Last updated on December 20th, 2023
With so many beautiful places that you can find on each corner, it can be difficult to understand which towns in Tenerife to visit on a trip. Some are quite popular and pop up in all guides while others may seem to be unknown and not worth discovering when looking on the map.
I visited the majority of towns in both southern and northern Tenerife and fell in love with the number of them to such an extent that decided to write this post about the best towns in Tenerife from my own perspective. In the end, I also include them all on a map.
So take a look and get inspired. Several towns from this list are great not only for a quick visit but also for a stay since they have nice accommodation options and easy access to activities.
And for the most authentic experience, rent a car in Tenerife and go on a slow road trip around the island making a stop in each of these most beautiful towns and spending some time there exploring their streets!
Most Beautiful Towns in Northern Tenerife
I want to start my list of the best towns to visit in Tenerife with towns in the northern part of the island. As I am based in the north, I think this is absolutely a unique and gorgeous region to explore!
La Orotava – Heritage Town
La Orotava could not stay out of this list. It is undeniably a gem among all the nicest towns in Tenerife. Situated in the green and lush Orotava Valley with ancient colonial architecture and vibrant floral displays, this town exudes a unique charm that captivates visitors from near and far. Its cute narrow streets create a mysterious ambiance that transports you to another era.
One of the most striking features of La Orotava and one of the reasons to visit this town is its well-preserved historical center. Strolling through the cobblestone streets opens up a few striking mansions with intricately carved wooden balconies and colorful facades. These architectural treasures are a true testament to the La Orotava’s rich heritage that offers a glimpse into its colonial past.
When you get to the town, go to the main square Plaza de la Constitucion, a focal point of charm and elegance. Surrounded by colorful buildings, with a beautiful fountain and vibrant flowers with plants, it adds a burst of color and enhances the overall allure of the town.
Don’t miss the garden Jardin de la Quinta Roja with a perfect landscape. It showcases a variety of indigenous and exotic flora, creating a tranquil oasis in the heart of the town. On the premises of the garden and around La Orotava, you’ll find some breathtaking panoramic views (among the best views in Tenerife) from various vantage points.
On top of everything, to finish the list, La Orotava is rich in cultural events (truly those that are worth visiting!). It hosts traditional festivals and celebrations throughout the year, where locals proudly showcase their customs, music, and gastronomy.
No matter when you travel to Tenerife, I suggest you check the calendar of events. There is always something going on in La Orotava and you may not even know about it.
If you are coming to Tenerife around Easter, don’t miss Semana Santa celebrations. When visiting in June, go to The Corpus Christi festival. This event is a very unique (one of its kind) thing to see in Tenerife which is all about the vibrant floral carpets adorning the streets.
Should You Stay in La Orotava Town?
La Orotava is a good place to stay in Tenerife if you want to have an active holiday and be in one of the oldest towns with colonial architecture. I wouldn’t be staying here during the entire length of your vacation but for a night or two is a very unique experience.
Its central location provides convenient access to various attractions, including the Teide National Park, Puerto de la Cruz (which is overcrowded with tourists), nearby beaches, and other towns that are on this list.
El Sauzal – Historic Town With Dramatic Views
One of the other prettiest towns in Tenerife you want to visit is El Sauzal, a lesser-known destination with dramatic views and incredible sunsets. I didn’t see it on any list in any guide but discovered this gem on my own when living in Tacoronte next to this town.
El Sauzal is the town and capital of the municipality with the same name. It received its name from the willow tree as a large number of Canarian willow trees grow here.
Archaeologists who have excavated this territory unveiled compelling evidence of El Sauzal’s historical significance prior to the Spanish conquest as they discovered twelve intricately designed Guanche caves. Following the conquest, El Sauzal emerged as the vibrant political and administrative hub of the island with the Church of Saint Peter the Apostle becoming a prestigious residence of Tenerife’s esteemed ruler (it was converted into a church later).
Once you visit and stroll through the town’s streets, you will surely notice how old buildings are and that many of them look like hiding lots of history behind their walls.
This cute Tenerife town offers a multitude of reasons to visit and explore its charming surroundings. I’d say that you have to come here to walk through the flower alleys that offer a view of beautiful colorful Canarian houses, go down to one (or all) observation deck, which offers gorgeous views.
In fact, what makes El Sauzal unique apart from its picturesque corners is its location, which opens up incredible panoramic views on all sides. Since the town is located on a cliff, it becomes a natural viewing platform from which you can enjoy views of the Volcano Teide, the La Orotava Valley, and the Atlantic Ocean with Puerto de la Cruz on the horizon.
I invite you to read my mini guide to El Sauzal to discover all its charming hideaways and best things to do.
Should You Stay in El Sauzal Town?
El Sauzal is a fantastic town where to stay for expats and people who move to Tenerife for a longer period of time. But on a short vacation and when you are visiting the island for the first time, it is not the best pick in terms of accommodation.
On Airbnb there are a few nice flats in El Sauzal which are great for at least a one month stay.
Bajamar – Town of Big Waves & Pools
From El Sauzal, I suggest you take the road TF-16 to go north to the next beautiful town in northern Tenerife called Bajamar. On the way there, you’ll get to drive through Tacoronte, Valle de Guerra, and Tejina looking through the window of your car at other smaller towns and villages.
Bajamar is very different from El Sauzal as it is situated along the coast and known for a few of its lovely (but different in nature) pools. Besides them, it also boasts impressive coastal scenery with dramatic cliffs and rugged rock formations with volcanic rocks along the coastline. It’s an ideal place for nature lovers and photographers, offering plenty of picturesque spots to capture moments.
If you get to visit Tenerife in winter, you should come to Bajamar for the largest waves on the island. Being exposed to the open Atlantic Ocean and having a deep ocean floor near the coast leads to larger swells and more powerful waves along its shores in the winter. This makes Bajamar a popular destination for surfers and photographers who love the thrill of big waves.
Overall, you should come to Bajamar for the scenery! It is very different from any other city, town, or village in Tenerife.
And then of course make a stop at one of the local seafood restaurants or local eateries as they offer freshly caught fish and seafood dishes.
Should You Stay in Bajamar?
Similar to El Sauzal, Bajamar is also a good town where to live as an expat or digital nomad. It has some beautiful homes for rent in close proximity to the sea.
Alternatively, if you are on a road trip around the island and don’t have one long-term base, Bajamar can be a good place where to stay for a night before moving to the next destination.
There are not really any hotels in Bajamar but some privately owned casas or seafront apartments. Take a look at them here.
Punta del Hidalgo – Gateway to the Sea & Mountains
Next to Bajamar, less than 3 km away lies another town which is a fantastic place to visit in Tenerife. It also has a cool swimming pool among the mountains and jaw-dropping views.
Generally, Punta del Hidalgo is famous for the hiking and nature trails, particularly the one that starts by Mirador Punta del Hidalgo and goes through the rugged mountains to Chinamada village (famous for cave houses in some ways similar to those in Cappadocia).
But besides them, there is also a coastal trail that goes from the town to a small chapel right here and passes by a recent project Punta de Hidalgo lighthouse.
For the best experience if you don’t plan to go hiking, I suggest you come to this town in the early evening to walk around it and possibly spend some time by the pool.
And afterward, take this scenic coastal trail to the lighthouse and chapel, not missing all the information boards along the way. They provide interesting details about the area, migrating birds, and marine megafauna in this part of the island. Very interesting!
Is Punta del Hidalgo a Nice Town Where to Stay?
Unlike the previous two towns, Punta del Hidalgo is a nice place to stay in northern Tenerife to disconnect from the world and be in a unique place on the island.
There are a few nice hotels here with close access to the natural pools and restaurants. Every time I was coming here after a long day of work, every time I was seeing how many Spanish tourists were choosing this town.
Candelaria – Tenerife Town of Cultural Significance & Guanche Presence
Candelaria, in the northeastern part of Tenerife, also deserves its place among the most beautiful towns on the island due to its irresistible charm and rich cultural significance.
One of the town’s most prominent attractions is the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria. It stands as a testament to the deep-rooted religious devotion of the Canary Islands and its hallowed walls hold the revered statue of the Virgin of Candelaria, who is the patron saint of the archipelago.
Pilgrims and travelers from far and wide flock to this sacred site, seeking solace, inspiration, and a connection to the rich spiritual heritage of the Canarian people.
When you make a stop here, park outside the old town area and walk towards the Basilica along the coastal road in this way discovering a deep appreciation for the indigenous Guanche culture that once thrived on the islands. Monuments and statues paying homage to the Guanches dot the town, offering glimpses into their mysterious and vibrant past.
Legends whisper that it was in Candelaria where the Guanche leaders and their sacred idols were unearthed, forever linking the town to this ancient civilization. So walk around and feel the echoes of history resonating through the streets.
Beyond its cultural significance, Candelaria also boasts a few beautiful black sand beaches. Playa de Candelaria and Playa de Punta Larga with their velvety dark sands, provide a striking contrast against the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There, you can bask in the sun and listen to the rhythmic lullaby of the waves. The black sand and rugged beauty of the coastline are a constant reminder of the volcanic origins that shaped Tenerife.
Should You Stay in Candelaria?
As a tourist, I wouldn’t be staying in Candelaria unless this is a returning trip to Tenerife and you want a new location. Another reason to stay here if you are on a budget and traveling by car while on a road trip.
Other than that, this town is a nice pick for that time when you come to live in Tenerife and want to be in close proximity to the capital city Santa Cruz.
Icod de los Vinos – Town of Banana Plantations, Wine & Oldest Tree
Icod de los Vinos is a typical Canarian town with old streets with snow-white houses with carved balconies in the traditional colonial style, several churches, and a cute small picturesque square. The town is small, so it seems at first that you can get around it in an hour or two.
While it is true to some extent, let me tell you that Icod de los Vinos holds a significant place as one of the island’s most important and oldest towns. And it offers quite a few activities from the list of the best things to do in northern Tenerife. So you may end up spending there half a day at least.
Its strategic location near the coast and fertile lands made it an important center for agriculture, particularly banana plantations and vineyards. This is why the production of exquisite wines and banana cultivation are quite big here.
When visiting, it is an absolute must to go to a banana plantation in the center of the town like Casa del Platano and stop for banana (cacti and other fruit) wine tasting in locals shops. Fruit wines that are made here are very similar to wines I tried in Sirince village in Turkey but some are truly authentic (like melon and papaya wine).
Also, don’t leave without seeing the iconic El Drago Milenario, a thousand-year-old dragon tree that stands as a symbol of the Icod de las Vinos resilience and natural beauty. This ancient tree is a living testament to the town’s deep-rooted connection with its environment and is considered one of the oldest and largest trees in the world.
Is Icod de los Vinos a Good Town Where to Stay?
It can be a good place to stay in Tenerife if you enjoy a quieter setting and want to be in a traditional Canarian town with convenient access to nearby attractions.
Note that Icod de los Vinos, even though being one of the most popular tourist destinations, doesn’t have big hotels and resorts. But it is full of rural-style hotels and heritage homes like Hotel Emblematico San Agustin or Hotel Emblematico San Marcus. This is why you get a very homey feeling and authenticity.
This town is also a wonderful pick for where to stay in Tenerife for budget travelers who want to visit Teno Mountains and see in depth places in northern Tenerife.
Garachico – Town Rebuilt on Volcanic Ash
Garachico is not just a nice town in Tenerife. It is one of the most historic and epoch-making places as well as one of the main cultural and historical centers in Tenerife.
After getting here, you’ll feel a sharp contrast with the popular southern resort towns. The atmosphere here is most reminiscent of Spain of the Iberian Peninsula rather than the Canary Islands.
Garachico is a reborn town from the 18th century, which was rebuilt on frozen lava. Historical buildings here have been restored during the 18th and 19th centuries after the eruption of the Trevejo volcano in 1706 and many of them have info boards telling their story.
The architecture of the Garachico looks like hundreds of years ago with many shops that outwardly do not look like them, merging with the architecture of the old town. The narrow streets of the town look very romantic and invite for leisurely walks with a camera.
Within the city borders, you’ll find famous volcanic swimming pools that stand as tranquil sanctuaries. Each pool offers a distinct character and serves great for swimming and sunbathing.
Should You Stay in Garachico?
Garachico is a wonderful town to consider for your stay in Tenerife that provides a delightful combination of history, natural scenery, and tranquility. Similar to Icod de los Vinos, it doesn’t have big resorts or spa & wellness hotels but is bustling with traditional Canarian homes and boutique properties.
You should especially consider staying here when on a road trip around Tenerife.
Best Towns to Visit in Tenerife South
Southern Tenerife also has a few really nice and pretty towns. The majority of them are too touristy and were designed for tourists. So below I mention those that are quiet and inviting and offer a beautiful time.
Los Gigantes – Tenerife Town of Impressive Cliffs & Beach Feel
One of the most famous Tenerife towns Los Gigantes is ideal not just for a visit but for a stay for people who come to Tenerife for the first time. It offers a quiet comfortable area together with beautiful scenery, fishing opportunities, diving, boat trips on yachts and access to beaches with black volcanic sand.
If you are staying in the south of Tenerife in another town, come here on a quick trip just to check out the area which is beautiful.
Los Gigantes is famous for its huge cliffs and pretty setting. In fact, the town derives its name from the towering cliffs that dominate the coastline, reaching heights of up to 800 meters (2,600 feet). They create a breathtaking backdrop against the beach and offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.
In addition to its natural beauty, there is a range of attractions and activities for visitors in town. For example, a charming marina is a strating point for many boat trips and excursions to explore the nearby waters, including dolphin and whale watching tours. The sea around Los Gigantes is home to a diverse marine life, making it a popular spot for diving and snorkeling.
The town itself has a laid-back and friendly atmosphere, with a selection of restaurants, cafes, and shops along its streets. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade, relax on the sandy beach, or indulge in delicious seafood dishes at the waterfront restaurants.
If you ever go, make a stop the Tea House and Bar with a big selection of teas and nicely served arrays of scones, cakes and sandwiches.
Is Los Gigantes a Good Town to Stay?
Los Gigantes is a fantastic town to consider for your stay in Tenerife, especially if you are visiting for the first time and looking for a quiet place.
Los Gigantes’ location offers breathtaking views of the iconic cliffs that give the town its name. Additionally, the town boasts a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere, making it ideal for those seeking a peaceful getaway.
It is also renowned for its marina, where you can go on boat trips to explore the nearby sea caves and encounter marine life such as dolphins and whales. With a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as easy access to beautiful beaches like Playa de la Arena, Los Gigantes is a nice place where to stay.
Los Cristianos – Beach Resorts & Entertainment
Los Cristianos is a small town in the south of Tenerife that is too popular among tourists as it offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment.
If you don’t plan to stay there or nearby, I wouldn’t really go to this town as it’s promenade, beaches, and atmospehere are very similar to other towns along the south coast. Instead, I’d recommend you go explore other regions of Tenerife that I mentioned above.
The only thing that differs here in comparison with other towns is the beaches with golden sand. Also, that along with Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos has a reputation for being very quiet and peaceful with some nice hotels on the first lane. It will suit perfectly couples with children or those who prefer to unplug on vacation and take it really slowly. In addition, it has all the conditions for people with disabilities.
The golden sand beaches of Playa de Los Cristianos and Playa de las Vistas provide a perfect setting for relaxing, swimming, sunbathing, or indulging in various water sports such as jet skiing, snorkeling, and diving.
There is also a picturesque harbor next to the beach that serves as a departure point for boat trips and excursions. From here, you can hop on a ferry to the nearby island of La Gomera or join a boat excursion for whale and dolphin watching.
Is It a Good Idea to Stay in Los Cristianos?
With its lively atmosphere, beautiful beaches, a range of amenities, and attractions for visitors to enjoy, Los Cristianos is also a great choice for a stay on the island.
El Medano – Coastal Hiking & Windsurfing
A small, not so much known town of El Medano is situated not far from the airport in the south of Tenerife. It has a very limited number of hotels, that’s why the majority of people rarely visit it.
But El Medano is famous for a few things. First one – for the surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing opportunities as the town is located in a rather windy place. Those who do not know how to surf can take surf lessons from local couches that don’t cost a lot. Wetsuits and boards are available for rent for an additional fee.
Another feature that makes El Medano a nice Tenerife town to visit is the number of hiking/walking trails in the area.
For those who would like to explore the coastal zone on foot, there is a good choice to climb the “Red Mountain” (Montana Roja) which is visible from many points. It offers extraordinary views that give an idea of the area and its relief. From there you can even see the runway of the South Airport.
Not far from the Red Mountain within El Medano town limit, there is also a ranch “Casa Caballo” offering horseback riding for adults and children.
On the other side of the town, three kilometers away, is Montaña Pelada which translates as “Bald Mountain”. This is a natural monument with a territory that is under protection. It is a volcanic formation with a huge crater, which is about one kilometer in diameter. In the past, a volcano ejected lava into the Atlantic Ocean here, forming large clouds of smoke from evaporating water.
And then when you are in the area and crave Chinese food, this restaurant has a good selection and quality. Overall the plaza where it is located has quite a few nice establishments with drinks and food.
Should You Stay in El Medano?
El Medano is also not a bad option where to stay in Tenerife but mainly if you are on a tight budget and want to be close to other towns along the southern coast.
The choice of nice hotels is very limited in El Medano and the main type of accommodation here is apartments and shared houses.
Alcalá – Quiet Town With Luxurious Hotels
Another quite unknown and somewhat hidden town on Tenerife’s southern coast is Alcala, once a bustling fishing village that turned into a resort town with a couple of nice resort hotels for couples.
Of course, if you are staying in northern Tenerife, coming here directly doesn’t make much sense. But if you are on a road trip around Tenerife or if you are based in the south and want to explore the coast, don’t miss Alcala town with a few beaches and beautiful coastal trails.
This town boasts a small pier with fishing boats where you can practice various water sports. In close proximity to the pier, almost on every street, there are some delectable seafood restaurants with dishes made with fresh catches of the day. Additionally, the pier area is home to a sailing school that offers private lessons for those interested.
Situated just a 30-minute drive away from the lively atmosphere of Costa Adeje, Alcala town provides a more serene and tranquil setting, perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape.
Not far from the town’s old center, more to the north, you’ll find a public pool one of the best natural pools in southern Tenerife.
Should You Stay in Alcalá?
Besides visiting, Alcalá is an excellent town where to stay in Tenerife as there are some prestigious hotels, recognized as some of the top accommodations in the Canary Islands like Palacio de Isora, Ritz Carlton, and Las Terrazas de Abama Suites.
Arona – Mountain Town in Tenerife
A small town Arona is quite different from all other towns on this list. It doesn’t have direct access to the coastline but is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and has a few attractions that make it worth a trip.
First, you can make a stop here quickly when going to Teide National Park or pay a separate visit on a day trip from Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje, or another coastal town where you stay.
The most famous places in Arona are Camel Park and Jungle Park where the first park provides an opportunity to interact with camels and enjoy camel rides while the second park is a zoo and botanical garden, showcasing a variety of animal species and featuring entertaining shows.
Since Arona is situated in the heart of the Arona Mountains, there are also multiple trails that start from town and lead to some scenic areas. If you are a hiker, this is a place to go to and have a very different hiking experience than in Anaga or Teno mountains which are much more famous these days.
Should You Stay in Arona?
I’d say no unless you live in Tenerife and want to have a weekend break in a new unique town. Or unless you plan to go on a long hike and use public transportation to reach Arona. In this case, it will be smart to stay there until the next morning.
Map of the Best Towns in Tenerife
Have you visited any other beautiful towns in Tenerife that didn’t make this list? Share with me in the comments as I’d love to know. I have been everywhere on the island but wonder if there is anything that I missed!
Other Towns to Visit in Tenerife
- Guimar in the Southeast – visit it for aloe, hiking by the volcano, and a rustic getaway
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