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8 of the best beaches in Tenerife

A rundown of the most beautiful coastlines on this tropical, volcanic island paradise

Chris Wilson
Friday 12 January 2024 11:03 GMT
Tenerife’s coastlines mix golden sands with black volcanic beaches
Tenerife’s coastlines mix golden sands with black volcanic beaches (Getty Images)

The Canary Islands have long been a popular tourist destination thanks to an excellent year-round climate, beautiful natural landscapes and an appealing range of hotels and resorts.

Tenerife is the largest and most popular of the Canaries, teeming with coastal resorts, charming towns and striking natural attractions. And while sites like Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak, will undoubtedly appeal to visitors, the island’s beaches remain its most captivating assets.

A magnificent blend of long golden coasts and volcanic black shorelines populate the island, providing anything from secluded relaxation spots to some of the best surfing in Spain.

Places like Teresitas and Playa de las Americas hum with activity, providing the lively, energetic beaches used for anything from partying to laid-back lunches. At the opposite end of the spectrum, hidden spots such as Bollullo and Benijo offer a complete retreat from Tenerife’s occasionally hectic pace of life, while in between are dotted dozens of beaches that cater to different types of holidaymaker.

To help find your ideal bit of coast, we’ve rounded up some of the best beaches in Tenerife.

Playa de las Teresitas

Teresitas was originally just a small strip of black sand (Getty Images)

The mile long arc of Teresitas is one of Tenerife’s most well-known beaches. It sits around 20 minutes from the capital, Santa Cruz, and provides a true slice of tropical paradise, lined with palm trees and surrounded by the towering Anaga Mountains, with soft white sands that gently slope into the Atlantic. These sands were taken straight from the Western Sahara in 1971, just two years before this artificial beach was officially opened.

Its proximity to the capital means that Teresitas is often busy, and an artificial breakwater makes it a popular spot for families and those looking for a calm spot for paddling, swimming and snorkelling. On the plus side, its popularity means that it has all the necessary amenities, as well as a slew of chiringuito beach bars and seafood restaurants.

Read more on Spain travel:

Playa de la Tejita

Playa de la Tejita is separated from El Medano by the Montana Roja (Getty Images)

Playa de la Tejita is dominated by the Montana Roja, a 171-metre high volcano that sits to the east. The beach sits alongside a nature reserve, so is largely unspoilt and has been left to remain wild, backed by desert-like plains and filled with soft golden sands.

It attracts fewer visitors than nearby beaches and is therefore a far quieter section of coastline than neighbouring Medano. Come during the day for private sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling, but be sure to be there during sunrise or sunset to see the mountain at its most resplendent.

El Bollullo

Bollullo is in northern Tenerife, just over two miles from Puerto de la Cruz (Getty Images)

Bookended by rugged cliffs, backed by a steep mountain slope and lapped by turquoise waters, Bollullo is a strikingly beautiful bit of coastline. The volcanic sands of this beach look more like a smooth carpet than an Atlantic shoreline, but this is just one part of the natural beauty that makes it such a serene spot. Though popular with surfers, Bollullo has very few amenities apart from a clifftop restaurant and small beach cafe.

Playa del Duque

Playa del Duque extends for around 400 metres (Getty Images)

The abundance of five-star accommodation that overlooks Playa del Duque gives this section of beach more of a resort feel, but it is more than just a convenient hangout for guests of the high-rise hotels.

Lined with striped beach huts, beach loungers and parasols, Playa del Duque benefits from beautiful surroundings including rugged, low-lying cliffs, sparkling turquoise waters and palm trees. This is a peaceful beach, and not the place for water sports; instead, rent a lounger for an afternoon, play some beach volleyball, try one of the seafood places or stroll along the promenade at sunset for delightful views.

Playa del Medano

El Medano is the longest beach in Tenerife (Getty Images)

El Medano extends for just over a mile on the southern coast, separated from adjacent Tejita by the ‘Red Mountain’ (Montana Roja). It is one of Tenerife’s best all-round beaches, equally as appealing to families looking to keep the kids entertained as it is to those looking to try out various water sports.

Backed by the eponymous town and overlooked by a long boardwalk filled with cafes and restaurants, this is a great place for a relaxed dinner with great views, and calm, shallow waters make it a safe place to swim too. Particularly strong winds have also made this one of Tenerife’s premier spots for kite surfing, wind surfing and paddle boarding.

Playa de los Gigantes

Gigantes is also known as Playa de los Guios (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The natural beauty is the real draw on this section of the western coast, where the 600-metre high ‘Cliffs of the Giants’ flank a small section of deep black sands. These cliffs provide one of the more dramatic coastal landscapes on the island, and together with a sea wall they provide shelter for swimmers and divers. The best views of the cliffs appear either from the sea or from the beach at sunset.

Though the views alone are enough to come for, Gigantes also offers whale-watching tours, various water sports including kayaking, and a diving school, with the water below the surface teeming with marine life including anemones, stingrays, lobsters and eels.

Playa del Benijo

Benijo is part of the wider Anaga Rural Park (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The dramatic wilderness of Benijo looks like something plucked from a Pacific coastline, thanks to the density of the surrounding laurel forest and the ruggedness of the Anaga mountains. On either side of Benijo these cliffs gently slope into the water, with the bay in between covered in dark sands and looking out onto the towering rock formations that rise from the Atlantic.

Benijo is a particularly secluded spot that can only be reached via a winding drive followed by a short walk. A couple of low-key restaurants provide meals by the shore, but this is primarily a place to come to wind down and escape the hustle and bustle of other parts of Tenerife.

Playa Jardin

Playa Jardin is one of Tenerife’s busier beaches, and welcomes many visitors whatever the weather (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The aptly named Jardin (’Garden’) is a unique beach that was the subject of extensive work by Canarian architect Cesar Manrique, who undertook a renovation project that created a botanic garden filled with palm trees, exotic flowers and even a terraced waterfall. The smattering of colour among the black sand is added to by the dramatic surroundings, including the snow-capped peak of Mount Teide, to make Jardin one of Tenerife’s most picturesque beaches.

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