Tenerife is famed for its beautiful beach resorts, packed full of restaurants, hotel complexes, shops and cafés, designed to ensure all tourists in the area have everything at their fingertips. Purpose-built resorts like Playa de las Americas are ideal for travelers seeking hassle-free travel to Tenerife, with everything they need within minutes from the beach front.
However, those seeking a more authentic Canary Islands experience need to head for the hidden gems of the island, free of tourist development, for the quiet and tranquil holiday of a lifetime. These hidden gems are found in the non-touristy parts of Tenerife
Non-Touristy Places in Tenerife
Here’s our guide to the top tourist-free resorts on the island.
The natural beaches and rocky cliff faces of El Medano are ideal for sunbathing and exploring, while the constant breeze in this part of the bay keep tourist agencies from focusing on the area. Wind-surfers and kite-boarders can enjoy the waves and the free space to get out on the water.
With 2km of soft sand and crystal clear waters, it’s perfect for paddling and sandcastle-building, and the nearby town center offers a variety of market stalls and small shops to purchase refreshments and souvenirs from. The promenade has a particularly bohemian atmosphere, with cafés and small beach bars offering open-air tables from which to watch the world go by.
Boasting three beautiful beaches and a laid-back nightlife, Los Silos is ideal for those looking to take their Tenerife holiday a little more slowly than usual. Popular activities here are fishing and water-sports out in the bay, while the beaches themselves promise soft golden sands, plenty of scenic footpaths, and a number of cafés and shops along the promenade.
The area is also home to the Black Caves walking route, and the Nuestra Senora de la Luz, a lovely 16th-century church, ideal for history lovers. Freshly-caught seafood and local wines are available from the cafés and bistros, for a true taste of Tenerife.
A town of contrasts, Garachio’s volcanic rock pools still attract day-trippers to the area by day, but when the sun comes down the atmosphere becomes one of tranquility and peace, with small restaurants and bars dotted across the area, and a slow, contented way of life.
There’s no real beach here, thanks to the development of several lava rock pools in the 1700s, which means that while there are plenty of sunbathing spots, many of the tourists in the area head to neighboring Puerto de la Cruz. A craft fair can be found in the central square on weekends, and a number of small shops offer hand-made souvenirs throughout the week, for those all-important Tenerife holiday memories.
While Las Caletillas is considered a place of great historical and religious importance on the island, it doesn’t attract many tourists at all, which makes it ideal for those seeking something more authentic and cultural from their holidays. The resort is part of the larger town of Candelaria, home of the Basilica of Candelaria, where the island’s patron saint is worshiped, attracting hundreds of pilgrims each year.
The square beneath the basilica features fantastic sculptures and artwork, definitely worth looking out for. In the Las Caletillas district itself, the black-pebble beach is perfect for walking and stretching out in the sun, while the nearby national part at Mount Teide promises several afternoons of scenic exploration and beautiful wildlife.
Alcala is perhaps the least-known of the resorts on this list, a small village with a market square and natural beach, home to some of the most luxurious hotels but without the noise and glitter of the larger resorts. It’s perfect for the ultimate getaway – no crowds, no hustle and bustle, and definitely no fighting for space on the rocks and pools of the seafront.
Visitors love it for the quietness and the authenticity – you won’t find any nightclubs here, but there are plenty of restaurants serving regional, home-made dishes, as well as bakeries and terraced bars to discover. The rock-pools are ideal for bird-watching and fishing, while the footpaths around the village make for a fantastic day excursion, for an idyllic island holiday in Tenerife.
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Non-Touristy Activities in Tenerife
There’s plenty to do in Tenerife other than drinking booze and lounging on the beach – not that there’s anything wrong with either of those! But if you’re looking for a more authentic experience, consider making the following activities part of your Tenerife experience.
Why not uncover some of Tenerife’s ancient past? Founded in 1494 the island’s capital city Santa Cruz is full of stories of days gone by. The town played a vital part in the shipping of goods from Europe to the Americas when emigration to the New World first began. Along with its rich nautical heritage, Santa Cruz is full of historic architecture, old churches and winding cobbled streets. Elsewhere on the island particularly in la Orotava you will find stunning Municipal palaces, colonial architecture and working vineyards.
Do Some Hiking
Tenerife’s Mount Teide and the surrounding National Park are a walker’s paradise. There are mountain treks which take you through “lunar” landscapes and through lava flows.
Mount Teide is an active volcano so the park’s landscape is always being affected by its activity and the scenery is constantly changing. Teide is a fairly challenging walk but if you’re after something a little gentler nearby Montana Blanca gives excellent views of the lava flows and Teide itself.
Conversely, if you are a walker who likes to push themselves, La Guajara should provide a suitably difficult climb plus plenty of opportunities to view the spectacular scenery. If arid landscapes and rock strewn mountains aren’t your thing, the Island has some amazing coastal and rural walks to offer.
Mingle with the Locals
To the North of Tenerife you will find traditional villages and guest houses or “casas” where you will be able to experience a taste of the “real” Tenerife. Here you will find traditional crafts, Spanish dancing, Sangria as it was meant to be tasted, not to mention food. Sample paella and tapas in a quintessentially Spanish setting and you will forget that you’re in one of the country’s busiest holiday destinations.
Find a Quiet Place
With miles of coastline it should be relatively easy to find a secluded spot to yourself. Take a drive along the coast and pitch up with a picnic and watch the world go by. Whether your quiet spot is a secret beach, at the top of a mountain or the in the middle of a forest, you should find it easy to find a spot to call your own. Take a good book and let your worries melt away.
While Tenerife is the perfect place for relaxing it also has a lot to offer if you’re looking for some adventure. Tenerife’s central mountain range is perfect for a spot of off road cycling. You could also try your hand at climbing or abseiling. Water sports are also prevalent on the island with tailored holidays dedicated to surfing and windsurfing available.
No matter where you choose, a vacation in Tenerife in the Canary Islands is one you’ll never forget. If you love the hustle and bustle of tourist areas, there certainly are plenty. If instead you’re looking for the less tourist-oriented parts, I hope this post has helped!