In resort terms, Costa Adeje is a relative newbie but it’s already a bit of an ‘It’-destination on Tenerife’s south coast. Backdropped by volcanic Mount Teide, it’s all 5-star hotels, high-end villas and luxury boutiques – the Beckhams are regulars here, apparently. It’s a fairly laid-back place, but you’ve got party-hard Playa de las Palmas next door plus one of the world’s biggest waterparks right on your doorstep.
Playa de la Arena
Resort-wise, Playa de la Arena is a bit of a quiet customer on the west coast of Tenerife. It doesn’t party hard like full-throttle Playa de Las Americas, 30 kilometres away – and, frankly, that’s the appeal. You get all the bars and restaurants you need without the non-stop pace. And with its craggy coastline and mountain views, the place looks pretty good, too.
Playa de las Americas
Set on Tenerife’s southwest coast, Playa de las Americas is the party capital of the island. Year-round sun and full-on nightlife pull in the Brit crowd, and the duty-free shops and golden beaches don’t do any harm either. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s the classy resort of Los Cristianos just next door, plus windsurfing capital El Medano a 15-minute drive away.
As resorts go, Playa Paraiso is a bit of a wallflower. Set on Tenerife’s southwest coast, it’s a small, quiet, purpose-built resort where you won’t find much beyond a few restaurants, shops and bars. You can really dip in and out of the action here, though, because just down the road you’ve got party-mad Playa de las Americas and one of the world’s top waterparks, Siam Park.
Puerto de Santiago
Puerto de Santiago is a former fishing village-turned-family resort, sandwiched between the busier Los Gigantes and Playa de la Arena. Behind it are brooding 500-metre-high dark cliffs. In front is a bijou beach of black volcanic sand. And across the bay you’ll spy the lost-in-time island of La Gomera. It's a pretty quiet spot, although in the summer locals ramp things up a bit with a handful of al fresco fiestas.
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.
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.