Where to stay in Tenerife – by someone who’s been

Stunning scenery in Masca in Tenerife

Tenerife might be a relatively small island, but it can be difficult deciding where to stay as there’s just so much choice. I’ve visited a few times over the years and feel that there’s definitely a lot to think about when picking a location for your base. Do you want to be near the beaches? Or perhaps you fancy having scenic hiking trails on your doorstep. Maybe you’re looking for somewhere a bit romantic or you might have the whole family in tow. Whatever you’re into, it’s easy to find an area that suits you in Tenerife.

Generally speaking, the south of the island is where you’ll find the traditional beach resorts and popular chain hotels. If you’re looking for stays that are all inclusive in Tenerife we recommend choosing an area here in the south. Yet if you want to be closer to nature and away from the crowds, the more rugged north is a better bet. We love both sides of the island for different reasons – it really depends on what you want from your holiday.

Let’s look at the different areas in more detail.

Mount Teide in Tenerife
Mount Teide in Tenerife

Playa de las Americas

Location: south coast

If you’ve heard of one resort area in Tenerife, it’ll be the famous Playa de las Americas. This lively spot has been a huge hit with British holidaymakers for years thanks to its golden beach and great party scene. The coast here is one of the most popular places to visit in Tenerife, so booking early is advised.

Whether you want to spend the day swimming and sunbathing or shopping at the huge malls, there’s a lot to keep you entertained here. As night falls, it’s time to hit the clubs and bars for a bit of karaoke and dancing into the small hours.

What to do in the area: sunbathing, swimming, shopping, nightlife

Costa Adeje

Location: south coast

Pool at Hotel Gran Tacande in Tenerife
Luxury hotels in Costa Adeje

Now this is one of our favourite resorts in the south. It feels quite classy, with several premium hotels and a much calmer vibe than Playa de las Americas. We love the proximity to the beaches and the luxury accommodation with pools to match.

This is a great option for families and couples, looking to be near the sights and close to the sand whilst enjoying an upscale vibe. Siam Park water park is nearby, with its rides, flumes and lazy river. There are cocktail bars and clubs too should you want to truly let your hair down.

What to do in the area: water sports, sunbathing, bars, Siam Park

Puerto de la Cruz

Location: central north coast

This city up on the northern coast of Tenerife makes a great base if you want to be near the mountains and charming rural villages. Up here, you’ll enjoy the black-sand beaches and dine on fresh seafood at the waterfront restaurants in town. Kids will love visiting Loro Park to see the exotic wildlife and there’s plenty of sightseeing beyond the beach if that’s what you’re into.

We loved visiting the dramatic Castillo San Felipe and exploring the Botanic Gardens during our trip. You can swim in the saltwater Lago Martianez too for a refreshing dip. This is also a great base for hiking in Las Lagunetas nature reserve.

What to do in the area: Castillo San Felipe, Loro Park, city sightseeing, beaches


Location: northwest coast

Colonial streets in Garachico in Tenerife
Pretty streets in Garachico

This charming old port town is probably at the top of our list of places to stay on our next visit. During a day trip to Garachico we spent a couple of hours exploring. The historic centre reminded us of mainland Spain, with ancient stone buildings and trailing flowers lining the pedestrianised streets.

There’s a sleepy square that’s great for people watching and you can swim in the natural pools at El Caleton. Garachico does have a small beach, but you’re really here for the history and the small boutique hotels that are among the most beautiful on the island.

What to do in the area: swim in natural pools, wander the historic streets, visit nearby Icod de los Vinos to see the famous dragon tree.

Does it matter where you stay?

The joy of Tenerife’s manageable size is that no matter where you stay, you’ll have all the island’s attractions within easy reach. Whether you’re based on the south coast or up in the north, it doesn’t take long to visit some of Tenerife’s top sights like Teide National Park, the beautiful mountain village of Masca or the hiking trails in Corona Natural Forest.

How to get around Tenerife

We think the best way to get around and explore Tenerife independently is by hiring a car. The roads are usually in great condition, navigation is fairly easy, and you can stop for photos wherever you like, assuming it’s safe to do so.

Driving in Tenerife - the road to Masca
Driving the mountainous road to Masca in Tenerife

You can arrange a rental vehicle at your hotel if you only want it for a couple of days. This is what we do, as we know we’ll want a few days chilling by the pool or at the beach so don’t want to pay for a car for the whole week. Just make sure you get a car with a decent sized engine if you’re planning on driving up in the mountains – some of those hairpin roads are pretty steep. Of course, if you prefer not to drive, local tours can be arranged either before or during your stay.

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