Apparently the Beckhams are big fans of Costa Adeje, on Tenerife’s south coast. It’s hardly surprising, what with the luxury villas, 5-star hotels, designer shopping and waterfront restaurants. And the place has even got its own waterfall. It’s all about laid-back sophistication here – though the party bars and clubs of Playa de las Americas are just a stone’s throw away should you want them.
Playa de la Arena
You can leave the hustle and bustle behind at Playa de la Arena. This small, quiet place on Tenerife’s west coast takes things gently, from the uncrowded beach to the low-key bars and restaurants. You’re also well placed for some great walks along rugged coastline and through volcanic landscapes – and close to some of the island’s best sights.
Playa de las Americas
Set on Tenerife’s southwest coast, Playa de las Americas is a purpose-built resort that comes with great clubbing credentials. The year-round sun and multiple sandy beaches also pull in the Brit crowds. And then there are the duty-free shops, some great tapas restaurants, a waterpark on the doorstep and the upmarket resort of Los Cristianos just next door.
Playa Paraiso – on Tenerife’s southwest coast – is a relaxed sort of place, with a laid-back mix of shops, bars and restaurants. It’s got a couple of great neighbours – Playa de las Americas has the all-night clubs, while stylish Costa Adeje comes with a Cartier shop. There’s a couple of top-notch waterparks in the vicinity too – Aqualand and Siam Park waterpark. All this, and volcanic Mount Teide waiting in the wings.
Puerto de Santiago
Puerto de Santiago sits between Los Gigantes and Playa de la Arena on the west coast of Tenerife. The quiet, whitewashed town sits on a rugged hillside that tumbles down to a tiny black sandy beach. It’s very laid-back here, with just bars, restaurants and a little fishing museum. And its neighbours are in walking distance, so you get rather a good 3-in-1 deal here.
Los Cristianos is the main port town on Tenerife’s south coast. Until the Seventies, its harbour was teeming with shipping boats loading up rum and salted fish. Nowadays, it’s yachts, ferries and glass-bottom boats that come and go, while luxury apartment blocks and restaurants have sprung up along the picturesque seafront.
Guia de Isora
Guia de Isora, on Tenerife’s west coast, is an up-and-coming resort with an old-school Canarian feel. The main town is a quiet affair up in the mountains, with sweeping views of the Atlantic. Down by the sea is Playa San Juan, home to a small harbour and a chic prom. And next door is Alcala, a fishing village with a pretty main square.
Los Gigantes is a pretty seaside town on Tenerife’s southwest coast – it’s nestled into the rock face, with the dramatic 300-metre cliffs called The Giants running off to the north. Life moves at a leisurely pace here, with the marina being the hub of the town – you’ll find relaxed bars and restaurants here, with views over the black volcanic sand of Los Guios Beach.
Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz sits on Tenerife’s north coast, amid a landscape of tropical fruit plantations. There’s a lovely traditional feel to the place, with its quaint harbour and pretty old town, yet it does sophistication very well, too. Nouveau cuisine is served up in colonial-style restaurants, while the bars mix cocktails with Canarian singers. As for the coastal scene, you’ve got a duo of architect-designed beaches to enjoy here too.
Golf del Sur
Golf del Sur began life as a private resort – and it shows. This peaceful town nestles into Tenerife’s southern corner, and comes surrounded by golf courses and a glossy marina. Scoops of black-sand and pebble beaches are cut from the rocky coastline, and smart hotels follow in their wake. In the east, you’ll find the compact town centre and its assortment of top-shelf lounge bars, pubs and pan-global restaurants. The lively duo of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas are only a 20-minute drive away, too.
You’ll find the sleepy town of Las Caletillas on Tenerife’s north-east coast. It’s a 15-minute drive from Santa Cruz, and it offers a more peaceful atmosphere than the busy capital. There’s little here, save for a clutch of hotels. That said, a café-lined promenade connects you to the larger village of Candelaria.
Buenavista Del Norte
Buenavista del Norte lets you see a whole other side to Tenerife. It’s in an out-of-the-way spot in the north-west corner of the island, where the pace of life is much slower. Rather than bar-lined strips and high-rise hotels, you can expect charming villages, traditional craft shops and 18th-century architecture.
It’s the beaches that really make El Medano stand out. There’s a set of four – Playa Machado and Playa El Cabezo are the surfing crowd’s favourite spots. In fact, international competitions are hosted at the latter. Playa de la Pelada’s a secluded cove, popular with nudists. But, the best of the bunch is the town’s namesake, Playa el Medano. Unravelling for two kilometres, this swathe's Tenerife’s longest. Its gently shelving soft sands and Blue Flag status make it a favourite with families, too.