The Canary Islands have always been popular and famous for their fishing culture and history. Tenerife has numerous small villages on its coasts that have managed to maintain some of the feel and atmosphere of a place that was once just a tiny fishing community.
Especially on weekends, the locals on Tenerife come down from their mountainside homes to these small seaside villages and stroll through the twisting streets, looking for the best seafood restaurant.
Rich and exciting, the culture found here is vibrant and can be discovered in every corner. From the museums and art galleries of the cosmopolitan capital Santa Cruz to the quaint cobbled streets of Puerto de la Cruz in the beautiful Orotava Valley. The typical Canarian villages tucked away in the mountains and of course the culture of the south and west coast; the island is full of signs of the Spanish way of life.
The gastronomy is heavily influenced by Spanish cooking as well as the architecture, and let us not forget the bank holidays or fiestas. The most important of these is Semana Santa (Holy Week), which is celebrated the week before Easter. The notion of having Romerías, special days where people honour their patron saint, also comes from Spain as does the tradition of having a break during the hottest part of the day when many shops and businesses close for lunch and reopen later when the temperature cools.
Being a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, Tenerife has been accustomed to influences from other nationalities with many different cultures visiting over the years. Although this has been embraced, the people of Tenerife have held onto their own traditions; a quality they are very proud of.
Small El Puertito has a laid-back, authentic atmosphere with bobbing fishermans’ boats and uninterrupted sea views. This is a place that mass tourism forgot and it offers a true escape from reality. It’s quite difficult to find El Puertito on any of the tourist maps of the island. You need to know exactly where it is to find the only rocky road that leads there.
Besides El Puertito’s beach chiringuito, a tiny church and a statue of the Virgin Mary, there’s not a lot to see in the village. Nevertheless, this village is one of the few places left on the island that has a faint fishing village feel. Last but not least, you really can’t miss the amazing sunset in El Puertito. For many locals the sunset is the main reason to come here, they finish the day with a nice cold pint in the beach chiringuito and watch the amazing sunset.
Probably the first thing that catches your eye when you arrive at Tenerife’s southern airport is the massive Montaña Roja mountain which sits next to two of the largest natural beaches on the island, Playa de la Tejita and Playa de Leocadio Machado. Playa de Leocadio Machado belongs to the small seaside town of El Médano, which is one of the best windsurfing and kiteboarding destinations in the world.
Although El Médano’s growing popularity has brought many tourists to town, it is still one of the best places in Tenerife to enjoy a bohemian, easygoing beach life. Here you’ll find many high-quality fresh seafood restaurants and enjoy watching the surfers and kite boarders trying to catch the perfect wave.
Just next to the busy Playa de las Americas lies the small fishing village of La Caleta. You can get here simply by walking down the seaside road from Playa El Duque or by car taking the exit number 79 off the TF-1 motorway and driving towards the coast. This relaxing and easygoing village is the perfect place to spend a moment away from the crowds.
The beaches in La Caleta are rocky but the stairs that lead to these amazingly turquoise waters makes this one of the best places to swim. Seafood is a star attraction in La Caleta as well. Prices here are a bit higher than in the other villages we’ve covered so far, but the quality is excellent. If you are feeling adventurous, you can walk up to the remote beach behind the mountain on the right-hand side of the village. There you’ll find a small hippie community of beach lovers, who have chosen to pursue their lifestyle under the warm, Canarian sun.
Idyllic Los Abrigos is located very close to El Médano and is another gem along the southern coast. This charming place is one of the oldest fishing villages on the island and it’s also known for its high-quality seafood restaurants. Los Abrigos really has stood the test of time and maintained a feel of time long gone. Fishing nets lying on the streets, fisherman boats bobbing in the marina and the scent of fresh fish that permeates the air and charms every visitor here.
Locals come here on weekends and holidays to treat themselves with some of the best seafood delicacies on the island. It is nice to stroll down the main street and small alleys of this lovely village, admiring the selection of fresh fish in the display cases of the restaurants. There’s a small marina just in front of the main street, where the local fishermen drop their catch of the day and then head back.