Los Cristianos in Tenerife is one of our happy places. We’ve just got back from our sixth trip there, and I thought it was about time I shared some of my top tips and activities with you.
Nothing in this blog is sponsored or collaborative content, and nothing was given to us to review or try out. It’s just the top tips from a genuine family holiday that we take again and again because we’re in love with it.
One of my favourite things to do is nick bits of other people’s holiday ideas. I think tried and trusted recommendations from pals and kindred spirits are worth 100 guide book ideas. So I hope you find some of these ideas fun.
There are plenty of areas of Tenerife to visit, so why do we keep going back to Los Cristianos? Well, the pace is just right for us. There is just enough life to keep us happy – vibrant cafes and little stores on the front- but you don’t get the manic, party crowd that you’ll get at some of the bigger tourist towns towns further up the coast.
There are lots of families, but also lots of more elderly visitors. Mobility scooters are a big thing here. It’s a perfect place for a multi generation holiday. Which is probably why we’ve been coming back time and time again.
Our top 10 family activities in and around Los Cristianos, part one.
Staying in Royal Palm Apartments.
As I mentioned this was our sixth trip to Los Cristianos, and for the last five of those we’ve stayed in the Royal Palm apartment complex. To us, they’re Paradise on earth. We always get a two bedroomed apartment for my brother’s family and my family. (Between us we have four adults, a 9 year-old, 3 year-old and 1-year old.). And we get a separate studio apartment for Grams, our beloved mum.
It would take a whole blog post to do justice to Royal Palm, and I’ll probably do a separate top 10 style post just on this. But suffice to say its charms are great, mainly life-guarded pools, and a very quiet, mainly residential, clientele. Plus gorgeous manicured gardens, with bright blooms set against dazzling white buildings.
It’s a 10-15 minute walk to the beach down a hill and before I stayed here I would have said this was way too far , but the walk is interesting and there are always taxis outside if you want a three euro ride there. We often walk down, and get a taxi back up the hill at the end of the day. The massive benefit to being up the hill is that it’s really quiet in the complex, but there are lots of little bars, restaurants and a vibrant food market and bar complex just across the road.
My top tip: Book direct via the office (http://www.royalpalm.co.uk/6.html) Give a ballpark date to arrive and leave. They’ll hold it for you while you book and confirm your flights, and then give your absolute arrival and departure dates. The first year we booked via Owners Direct, but going via the office means you’re likely to get an apartment as they have so many to let out from the various ex-pat owners. (We booked our own flights via Iberia, stopping at Madrid. This route enables us to go via Heathrow, which as West Londoners is practically on our doorstep.)
The price: We paid £1,030 for the two-bed apartment for two weeks, plus £60 for cot and high chair hire. And we paid £580 for the studio apartment for two weeks.
Taking a dolphin and whale viewing trip
The main beach in Los Cristianos is also a functioning harbour, including several firms offering dolphin viewing trips. We’ve done the two-hour Travelling Lady trip twice, and each time we’ve seen scores of dolphins and several whales. on the two-hour round trip. There are other firms that take you out for four hours, or even all day. But with the heat, and the motion of the boat, two hours is just enough for us.
On the last trip dolphins swam by our boat jumping out of the water. It sounds insane, but I’m convinced they were actually showing off for us! It’s a magical, heart-opening trip. Young kids will undoubtedly fall asleep with the motion of the boat, so don’t be disappointed if they miss it! My three-year-old nephew (pictured above with my glamorous and very clever sister-in-law) and my own nine-year-old both fell asleep after a while!
My top tip: Don’t be afraid to book with one of the many tourist type concessions on the beach. They all seem friendly enough.There is also a booth to buy directly on the harbour. Bring towels to sit on (warm seats), hats, water and plenty of sun block. Drinks are also sold on board.
The price: We paid 20 euros an adult, around 14 euros for Chiswick Boy I think, and three-year-old Darling Nephew B was free.
Play mini golf
Yes, mini golf. And no I haven’t lost the plot.
The mini golf overlooking the sea on the Los Cristianos front is a bit of a Los Cristianos institution. Everyone ends up having a go, and we always end up visiting at least three times.
There are swaying palm trees, the soft lull of the waves hitting the shore, and it’s a chance to while away 40 minutes or so having a giggle as a family.
My top tip: Take water and hats, and let your children keep the scores and do the adding up at the end as a bit of mental arithmetic practice.
The price: 4 euros an adult, and three euros concessions.
4. Swimming in the sea and making castles and moats.
The water on Playa de Los Cristianos is gorgeous and lifeguards are on duty (but for goodness’ sake check this on the day and don’t take my word for it.)
Yes, it’s a bit chilly when you first get in. But take the plunge (literally) and the water soon feels warm enough. Kids are always braver and will often dive in first, coaxing you in as you dip your adult toe in by the shoreline.
When splashing in the water has tired you out, then there’s nothing better than letting your inner architect free by assembling a sand castle complete with moats.
My top tip: You can hire sun beds and a parasol for nine euros. But my tip is to buy your own sun umbrella for around ten euros from any of the stalls on the beach front. You can set up your basecamp right next to the water then, and have all the fun of moving your brolly every 15 minutes when the tide starts coming in. (No? Maybe that’s just us then.)
The price: Sun, sea, sand and laughter all free. Hiring of sun beds and parasol for day nine euros. Buying your own for your whole visit, ten euros.
5. Try a Barraquito
The local coffee is one of the things I look forward to the the most. Made ‘con liquor’ (with a splash of liquor) or ‘sin liquor’ (without), sweet condensed milk, espresso and foam. It’s served in small glasses and I need to have at least three a day!
For the best ones, go to the most unassuming little bar cafes that are filled with locals. But don’t stress about your choice of venue too much. It’s very hard to make a bad barrquito, and there’s always another pit stop just around the corner.
My top tip: My favourite place is a little bar opposite the church in the church square, on the little road leading up from Los Cristianos beach. I’ve been visiting this for years and don’t know the name of the cafe, but it has plastic tables outside, and a tiny bar inside. And this view:
The price: 1 euro 20 cents, to 3 euros, depending on venue.
Watch out for the second part of my Los Cristianos family top 10, coming next week. Including glorious volcano walks, the best water theme park we’ve been to, and a hidden gem of a fresh fish restaurant.