To many people, the quintessential image of Tenerife is one of endless sunshine, vibrant beach life and boisterous neon lit resorts. While this is still true to an extent, it is only part of the story. The island has tried – and in the main succeeded –in moving away from the ubiquitous diet of sun, sea and sangria. The trend nowadays is less focused on the beach. People come to Tenerife now for adventure sports, golf and wellness and the glorious beaches can often seem little more than a distraction.
A raft of new ‘off the beaten path’ resorts has sprung up catering to more affluent visitors or those in search of an authentic natural setting. Tenerife, just like its eye catching scenery, is not short on variety when it comes to somewhere to stay. The grand old lady of the north, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife’s original beach haven well before the invention of package holidays, still pulls in the punters while pulsating Playa de las Americas certainly needs no introduction. At the other end of the scale is the laid back luxury of Del Duque and Fanabe or the aptly named Costa del Silencio.
If you really want your cake and eat it then Los Cristianos fits the bill perfectly. This is a vibrant beach resort without the urban-style chaos of nearby Playa de las Americas and boasts three attractive beaches including one where you can legally let it all hang out. Naturist beaches aside it’s a great place for families with a fabulous range of accommodation and amenities yet still has a fairly low key pace of life. If you ever want some late night mayhem, Playa de las America’s clubbing scene is just staggering distance away.
The town’s origins are in fishing and it still boasts a lively harbour, which is nowadays focused mainly on leisure cruises – big game fishing, dolphin watching and snorkeling trips. This is the place to come at nightfall for sundowners or breezy al fresco dining; there are numerous open air restaurants and cafes and a wide beachfront promenade which stretches beyond neighbouring Playa de las Americas. Uniquely the town centre is pedestrianised throughout and features a myriad of winding streets filled with small shops, bars and yet more restaurants. Entertainment after dark is pretty laid back and you are more likely to find a snug pub or cheesy cabaret show than deafening dance music.
The beauty of los Cristianos is that you can take full advantage of the virtually unlimited amenities at Playa de las Americas while still enjoying an authentic Canarian experience and a much more civilised pace of life. It’s a top pick for families with a sheltered sandy bay and two of the best aqua parks in the Canaries right on the doorstep. There is a large British expat scene in Los Cristianos with tons of British bars, cafes and the like but still retains a strong local character, arguably more so than any other tourist resort on the island.