Tenerife is an island full of contrasts, offering something for everyone. These contrasts are reflected in the differences between North Tenerife and South Tenerife. In this article, we’ll give you a glimpse into these differences, highlighting the most important points of each area, and give you reasons why Tenerife should be your next holiday destination.

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Tenerife is an island of contrasts

Fantastic beaches, lush green forests, stunning volcanoes, and the chance to spot whales and dolphins are just a few of the highlights of this island. Additionally, it boasts charming villages, lively historic centres, and tranquil areas. Keep reading to discover what you can find in North Tenerife and what to see in South Tenerife. We’ll leave the choice up to you! Of course, you can also enjoy both in one trip…

What to see in North Tenerife: Pure nature

Playa de San Roque tenerife norte

North Tenerife is the more tropical part of the island, with lots of greenery and sometimes cooler, even rainy days. It’s an ideal area for those who prefer a peaceful holiday, enjoying nature and visiting interesting villages. Prime examples include San Cristóbal de La Laguna, which we’ll discuss later, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where you can find more buzz and fun. If you visit this part of the island, you must check out the ‘guachinches’, traditional and authentic restaurants where you can taste the most typical food accompanied by good wine.

Discover more about this area in our article on what to see in North Tenerife.

What to see in South Tenerife: Sun, Beach, and Fun

In South Tenerife, the beach is the heart of life. Here you’ll find extensive sandy beaches, water sports, perfect temperatures, and sunshine all year round. It’s a perfect area for families with kids, as it has all the amenities for a luxurious holiday. It’s also a fantastic option for young people because it’s the party area, with entertainment for all tastes. You can fly into this area via ‘Aeropuerto de Tenerife Sur’ and base yourself here.

Gastronomy: Flavours that distinguish the North from the South

You can try the island’s typical foods in any area, but some dishes are especially recommended in the north. This is where the ‘guachinches‘ are, traditional restaurants specialising in some of the best delicacies you can taste in Tenerife. Here are some things you should try on your next trip:

Gofio

‘Gofio’ is a type of very fine toasted flour (usually corn), consumed in the Canary Islands and several Latin American countries. This flour can be eaten in many ways: in hot drinks, mixed in milk, with nuts, or as a side to various dishes.

Papas Arrugadas

Probably the most famous Canarian dish, ‘papas arrugadas’ are potatoes boiled with plenty of salt, then cooked slowly while shaking the pot. This process, called ‘hacer saltar las papas’ (making the potatoes jump), causes them to wrinkle and turn white from the salt.

Sancocho

This dish is very popular on the island, being the typical dish of Good Friday and other holidays, although it’s eaten all year round. It’s made with salted fish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mojo sauce. ‘Gofio’ can be added for an extra touch.

Almogrote

‘Almogrote’ is a kind of cheese sauce or spread, usually eaten as a starter. It has a dry flavour due to the cheese used and a unique texture that can be creamy or lumpy.

Puchero Tinerfeño

This is a traditional stew in the Canary Islands, with variations in several South American countries. It’s a comforting stew with meat, vegetables, and legumes, perfect for recharging after a good hike in nature.

Of course, there are many more things to eat in Tenerife, but with these options, you’ll get a pretty good idea of the island’s gastronomy. We promise it’s delicious!

Activities and attractions: What does each area offer?

The whole island offers interesting options for travellers, but each area has its own advantages. Here’s a breakdown:

Is North Tenerife for you?

In this part of the island, you can visit La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its colonial architecture and one of the most beautiful cities in Tenerife. For relaxation, the natural pools of Bajamar are one of the best attractions in the area. If you prefer the beach, Las Teresitas with its golden desert sand and calm, clear waters is perfect. You can also take a nice walk through the Anaga forest, full of greenery and calm. Lastly, for culture lovers, we recommend visiting the ‘Antiguo Hospital Civil’ (Old Civil Hospital), with neoclassical architecture, where the Museum of Nature and Archaeology is located.

What to see in South Tenerife?

In this part of the island, the best activity you can do is take a boat trip (giving you a spectacular view of the ‘Acantilados de los Gigantes’, the Cliffs of the Giants) and watch dolphins, whales, and orcas. A perfect and unique adventure, without a doubt. If you prefer a water activity but on dry land, Siam Park is the largest water park in Europe, with beaches, restaurants, pools, and much more. This is also a perfect area for sports lovers, with ideal conditions for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. The beaches of South Tenerife await.

Playa de Rojas en tenerife norte

Climate: Two environments on one island

Although they may be part of the same island, which has quite mild temperatures throughout the year, there are differences between the temperatures and climate between North Tenerife and South Tenerife. While the north is more humid, with greener landscapes, slightly lower temperatures, and even some rain, the weather in Tenerife South is drier and sunnier, which raises the temperatures slightly.

Oddly enough, in the centre of the island, due to the presence of Mount Teide, temperatures are lower than in the rest of the island. There can even be snow in the winter months at the summit of this volcano.

Discover your favourite side of Tenerife

We can’t tell you which is the best area of Tenerife because it depends on your tastes and preferences. However, we can recommend that you visit as much of the island as possible, both the green nature of North Tenerife and the beaches of SouthTenerife, and also the central area, to discover everything this island has to offer. We can also help you find accommodation in Tenerife that’s perfect for you. Here you’ll find apartments, houses, and villas where you can enjoy great moments with your family, partner, or friends.