We’ve spent three weeks in Tenerife this spring. Though it was not planned to be a beach holiday, every holiday there is that to some extent. We hiked a lot, we drove around the island, and we enjoyed exploring the beaches, sunbathing and playing in the waves. Not much swimming, as the ocean was 18-19°C at that time – still too cold for us.
But Tenerife has a wide variety of beaches! Sandy, pebbly, rocky or a mix of these. Most are black or grey, but some of the artificial beaches are golden sand beaches. There are urban or remote ones. Some were great for a toddler to play, some amazed us with its giant waves or picturesque coastal views. There was something to love about each, and in this post we brought you the most memorable ones. Not all of them are family-friendly (we have a different post about the best of those) or even safe for swimming, but all of them are special and enjoyable in their own way. Let us show you.
The most iconic beach: Playa de la Tejita
This one can already be seen from the airport – in case you arrive at the south airport like us (and not in the middle of the night like us). Tejita Beach is long, it has reddish brown sand and it’s often very windy (like most beaches on the southeast coast of the island). We noticed people building up cute little walls from the rocks so that they protect them from the wind while they bathe in the sun. It’s not the beach where we changed to swimsuits, rather we put on our windbreakers as evening came.
It’s not the ideal swimming beach, but we’re fine with that. We liked Tejita Beach because of its beautiful scenery, and we liked playing chase with Tomi in the soft sand. This beach is also great for long walks in the sand and the waves, family picnics or a hike up to the top of the red hill towering above the beach.
The most picturesque beaches: Benijo Beach and Playa de los Gigantes
Two of our very favorite beaches in all Tenerife are Benijo Beach in the north and Playa de los Guíos, the beach of Los Gigantes in the south. What they have in common is the astonishing views and the fine volcanic sand.
Benijo Beach is quite remote, though you can drive almost to the beach – not counting the 50 steps or so that runs down to it. It’s located in the very north of the island, and with the Anaga Mountains towering dramatically above it, it’s a beach you’ll never forget! It’s the starting point of the Faro de Anaga Lighthouse Circuit Trail, too, which we think is the most breathtaking coastal hike in Anaga Rural Park.
Benijo Beach can be safe for swimming at times, though there’s no lifeguard. It doesn’t face west, still it has unforgettable sunsets with the silhouettes of Anaga’s cliffs painted golden by the sinking sun.
Playa de los Guíos, the small sandy-pebbly bay of Los Gigantes faces the famous Los Gigantes Cliffs. These sheer, rocky walls made of basalt cliffs rise majestically above the sea, reaching a height of 600 metres at some places.
Otherwise Playa de los Guíos is such a small beach that it almost doesn’t even exist at high tide. There’s a lifeguard on the beach, and it’s somewhat protected, though not always suitable for swimming. The soft black sand was a perfect playground for our Tomi, and this beach would have been worth a visit only because of the views, anyway.
The best kid-friendly beach: Playa de las Teresitas
Now, here’s a beach where you can usually swim, and even your small kids can safely play in the water. Playa de las Teresitas is our favorite family-friendly beach on the island!
It’s large – 1.5 kilometres stretch of golden sand -, it’s protected – an artificial reef spans the entire length of the curved bay -, and its water is shallow. Palm trees create a tropical vibe, and the Anaga Mountains towering above the beach is a very pretty sight. It has all the amenities you can think of – toilets, showers, lifeguard service, restaurants, bars, water playground. The downside? It’s a very popular beach and easily gets crowded on a nice day.
The liveliest urban beach: El Duque Beach
We usually prefer remote beaches to urban ones, but in terms of amenities and family-friendliness, urban ones are usually better (however, we’re ready to sacrifice those :D). It’s true in Tenerife, as well. The most famous urban beaches are in Costa Adeje, and one of them is El Duque Beach.
It’s lively, even busy, surrounded by restaurants, bars and luxury resorts. But it’s also kid-friendly and usually safe for swimming, thanks to the breakwaters that protect it from the power of the Atlantic Ocean. It has fine volcanic sand, and a pretty promenade dotted with palm trees behind the beach.
El Duque Beach is also favored by sellers who walk around the beach, trying to sell you anything you don’t need or want. We’ve seen them on other Costa Adeje beaches, too, but nowhere else. It’s also one reason that Costa Adeje beaches are not among our favorites – we like being left alone on a beach.
With all that said, El Duque is one of the nicest urban beaches in Tenerife. And your kids will love all the hustle and bustle, even if you don’t. 😀
The wildest, most remote beach: Antequera Beach
Antequera Beach is just the opposite of El Duque. It’s remote – the only way to access it is hiking (or by boat). It’s wild and dangerous – it has large, powerful waves, the most impressive ones we’ve seen on any beaches in Tenerife. It has no crowds, ever – we shared it with another couple who also hiked there. There’s no lifeguard or any other services there, of course, you can be happy if you have cell coverage. It’s only you and nature.
It took us 3 hours to get there from Igueste de San Andrés. Then we rested on Antequera Beach for about an hour, and hiked back. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Because it was a trail with amazing views all the way, and Antequera Beach was not even the highlight, but a nice addition to everything else we’ve seen. Trails and beaches like this made us fall for Anaga Rural Park. They made it our favorite park in Tenerife.
Our favorite black sand beach: Playa el Bollullo
A large patch of some of the finest, darkest sand can be found on Playa el Bollullo on the north coast, not far from Puerto de la Cruz. It’s a natural beach surrounded by dramatic cliffs, and it has no artificial reefs or breakwaters, so the waves and currents can be strong. However, there’s lifeguard service, so you can decide whether it’s safe to swim based on the color of the flag (green, yellow or red).
It’s ideal for small kids to play in the soft sand, and we liked sunbathing and admiring the waves. It’s also a nice beach to photograph, especially from above as you walk up the stairs that give access to it (lots of stairs).
You can drive to the parking lot by the stairs, or you can park on the side of the road near the El Rincón bus station. This beach parking lot is one of the few paid ones in Tenerife, but that’s not the reason we preferred parking further at the bus station and walking more to Bollullo Beach. The last section of the road from the bus station to Bollullo is very narrow, but quite busy. Can you imagine reverting every time someone comes from the opposite direction – and it happens often? Can you imagine doing that when 3-4 cars are already behind you, and another 3-4 are coming from the opposite direction? It was less of a headache and maybe even faster to walk that last section of the road, that was our opinion. (By the way, we found all other beaches in Tenerife fine to drive to if they were accessible by car.)
From Bollullo you can also walk to nearby Los Patos Beach, but it was closed at the time of our visit. We could have a look from above, but the stairs to the beach were closed, possibly because they were in bad condition.
The best beach with natural pools: La Arena Beach (Tacoronte)
There are two beaches with the name La Arena in Tenerife, that’s why we highlighted that we mean the one in Tacoronte. It’s a beautiful, natural black sand beach with views of El Teide in the distance. It’s somewhat protected, but waves can still be large, so you need to be careful. Csaba went in for a short swim when we visited, and only too cold water temperatures kept me out, not the waves. Tomi loved splashing in them, too – closely supervised, of course.
There’s another thing that makes this beach special: the proximity of several natural pools. One is the natural swimming pool of Mesa del Mar (public, free pool) which is walking distance from La Arena Beach. It’s worth walking in the other direction, as well, as you can find several natural pools. While the swimming pool is okay for a swim most of the time, the natural pools are only when the ocean is calm and the tide is low. But they look wonderful all the time. 🙂
The best beach with public swimming pools: Piscinas de Bajamar
A bit similar to the previous one, but we have to mention the small coastal town of Bajamar, because it has such a nice, artificially protected, small sandy beach and three natural swimming pools right next to it. One of the three is specifically for kids, and the two other ones are directly by the water, so waves crash into them.
I mean, wave baths are usually built in water parks as an attraction, and here you just have it from nature, isn’t that cool? All three swimming pools are public and free – just like Bajamar Beach -, and there’s even lifeguard service.
The best surfing beach: El Socorro Beach
El Socorro is said to be the best surfing beach in Tenerife. Though we don’t surf, we enjoyed watching the surfers riding the waves while lying in the soft black sand after a tiring hiking day. Sometimes El Socorro can be safe for swimming, too, but it requires caution as it’s not a protected beach.
The best kitesurfing beach: Playa el Médano
Médano is one of the lovely, but quite windy beaches of the southeastern coast. The part nearest to the town of Granadilla de Abona is more suitable for swimming and kids with its gentler waves, but as you get further from town, you find the favorite area of windsurfers and kitesurfers.
The volcanic cone of Montaña Roja is at the south side of the beach, and we enjoyed hiking up to it – a very short, easy and scenic walk.
The best short beach hike: Playa de los Roques
Finally, here’s a beach for hikers (and photographers). With picturesque volcanic rock formations in the turquoise bay, Playa de los Roques is a feast for the eye. There’s a short loop trail that takes you around the beach and then down to it, and you can also reach it on foot from Puerto de la Cruz on the “Water Trail” (Sendero del Agua).
It’s not a typical swimming beach as the waves are strong, and it’s not really for sunbathing either as it’s a pebbly beach with smooth but large, black, red and grey pebbles that’s not too comfortable to lie on. Still it has such a beautiful scenery that we’re glad we didn’t miss it!
Do you have any favorite beaches with special scenery? Tell us about it in the comments!
200+ Travel Tips For Hungary
Get our free e-book and join the community!
Want to find a place for travel in your life? Want to find your happy places – and happy trails? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter where we share insider tips, updates and more. Get our e-book with all the tips you need before visiting Hungary as a first gift.
Travel tips and resources
It takes effort and careful planning to get the most out of your vacation days each year. We help you with complete travel itineraries, based on our own experiences. See them here!
- Flights: find the best flight deals with Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights. Save money: be flexible with your flight dates & fly with carry-on only.
- Accommodations: Find great hotel and apartment deals with flexible cancellation policy on Booking.com. Book hostels on Hostelworld.
- Car rentals: use RentalCars.com and Kayak to get the best rates on car rentals.
- Tours: Book guided tours with GetYourGuide, Viator and Civitatis.
Give travel experiences as a gift with Tinggly.
Traveling with kids?
We believe that travel is not only possible, but it’s fun with a kid, and helps strengthen our bonds through experiences and challenges that we get through together. Read our family travel tips and destination specific guides here!