Choosing the right resort or town in the south east and east of Tenerife

Previously we took a bite-sized look at resorts/towns on the south and south west coast of Tenerife and along the north coast. This time we turn our attention to the south east and east coast.

When you look at a map it’s quite difficult to say where the south of Tenerife ends and the south east begins. For the sake of neatness, we’ll use the volcanic badlands of the Malpaís de Rasca as the dividing line. It’s here the coast swings east and north and there is also a distinctive difference in the weather. The south east coast enjoys a lot of sunshine, more than the resorts on the other side of Montaña Guaza, but it’s also breezy.

Tajao, Tenerife

As a result, and despite its sunny weather, resorts along the east coast have never developed as much as the ones to the west. Subsequently, a lot of the east coast remains off the tourist trail. There are small villages which only burst into life in summer months when Canarios from other parts of Tenerife, and other islands, boost the population. Some bigger coastal towns closer to the capital are modern, workaday affairs, populated by many people who commute to Santa Cruz.

Because neither categories are places which would be suitable for most people to spend their holidays, I’m leaving these out and instead concentrating on those which exist for tourism or live a double life where you get both some tourist facilities as well as a healthy dose of local culture.

Abades

Abades, Tenerife
Our view
Forget the fishing village tag you sometimes hear when people talk about Abades, in reality it’s little more than a modern housing development. But the abandoned leper village beside the development is fascinating and one of the features making it worth a visit.
What the holiday companies say: Abades has a beautiful golden sand beach which is fantastic for diving or just relaxing and taking a dip in the ocean. There are a number of cafes and restaurants along the beach front which are perfect for a drink, light snack or delicious evening meal.
Restaurants
For its size there is a decent choice including traditional, seafood, tapas and even a vegetarian restaurant.
Beaches
The other big attraction is the beaches – which are lovely, sandy coves.
Nightlife
Not a place for night owls.

Candelaria/Las Caletillas

Candelaria, Tenerife
Our view
You get two personalities for the price of one. Candelaria is a bustling Canarian town with lots of fiestas and festivals. It is home to the famous Basilica located on a plaza with an impressive row of Guanche Menceys (kings). Las Caletillas falls more into conventional resort category; although one which doesn’t have a purpose built feel to it. We like Candelaria, but it’s not a choice for anyone seeking familiarity.
What the holiday companies say: There’s little here, save for a clutch of hotels. That said, a café-lined promenade connects you to the larger village of Candelaria.
Restaurants
There’s loads of variety in both Candelaria and Las Caletillas, including some very good restaurants.
Nightlife
Can be extremely varied thanks to the amount of cultural events which take place. Festivals in Candelaria can attract quite big names; Craig David has performed at a music festival here.
Beaches
Although not predominantly a beach resort, there are a choice of black sand beaches at both ends of the town.

Costa del Silencio

Costa del Silencio, Tenerife
Our view
This is a purpose built resort aimed predominantly at British and Belgian visitors. The travel company view below is poetic licence in the extreme. It has much of the amenities people look for in a sun-kissed resort but, apart from a couple of stand out features (Montaña Amarilla is one), to us it lacks charm. However, it is joined on to Las Galletas.
What the holiday companies say: You’ll be hard pressed to find a more peaceful destination than Costa del Silencio in the Canary Islands. After all, a place isn’t called silent coast for its busy city centre or rowdy nightlife. This volcanic paradise sits atop a cliff surrounded by crystal clear blue waters.
Restaurants
There are plenty of restaurants aimed at tourists, but you’re more likely to find British pub grub than an authentic Canarian restaurant.
Beaches
The holiday company description at least gets the location right, it does sit on the rocks, so not a destination for beach lovers. There is quite a nice little cove in front of the Annapurna Hotel (formerly TenBel) but getting to it exposes you to the worst part of the resort.
Nightlife
Nightlife tends to consist of whatever entertainment is to be found in the resort’s British bars.

El Medano

El Medano, Tenerife
Our view
Our favourite resort in the south of Tenerife – it feels traditional Canarian but with a Bohemian edge thanks to it being the centre of the windsurfing and kite-boarding scene. There’s no other resort on Tenerife with a similar character. The near constant breeze which attracts the surfers has stopped it from being turned into a mass tourism destination.
What the holiday companies say: Holidays to El Medano land you on the longest beach in Tenerife. Put the sand to one side and you’ll find a hippie-friendly vibe and a crop of cafés and restaurants.
Restaurants
There are plenty of really good restaurants to chose from, ranging from traditional and tapas to contemporary burger joints and Japanese.
Nightlife
Music bars can come and go in resorts, and El Médano is no different, but there’s usually a music venue somewhere in town. Summer especially sees the nightlife liven up when the Sansofé festival in July and August brings concerts, dance, open air cinema, and gastronomic events.
Beaches
Simply some of the best on the island – long, sandy and natural, unlike many other resorts.

Golf del Sur

Golf del Sur, Tenerife
Our view
The name more or less tells you what you get with Golf del Sur – a resort built up around the golf courses in the area. It’s a purpose built resort aimed predominantly at British visitors. Recently there’s been a bit of rebranding and it can also be confusingly referred to as San Miguel de Abona (the name of the town in the hills and the municipality Golf del Sur is in).
What the holiday companies say: 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.
Restaurants
Plenty of restaurants catering for the culinary preferences of visitors to the resort. Not the place for authentic local nosh.
Nightlife
Mostly resort bars aimed at British visitors.
Beaches
What exists are rocky, pebbly affairs with the best probably being in front of the San Blas resort between Golf del Sur and Los Abrigos.

Las Galletas

Las Galletas,Tenerife
Our view
It’s not the prettiest of Canarian towns but it has an authentic charm, a decent promenade and an attractive harbour where the daily catch is sold from harbour side stalls.
What the holiday companies say: Although Las Galletas has outgrown its humble fishing village beginnings, it still has plenty of rural charm. Narrow winding streets, a postcard-worthy harbour and a vibrant promenade make it a popular resort with couples.
Restaurants
A varied mix of traditional, fish and seafood and also Belgian/French which makes it a good place for moules et frites.
Nightlife
Mostly confined to a few bars but being a proper Canarian town there are often traditional events, fiestas in the town and these usually involve a livening up of the nocturnal scene.
Beaches
There’s a long, pebble beach at the harbour and also a pebble strip along the promenade.

Los Abrigos

Los Abrigos, Tenerife
Our view
We’d mostly go along with the holiday company view. Los Abrigos is a charming fishing village.
What the holiday companies say: This charming little fishing village offers an authentic Canarian base from which to enjoy the surrounding golf courses, surfing beaches and national parks.
Restaurants
Although some southern residents head further along the coast to Tajao for their fish and seafood hit, Los Abrigos, with its selection of restaurants lining the curved harbour, is still one of the places in the south of Tenerife to come for fresh fish.
Nightlife
Mainly consisting of long dinners overlooking the sea, but there are occasional cultural events held beside the harbour.
Beaches
More of a place to visit to eat than to stay, a pebble beach links it with neighbour Golf del Sur.

Puertito de Güímar

Puertito de Guimar, Tenerife
Our view
Puertito de Güímar isn’t a resort, it is a typical Canarian fishing town with a rather attractive harbour are where there’s a decked sunbathing area. It’s also next to the Malpaìs with its network of paths to explore. It’s only suitable for anyone seeking to stay in an authentic Canarian coastal town.
What the holiday companies say: A typical Canary fishing village. Untouched by mass tourism the cosy town offers wonderful beaches.
Restaurants
Lots of local restaurants and, unsurprisingly, good for fish and seafood.
Nightlife
Generally low key bars, but like other places on the east coast there’s a different vibe in summer when campers create a small village on the beach near the marina and there are occasional festivals, sometimes including a heavy rock one.
Beaches
There’s a pebble beach south of the town and some quiet coves in the Malpaís.

San Andrés

San Andres, Tenerife
Our view
Our sort of place, a pretty (by Canarian standards) fishing village climbing up the foothills of the Anagas and located next to the most photogenic beach on Tenerife. Being close to Santa Cruz gives it more of a buzz than the average sleepy fishing village.
What the holiday companies say: Nothing really.
Restaurants
This would be our first choice of places to go on Tenerife for fresh fish and seafood. Lots of basic but good restaurants as well as a couple of stylish contemporary ones.
Nightlife
Not a party town, but there are a couple of interesting bars for people into enjoying a distinctly local scene.
Beaches
It might be artificial, built using Saharan sand, but Playa de las Teresitas is the beach that many newspapers use to illustrate features about Tenerife, even though articles have nothing to do with the area. That should tell you all you need to know. But it is breezy.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Our view
We’d go along with the holiday company view. You find when a location has substance travel companies don’t have to use poetic licence to sell it. There are a lot of things to see (it’s the cultural capital of the island) and, as it’s a compact city, it’s not a daunting to get around on foot. Santa Cruz is perfect for a city break.
What the holiday companies say: Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the Canary Island’s most cosmopolitan cities and yet is easily explored on foot. Great transport links and an excellent tram system mean historical sites, great shopping and restaurants are never too far away, wherever you choose to stay.
Restaurants
The sort of choice you’d expect from a city – great tapas bars, pavement cafes in historic streets, and stylish, contemporary restaurants, including the Michelin star Japanese cuisine at Kazan.
Nightlife
It’s a city, so entertainment is what you want it to be – theatre, ballet, live music, cultural events, fiestas – unless what you want it to be is British cabaret.
Beaches
There’s a reason Playa de las Teresitas, 8km away, was built for the Santa Cruceros, this is not a city with a beach. Although there are places to sunbathe.

More bite-sized descriptions of Tenerife’s inland towns and resorts for the north and south of the island will be coming soon.

Our guidebook features a far more detailed overview of Tenerife’s towns and resorts including history, beaches, attractions and restaurant and hotel recommendations.

About Jack 462 Articles
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+

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