I kick off the series of articles on Tenerife by answering the million dollar question you ask me most often: where to stay in Tenerife? What is the best area to look for a hotel or apartment in Tenerife?
Being the largest island in the Canaries, there are many places to stay and there is no single answer, much less a perfect area. Depending on your needs and what you want to do, you may want to sleep in the south or north, in larger towns or in more isolated areas. In this article I will try to dissect the strengths and weaknesses of the various areas of the island to allow you to choose more easily without having surprises. The article is aimed at those who intend to spend a holiday in Tenerife; those who want to relocate for longer will find this other article on Smartworking from the Canary Islands more useful.
Where to stay in Tenerife: better south or north?
Wanting to generalize a bit, the south of Tenerife is the area devoted to tourism, and this is where most of the big hotels and large establishments are located. The construction is not the best (forget the beautiful villas with pools in Lanzarote), but the climate, on the other hand, is very favorable. The South area of Tenerife is the dry one, with very little rain and plenty of sunshine throughout the year. North of Tenerife, on the other hand, are the historic, colonial cities, such as San Cristobal de la Laguna or la Orotava, much more beautiful from an architectural point of view, but with a definitely worse climate. In the north of the island it can rain often (especially in winter), and in general there is always a few degrees less than in the south. The north is very green (and you understand why), but here you will find much more beautiful and charming structures.
With regard to the convenience for travel, calculate that it takes about 1h-1h30 'to reach the north from the south (and vice versa), so, technically, if you are based in one of the two extremes of the island you can also visit the other with day trips, but you will lose a lot of time. The Teide and its large natural park can be reached at more or less the same time, both from the south and from the north.
And the center of Tenerife? With these premises it would seem to be the best area to stay in Tenerife, but in fact it is not. And it is not mainly for a geographical reason: the central-south of the island is occupied by the high mountains / volcanoes of the Parque National del Teide and there are no villages. On the coast in the center on one side there is Puerto de la Cruz (very beautiful) and on the other Candelaria, but to move from one side of the island to the other you will still be forced to circumnavigate the Teide and you will not save time. Let's say that the main choice of where to stay in Tenerife is always limited to the south or the north. If you have enough days, the best option in my opinion is to sleep half way south and half north. But let's see in more detail the advantages and disadvantages of the various locations.
Where to stay in South Tenerife
Los Cristianos / Playa de las Americas
Los Cristianos and Playa de las Amèricas they are the most touristic places in Tenerife by far. Two places completely devoted to tourism, especially mass tourism. Here you find large resorts and shopping malls, but also several beautiful wide and sandy beaches, perfect for those traveling with children and for those who want to dedicate themselves to surfing. Los Cristianos and Las Américas are also the locations chosen by young people on the hunt for nightlife, are full of bars, clubs and restaurants. Los Cristianos has a younger target and is cheaper than Las Américas, but it is certainly also uglier. An advantage of these locations also lies in the fact that they are located a few kilometers from theTenerife South airport (where 99% of flights from the rest of Europe land) and that depart from the port of Los Cristianos ferries to reach La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro . If you plan to visit these islands too, it can be a good choice to sleep here.
Costa Adeje it extends north of Playa de las Américas and is home to luxury hotels, beautiful beaches (such as Playa del Duque) and more sophisticated clubs. Let's say it's the posh version of the two previous locations.
In these areas I recommend:
- La Maricita Cristianos (The Christians) : super nice apartment with sea view and 2 meters from the beach
- Boutique Hotel H10 Big Sur – Adults Only (The Christians) : nice hotel, very large, with tropical garden and swimming pool, for adults only
- Coral Dreams (The Americas) : small residence with swimming pool, nice and close to the beach
- Endless Summer House Hostel (The Americas) : nice hostel, in the hills, but 10 'from the beach of Las Americas
- Adrián Hotels Colón Guanahaní Adults (Costa Adeje) : colonial structure a stone's throw from the sea, with every kind of comfort
If you are looking for a particular experience, perhaps to celebrate a special occasion or simply to give yourself a gift, you can sleep in a bubble at theHotel Rural La Correa del Almendro, which is located in the hills near Arona. The hotel also has normal rooms, but the real gem is there Bubble, a transparent bubble from which you can observe the starry sky at night, as well as the surrounding nature by day. The bubble guarantees total privacy and is equipped with every comfort, including a telescope! If you are looking for a particularly romantic location… here you are!
Coast of Silence / El Médano
If you are looking for quieter locations than Los Cristianos / Las Américas or Costa Adeje you can orient yourself on the coast that rises to the west. Locations like Las Gallettas, Costa del Silencio, Los Abrigos and El Médano they are quieter villages, with a marina and little more. El Medano in particular it is the most famous area for kitesurfing and windsurfing, here the wind always blows (a lot !!) and mainly those who want to devote themselves to these sports stay there. Otherwise I advise you not to sleep here because the wind can be really strong and very annoying (I was there for 1 week and I was going crazy!), Even if the mood is undoubtedly cute, youthful and relaxed.
- Ashavana Hostel (El Médano): very nice hotel in the center of El Médano
- Bungalow (Las Gallettas): the very nice little house where I stayed for a month. A little isolated (you will need a car to do anything), but a real gem
Icod de los Vinos / Garachico
If you are looking for history and tradition and more charming structures you can definitely consider staying in Garachico (located on the sea) or Icod de los Vinos, two historic towns located on the south-east coast of Tenerife. Garachico is famous for its natural pools, while Icod for its beautiful old town, where there are many well-preserved and renovated traditional houses. To get to Los Cristianos or Tenerife Sur Airport from here, however, you will have to cross the mountains.
- Hotel Rural El Patio (Garachico): beautiful hotel set in a large estate, surrounded by nature but close to the sea
- Hotel Emblematico San Marcos (Icod de los Vinos): charming hotel in a typical 18th century Canarian house
Where to stay in Tenerife North
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Il capital of Tenerife it is a port city that still has some colonial buildings, some fine art museums, the auditorium designed by Calatrava and a decent nightlife. If you are a city lover and want to explore the north well (especially the Anaga area), Santa Cruz can be a great base to stay in North Tenerife. Just outside the city center there is also one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, the sheltered one Teresitas Beach.
- Emblematic Hotel Hi Suite (Santa Cruz de Tenerife): very nice, new and central structure
- Casa Kilig B&B (Santa Cruz de Tenerife): very nice little B&B in the center of Santa Cruz
San Cristobal de la Laguna / La Orotava
San Cristobal de la Laguna e La Orotava they are by far the most beautiful cities in Tenerife, the ones that still preserve the colonial architecture of the XNUMXth century. The first was the ancient capital of Tenerife and, thanks to its renovated historic houses, it was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. In my opinion, the Orotava is even more beautiful, because it is arranged on several levels on the mountainside and preserves gardens and colonial buildings of rare beauty. Lovers of beauty can only choose these towns to stay in Tenerife, even if only for a few nights. Both are then very close to the Tenerife North airport, the one where internal flights land / depart towards the other islands of the archipelago.
- The Centennial Pine (La Orotava): beautiful villa in the hills, just outside the city
- Patio Hostel (San Cristobal de la Laguna): very nice hostel in the center of La Laguna
The north-west coast is a very beautiful area of Tenerife, it is very green and wild, with roads that climb the mountain and villages that guarantee magnificent views over the rushing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Around the locality of El Sauzal in particular there are some of the most beautiful and richest villas on the island, but also many fincas (rural houses); if you want to relax surrounded by nature this is one of the best areas to stay in Tenerife.
Puerto de la Cruz
I close this review on the best areas to stay in Tenerife with Puerto de la Cruz, a city full of atmosphere, always frequented by tourists from half of Europe thanks above all to its spas. Today it is a genuine city that preserves the traditions of the island but is also very open to those coming from outside. It is no coincidence that most of the digital nomads who decide to settle in Tenerife for a long period usually decide to settle here. I myself, in hindsight, would have spent much more time there; it is a very livable, beautiful city with absolutely wonderful surroundings both in terms of beaches and trekking and nature in general. In these areas I recommend:
- Finca La Plantacion (El Sauzal area): a corner of paradise surrounded by banana trees
- Finca La Gustoza (El Sauzal): large rural house with garden
- Dwo Nopal by Checkin (Puerto de la Cruz): modern hotel with pool in the center of Puerto de la Cruz
FAQ on Where to stay in Tenerife
Some photographs of the accommodations are taken from the website www.booking.com
You might also be interested in these other articles I wrote about the Canary Islands:
- 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