El Médano is Tenerife’s most laid-back resort that has become well known among windsurfers and kiters. Despite gradual expansion and development, the town has managed to keep its feel of a small Spanish town while becoming one of the Tenerife´s main holiday destination.
I was told by my friend who came to El Médano some twenty years ago from Galicia, mainland Spain, that when she came, there were just a few buildings there and they had to go to Los Cristianos to a supermarket to do their weekly shopping. Now it’s a relatively big town with about 8000 inhabitants and it’s increasingly popular among both tourists and locals.
The main reason is that there is always something to do in El Médano and it has everything you need. The main square is the place where people gather after spending time on the beach. They either sit in one of the restaurants and watch children play in the nearby playground, or sit in one of the sidewalk cafes enjoying the busy street life.
Before covid struck, life in el Médano was filled with regular activities organised by the the municipality. There were many open-air concerts, shows and movies to attend. Unfortunately, these events had to be cancelled, but I expect that when things return to normal, we can enjoy all these things once again.
El Médano is a place where wind rarely stops blowing, especially in summer when trade winds are a constant companion in El Médano, providing the perfect conditions for world class windsurfing and kiteboarding competitions while giving local people fresh cooling breeze so summers in El Médano are more pleasant than in other areas of the island.
Beaches in El Médano
Playa El Médano
Located right next to the main square of the town, this beach is the focal point of the town´s life. It is situated in a bay, which shelters it from strong currents and big waves. That is why this beach is very popular especially among families with small children. Its shallow waters and golden sand offer hours of fun on the beach for the little ones, and when they get bored, the family can just move a few meters to the children’s playground located on the main square for more hours of fun for kids, while the parents can sit and watch from stairs or nearby cafés. There is a boardwalk that runs along this beach, which is dotted by a number of cafés that are perfect for sitting over a cup of coffee and watching the beautiful view and busy life on the boardwalk. If you follow the boardwalk, you will reach Playa Machado.
Playa Machado is a beach that is dedicated to water sports. One part should only be used by surfers, other by windsurfers, and the part closest to the mountain Montana Roja is reserved for kiters.
Beyond it, wild sand dunes offer a haven for many types of indigenous plants and bird life. It is also a great place to take kids for an hour or two, because they love running and jumping on the sand dunes. If you walk along this beach, you will eventually reach a small path that has signage to follow. From there you can decide to walk to Montana Bocinegro, Montana Roja or Playa La Tejita.
Playa La Tejita
La Tejita beach can be accessed on foot from El Médano by following the path around the base of the mountain Montana Roja. La Tejita is well known for being the nudist beach, but in reality, both nudists and people who prefer to wear swimming costume come to the beach. La Tejita is a great beach, but it is only suitable for good swimmers because both the tide and the underwater currents are strong on this beach.
Playa El Cabezo
El Cabezo beach is a great beach for surfers, bodyboarders and windsurfers. It is located on the eastern coast of el Médano. It is often very windy, but it is also never crowded so many locals enjoy spending time on this beach. Part of this beach is rocky, so it is a good idea to see where other people are swimming because that is where good access to the water is.
Markets in El Médano
There are two markets in El Médano, farmer´s market and craft market, both are located on the main square.
Farmer´s market is every Wednesday from 8AM to 1PM. It is a small produce market and most stalls sell locally produced fruit and vegetables and free-range eggs. You can also buy home-made cheese and cakes. The food from the market is great so it is frequented mainly by locals.
Craft market is every Saturday from 9AM to 2PM and you will find stalls with just about anything, from clothes to hand-made jewellery and souvenirs.
What to see near El Médano
The Cave of Santo Hermano Pedro
This sanctuary is devoted to Saint Pedro de San José Betancur, who came to this cave to rest as a boy whilst tending to the family’s flock. Inside the cave is a wooden statue of the saint surrounded by gifts from his devotees and pieces of paper with their prayers written on.
If you’d like to read more on topics like this, have a look at Tenerife Guide Online for tips about many areas of the island.