The surf in Tenerife is just like the island itself, wild, unpredictable, and definitely worth experiencing. The largest and most populous of the Canaries has a rugged and volcanic landscape, but that hasn’t stopped glamorous beach resorts from springing up all over the island, and energetic festivals overthrowing the historic capital every year.
Strong and consistent waves bless Tenerife, which means it is overflowing with great surf spots for boarders of all levels. Tenerife also benefits from one of the best climates in Europe, rarely dipping below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with average highs of 70 degrees all year round. This makes it an ideal destination for winter sun, and winter surf, but you’re probably wondering where are the best places to ride the waves.
From Santa Cruz to Costa Adeje, from board-snapping tubes to fast and frothy reef breaks, here’s everything you need to know about surfing in Tenerife. Let’s get into it.
La Izquierda, Playa de las Américas
La Izquierda, meaning “the left” in Spanish, is Tenerife’s most iconic surf destination. Nestled on the south coast of Tenerife, at the heart of the expansive Playa de las Américas, La Izquierda is a paradise for experienced surfers, looking for fast-breaking and intensive waves.
Unsurprisingly, La Izquierda produces left-hand waves – in fact, some of the best and most famous left-handed waves in all of Europe, with the strong offshore winds that come from the east. Waves can reach upwards of two meters tall and they break over a coral and volcanic rock seabed.
La Iquierda is versatile and you can surf here any time of year, but October through to March provides the best conditions on the south coast of the island. Summer breaks can be flat, but this gives intermediates and beginners a chance to tackle one of the continent’s best-known breaks.
Playa de la Américas is also one of Tenerife’s most popular tourist destinations and it can get really crowded here, especially in the high season. However, it comes with great facilities from parking to showers, equipment rental to sun loungers. If you’re just getting your footing with surfing, it could be a good summer spot to practice. We recommend avoiding the weekend when the crowds can make the water more dangerous.
La Derecha del Cartel
With La Izquierda, of course comes La Derecha, meaning “the right” in Spanish and unsurprisingly providing a mirror image of La Izquierda. The exposed reef break provides long and fast waves when the right conditions are there. The waves can be challenging and have been known to break a few boards, especially at low tide, but it can also be an easy ride with varying swell sizes and directions.
Getting a wave could be your biggest concern with all the pro-boarders and their advanced skills that flock from Las Americas. It gets crowded here so you’ll want to pay extra attention to rocks. Again, winter is the best time to find clean and consistent waves at La Derecha.
La Fitenia & Jeffrey, Los Cristianos Beach
Located on either side of the same bay, Fitenia and Jeffrey are spots where many surf schools do their lessons. The former is a point break, and the latter, a beach break, and both are among the top spots for beginners and intermediate surfers in Tenerife, but they can produce some strong waves for more advanced surfers.
La Fitenia is located halfway between Los Cristianos Beach and Playa de las Américas, and it scores the perfect balance for right-handed intermediate boarders, with some good left waves depending on the time of year.
Both points are better enjoyed in spring and summer, but they provide consistent surf in any season.
El Socorro, Los Realejos
Tenerife’s northern scenery provides the perfect backdrop for a surf lesson or seasoned ride. El Socorro is one of the most spectacular black-sand beaches in Tenerife, located in the lively and picturesque town of Los Realejos, and it’s definitely worth a visit even if you’re not there for the surf.
The Blue Flag beach offers varied surf throughout the year and waves break at heights of between one and two meters, making the beach popular with surfers of all levels. The beach even plays host to national and international surf and bodyboard competitions, like the O’Neill Challenge and La Santa Pro Junior which are held across July, August, and September. This adds to the excitement in Los Realejos, which already has its own vibrant annual festival roster.
The beach is backed by sharp jagged cliffs, but the mesmerizing volcanic sands only make the sparkling waters more inviting. As the waves break far from the shore, the beach is also popular with swimmers and sunbathers. El Socorro was awarded Blue Flag status in 1999, and today, there are several bars, restaurants, and parking facilities to keep visitors happy.
Punta Blanca, Guía de Isora
Situated on Tenerife’s northwest coast, nestled between Playa Alcalá and Los Gigantes beaches, Punta Blanca is much quieter than some of the other spots on this list, making it one of the most frequented surfing destinations by everyday local surfers on the island.
Wild and pure, with a chilled atmosphere and unique microclimate, it is not hard to see why the short, foaming waves and powerful tubes are well-loved by surfers and bodyboarders. Temperatures rarely dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, making winter surf even more appealing.
The rugged surrounding landscapes set the scene, with backdrops of mountains and lush greenery. Although less bustling and arguably more popular with bodyboarders, the beach plays host to a few surf competitions throughout the year, which have helped put it on the map as a top surf spot.
Igueste de San Andrés, San Andrés
Located on Tenerife’s northeast coast, Igueste de San Andrés can be found just outside the quaint fishing village of the same name, and within easy reach of Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz.
The beach tends to be uncrowded and a great spot to visit from September to May. Still, the sheltered reef at Igueste de San Andrés produces one of the best left breaks on the island, with long waves for agile maneuvers that are fairly consistent.
La Machacona, El Médano
La Machacona sits on the south coast of Tenerife, in between El Médano and Los Abrigos. The break can produce long, pristine tubes from its left side, and high-quality bodyboarding, although right-hand waves can also provide a good ride.
You could be waiting in the water for a while because waves can be temperamental, but strong breaks come every so often. The waves can also break very close to the shore over volcanic rocks when there’s high tide and south swell, making it better suited to advanced surfers.
This spot isn’t visible from the road but it’s adjacent to La Tejita beach and can be accessed on foot through the camping area next to the shore. Without any services nearby either, this deters the crowds and La Machacona is generally a quiet and largely undiscovered spot for surf between June and September.
Punta del Hidalgo, San Cristóbal de la Laguna
Named after the pretty fishing port located close by in San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Punta del Hidalgo refers to an area of Tenerife on the northern coast, punctuated by great surf spots. Unlike some of Tenerife’s surfing locations, this village is anything but a summer resort. Harsh waves and strong winds thrash against the jagged cliffs. These supposed ‘disadvantages’ for some tourists are the reason it’s frequented by some loyal local surfers, called to the coast’s wild mountain trails by the promise of big, rough waves.
Punta del Hidalgo used to be a glitzy summer resort spot, up until the 1960s, when areas like Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje took over. But Punta del Hidalgo is unique and far removed from the hustle and bustle. Despite some of the developments that still stand tall from its heyday, the scenic panoramas are just as impressive and serve as the perfect backdrop for some hardcore surfing.
El Roquete, San Cristóbal de la Laguna
El Roquete is also nestled in the municipality of San Cristóbal de la Laguna, but this spot is well-equipped with beach facilities, bars, and restaurants for post-surf relaxation or fueling up before you hit the water with some Canarian cuisine.
Some technical skills might be required to surf at El Roquete, but intermediates shouldn’t shy away. The best waves are left-hand, with north, northwest, and west-northwest directions. The break here is characterized by long tubular barrels, best surfed in low and mid-tides during autumn, winter, and spring. Summer is known to produce more flat breaks, but this could give beginners an advantage.
The pebbly beach might be on the edge of a developed town, but tourists shy away from the wild waves, favoring hotel pools with ocean views, meaning there’s plenty of space to surf.
La Bajeta, San Cristóbal de la Laguna
La Bajeta is another beach on Tenerife’s northern coast but comes with some unique characteristics of its own. The break itself is situated on a mossy outside reef of rock, producing long, right waves which really get going with the north-northeast swell. However, due to the tight break close to sharper inside rocks, and the low tide that summer brings, the heavy waves are only suitable for experienced surfers.
El Charco and Los Dos Hermanos
These two spots are located very close to each other, just a few kilometers from San Cristóbal de la Laguna and in between Punta del Hidalgo and the town of Bajamar. These exposed reefs catch all north swells, creating big throaty barrels, with the rights usually proving better but needing medium swell to really get started.
Autumn and winter are the best times to hit up these spots, but you can expect reasonably consistent surf throughout the year, and despite the popularity of some nearby resort towns, it never gets too crowded.
Los dos Hermanos is set within a spectacular bay and is actually named after the twin-peaked mountain of the Anuga rural park that faces the ocean. El Charco is also located at the foot of the Anaga Mountains and the heavy, slabby break is one for advanced surfers.
What is the climate of the Canary Islands?
The Canary Islands are made up of seven islands, and despite belonging to Spain, they’re geographically and climatically closer to northwest Africa. This means they all experience extremely dry summer months and mild but wet winters, with more rainfall falling in the northwest. The climate in the Canary Islands is Mediterranean, but islands like Tenerife also experience a number of microclimates, meaning things can be sub-tropical at one end but wet and windy at the other at the same time of year.
When is the best time to surf in Tenerife?
Tenerife is a place for year-round surf, with strong and consistent waves to be found somewhere at the island at any given time. Still, some of the best spots can be a little flat in summer and so October to February are often rated the best months to ride the waves. The official surf season in Tenerife runs from September to April.
How many days do you need in Tenerife?
Tenerife is a vast and diverse island and you’ll struggle to experience the best of what it has to offer in just a few short days. We recommend spending at least five to seven days in Tenerife, and even longer if you want to tour the island at a slower pace, giving enough time to explore the unique landscape, wander the historic towns, and relax on the beach – maybe even trying your hand at a bit of surfing.
Which Canary Island has the best surf?
Tenerife and Lanzarote are the best Canary Islands for surf. Tenerife has a southern and northern shore, meaning it handles all winds and captures all swells, producing some of the most iconic breaks in Europe, while Lanzarote is known for its year-round high-quality waves. The Trade Winds blow from the northeast across both islands, picking up cool sea air from the Atlantic. However, very high winds can sometimes make for some difficult surfing conditions on the islands.