El Medano is a laid-back resort on Tenerife’s southeast coast known for its photogenic beach, hippie atmosphere, and perfect conditions for kitesurfers and windsurfers.
The Tenerife resort of El Medano can be found on the island’s southeast coast. As it’s only four miles (or seven kilometres) from Tenerife South airport, it’s very easy to get to.
It’s not only about convenience, though. The long stretches of sand and fresh coastal breezes here provide perfect conditions for kitesurfers and windsurfers. This relaxed resort is a favourite among outdoorsy and sporty people.
El Medano stands out among Tenerife resorts. It’s one of the world’s leading windsurfing and kitesurfing spots, for starters. Then there’s the laid-back atmosphere, the lively nightlife and the boho vibe. It’s also a great place to experience authentic Spanish and Canarian cuisine and culture.
This guide will take you through all that this beautiful resort has to offer, from where to stay and the weather to how to get there, what to do in El Medano and which cafes and restaurants to sample.
El Medano Weather
El Medano’s subtropical climate pretty much guarantees year-round sunny skies. The weather is warmest between June and September, while the winter and spring months tend to be busy. This is particularly true of the Christmas and Easter holiday periods.
What you need to know about El Médano weather is that this is a windswept destination – and is occasionally excessively so. During high summer or a heatwave, though, this breezy resort is one of the best places to be. The winds tend to be strongest during the summer months.
If you want to swim in the sea, between June and November is the best time. During August – the hottest month – the ocean temperature hovers around a pleasantly warm 23°C (or 73°F). Visiting the town at any time between March and December is ideal, as it will be drier than during January and February.
Things to do in El Medano
Great news for beach bums is the fact that El Medano’s beaches are among Tenerife’s prettiest coastal spots. The photogenic selection includes the main El Medano beach as well as others lying to the east and west.
El Medano is well over a mile (around two kilometres) long and offers warm, shallow sea and a sweep of finely-textured sand. Near the resort centre it’s family-oriented with calmer waters, while in the direction of Red Mountain it becomes more untamed.
Cafes, watersports shops and restaurants line the seafront promenade here, and the beach has hosted various kitesurfing and windsurfing world championships. With disabled access, family facilities and sun loungers with parasols, this is one of the most popular beaches on the island.
Heading eastwards, you’ll come across the coves at El Cabezo, El Salado, La Jaquita and Montaña Pelada.
El Cabezo is popular among the kitesurfing and windsurfing communities, while the Blue Flag Playa de la Jaquita is compact, clean and calm. KN Hotel Arenas del Mar is located right by this beach.
Montaña Pelada is around 1.25 miles or two kilometres from El Medano. You can reach it via bus 411 in just 5 minutes. The sandstone rocks here colour the environment yellow at sunrise and sunset.
This beach is naturist-friendly and completely unspoiled. There is no lifeguard service, and you’ll also need to bring your own food and drink supplies as there are no shops or cafes. The waves here can be big, so do take care when entering the water.
Wild and undeveloped, Playa de la Tejita lies beyond the Red Mountain, aka the Montaña Roja volcano. You can walk or drive there, and there is a coastal path leading here from the western side of El Medano beach.
This half mile beach is something of a well-kept secret and remains mostly off the tourist radar. It’s also naturist-friendly and is also popular with wildlife lovers. As a windswept spot, it’s also good for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
There’s a shopping area around 200 metres away, but otherwise no amenities to speak of, apart from the highly recommended Chiringuito Pirata tapas bar nearby.
Plaza de El Médano is at the heart of life in this laid-back Tenerife resort. It lies adjacent to the main beach, and is lined with a good selection of eateries and shops. The nautical-themed play park here is also ideal for kids who need to let off steam.
Try windsurfing or kitesurfing
As you might expect, there are plenty of places in El Medano offering windsurfing and kitesurfing instruction, plus equipment hire. Red Rock Surf & Kite Academy and Surf Center Playa Sur are among the most recommended ones.
You could also sample surfing, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking here, and instruction is available in multiple languages. Summer is the busiest time of year for kitesurfing, as the northeast winds provide the perfect conditions.
There are two markets taking place each week in El Medano. The Farmer’s Market or Mercado del Agricultor is held each Wednesday morning in the central square between 8am and 2pm, and specialises in fresh local produce.
On Saturday mornings between 9am and 2pm, the main El Medano market takes place. This has stalls offering gifts, clothing and handicrafts. It all happens either in the central square (Plaza de El Medano):
or Plaza Roja:
You can check the market’s Facebook page to find out the exact location each week.
Larger farmer’s markets are also held nearby. Mercado del Agricultor de Granadilla de Abona opens on Saturdays between 7am and 2.30pm and Sundays between 7am and 2pm.
Mercado del Agricultor de San Miguel de Abona in Las Chafiras operates on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 8am and 2pm.
You can’t miss the Red Mountain when spending time at El Medano beach or Playa de la Tejita, as Montana Roja lies between them. The peak is over 170 metres above sea level. It’s well worth the effort of climbing it, as there are magnificent panoramic views from the summit.
You can use this map to follow the 4.8 mile (or 7.7 kilometre) trail which runs in a loop from El Medano to the top of Montaja Roja and back. This takes about two hours to complete. The hike is suitable for all fitness levels, but you will need sturdy footwear as some parts are fairly steep. Expect hot or very windy weather in summer.
There are sand dunes around the mountain forming a unique ecosystem. These are home to over 100 species of plants and a large number of creatures, including migratory birds. Exploring the mountain and dunes is one of the most popular things to do in El Medano.
Best Places to Stay
BEST – KN Hotel Arenas del Mar (Adults Only)
When you want to find the best El Medano hotels, it’s worth adding the Arenas del Mar to your shortlist. This four star, adults only property is just a minute’s walk from the beach, and has a seaview outdoor pool and a well-appointed spa.
KN Hotel Arenas del Mar is ideal for a romantic break, and there is a lovely seaside bar, pretty gardens and a guest gym. This faultless hotel also offers buffet and seafood restaurants, plus a cafe with a terrace offering scenic views. Nightly entertainment is also provided.
MID RANGE – Hotel Médano
If you’d prefer to stay in a decent three star property, Hotel Medano is one of your options. It’s located close to El Medano beach, and offers a stunning two storey terrace by the water.
There’s a bar and restaurant at this property, and there are sweeping ocean views from the balconies of some rooms. Guests can also gaze at Red Mountain from the hotel’s four spacious sundecks.
MID RANGE – Hotel Playa Sur Tenerife
Hotel Playa Sur Tenerife is a sound choice for fans of windsurfing, golf, diving, cycling and kite surfing. It’s a three star resort offering a range of clean, comfortable rooms and impressive amenities.
The hotel has a lovely outdoor pool with a sundeck and loungers. A varied selection of food is available here, and there is a pool bar for daytime or evening drinks. Past guests praise the great breakfast and service in particular.
BUDGET – Hotel Ventus
This budget property is an aparthotel located in the resort’s downtown area. The beach is under five minutes’ walk away, and there are ocean views from some accommodation.
The rooms and shared spaces are clean, modern and well-kept, and staff offer friendly, efficient service. Drinking water and coffee is supplied here for guests’ convenience.
HOSTEL – Campobase.box
Providing accommodation for adults only, Campobase.box offers guests complimentary WiFi, free bike use and access to a shared kitchen and lounge. All rooms have shared bathrooms with hairdryers, and some also offer microwaves.
A buffet breakfast, currency exchange and concierge service is also available, and the on-site staff are very helpful. Though rooms are shared, each bed is curtained to offer additional privacy.
HOSTEL – Ashavana Hostel
If you want to find budget accommodation close to the beach, then Ashavana is a great choice. With shared kitchens and bathrooms, a tour desk and WiFi throughout, this building dating from 1920 was constructed in the typical, traditional Canarian style.
This cosy, comfortable hostel is convenient for shops, cafes, bars and restaurants as well as the beach. It’s a sociable spot with a breezy rooftop terrace.
If you are looking for self-catering or more budget-friendly accommodation in El Medano, holiday rentals are a great choice. They also come in handy if you need extra space or beds or if you are considering staying for a longer period. Digital nomads love El Medano for its laid-back vibe, so, if you are one of them, renting apartments is the best option for you.
We often choose apartments instead of hotels for a more authentic experience and to get a true taste of the local culture. Because they are personally owned and rented by regular people, the variety is endless.
Our favourite place to book lately is VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner). They’ve got lower fees and better support than Airbnb so that’s what we recommend.
El Medano VRBOs
There are some really great VRBOs in El Medano.
Where to Eat
El Medano restaurants
Specialising in seafood plus European and Spanish cuisines served fine dining style, refined El Ancla is the ideal choice for that special occasion dinner date.
For pasta dishes, fresh fish and European food, Barrio Cabezo is a popular pick among visitors and locals. Expect high quality food and great service.
Pizza, pasta and delicious desserts are what Wairua is all about. It’ often very busy, so do book or be prepared to wait for a table.
Fresh seafood plus Mediterranean and Spanish specialities are all on the menu at La Boqueria. This taverna offers great value for money.
El Medano bars and cafes
Fresh is what it’s all about at Agua cafe – fresh sea air and colourful platters of fresh food. This seafront eatery is perennially popular.
Soul food, sunsets and a laid-back holiday vibe – Manfred’s is what holidays in the sun are all about. This is a great place for tapas.
‘Burgers and beers’ is the strapline, so expect a more American or German vibe at Rock ‘n’ Hopz. You can find this joint in nearby Granadilla de Abona.
This one is near Playa de la Tejita and it’s good for fresh seafood and authentic Spanish fare, as well as laid-back beach vibes.
El Medano Nightlife
El Medano is a small town, so you definitely don’t need a car if you plan on spending the majority of your time there. Parking isn’t too easy to find, either. Other resorts can easily be reached by bus. Hiring a rental car is the most comfortable way to explore the island of Tenerife, however.
If you plan to use buses often, buy a ten+ card. Tickets are cheaper this way than paying the bus driver directly. The card costs only 2 euros, and can be bought from TITSA offices, vending machines, tram stations and other authorised outlets such as gift shops. A full map of outlets can be seen here.
Once you’ve bought it, your ten+ card can then be topped up. This must be with a minimum of 5 euros and to a maximum of 100 euros, rising in €5 increments. The amount is then valid for a full 12 months, beginning with the first usage. After a year, it expires.
There is no direct bus from Tenerife South Airport (TFS) to the resort – nor from El Medano to the airport. Instead, take bus route 111 (towards Santa Cruz) or 415 (towards San Isidro), then change buses at San Isidro to the 408 or 411. Both of these services go to El Médano.
This bus journey from Tenerife South airport will take approximately 40 minutes. From Tenerife South Airport to San Isidro, the cost is €2.45, while from San Isidro to El Medano, the fare is €1.45. Alternatively, the taxi trip will take about 15 minutes, at a cost of around €15.
To get from El Medano to Los Cristianos, catch bus number 470. This trip will take around an hour and costs €3.60. From Los Cristianos, you can choose between routes 418, 447, 450, 471 and 473 to reach Playa de las Americas or Costa Adeje.
There is no direct bus from El Medano to Santa Cruz. Catch bus number 411, 408, or 409 to reach San Isidro. From there, take bus number 111 to Santa Cruz. The total journey time is about an hour and 10 minutes and costs €8.35.