Tenerife: North and South Contrast

North coastline of Tenerife

Post written by Laura

As we were based in the north of Tenerife we spent 99% of our time exploring the top half of the island. While the south generally has better weather and a huge abundance of tourist facilities, we had purposely chosen to stay in the north for its scenery and culture.

For the first time all week, afternoon rain was forecast for the north of the island so this was the day we decided to chase the sun and venture south. And the north/south divide was particularly apparent on this day as we spent time in both.

Mirador San Pedro restaurant

We had enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the courtyard of the Habatonka artisan cafe and a wander around in the sun along the cobbled streets of La Orotava. From there we drove for about 10 minutes along the coast to Mirador San Pedro for a tasty lunch with a spectacular view.

Sangria and snacks
Tenerife north coastline looking east towards Puerto de la Cruz
Path to Playa de Castro

I was driving on this day and just to ensure my levels of alcohol from the small sangria I had enjoyed were minimal* we decided to put some space in between lunch and driving again. We followed an attractive footpath to the side of the restaurant and in the general direction of the sea just to see where it would lead to.

*Spanish drink driving laws are stricter than the UK

Playa de Castro

After a few minutes of descending down this well kept path the most breathtaking view opened up.

I hadn’t realised this little hidden gem of a beach was even here! The footpath descended through colourful flowers and exotic plants and the bridge crossed over a small idyllic waterfall.

Playa de Castro

Wow! With just a handful of people this was possibly my favourite beach of the week! But with the clouds moving towards us we decided it was time to head to the sunny climes of the south of Tenerife for the rest of the afternoon.

South Tenerife

Fanabe, Playa de las Americas

It took an hour to drive to the south of the island making our way around the west coast, onto the main TF-1 road and smack bang into the busy resorts. We arrived in Fañabé and were greeted by mountains that were half covered not by trees but by hundreds of apartments that reached down and joined the bar and restaurant lined coastline.

Even though I realised the resort of Playa de las Americas would be busy and bustling I was quite shocked by how much it had grown since I was last there in 1986! Back then I was a teenager and my first husband (then boyfriend) and I had stayed there for a week, right in the heart of the action! And it was busy then!

Playa de Fañabé

The manmade beach at Playa de Fañabé had plenty of greyish sand which gently shelves into shallow warm sea making it ideal for families. The beach is made up of a mix of sand imported from the Sahara Desert and mixed with natural volcanic sand.

Luxury 4 and 5 star hotels nestle directly behind literally a string of bars and tacky gift shops that stretch far along the coast. This is the perfect place if you wish to have a relaxing beach holiday with every amenity you could wish for at your fingertips.

La Brasserie bar at Fanabe Beach

We sat in the hot sun having a drink in a bar overlooking the beach contemplating whether to stay in Fañabé and have dinner or drive back to La Orotava. La Orotava won.

And as it happened, it hadn’t rained in La Orotava that afternoon!


Reflecting on this day, and also the week-long holiday, Tenerife has something for everyone. In the 1990’s, as a family, we were big fans of the Canary Islands and took our young children on beach holidays to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The focus then was family time, making sure the children enjoyed themselves in the pool and making our holiday easier with stays in large family oriented hotels with kids clubs and lots of familiar food options. They wouldn’t have been too happy at spending half of the holiday in the car driving around the island!

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