El Médano (The dune)
Location: South coast, close to Tenerife South Airport
Brief description: Gorgeous golden sandy beach, big hit with adrenalin junkies like surfers, kite-surfers, thanks to its awesome waves and swells. Red Mountain (Montaña Roja) looks great here. Popular with families and swimmers too.
Services nearby: Very cool and trendy cafés and restaurants line the promenade. Think stylish bohemian. Plenty of chilled-out places to while away the hours. Large car park and loads of on-street parking. Good scattering of shops selling surf fashion clothing, boards and loads of other stuff.
Good for: Surfing and other water sports, swimming and generally lazing about.
We like: The boho feel to El Médano, the laid-back attitude and its authentic Spanish seaside town vibe.
We don’t like: Windy at times.
Driving directions: From Tenerife South Airport, take the TF-1(towards Santa Cruz) and exit at junction signposted for San Isidro & El Médano, go over first roundabout the follow signs for the beach.
Playa La Tejita
Location: On the south coast close to Tenerife South Airport, nestled against the stunning Red Rock (Montaña Roja).
Brief description: Unspoiled, untouristy, golden sandy beach (with some shingle). Warning: Naturists frequent this beach! Not obligatory but expect to get an eyeful!
Services nearby: None to speak of...an unspoiled beach, not much around except the señor selling cold drinks and slices of water melon and pineapple.
Good for: Swimming: The waves here can get quite large so keep an eye on them. If you’re careful, it’s a great place to mess around in the sea.
What we like: The under development, sun beds are few and far between; you spread out and don’t have that ‘sardine’ feeling.
We don’t like: Sometimes breezy.
Driving directions: Take the TF-1 from Tenerife South Airport and exit at Los Abrigos. Follow these signs into the village, go left at the roundabout and drive out of Los Abrigos. Go passed some banana plantations and Playa Tejita is on the right.
Playa Los Abrigos (Beach of the Coats)
Location: Close to Tenerife South Airport
Brief description: Small, very small, more like a little cove than an actual beach. Volcanic sand with some shingle, especially as you walk into the sea.
Services nearby: Handful of cafés in a local plaza but much more impressive is the quaint little harbour of Los Abrigos, great seafood and fish here. Car park.
Good for: Quick dip and having a beer. It’s a stop gap really before heading onto the harbour for a bite to eat.
What we like: ‘All good things come in little packages’, not at all a tourist beach.
We don’t like: Difficult to get into the water, but once you’re in, it’s great!
Driving directions: Come off the TF-1 at the exit for Los Abrigos, follow the road into the village and take a right at the roundabout where you'll find a car park overlooking the beach.
Location: A few miles from Santa Cruz, on the north east coast.
Brief description: Very large stretch of golden sand that says ‘feel me between your toes’.
Services nearby: On-beach facilities are basic. Cafés and loads of parking.
Good for: Water sports. Breakwater fences of high waves so water is always calm. Very child friendly. Widely considered to be Tenerife’s ‘jewel in the crown.’
What we like: Views of Anaga Mountains with their laurel forests and meadows (they also shield the wind). The weird pink haze light of the place.
What we don’t like: Everyone in Santa Cruz (the locals) comes here!
Driving directions: Take the TF-1 northbound towards Santa Cruz. Come off and the beach is signposted.
Playa las Gaviotas
Location: 10km outside of Santa Cruz
Brief description: Lovely little beach at the foot of the Anaga Mountains in the north of Tenerife.
Good for: Chilling out and for those of you who like to get your kit off completely....go for it.
Services nearby: A few shops, restaurants and cafés.
What we like: Intimate beach that gets overshadowed by its neighbour Las Teresitas.
What we don’t like: Limited parking, it gets very busy, especially in the summer.
Driving directions: About 10 kilometres beyond Santa Cruz. Access is from the TF-121.
Location: On the southern tip alongside Costa del Silencio.
Brief description: Picturesque, tranquil, sandy bay on the edge of the town overlooking the chic marina.
Services nearby: Wonderful fish and seafood restaurants lining the marine promenade; a pedestrianised shopping precinct in easy strolling distance; fabulous new marina with fishing boats and small yachts; a daily fish market at one end of the beach and a great chill-out bar at the other.
Good for: Watching the comings and goings of the marina and having moules y frites (mussels and chips) for lunch.
What we like: Quiet, family beach which shelves gently, in easy reach of great restaurants and lots of parking alongside.
What we don't like: Can get crowded in high season.
Driving directions: Leave TF1 motorway at exit 42 San Miguel, taking the Golf del Sur exit off the roundabout and then the TF652 to Las Galletas. Beach is on the left hand side as you head out of town.
Location: Alongside the harbour in the town.
Brief description: Lovely, small, sand and pebble volcanic cove set below the harbour wall in the picturesque town of Garachico.
Services nearby: Craft shops, restaurants and cafes by the bucket load; the picturesque plaza and churches of the town; a castle and splendid natural rock swimming pools packed to the gills with tropical fish.
Good for: Escaping the tour groups at the rock pools and enjoying Garachico in peace and quiet.
What we like: The tranquil waters of the harbour are great for swimming and in winter, the beach is rarely busy.
What we don't like: It's more pebbly than sandy which makes for some fidgety sunbathing.
Driving directions: On the TF42 north coast road between Icod de Los Vinos and Buenavista.