno and other beauties that I will tell you about in this article. 

Tenerife: 10 things to see in South Tenerife

1. Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas

Los Cristianos e Las Americas Beach they are the most touristic places on the island and to include them among the things to see in southern Tenerife is a bit of a gamble, but I was lucky to see them in this particular historical moment, without English and with very few tourists in general. They are not beautiful, except for some beaches and for the sunsets that can be seen from some very beautiful beach bars such as the OA Beach Club or the Monkey Beach Bar. and maybe move to the smaller islands such as La Gomera, El Hierro or La Palma. Playa Las Americas is also one of the best areas on the island for surfing and teems with schools to learn how to surf. If you are focused on this, it is definitely the place for you (from the director they tell me that there are the perfect conditions to learn to surf). In this area of ​​Tenerife it is also very nice to go horseback riding (here you can find the info) or fly with a paraglider at sunset over the sea. 

2. El Puertito, Playa Abama and the other beaches

If you want to find quieter situations you can move a few kilometers along the west coast to reach places like El Puertito, a small fishing village with a few houses and a single bar. To the left of the village there are also some rocks from which you can dive into a small bay that is not bad at all. Going further there are the beautiful beaches of Playa del Duque, Diego Hernandez and Playa Abama (which I tell you about in the article on the most beautiful beaches in Tenerife). In this stretch of coast there are also a couple of very nice places to watch the sunset; the first is called Black Rock Sunset Club, where you can sip a good drink sitting comfortably on cushions directly on the rocks. The other Coqueluce Beach Bar, in fact an establishment, which however gets very animated at aperitif time. For dinner instead I recommend you go to La Caleta and enjoy an excellent fish dinner al Salitre restaurant and The old woman (more elegantino and pettinello, but very good and beautiful). 

You might be interested in this Horseback ride in Costa Adeje

3. Los Gigantes and the sighting of cetaceans

Among the things to see in south Tenerife, theLos Gigantes Cliff fully enters my top 3! The beaches of the west coast end with the locality of Los Gigantes because from here begins an impervious area of ​​the island consisting of impressive volcanic cliffs. These vertical walls of almost 600 meters drop sheer to the sea and are of unspeakable beauty. They give their best at sunset, because they take on a reddish color, and the best view is undoubtedly the one from the sea. There are mini-cruises of 2h that depart from the porticcciolo de Los Gigantes to go to spot dolphins and whales and I highly recommend them! In fact, after the sighting they take you in front of the cliffs and you will also have the opportunity to take a quick bath in front of this wonder of nature. If you are at least 5-6 people you can also rent a private boat with skipper or take the catamaran trip from the comfort of Puerto Còlon, in Costa Adeje (which is attached to Playa de las Americas). 

4. Masca and the Rural Park of Teno

Masca is the second most visited resort in Tenerife after Teide and is undoubtedly one of the must-see things in southern Tenerife, as is the Rural park of Teno within which it is located. The Teno mountain massif occupies the entire western tip of Tenerife and reaches an altitude of 1345 meters. This park groups narrow valleys, high mountains and deep canyons (called barrancos) and is a beautiful area to see and to walk (I'll tell you about this in the article on trekking!). The village of Masca it is located on the crest of the homonymous barranco and can be reached by a road full of curves, on which some crazy miradores open up. The view of the village from above is truly magnificent because Masca truly resembles a miniature Machu Pichu! A very famous trek on the island is the one the Barranco di Masca; closed for 3 years, it has just been reopened (April 2021), but admission is limited (you can book through this site) and it has already been understood that it will soon become paid. Before closing, 3 years ago, there was a boat taxi service on the beach at the end of the barranco which avoided having to retrace the entire path in reverse (all uphill, tostarella). At this time it has not been restored, so you have to calculate at least 6-7h of walk between A / R. 

5. Punta de Teno

Punta de Teno it is the westernmost point of Tenerife, where the cliffs of Los Gigantes end, and it is a place of great charm. To reach it you will have to get to Buenavista del Norte and follow the directions. The access road to the Punta (the last 7 km), however, is closed to cars on weekends and holidays, but don't worry, there is a convenient bus service from Buenavista del norte and here you will find all the timetables. If you go there on weekends / holidays, leave your car directly at the Buenavista bus station because you can't stop near the gate, at the point where they close the road. On the tip there is a beautiful black sand beach that "looks" at Los Gigantes, the lighthouse (which unfortunately cannot be accessed) and the walkways with which you can reach the rocks from which you can dive (there are also ladders to go up!). An even better way to reach Punta de Teno is this trekking starting from Teno Alto. It is within everyone's reach and is incredibly scenic (in addition to the fact that you can take a bath on arrival!). In this area there is also a very good and very scenic fish restaurant that I recommend is called The Burgado (booking recommended!). 

6. Garachico and the Cave of the Wind

Continuing an imaginary tour along the west coast of the island, among the things to see in South Tenerife there is certainly also Garachico. In the 1706th century this seaside town was the island's most important port for trade with Europe. Then there were various natural disasters that caused its ruin: floods, fires and a great volcanic eruption in XNUMX that submerged the port and the city. Today Garachico is a city that still retains a certain charm, especially thanks to its historic colonial-style buildings, and has magnificent natural pools in which to bathe. The lava flow that destroyed the city is the same that created the volcanic tube of the Cave of the Wind, not far from the center. This volcanic tube (conceptually the same as those that can be seen in the Azores or Lanzarote), is one of the longest in Europe (17 km!); the visit must be booked through this site. If you have never seen one, I absolutely recommend that you go and see it! 

7. Icod de los Vinos 

I must admit that the small town of Icod de los Vinos it was one of the most beautiful surprises in Tenerife, and becomes one of the must-see things in southern Tenerife! Icod de los Vinos is most famous for the millennial dragon, the most impressive and ancient specimen of the Dracaena draco tree in Tenerife. This tree is a kind of living fossil and you will only be able to see it in the Canaries and a few other places in the world (including the island of Socotra, in Yemen), so you should definitely go! The Icod specimen is between 800 and 1000 years old and is truly magnificent. In fact, the whole town of Icod is precious, with several ancient buildings with wooden balustrades and it is really pleasant to take a walk. The tree can also be seen well from this square, but I recommend you to go inside Drago Park (costs 5 euros) to see it up close and, perhaps, stop for a coffee in the beautiful garden of the bar-restaurant la House of the Dragon

8. El Médano and the Yellow Mountain

We now move to the opposite coast, the one where the Tenerife South airport is located. A place to see is definitely The Mèdano, the most famous place on the island for windsurfing and kitesurfing. As you can imagine, El Médano is very windy, but it has a small village with a nice relaxed mood. If you want to do beach life in the area however you will have to go to La Teijita beach , a beautiful beach sheltered from the wind, oa Yellow Beach. This small pebble beach takes its name from Montana Amarilla, a very suggestive yellow rock mound that protects it. Entering the water is not easy here, but you can dive and then go up again with the ladders. This area, like much of the island, is full of banana groves and a nice experience to do is to eat in a restaurant that has tables right under the banana trees, as is the case in the Ristorante El Cordero. In the latter the specialty is grilled meat, while if you want to eat good fish I recommend going to the nearby town of The coats and go to the Tasquita del Puerto

9. Abona and San Miguel de Tajao 

Proceeding north, lovers of abandoned places will not be able to miss theAncient leper colony of Abades. With World War II, the Canary Islands often found themselves without adequate medical supplies and various diseases began to spread, including leprosy. They therefore decided to build 40 buildings in a dedicated area facing the sea, including a barracks, a hospital, a crematorium and a church. However, the construction was not completely completed thanks to the arrival of new medicines and the structures were used for military purposes until the 70s. The area was then demilitarized and later sold to an owner in 2002 to create a tourist complex, but a new law froze every project. The area is still privately owned, but in fact it is not closed by cuts. To reach the leper colony, you will have to leave your car here, near the Abona lighthouse, and then continue on foot (the other roads that Google shows you do not exist, they are dirt tracks!). The buildings are very dilapidated and in bad shape, but they have been embellished with many murals so the environment is very suggestive. When you're done, enjoy the best fresh seafood on the island in the fishing village of San Miguel de Tajao. This small village is famous for its fish restaurants where they make you choose fresh fish from the window and cook it on the spot. The best restaurant to go to is called Delights of the Sea (if you want paella you have to order it first by phone). They are all good restaurants where you will spend little and eat like hell !! 

10. Rocks of Fasnia

I close this article on the things to see in south Tenerife with a little gem, that is with Roques de Fasnia beach. This little bay looks almost like a nativity scene, with a handful of houses built on the rock. Apart from seeing it, photographing it and maybe taking a bath in the bay, there is nothing else to do, but I liked it very much. It was just me when I went there and it really felt like a place out of time. 

You might also be interested in these other articles I wrote about the Canary Islands:

  • What to see in Tenerife North: 10 places not to be missed
  • Where to stay in Tenerife: the best areas
  • Canary Islands: which ones to choose
  • The 15 most beautiful beaches in Tenerife
  • La Gomera (Canary Islands): what to see
  • What to see in La Palma, the 'isla bonita' of the Canaries
  • What to see in Lanzarote: all the places not to be missed
  • El Hierro: what to see and what to do
  • Fuerteventura: what to see and where to go
  • How to organize a trip to Lanzarote
  • The most beautiful treks in Lanzarote (Canary Islands)
  • La Palma (Canary Islands): the most beautiful treks
  • Lanzarote: the most beautiful beaches and natural pools
  • Smartworking from the Canary Islands: info and useful tips for digital nomads

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