It’s always a joy to go back to this subtropical island, where Spain’s highest peak, Teide dominates the skyline. Our founder Lutz first set foot on Tenerife in his late teens and felt that he had discovered a slice of Hawaii adrift in the Atlantic. He went on to stay for an entire year, catching waves and soaking up the retro vibes. Returning to the island is like meeting an old friend who hasn’t aged a day.
Our first recommendation is to find a quiet town like Los Silos, in the northeast — to experience life here away from the tourist trail. Instead of crowded streets you’ll find peaceful plazas that bring entire communities together. Families tend to gather in these squares for fiestas, concerts, or more frequently to take a coffee from the central cafe. In these towns you’ll also find fresh fruit stalls that are supplied by nearby micro farms. Due to Tenerife’s small size and uneven terrain, many locals grow what they need for themselves on small areas of land. Yet there’s always excess produce — like juicy papayas and bananas, which wind up at the market. An eco-friendly and local way to shop!
The best way to get around is with a rental car. From Los Silos, you can gather your gear and head further north to find plenty of waves. We’ve listed our favourite surf spots, below.
This big reef-break has something for everybody: from longboard waves, through to hollow waves and the kind that are better suited for beginners. Produces both left and right handers. When the swell is particularly rough, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Bajamar is another excellent (and cheap) town to base any trip.
The equivalent of SOS, or ‘Help!’ in Spanish, El Socorro spot lives up to its name in a number of ways. A heavy, fast drop-in and occasionally aggressive waves make it one to be wary of. Locals love this beach break because it always has surf, so when the rest of the coast goes slack, this is the place to head to.
Igueste de San Andres
The more secretive spot on our list, catering mainly for intermediate and advanced surfers. It is a sheltered reef break, offering consistent swell and is at its best around high tide. We found it to be relatively deserted, allowing us to make the most of what is one of the best left handers on the island.
This trio of tried and tested locations are all you need for a successful surf holiday, though there are many many more to discover, made easier by the highway that loops around the coastline. We’re happy to report that post-surf cuisine is also not hard to come by. The natural choice is Papa Arrugada, a nutritious potato meal that Lutz more or less survived during his teenage stay. It comes with a tasty Mojo Rojo sauce and will help you to recharge before heading back to the beach…
…or out to sea. Tenerife is the ideal place to go whale watching. That’s because it’s home to a colony of pilot whales, which aren’t famed for their shy behaviour. These amusing creatures with rounded heads are effectively the missing link between dolphins and orcas. They come for the warm water and stay for the squid, which are found at a deeper level of Tenerife’s underwater topography. During the day, pilot whales prefer to laze around closer to the surface, making them easy to spot. Seeing these animals in the wild is a must for ocean lovers and gives a glimpse of the rich biodiversity on show here, which is reflected further inland too.
Lava-formed rocks flow back into desert plateaus which make way for Canadian looking pine forests further up the mountain. The volcano itself is often capped by a helping of snow. Such sharp contrasts make Tenerife a brilliant island for exploring on foot. Aside from the obvious Teide national park, other hiking areas include Masca Gorge — a green valley with dramatic views.
Whether we go with a board, boots or the intention of simply disconnecting for a week (often all three), we consider Tenerife to be up there with the best exotic getaways that are not so far from home. It’s easy to access, stunningly beautiful and remains relatively unspoilt. If you manage to get there yourself, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the scenery and surf as much as us!