logo orange
Rhea Derkse
Rhea Derkse

Editor Tenereife

North Or South Tenerife: Which Is The Better Side?

Share this article

north vs south tenerife

ote, this comparison is mend for visitors to the Island. If you are looking to compare the two parts through the lens of settling here for longer or shorter period of time, take a look at our Article “living on tenerife: a North and South Comparison. 

From the green mountain slopes of Northern Tenerife to the sun-kissed beaches of Adeje in the Southern part of the Island, Tenerife is one of Europe’s favorite holiday destinations. Culturally and politically it is European, geographically Northern Africa. Contrasting the Northern and Southern side of the Island leaves us with some contrasts, but no real contradictions. 

The question for visitors is which destination at either end of the TF-highway is worth the flight and time. The answer is annoyingly sobering – it depends. For this contrasting exercise, we consider the area between Buena Vista del Norte and Puerto de la Cruz as the vocal point and t the South as Adeje and down to los Cristianos. 

Upper: Hotel Playa Jardin, Puerto de la Cruz Below: Hotel Gala in South Tenerife

Does North Tenerife or South Tenerife have better hotels?

As one of the world’s major tourist destinations, Tenerife welcomes about 7 million visitors per year. Splitting it down to northern and southern numbers, almost 75% of all tourism flows to the south, leaving the northern part catering to about 20% of visitors. Naturally, the range and number of hotels in the southern part of Tenerife is more significant than it is on the North coast. If you are looking for luxury and resort style accommodation, you’ll have more options to choose from in South. Especially along the Adeje coast, which is the centre of tourism on the island. 

Even though Puerto de la Cruz has luxury accommodations on offer, the north specializes in a different kind of accommodation. It offers better options for those looking for relaxation, wellness hotels and smal scale, authentic stays. You can find wonderful boutique hotels, luxury hotels and family friendly places here. The cliché about North Tenerife holds true: the North is ideal for hiking and enjoying nature.

Almost always sunny skies in Adeje, La Orotava Valley with clouds

Is the climate better in South Tenerife?

On the south coast, you find one of the two airports on the Island. Tenerife Sur airport, serves the resorts of the southwest coast. Here, the temperatures are similar to those found in Santa Cruz (the capital)  and the rest of the coasts of the Canary Islands, although the temperature reaches very high values during heat waves.

Rain is very scarce, flirting with desert levels. In fact they amount to less than 150 mm (6 in) per year; however, they tend to hit short and intense, usually  in the cooler half of the year. Here is the average precipitation.

The amount of sunshine in Tenerife is plentiful throughout the year. However, in addition to the low pressure systems that can pass through the island from October to March, cloud banks can form in summer on the Atlantic Ocean and reach the island in the afternoons. On the northern coast, and especially on the mountain slopes exposed to the north, local clouds and fogs can form. The south coast is therefore the sunniest.

Compared to the south, the north is usually about 4 decrees colder than the south. It does rain more in the north, but after the hot summers, the rain is very welcome. The north is more cloudy too. Some days can be worse than others and usually clouds come and go. 

If you are really looking for a lot of sunshine, the north of Tenerife is a bit more unpredictable and cloudier. From about November, it sometimes rains, usually every few days for about an hour. In Januari an Februari there is usually a week of two when the raininess really intensifies. And let’s be honest, that’s no fun if you are on your holiday. 

So the south wins when it comes to having winter break. 

Playa Jardin v.s. Los Cristianos Beach

The best beach contest

Tenerife’s beaches are not naturally exotic. But in the Southern coastline between Adeje and Los Cristianos you find plenty, man-made golden beaches with silky sand and matching amenities. For sun seekers 

Tenerife doesn’t boast exotic beaches. But the strip from La Caleta in Costa Adeje to Los Cristianos offers man made beach after man made beach with golden-ish sand and all the amenities sunseekers can wish for. Beaches like Playa El Duque on the Costa Adeje really meet expectations of a classic sun & beach holiday.

Puerto de la Cruz, on the other side offers the black sand Playa Jardín and several other natural black beauties. With the more rugged backdrop these beaches are not everybodies taste as most people prefer golden sand beaches. And one must admit golden beaches just look more inviting. 

So if you are looking to mainly hang out on the beach, head south by all means. 

Historic in La Laguna on the left, Siam Water Park on the right.

Scenery, culture and activities

When is comes to scenery and natural beauty, the North of Tenerife beats the South hands down. The green slopes with mount Teide in the backdrop, just enhances the unique experience the Island offers. Living here daily I can assure you it doesn’t wear out. 

Planning a day of activities works well in both the South as the North of Tenerife. The Southern part does a more embellished job catering to the pleasure of conventional tourism – water sports, organized trips, theme and water parks. And even though the North of Tenerife has a number of theme parks and other classic tourist attractions, it offers less of them. On the other hand, the North outperforms the South with more and better options for historic towns, places, museums, theatres and (botanical) gardens.  

Following the boom in the 60s, 70s and 80s the Southern part of Tenerife morphed from a group of tiny fishing communities to one of the most visited tourist places on the planet. Subsequently 99 percent of what is there is purpose build. Only a few decades ago there was little to be seen in the South.

By that time The North of Tenerife had been the commercial, cultural and economic center on the Island for centuries. The traditions and customs in the North of Tenerife are mostly for the benefit of the people of the Island where the Southern fiestas and customs are created almost exclusively for the entertainment of the droves of tourists that visit the shores every year.  

For a conventional sun and beach holiday, the south wins by a nose

Overall the South wins. But not by a stretch. The added tourist amenities and the sunnier skies make it so. But the scale can easily tip in favor of North Tenerife if scenery, restaurants, traditions and culture are considered units of measurement 

In the end both the north and south of the Island have distinct character and identity and will appeal to different tastes. Whichever coastline wins your favour, neither one of them are really able to disappoint. 

Compare listings