During hot, sultry, Tenerife summer days, when temperatures soar into the thirties and beyond and shady terraces fail to provide any respite from energy sapping heat, there’s only one thing for it; follow the Tinerfeños example and head for the beach.
With a coastline as diverse as the landscape of its interior, Tenerife is blessed with some fantastic beaches; whether it’s small secluded coves or sweeping golden bays, it’s possible to find the perfect playa to suit all tastes and still enjoy that ’far from the madding crowd’ sensation. Here are a few suggestions for some heavenly hot spots where you can enjoy sun, sand and sea in beautiful surroundings.
Nestling discreetly between Playa Paraíso and Costa Adeje, the tranquil fishing hamlet of El Puertito feels almost Greek like in its simplistic beauty. A cluster of white fishermen’s houses overlook a pale golden sand beach, lined with a row of trees providing welcome shade, which shelves into a charming bay where brightly coloured fishing boats bob gently in clear turquoise waters. It seems a million miles from some of the island’s main tourist resorts just around the corner. Shallow waters and lack of currents makes it suitable for families with young children and for people who want to soak up the sun in an unspoilt and charming setting. A small fish restaurant provides refreshments.
From junction 18 on the TF1, a road heads toward the coast and a small, newly built, urbanisation. Park up at Los Abades and stroll across rocks beside the tiny fishermen’s jetty to Playa de los Abrigos, a wonderful serene, golden beach set in a crystal clear aquamarine bay. The real beauty of this one is that it feels miles from anywhere even though, conveniently, there are a couple of bars and restaurants at Las Abades, literally yards away, when you feel the urge to rejoin civilisation.
A coastal path leads from Los Abades to Playa Grande at Punto de Abona; however, an easier option is to take junction 17 from the TF1 (the one with the boat) and leave the car in the small car park overlooking the beach. The beach slopes down from the town, levelling off in a broad expanse of golden sand where it meets the sea. Nearby wind farms provide a clue as to how breezy it can get here, but it’s another stunning location for those who enjoy that feeling of seclusion. A bizarre man-sized sculpture of a fish in a box and the nearby Abona lighthouse provide alternatives to sunbathing. If you haven’t brought your own refreshments, the nearest cafes and restaurants are in Porís de Abona.
Near Puerto de la Cruz, Playa Bollullo can be reached from junction 32 of the TF5. The drive down the one track road can be a bit of an adventure and parking is basic, although it’s possible to park at the Bollullo restaurant for a small charge, but it’s well worth the effort. Soak up spectacular views from horseshoe shaped cliffs overlooking the beach before trekking down the well defined path to this beautiful wide bay where enormous waves crash onto the shore, leaving swathes of snow white surf which contrast sharply against the jet black sand. Strong currents and tsunami sized waves mean that it’s not suitable for young children, but if you like your beaches rugged and enjoy swimming in challenging waters, this is the ideal place. Arrive before eleven in the morning and you’ll probably have the beach to yourself. There’s a great beach bar to retreat to for a thirst quenching cerveza and, for the more adventurous, a path leads to other bays where nudism and surfing are de rigueur; although probably not at the same time.
Sections of the northern coastline are so precipitous that it would seem unlikely that it could boast any decent beaches or, even if there were, only a mountaineer of Sir Edmund Hilary’s ability could access them. It comes as a pleasant surprise to find Playa Socorro, a broad, black sandy beach with plentiful parking, a beach side fish restaurant and year round surfing at the end of a well made road signposted from the C-820 between Puerto de la Cruz and Icod de los Vinos. The surrounding banana plantations, palm groves and lush greenery of the Tigaiga mountain range towering above make it a stunningly beautiful spot to indulge in a bit of sun worshipping.
Big and Beautiful
The longest beach on the island, Playa del Médano, curves in a wide arc for two kilometres from the bohemian town of El Médano. The constant breeze on this part of the coast means that it might not be the best beach for sunbathing; however, the upside is that it never becomes uncomfortably crowded. A boardwalk, flanked by bars and restaurants, runs the length of the beach to Montaña Roja. El Médano is famous for being an extreme water-sports enthusiast’s paradise; plonk yourself down on the cream coloured sand, amidst weird formations in the pumice rock, and watch in awe as windsurfers and kite-surfers ride the waves performing impossibly acrobatic feats.
Located seven kilometres beyond Santa Cruz, Playa de las Teresitas has something for everyone. The sheer size of Las Teresitas means that it rarely feels too busy; one and a half kilometres of silky soft, golden Saharan sand, Canarian and coconut palm trees and a dramatic backdrop of the Anaga Mountains combine to make it one of the most picturesque beaches on Tenerife. A man made breakwater creates a current-free seawater lagoon where tropical fish dart around the waters edge, a haven for families. There are beach bars, changing rooms, toilets, a massive car park and canoes and rowing boats for the more actively inclined. Once you’ve worked up an appetite doing nothing all morning, there are some wonderful fish restaurants in the nearby town of San Andrés.
Of course, these are only a snapshot of the multitude of wonderful beaches that can be found around Tenerife’s shoreline; explore a few hundred yards beyond any and you’ll discover quieter bays, or secret coves where you can enjoy Tenerife living by basking under a hot sun all summer… and autumn…and winter…and spring…