An action-packed island of dusky plains and lush greenery
And yet, following down to the base of this majestic mountain, the contrasts continue. A true island of two halves, holidays in Tenerife transform to the side you travel to. Visit the trio of incredibly popular resorts, Costa Adeje, Playa de la Americas and Los Cristianos that sit side by side on the southwestern coast and you’ll be welcomed with glistening golden shores backed by arid, dusky brown mountains. Head north instead to Puerto de la Cruz and lush shades of green surround you, the rich plant life ever amplified by the natural light perfume of flowered gardens.
Proving it’s more than just an island of scenic serenity, Tenerife’s trio of southern resorts also up the ante for nightlife in the Canary Islands. The lively resort of Playa de las Americas combines great value shops and all-action bars into one easily accessible package known as commercial centres. These are your go-to places for everything from low-tax goods to cheap drinks and family-friendly cabaret clubs.
Following on just a little south, the resort merges seamlessly with Los Cristianos, its slightly more sedate neighbour. Here the understated whitewashed buildings at the waterfront create the perfect setting for top seafood restaurants, and act as a neat counterpoint to the laser-lighted revelry in Playa de las Americas. Although this area is mere minutes away should you wish to live it up at night!
Heading a little north from resorts such as Playa de las Americas, El Medano, Golf del Sur, Puerto de Santiago and Santa Cruz, Costa Adeje is also a diner’s delight. As you can imagine, tucking into contemporary Canarian cuisine is made all the more special with the foaming waves of the Atlantic almost at your feet. And as all three resorts are capped with golden beaches and an astounding water park, it’s easy to see why the south west is the most popular area for holidays in Tenerife.
That’s not to suggest there’s nothing in the north. Far from it in fact, as holidays in Puerto de la Cruz uncover a vast region of idyllic emerald countryside, seemingly untouched by time. Further exploration of the resort will take you to huge zoos, artistic lakes and pastel yellow villages.
Essential sights to see on holidays in Tenerife
One of the most impressive must-sees in Tenerife is a sight you’ll actually see wherever you choose to stay – Mount Teide. Lying in the heart of Tenerife, the snow-capped peak of this volcanic mountain follows you as a constant companion to your holidays in Tenerife. It forms a backdrop to Tenerife’s golden beaches of the south west, and peers over the deep green forests of the north. Rise near to the summit in the cable car and you’ll be almost 12,000ft above sea level, looking down on cotton wool clouds and endless undulating vistas of maroon landscapes. Even if you haven’t got a head for heights, a visit to the Teide National Park is well worth it during your holidays in Tenerife, if only to see the sparse desert-like landscape which has been used for films such as One Million Years BC and Clash of the Titans. To visit the park and the peak, one of the best bases is the resort of Puerto de la Cruz, just 16 miles away. This traditional resort has some impressive natural delights of its own too, with a myriad of botanical gardens that serve as secluded green sanctuaries.
Puerto de la Cruz is also home to several more must sees for your holidays in Tenerife. The world-famous zoo Loro Parque is located here – a place where the whole family can see animals as diverse as lions, dolphins and gorillas in perfect recreations of their natural habitat. Plus, the endlessly inventive César Manrique, a modern artist native to Lanzarote, has made an equally unforgettable contribution to the island of Tenerife. His Lago Martiánez swimming pool complex consists of seven shimmering artificial lakes complete with shooting fountains, all overlooking the edge of the Atlantic. But as if this wasn’t enough, his inspiration for Playa Jardin manages to transform this glistening black volcanic beach into something special, lined with cactus gardens and free-flowing waterfalls.
On the subject of beaches, those of the most radiant golden variety on the south-western coast have had sand specially shipped in from the Sahara. Puerto Colon Beach sits close to the glittery marina of the same name in Playa de las Americas – it’s a pleasant stroke of golden sand lined with huge waving palm trees and a pristine curving promenade paved a vibrant red.
But then, there’s not really any need for a beach when all three resorts in the south-west are so close to Siam Park! This huge water park is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and features giant models of dragons and temples in keeping with its exotic Thai theme. Some of the slides plunge you through sheer drops, with one placing you in a pool surrounded by shark tanks! Even the more sedate side of things are taken care of with an artificial beach and a very long lazy river. Best of all, stay at one of the Jet2holidays Experience More hotels, the Isabel Family Hotel or the Compostella Beach Apartments and unlimited access to Siam Park will be included!
Tenerife doesn’t have to be an island of action however, and the rolling green hills of Orotava Valley prove this point admirably. Just 3 miles inland from Puerto de la Cruz, this verdant oasis culminates at the town of Orotava, a village of pastel pink townhouses and lush gardens. Even the livelier south has its own peaceful aspects, especially at Los Gigantes, with its calming views of the huge 2,000ft black cliffs that line the water’s edge, just 15 miles north of Costa Adeje.
Perhaps your holidays in Tenerife should also take in the bright lights of the city, at the island’s capital Santa Cruz. This is certainly the case if you’re arriving in February, as the yearly Carnival of Santa Cruz is recognised as the second most popular festival in the world, and it’s a dazzling display of colour, light and sound. Close to the capital, the vibrant town of La Laguna will also give you a glimpse of real Canarian character.
Ideal for families
For family holidays in Tenerife, the coastal resort of Los Cristianos is a great choice. A little quieter than Playa de las Americas, you’ll be close to a huge water park, golden beaches and children-friendly restaurants. Playa de las Americas and Puerto de Santiago also have plenty to keep all ages occupied.
Ideal for friends
By far and away the best resort for lively holidays in Tenerife is Playa de las Americas. It has no less than four commercial centres, offering a wide range of nightlife from cool and contemporary bars to all-action clubs with ultra-cheap drinks.
Ideal for couples Costa Adeje
is a wonderful resort for couples because it has such a fantastic selection of fine dining restaurants. Although it’s just as likely its scenic surroundings of green forests and rocky cliffs will make your heart melt too. Golf del Sur
and El Medano
offer moments of pure peace best enjoyed together, while Puerto de la Cruz
and Los Cristianos
combine activities and stunning scenery to do as much or as little as you wish.