Spain: Tenerife, Canary Islands

99 Coastal Destinations Rated: In the Balance

Score: 59

Cultural and ecological integrity vary from place to place on this largest member of the volcano-studded Canaries. While much of Tenerife's less developed interior and north shore "retains its original ambience and historical character," the overbuilt nature of the southern coast is "truly appalling." "A rising interest of locals in environmental issues" encourages hope for positive change.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"A mixed bag. It has its ups (Puerto de la Cruz is enjoyable, as is La Laguna and La Orotava) but the tourist resorts along the southern coast are truly appalling."

"What is good about Tenerife—the protected areas and the cultural heritage—is rapidly being eroded by development, especially in certain areas. The beauty of the island is being swallowed whole."

"Tourism is mercifully limited to certain beach areas, while the interior of the island retains its original rural ambience and historical character in towns like La Orotava."