Tenerife is the jewel in the crown of the Canary Islands and the biggest in the archipelago. Thanks to its size, varied landscape and beautiful coastline, it’s able to accommodate all sorts of holidaymakers - from culture vultures and adrenaline junkies to party people and pensioners looking to get a little winter sun in before heading back to blighty.
Those day trips to La Gomera or those even longer nights at Papagayo Beach Club (or was it Kaluna? It’s never easy to remember after margarita number four) are all exhausting in their own ways, so why not head to one of Tenerife’s beaches to unwind? Why stay in your hotel room to recharge when you could be topping up your tan by the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
No matter how you like your beach or what colour you like your sand, Tenerife (probably) has one to suit your taste. Have a watch of our video guide to the best beaches in Tenerife:
The seemingly endless row of palm trees that lead to the golden sands of Playa de Las Teresitas will immediately give you that “I’m on holiday” feeling that you’ll no doubt have been craving for the entire year (or since your last trip abroad). With breakers and shallow, clean waters, this northern Tenerife beach almost feels like it was tailormade for families.
The facilities here are great - loungers are inexpensive, and there’s a public toilet with changing rooms located right by the beach. If you end up feeling a bit peckish after a day of seaside fun, Playa de Las Teresitas is perfectly positioned for a spot of dinner. Its neighbour, the old fishing town of San Andres, is home to many a restaurant serving up exquisite seafood dishes. If you’re staying in Tenerife’s capital Santa Cruz, this stunning Tenerife beach is only a 10-minute drive away (or you can catch the 910 bus).
Playa de Los Guíos can be found nestled in a cove at the foot of the Los Gigantes (an appropriately named range of massive cliffs that make for a fantastic Instagram backdrop), and it’s this cliff-adjacent location that makes it such an ideal spot for some relaxation. More exclusive and a little quieter than your average playa, this secluded black-sand beach practically begs you to close your eyes and unwind to the soundtrack of crashing waves.
If lying on a beach for prolonged periods doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, hop on one of the many tourist boats that leave from the nearby harbour and take a trip out to sea for a different view of the island and a chance to better see the Los Gigantes cliffs.
Playa de la Tejita is big… really big. One of Tenerife’s southernmost beaches, it’s over 1km long and over 40 metres wide, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever have much competition for a good spot on the sand.
But you probably wouldn’t be coming here for sunbathing. No, this Tenerife beach may as well have been made for adrenaline junkies. For those who enjoy surfing, kitesurfing or windsurfing, you can bank on this permanently windswept beach to make sure you get your water sports fix. If you’re more into land-based activities then you’re in luck because Playa de la Tejita is a great running beach too, and Montana Roja is one of the best hiking spots on the island. A round trip takes around an hour, and the views from the top of this aptly named ‘red mountain’ are hard to beat.
The main nudist beach Tenerife is also by playa de la Tejita. With so much space on the beach, you can feel relaxed and secluded whilst you brown your (whole) body.
Playa El Médano is one of Tenerife’s best beaches for a spot of cultural immersion. The beach is only a short drive away from Abades and from there, Candelaria, both of which are must-visit destinations for anyone remotely interested in Tenerife’s Spanish history and Catholic architectures.
Skirting the beach itself is a promenade that hosts a number of weekly markets. If you’re not into the water sports on offer at Playa El Medano, then why not grab some fresh fruit from the nearby fruit and veg market and soak up the views from the shore? El Medano is only 5km from Tenerife South airport so you can get to this locally loved Tenerife beach as soon as you land or squeeze in some last-minute sunbathing before your flight home.
One of the cleanest beaches in Tenerife is Playa del Duque on the Costa Adeje in the very sunny and dry south-west of the island. It is about 700m long, made of fine, white sand and runs flat into the sea. Because of the upstream breakwater, you only get gentle waves here. Along the beach, you will find numerous restaurants, bars and changing rooms and you can try different water sports such as surfing, diving or sailing.
Playa de Los Cristianos is one of the most sought-after beaches on the island for families with young children, because the coast is so shallow and the sea so quiet, unlike anywhere else in Tenerife. The bright, sandy beach in the south of Tenerife invites you to play and dream. From the sand you can see the fishing boats and ferries of the nearby port of Los Cristianos. Take a jet ski tour to see whales and dolphins, or follow the promenade which leads from the beach directly to the centre of Los Cristianos, where countless shops await you.
Playa Jardín, the "Garden beach" in the north of Tenerife is named with good reason, because the beach is surrounded by a tropical garden with exotic plants and flowers. It is located near the city of Puerto de la Cruz and the famous zoo Loro Parque. Here the soft sand is black and therefore nice and warm even on cooler or overcast days. From the promenade, which leads through the park, you have a wide view over the sea. Admire the artificial waterfall on the beach and let your kids play in the mud on the adjacent playground.
One of the top beaches of Tenerife is in Playa de las Américas. Nowhere else in Tenerife are there so many water sports, restaurants and bars on the beach as here. The sand is light and fine and the sea mostly very calm and turquoise blue. Several loungers and umbrellas are available to relax. If you’re feeling more active, you can hire snorkelling gear or a surfboard on the beach. At the Las Verónicas nightclub, right on Playa de las Américas, stay after the sun sets and immerse yourself in the colourful nightlife.
Lots of sunshine all-year-round - that's what Playa Fañabé promises on the south-west coast of the island. Locals and tourists bask in the light grey sand, which has been artificially raised and runs flat into the sea. Parking places, showers and bathing supervision mean you can enjoy carefree beach days. A promenade also offers cosy cafés and restaurants. In the evening, watch as the sun sinks behind the neighbouring island of La Gomera on the horizon.
A rather quiet beach, which can only be reached on foot, is Playa Abama on the south-west coast of Tenerife. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of the Canary Islands with its almost white sand. The bay is only about 150m long and 30m wide, but offers clear, blue water, which is pleasantly quiet thanks to the breakwater. Since it is about a 20-30-minute walk from the car park to the sea, there are usually only a few tourists to be found here. Sit back, relax and enjoy the leisurely sound of the waves with a good book or a cool drink in your hand.