Tenerife has them all - beaches of golden sand lapped by the gentle water of the Atlantic; secret inlets where the surf pounds against the rocks; small coves where you can dive into the blue waters of the ocean, and stretches of dramatic black sand created by the volcanoes that once erupted on this glorious Canary Island.
Playa de las Américas, South Tenerife
Let's start with the most famous resort in Tenerife - and the most popular. Luckily, you'll find a whole string of beaches stretching along the coastline, mostly built especially for the large resort of Playa de las Américas that hugs this part of south west Tenerife. Sun and sea lovers can relax on the golden sandy beaches, take a sun bed and colourful umbrella, or sit in the shade of palm trees.
Head for the beach and find your spot, flop down and gaze out at the sparkling sea. When you've soaked up enough sun, you can try a little sporting activity. Pitch up at one of the volleyball nets for a shot of practice with like-minded friends. Many of the beaches offer wind-surfing which lets you scud along the sea or scuba-diving that takes you into the marvels of the underwater world.
Playa de Torviscas and Fañabé, Costa Adeje, South Tenerife
Families flock to these two adjoining beaches, Playa de Torviscas and Fañabé, for the day, either sunbathing and swimming in the calm waters or trying out any of the wide range of water sports. Take a sunbed or gently swing in a hammock, before trotting off to the restaurants surrounding the beach for a variety of tapas or just a quick snack. Sports for every age means children scramble onto the brightly coloured banana boats that bounce them around the bay; teenagers zoom around on jet skis or take to the skies, landing on exactly the right spot on the beach. There's never a dull moment.
Playa del Duque, Adeje, South Tenerife
This is the chic beach; the place to sit under a straw umbrella on the white sand, sheltered by a rocky headland topped with gently moving palm trees, plus a castle wall that isn't real but looks the part. The beach is fringed by a long wooden boardwalk. When you need a little relaxed refreshment, you can eat in one of the stylish hotel restaurants along the boardwalk, or sit by the pools that lie at different levels. This is the closest to the south of France that you'll get on an island which sits in the balmy Atlantic off the coast of Africa.
La Caleta, Costa Adeje, South Tenerife
Although La Caleta is not a beach destination, I cannot resist mentioning this as a complete contrast. La Caleta is still a small fishing village and the place to escape to, being tucked away from the larger resorts. The sea dashes against the rocks making this the place for snorkellers who relish the chance to dive into crystal clear waters and discover some of the best marine viewing they could hope for. Don't expect all the facilities of the larger places; do expect the freshest fish meals in traditional restaurants, plus rough trails along the coastline to Playa de las Américas that give you sweeping views out to sea. La Caleta is a small treasure of a place.
Playa San Juan, Guía de Isora, South Tenerife
Time for another fishing village on the west coast of Tenerife which has kept its local feel. Nestling along the inlets of the seashore and sheltered from the trade winds, thriving banana plantations climb up the hillside and black sand, volcanic rock and pebbles offer a true Tenerife feel. You have the added advantage of a full view of the small harbour where little boats bob up and down. There is a diving school here, but the main activity is to soak up the sun and feel the peace.
Los Cristianos Beach and Playa de las Vistas, Arona, South Tenerife
The main post on Tenerife's southern coast has two wonderful beaches which curl around the bay. Los Cristianos Beach is sheltered and with a long shallow area, making it perfect for families with small children who just want to paddle safely in the warm water. It's near the port so you can idly watch the ferries that ply between Tenerife and the neighbouring islands of El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera. Or try a boat trip out to sea to spot dolphins and whales swimming. They play with the boat, weaving around you and jumping out of the water in a show they seem to have put on especially for you. The beaches are very similar, but Playa de las Vistas offers more water sports and an unusual fountain on a rock in the sea that shoots water up into the sky - another picture perfect opportunity.
Playa de la Tejita, Granadilla de Abona, South Tenerife
The majestic Montaña Roja is the red volcanic mountain that originally spilled its lava down to the sea and is not a nature reserve. At Playa de la Tejita, odd, mis-shapen rock forms, created from the pumice millions of years ago, make a strange background to the sandy coves. Playa de la Tejita has a long coastline and is only accessible by car, making it a peaceful, less crowded place to come to in the high season. And if you want to go skinny dipping, walk to the furthest end and enjoy the sea along with the other swimmers baring all.
Playa del Médano, Granadilla de Abona, South Tenerife
To the east of Montaña Roja and sharing the same strange almost moonscape, Playa del Médano borders a little village and stretches along a boardwalk. It may seem remote, but this is the place where wind and kite surfers will always find enough breeze to skim across the top of the waters, testing their skills against the elements.
Playa de las Teresitas, Santa Cruz, North Tenerife
Very near the delightful capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, this is one of the best known beaches in Tenerife. Playa de las Teresitas' beautiful soft sand was imported from the Sahara and with its palm trees, you'll feel as if you're in an oasis, with the city skyline seeming like a distant shimmering illusion. The mountains of northern Tenerife tower behind you; the clear blue waters of the lagoon sparkle in front of you. And there are plenty of kiosks selling chilled drinks and snacks dotted about for refreshments.
Playa Jardín Puerto de la Cruz, North east Tenerife
The 'Garden Beach' was designed in the 1990s by César Manrique, an artist and architect who transformed Lanzarote but whose vision for north Tenerife was to create a beautiful man-made coastline. And it really is exceptional. You stroll to the beach through paths lined by plants, palm trees and cacti, stone walls and waterfalls. Arriving at the beach, there are three separate sections: Castillo, Charcon and Punta Brava beaches. It's windy here in the north, so there is good surf. The superb views of Mount Teide rise in the distance behind you; in front of you is a perfect shiny black volcanic sand beach. This is a pure Tenerife experience.
If you're a member of RCI and want Tenerife to be the destination for your next sun, sea and sand holiday, you should know that there are 61 RCI-affiliated resorts to choose from. To see what there is on offer, check out our Resort Directory below.
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