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Tenerife city guide

Tenerife is no one-trick pony – the cities and resorts here come in all shapes and sizes, with beaches and amenities to suit every holiday preference. You just have to know where to go.

To give you more of a full picture, here's a starter guide on some of Tenerife's top cities.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Tenerife's busy capital city is located along the island's eastern coast, and is about as bustling as the Canaries get.

Its harbour is the city's central fixture, made that much more prominent by the opera house and its giant, half-moon arch bending over it.

In addition to its curvy beach and contemporary art museum, the city is known especially for its nightlife scene. That, and Santa Cruz's Carnival celebrations, which quite literally take over the city's streets come February.

If you find yourself in Tenerife then, you'd be wise to bring a costume and a lot of energy.

Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz is your classic Renaissance city, packed with all the trimmings a popular beach destination requires. The palm-lined Jardin Beach is a large black sand number backed by hotels and its namesake sub-tropical gardens.

Other top holiday amenities in Puerto de la Cruz include Lago Martianez, a waterpark that's not exactly as you might imagine. It's more of a water complex, with seven massive pools, restaurants and a casino on-site.

The daily market El Mercado sells all sorts of bits and pieces, and you'll find every kind of international bite you can imagine at the restaurants. And if city living gets too much, there's the lush Orotava Valley for you to explore just inland.

Playa de las Americas

One of the largest and most sought-out holiday destinations in all of the Canaries, Playa de las Americas is a thriving modern resort.

Playa de las Americas combines with Los Cristianos to make a resort big enough to be a city and with just as many amenities. Between them there are six gorgeous beaches that are part gold, part volcanic and lined with hotels and restaurants so exploring the resort is that much easier.

Nearby Siam Park is easily the biggest attraction for those visiting Playa de las Americas, as it's one of the biggest and best waterparks in all of Europe. It's Thai-themed, and between the crazy-high body slides, tube slides and wave pool are the most Thai buildings outside of Thailand.

Couple this with the designer-boutique-heavy Safari Shopping Centre, watersports, and just about every type of cuisine you can think of, and you'll soon see why this resort is legendary among holidaymakers.

Los Gigantes

For many, Los Gigantes actually refers to a combination of the resort of Los Gigantes, Puerto de Santiago and Playa de la Arena.

The resorts are so close and so well blended together, people often lump them into the same resort. This basically means you've got three resorts for the price of one, combining to the size of a city but each with its own distinct small-town feel.

Los Gigantes gets its name from the giant cliffs of the same name rising from the sea at heights up to 800 metres. At their base is Los Guios beach, a small, black sand beach that benefits from the sheltering cliffs at its back.

The resort often acts as an access point for Teide National Park, where you'll find Spain's highest peak and one of the biggest volcanoes in the world.

Costa Adeje

Costa Adeje wins the prize for the flashiest resort in Tenerife, with an abundance of luxury hotels and some seriously gorgeous beaches.

It has the most Blue Flag award-winning beaches on the island, with the stunning Playa del Duque and Playa Fanabe at the top.

It, too, offers close access to Teide National Park and Siam Park – two very different but equally exhilarating holiday experiences.

Since its beaches are such a stand-out feature, many activities are gathered around the shores, with scuba and snorkelling, boat trips and more high speed watersports on the agenda.

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