Tenerife’s ‘Alternative’ Resort of El Médano

Mon, February 14th, 2011 - By Linda

There must be hundreds of places on this fascinating island that tempt one to live there. Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas have wonderful beaches and bus connections to anywhere on the island; Santa Cruz has all the delights of city life mostly without the associated stress; without even stopping to think about it, ten picturesque inland villages spring to mind.  But I choose to live in El Médano.

I live in El Médano because it has a vibe which is like nowhere else in Tenerife.  It’s often described as an alternative resort, it’s a small, seaside town which blends trendy windsurfers, local customs and an ever-present ‘hippy’ population with ease. This mix gives the town a quirky and distinctive energy unmatched on the island.

The spacious town square, rubbing up to the seaside promenade, is very much the focal point of the community.  Every Saturday morning there is a street market, and it’s relaxing to stroll around, unlike the sardine-packed feeling of markets elsewhere. With stalls selling sunglasses, table cloths and clothes from Thailand or Peru, you will also find some original crafts, jewellery makers, artists and photographers selling their own work.  It is the setting for concerts, fiestas, exhibitions and an annual triathlon, as well as the best New Year’s celebrations I’ve ever attended.  On market day and most evenings hippies spread out their craftwork on the wall twixt beach and square, apparently well tolerated by the local police.

The main beach, along side that square, was awarded the European Blue Flag for excellence last summer, although it seems that in winter, with scaled down, low season services it doesn’t qualify.  At high tide you may find it gets a little crowded on a summer day, but you can stroll along the boardwalk to the other end of the beach, where the kite and windsurfers hang out, and Montaña Roja (Red Mountain) stands guard.  There are boardwalks right onto the beach for buggy or wheelchair access, and benches along the way, which make it a pleasant walk for the elderly if they need to rest.  I like to think that the municipality thinks about the needs of all residents and visitors.  The promenade has plenty of good places to eat or down a cool beer on a hot day too.

If you choose to walk the other way from the square, passing the iconic El Médano Hotel, you’ll find yourself in a narrow, pedestrian street in the original part of the village, with yet more excellent eateries, those on your right-hand side with terraces literally washed by the high tide.  This is where you often find buskers or other street performers, especially on market day or in the evening.  Walk on, passing what is left of the tiny harbour, and you will find sand dunes, junipers and beaches of black, volcanic rocks.  These are not so manicured as the main beach, but are usually fairly quiet if you want to get away from the throng.  Go even further to Montaña Pelada at the other end of town and if you don’t mind scrambling down the dunes and rocks you will find a craggy, little beach which you may well even have to yourself.

Posted : Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 9:22 am
Category : beaches
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3 Responses to “Tenerife’s ‘Alternative’ Resort of El Médano”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sergio Salata, Andrea Montgomery. Andrea Montgomery said: El Médano, Tenerife's alternative resort: http://bit.ly/hE96jM via @madreislena @sunshine_co_uk […]

  2. […] with the bus the road loops up and curls down into the main street of El Medano dropping you within a toe’s dip of the sea. There´s a lovely chilled out attitude in El […]

  3. […] I have a bias when it comes to El Médano. I lived there off and on over ten years. Whilst it lacks the glitz of Playa de las Americas and the tranquillity of Poris de Abona, it has a special vibe, as has been noted in this blog. […]

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