I remember visiting Iceland 4 years ago. How excited we got about the black sand beaches there! Not just the famous Black Sand Beach with capitals (also known as Reynisfjara), but several more that we found on our way around the island. That was the first time we’ve seen black sand beaches, and no matter the chill, the wind and the fog (or the fact that none of them are for swimming), we were impressed!
Well, Tenerife’s beaches were similar and different at the same time. The Canary Islands are volcanic which means that Tenerife’s beaches are naturally grey or black. Some are pebbly, some are rocky and some are sandy. Yes, it has amazing black sand beaches! Amazing black lava rock beaches, too.
The vibe is different from Iceland though. Tenerife’s beaches are without the chill and the fog. They can actually tempt you for a swim – however, not all beaches are safe for swimming, or not all the time. But let us show you some of the prettiest black sand beaches that can be suitable and are also easy to access. And by easy access we mean that you can drive there, no hiking is required (maybe some light walking or a few stairs).
Benijo Beach, Benijo
Benijo Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in Tenerife. Located on the northern tip of the island, it’s quite remote, but you can drive directly to the beach – well, almost. There’s a series of steps that run down to Benijo Beach from the road.
The road through Anaga Rural Park is very scenic, by the way, and it’s in a good condition, not even too narrow. We found it a delightful drive, but parking in the small town of Benijo is very limited. You might have to walk along the road a bit if those few spots by the beach stairs are occupied.
With the high cliffs of Anaga towering above the black sand and the eroded rocks in the water, it’s a beach you’ll never forget. Even though there’s no lifeguard, the beach can be safe for swimming at times. Being so far from the tourist hot spots, it’s popular among nudists, too. And it offers unforgettable sunsets with the silhouettes of Anaga’s cliffs painted golden.
Playa de los Guíos, Los Gigantes
Another photogenic black sand beach is the one in Los Gigantes, in the sunny and touristy south. Playa de los Guíos is the name of the small sandy-pebbly bay that faces the famous Los Gigantes Cliffs, rising to 600 metres above the sea.
Small Playa de los Guíos is almost entirely swallowed by the hide tide, otherwise it has fine, soft black sand mixed with some larger pebbles. There’s usually lifeguard service on the beach, and it’s somewhat protected, but not always suitable for swimming.
Playa de el Bollullo, El Rincón
The gem of the north coast and probably the largest, finest patch of black sand on the island is Bollullo Beach. It’s also a very photogenic one, surrounded by dramatic rocks.
A series of stairs give access to the beach, however, driving directly there is a bit challenging. This beach parking at the top of the stairs is one of the few paid parking lots in Tenerife, but that’s not the reason we didn’t like it. The last section of the road from the El Rincón bus station to Bollullo Beach is very narrow, but quite busy. Imagine reverting back every time someone comes from the opposite direction – and it happens often. Now imagine it with 3-4 cars already behind you, and another 3-4 coming from the opposite direction. Not much fun. That’s why we chose to park on the street near the bus station and to walk down to Bollullo Beach from there.
The beach is ideal for small kids to play in the soft sand, and we liked sunbathing and admiring the large waves. There’s no artificial reefs or breakwaters, so the waves can actually be quite powerful. 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).
Another black beauty, Los Patos Beach is walking distance from Bollullo, however, 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.
Playa de Roques de las Bodegas, Roques de las Bodegas
We were actually looking for Almáciga Beach at the foot of the Anaga Mountains when we saw this one by the road. It looked tempting, and it was almost empty, so we stopped. It turned out to be Playa de Roques de las Bodegas, named after the small settlement where it’s located. It has soft black sand, majestic waves, and a lovely promenade that continued on a breakwater and took us a bit into the ocean to face the beach and the coastline. It was a perfect view!
After that we just spent our time eating ice-cream and throwing pebbles into the water with Tomi. It was not hot enough for us to swim, but it might be possible at times, though there’s no lifeguard service. Later we drove further to take a quick look at Almáciga Beach before we headed back to our accommodation, but our conclusion was that it was quite similar to our newly found gem, only busier.
La Arena Beach, Tacoronte
Tenerife has two beaches with the name La Arena, this one which we recommend is in Tacoronte on the north coast. It’s a natural black sand bay with a nice view of El Teide in the distance. Though it’s somewhat protected, the waves can be powerful, so be careful.
The sand spit on the right end of the beach is a place where waves from the two bays meet at high tide. At low tide you can lie down on the sand and enjoy views of both bays from there.
There’s also something else that makes La Arena Beach special: the natural pools! Left of the beach you find the natural swimming pool of Mesa del Mar – a public, free pool right by the ocean and just about 5 minutes walk from La Arena Beach. Walking in the other direction, to the right, there are several natural pools. They’re not always suitable for swimming, but they look wonderful any time.
Do you have favorite black sand beaches anywhere in the world?
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