Alcala can be found within the municipality of Guía de Isora in Tenerife. Many visitors sadly overlook this small town, simply passing through en route to the better-known resorts nearby. This is a shame, though, as they miss seeing the charms of this delightful little place.
The completion of the maritime walkway connecting Los Gigantes, Puerto de Santiago and Playa de la Arena with Alcala means that is becoming less of a secret. That’s not a bad thing, though, as the improved infrastructure has led to the area becoming cleaner and tidier, with a great array of amenities.
This is in part due to the establishment of the five-star Gran Melia Palacio de Isora Resort and Spa, which will be covered in more depth later in this guide. The little coastal town of Alcala has a central plaza and a well-kept beach, and is surrounded by banana plantations. It also has a good weekly market on Mondays. There are some great cafes and hotels, and kids love to poke about in the rock pools at the beach.
Best Places to Stay
These are our recommended places to stay in Alcala. The Gran Melia Palacio de Isora is the finest, and has five stars and an adults-only area. Another adult-only option is offered at the Rural El Navío hotel. We also list a budget-friendly pick and a self-catering option.
BEST – Gran Melia Palacio de Isora Resort and Spa
This five star property is the top place to stay in the area – but it is also the most expensive. The beachfront hotel offers the ultimate in luxury, and boasts a sizable saltwater infinity pool set among manicured grounds. This is the biggest hotel pool in Europe, and is the 400 square metre masterpiece of this smart, yet family-friendly, resort. All accommodation has a terrace or balcony with sea or garden views.
The hotel has subtropical gardens dotted with palms, and its style combines Moorish exoticism with Andalucian grace. With five floors, the resort boasts a spa, several pools, a sports centre, gym and kids’ club. There is a children’s pool, plus one for adults only. Service is attentive yet informal, and there are 8 bars and 7 restaurants to try, including Japanese, Mediterranean and Italian options.
Red Level at Gran Melia Palacio de Isora – Adults Only
Guests without children can book into the Adults Only (or Red Level) part of this sublime property if they wish, where sea view balconies come with each room. Red Level guests also benefit from additional privileges such as VIP check-in, valet parking, the Red Level lounge with free drinks, complimentary Nespresso coffee and exclusive access to the thermal circuit of the spa. There are also dedicated pools, bars and eateries.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Rural El Navío – Adults Only
The Rural El Navío is an entire property dedicated to adults only, so it’s ideal for those holidaying without children. Just over half a mile from the beach, it is surrounded by a banana plantation. Rooms feature traditional, Spanish style decor, satellite TV and sea view terraces. The property offers free WiFi throughout and has an outdoor pool and BBQ area. A buffet breakfast is available daily, and homemade meals can be enjoyed each evening.
BUDGET – Pension Alcala
For those seeking a more purse-friendly stay, Pension Alcala is a great choice. This property offers a range of accommodation as well as a restaurant. Free WiFi is provided, and some rooms have a terrace or balcony. Past guests rate the comfortable beds and cleanliness of this hotel, and praise the fantastic service too. Accommodation is in single, twin, double or triple rooms with shared or private bathrooms.
SELF-CATERING – Apartamentos Alcala
If you want to cook while on holiday, the Apartamentos Alcala are a sound option. This accommodation is a little over a mile from Callao Chico beach. Each apartment comes with a kitchen with a microwave, stovetop, fridge, kettle and coffee machine. The units also have fully furnished seating and dining areas, plus private shower rooms with hairdryers. Some apartments have sea or mountain views, and each sleeps two guests.
Things to do in Alcala
People watch in the picturesque Plaza del Llano
Alcala is centred around its main square, and it’s a great place to sit on a bench, relaxing or watching Canary Island life unfold all around you. You can also enjoy a good meal here at one of the many very affordable cafes, bars, and restaurants that line the plaza. They all serve top-quality food and drinks.
Snap up a bargain at the Monday market
An outdoor street market takes place in Plaza del Llano every Monday. The market is open between 9am and 2pm, and is ideal for souvenir, food and clothes shopping.
Stroll north or south to discover nearby resorts
Taking the coastal walk is the perfect way to spend a day exploring the other resorts beyond Alcala. Heading northwards will take you to access Playa de la Arena, Puerto de Santiago, and Los Gigantes: the latter is about 8 kilometres (2 hours’ walk) away.
Or take the route south, where the small fishing village of Playa San Juan lies around 2.5 kilometres away. Do bear in mind, though, that the Alcala to Playa San Juan section of the path is not paved, and thus involves tackling some rough terrain.
Spend the day at a pebbly beach, on the promenade or in Playa la Jaquita
The town beach
Close to Alcala’s town square is a small pebble beach. Although it’s very small, it does have showers and is popular with locals who stop by for a quick refreshing dip.
Near this little beach is a promenade and fishing wharf area lined with sun loungers. It’s a popular spot for people to spend time chilling out and sunbathing. A flight of steps leads from here into the ocean, so it’s also possible to take a swim. The crystal-clear water is ideal for snorkelling too. You might even spot turtles, as one of Tenerife’s few turtle reefs is located here.
Playa la Jaquita
If you want the proper beach day experience, it’s worth heading north along the coast to Playa la Jaquita. This fine black sand beach is only a ten-minute walk from the town centre.
The beach is located close to the Gran Melia Palacio de Isora hotel, and is a clean Blue Flag beach with a great range of amenities. These include showers, toilets, sun loungers and duty lifeguards. Beach shoes are recommended here, as the bottom of the ocean is a bit stony. There is also a café bar where you can enjoy a hot or cold drink, but bear in mind that prices here will be around double what you would pay in the town square.
Three beaches in one resort
There are two other small beaches nearby too, so staying in or visiting Alcala can mean enjoying three beaches in one place.
Take a safer swim and spot sea life in a saltwater pool
There are a couple of natural saltwater pools close to the Gran Melia hotel and Playa la Jaquita. These are calmer, safer and more shallow than the pool in Los Gigantes, thus making them child-friendly too. The water is crystal clear, so you spot the resident sea anemones, crabs and fish.
Let off steam at the children’s play parks
A great feature of Tenerife is the impressive playgrounds you will find all over the place. This is certainly the case in Alcala. Wander along the coastline northwards, from the town centre towards the Gran Melia hotel, and you’ll soon stumble upon two very well-equipped and maintained playgrounds along the way.
Sample seafood or Spanish dishes at the local restaurants
Close to central Alcala, and a little way inland, is Toni’s on Avenida Pescadores. This very affordable eatery serves up a range of Spanish, Mediterranean and international specialities. It is the place to come for good homestyle cooking and excellent service. Don’t be put off by the unassuming location – past guests have raved about this place – the seafood and leg of lamb in particular. Vegetarian dishes are also offered.
Near the seafront is Restaurante Sauco, and as you might expect it offers diners fabulous ocean views. Italian style food is on the menu, as is Spanish and European cuisine. From prawns, tuna and sea bass to steak, pizza or fajitas, this is a wonderful place to watch the sunset as you feast on the fabulous food and sip a glass of delicious wine.
Restaurante Muelle Viejo
A number of diners at Muelle Viejo have named this as the best restaurant in Tenerife. This highly recommended eatery offers superlative views over the harbour and the food is freshly prepared and of the highest quality. Seafood and Canarian potatoes are specialities, and even guests staying at the five-star Gran Melia say the service and food cannot be surpassed. Booking is essential.
There are several bus stops in Alcala. One – known simply as ‘Alcala’ is located in the town centre, while the other can be found not far from the Gran Melia hotel. This one is called the Isora Alcalá stop.
Routes 473 and 477
The most useful bus routes in this part of Tenerife are the 473 and 477. They can take you to Playa de la Arena, Puerto de Santiago or Los Gigantes in a northerly direction and to Playa de San Juan, Playa las Americas plus any other town or village in-between when heading south. The 477 does terminate at Costa Adeje’s bus station, however.
Routes 493 and 494
Bus routes 493 and 494 also pass through Alcala, but they are not as frequent and their routes are not as popular with visitors.
Celebrations in Alcala
If you can, it’s worth timing your visit to coincide with the traditional firework show – Noche de Fuegos – that takes place in Alcala on 15th August. The display’s history can be traced back as far as 1925, and this spectacular fiesta is widely promoted by the local council.
With colourful light and sound displays, the yearly show attracts visitors from all over the Canaries – and even further afield. The display is held in honour of the Virgin of Candelaria, and takes several days to set up. This involves fireworks being transported by boat to lava rock formations in the bay.
Seeing the jetty, harbour wall and lava rock formations lit up by the exploding lights is all part of the joy of witnessing the Noche de Fuegos. The fireworks are set off at four points around the bay, including its perimeter.
Weather in Alcala
Alcala is one of the warmest places in all of Tenerife. It has year-round sunshine and there is hardly any rain here no matter the season.
During summer it’s nice and hot (about 30°) while in winter the temperature also rarely drops below 20° during the day. Honestly, you will be comfortable wearing short sleeves most of the winter days, especially if it will be sunny (and usually it will be). On winter evenings the temperature drops down a little bit so you may need a jacket to keep you warm.