Wind and sea erosion sound like good reasons to worry but in El Médano they take everything in their stride and find the positives. A walk along the wooden slatted promenade in this haven of bare footed surfing dudes soon reveals good reason to trust in nature. The sandstone coves carved by the sea are intimate, welcoming bathing bays where the rough sides even provide makeshift clothes hangers.
Planes fly low overhead on their way to and from Tenerife South airport but even their soft rumble is an accepted part of the soundtrack of life here. As I walk through the wide open plaza the main beach is packed, with areas set aside for a mums and toddlers fitness class and children’s badminton training. Could this be a bit of a squeeze? Hardly, it’s all about adapting; bodies are sunbathing on walls, benches and along the tops of those distinctive coves; there are plenty of special places to go around.
The End Of The Pier?
With such a laid back attitude, the continued threats of the Spanish coastal authority are met with a quiet defiance and a heard-it-all-before shrug. The centre piece of this unusual resort is a slice of old England, a Brighton inspired hotel partly built out onto a pier that juts into the sea. Built in 1963 the three star Hotel Médano epitomises the quirky nature of this town but contravenes a law brought in after its construction that forbids building too close to the shore line. Like the tides that lap around its supports, the arguments have ebbed and flowed over the last decade as the hotel continues to charm and pamper its loyal guests in equal measure. The latest threat has roused a Granadilla council backed petition that sits in the tourist information office almost lost among the leaflets for the popular walks and wind and kite surfing events that attract so many visitors to the area.
The blue flags flutter proudly over the two main beaches, the fifth time they have been awarded the European Union mark of cleanliness and water quality. Families bathe confidently here in the gently sloping shallows watched over by lifeguards at key points.
Further round to the west at the gentle dunes of La Playita the sporty minded flock to enjoy the best wind and kite surfing in Tenerife. Many major championships are held here including the World Kite Surfing Championships from 9th to 15th August.
Even when there are no competitions the skies are dotted with kites and the beach is a vast preparation area as boards are joined to sails and strings. At the back of the beach surfers form an appreciative audience at the bars planning new moves or browsing the shops to make sure their gear is as eye catching as their twists and turns on the waves.
To the east of Hotel Médano there are more strange delights, sculptures lurk in sea wall alcoves feeding the mind while a jumble of cafes and restaurants attend to bodily needs. Again good use is made of all space. Behind the bus stop fishing boats are crammed into a spare corner where a slipway beckons swimmers into the water as the restful snack and drink.
El Médano certainly crams plenty in; the Sansofe 210 festival runs through August with entertainment on most nights in the plaza overlooking the beach. There’s a strange brew of different flavours on this south east tip of Tenerife but they fuse together well to give El Médano a very pleasing taste.