In my early twenties I had a chance to spend two lovely year living and working on Tenerife in hotel industry. North and South, Playa de las Americas or Playa del Socorro. Ask me or my husband! Julio Cesar is a native of Tenerife, he made his best to show me his favorites (sometimes magical) places all around the island. I often get ask by my friends travelling to the Canary Islands, where to stay to get the most out of holiday experience.
Tenerife has an airport on each side of the Island. Reina Sofia (TFS) Airport is a hub for charter flights, budget airlines and welcomes 80% of all tourists on Tenerife. Airport Los Rodeos (TFN) is used for flights within Spain and the other Islands.
What does Tenerife has in common with London and Lisbon? Time! Check the time difference from your city here.
Tenerife weather is very pleasant and mild all year round. South is warm, dry & sunny all year round. I would say you can swim during the winter time in the open ocean, but the bravest are managing it as well. You can still enjoy dark volcanic beaches and clean dark-blue water. If the day is cloudy (one must be so lucky for that!), just rent a car and go visit Teide Volcano. Sun guaranteed from Las Canadas on due to the effect, called Panza de Burro – Donkey’s Belly by locals, when dense low clouds cover part of the island. It is also referred to as horizontal rain. If you pass through them – sun shines again!
Tip: Weather changes as you go higher to the Volcano.
North is green, cloudy and wet. And this is exactly the reason why the locals prefer to live there: better opportunities for harvest, far less heat (and tourists:)). North is loved by German senior tourists and expats, that made Puerto de la Cruz their home. If you look for Weiner Schnitzel (typical German dish), you find it!
What ever you chose, one can survive all year round with a light jacket, some t-shirts, bikini, flipflops & trainers. Very convenient! Due to the fact, that the seasons are practically unnoticeable, years seem to last longer:)
South boasts to have famous beaches with dark volcanic sand: Las Amercas, Los Cristianos, Las Veronica, Playa del Bahia del Duque, Torviscas, El Medano…
North has sandy beaches really only in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Las Teresitas) and Puerto de la Cruz (Playa Jardin). The rest of the coat is quite rocky, but there are numerous public free swimming pools, that are naturally filled with ocean water. Small fish or crabs are no rare to find.
Water in Tenerife is full of life. There are multiple fish types, stingrays and sea urchins very near to the cost. The bigger residents include dolphins, whales and small sharks. Yo don’t have to worry, they are far enough from coast and usually feed around Los Gigantes – an amazing volcanic wall of stone that raises up from 500-800m from the ocean leve l and is even deeper underwater.
Things to do
South is very touristic. The excursions all around the island can be purchased on every corner. Entertainment options ara widely available in the hotels as well as outside. The center of entertainment & shopping is without a doubt Las Americas. Whether you prefer just to quietly enjoy you meal on the terrace or want to go dancing, all options are there.
The main attractions, located (or easily accesible) on the southern side are:
- Teide National Park
- Siam Park has become the best water park in the world according to Trip Advisor.
- Los Gigantes: dolphins & whales watching
- Barranco Masca, Barranco del Infierno: hiking (moderate)
- Parque de las Águilas: mini zoo with of birds of prey
It not necessary to stay in the Northern part to access all north-based attractions, the drive to Santa Cruz de Tenerife is around one hour on highway.
When travelling to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, chose you time wisely, as traffic could be slow at peak hours.
North is real Tenerife. It simply beautiful, authentic, raw. The architecture, the people, the food…mmm. Food is really good! If your are interested in architecture, San Cristobal de La Laguna (UNESCO World Heritage) is a place to go. It was the capital of the island after the conclusion of the conquest of the islands. Since the urban plan of the city of La Laguna was the model for these Latin American cities.
- San Cristobal de La Laguna old town+ Science museum
- Other authentic cities: La Orotava, Puerto de la Cruz
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Tenerife’s capital with beautiful Opera House
- Loro Parque: zoo/theme park. It is an absolute ‘must see’ on Tenerife for kids and adults. Parrots, monkeys, penguins. Sea Lions, dolphins and…orcas!
- Pisinas Lago Martianez: amazing swimming pools complex with fresh ocean water, situated in Puerto de La Cruz.
- El Drago, Garachico & Icod de los Vinos
Tip: Whether South or North – rent a car to reach all the germs
If you are a wheelchair user the South wins as you can wheel or be pushed for miles along the cost. There are occasional steps, but those could be avoided, if you take a different route. In the North Santa Cruz or part of Puerto de la Cruz are wheelchair accessible. La Orotava‘s narrow steep streets are a bit of a challenge even for a stroller.
South hosts best 5* and 5*GL hotels as well as affordable 3* accommodation. My favorite being Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque Resort. I have worked there as a Senior Butler and know the hotel + villas inside out. It is just a beautiful canary islands styled island of luxury! Kids club, kids swimming pool, has a semi-private beach (also my favorite one). Not cheap though:)
If you are looking for a budget option, explore Chayofa Country Club. We stayed there last may for 50 eur/night. And we would return! The room included a kitchen, large bed + sofa bed. Enough to accommodate four. Kids pool is als available. Beach is not easily accessible from the location, but good times are guaranteed.
All resorts are usually big, include a pool and very busy. Touristic crowd is international with majority being British and German. You can find more Russians if you opt for higher-end accommodation. Surprisingly, peninsular Spanish guests are frequent guests too. Anywhere you stay, couples in their 20-30s, families with kinds or seniors are the majority.
In the North of Tenerife the hotels are much more modest. There are still a lot of options of course. The hospitality industry is oriented towards more senior crowd, who wish to enjoy their ocean view in peace. Many Germans has North their favorite place to spend holidays or retirement.
Tenerife South is for sun seekers, who want easy all-inclusive touristic life and just relax with a tasty drink in their hand. Kids will love the south, they could stay in the water all day long. Tenerife North is for more experiences travelers, who appreciate authentic culture, unique beautiful scenery and outstanding loca cuisine.