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Santa Cruz, Tenerife's Capital: where to Go & what to See

Tenerife was an extremely popular destination in the 80’s and is still very well-known today.
However, statistically, in the last few years, Tenerife has not had as many visits as one may think. An island with exotic parks and chic restaurants, quirky and sleek architecture and very interesting museums and galleries — you would think of it as an ideal tourist destination!

Moreover, it’s soon Carnival time in Tenerife. This is the second largest Carnival in the world (first is Rio de Janeiro of course) and the most famous carnival in Spain.

Carnival Tenerife
At Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife, hundreds of groups get dressed to impress and parade themselves in tune to fantastically loud and lively music bands.

And not only professionals join in, for thousands of people go each day to the streets to participate, most of whom wear a disguise in accordance with Carnival tradition.

It has been informed that the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife aspires to be recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Meanwhile it is in process of validation, we recommend you come and see it and experience it for yourself!
More about the Carnival, dates, schedule and programme

Now about Santa Cruz, Tenerife’s vibrant Capital

Considered the most important city within the Canary Islands and a common destination where cruise passengers are known to fill up the city’s streets. 
Here are a few facts for those who have yet to visit Santa Cruz, in the sub-tropic island of Tenerife:

History and facts about Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The area on which now stands the city and the municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has been the subject of human occupation since the time of the Guanches, approximately 2000 years ago, as attested by the archaeological sites found.
This former fishermen’s village rose to prominence after a Volcano destroyed the port of Garachico in the 18th century. Santa Cruz became the major port on the Island.
The port is of great importance and is the communications hub between Europe, Africa and Americas, with cruise ships arriving from many nations. The city is the focus for domestic and inter-island communications in the Canary Islands.
The city is home to the Parliament of the Canary Islands, the Canarian Ministry of the Presidency (shared on a four-year cycle with Las Palmas), one half of the Ministries and Boards of the Canarian Government, (the other half being located in Gran Canaria), the Tenerife Provincial Courts and two courts of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands.
“Famous battles were fought at Santa Cruz. Admiral Robert Blake destroyed the Spanish treasure fleet here in 1657, more or less ending Spain’s military ambitions in Europe. Interestingly, locals claim that Blake was defeated because he didn’t actually invade. Admiral Nelson was famously defeated at Santa Cruz in 1797, losing his right arm in the process. The culprit cannon, el Tigre, can still be seen at the Castillo de San Cristobal underneath Plaza de España.”


What to Do & See

Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (Museum of Nature and Man) is a museum of archeology and biology resources.
Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (Tenerife Space of Arts – TEA) is a building designed by the Swiss firm of architects Herzog & de Meuron and directed by the Canary architect Virgilio Gutierrez Herreros.
Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos de Tenerife (Tenerife International Centre for Trade Fairs and Congresses) is a complex designed by architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava as a multipurpose building that can host major fairs, exhibitions and conferences that take place on the island of Tenerife.
Torres de Santa Cruz (Towers of Santa Cruz) are twin towers finished in 2006 are the highest skyscrapers of the city and the Canary Islands.
Auditorio de Tenerife (Auditorium of Tenerife) – Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the Auditorium of Tenerife was constructed in 2003. The building has an organic and famous structure in the shape of ‘sails’ with white blue rollers.
Parque García Sanabria is a public urban park in the heart of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, it was inaugurated in 1926. It is a large garden area, combined with fountains and architectural groups.
Playa de Las Teresitas is a beach in the village of San Andrés municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is one of the most important beaches of the Tenerife and the Canary Islands.

Colonial Architecture

As not one of the prettiest cities of Spain, Santa Cruz makes up for it in parks and plazas. Thanks to it’s warm (and perfect) climate and mostly sunny, outdoor activities are a great way to spend some holiday time.
A stroll through the streets of the city show a interesting mix of architectural styles. From cottages to sky scrapers, churches (like Iglesia de la Concepción in the Noria district) to mansions and palaces like Plaza Weyler and La Rambla. 
Talking about outdoorsy places to visit, a turquoise man-made lake at Plaza de España is most visitors’ introduction to the city. Plaza Weyler has gardens and fountains where to walk and enjoy a soothing afternoon. Parque García Sanabria is a wonderful place to visit if exotic foliage, amusing sculptures and wildlife, such as frogs and parrots are to your liking.

Restaurants & Nightlife

We suggest you visit Noria district, an area with bustling bars and chic restaurants with varieties of cuisines to choose from. It can be pricey, but some of the most interesintg restaurants are in that area. La Solana, El Libano, Victor Cruz are restaurants found in La Rambla district.

Santa Cruz Nightlife

Santa Cruz has not been characterized by an intense night life, in contrast to the nearby university town of La Laguna.[citation needed] Nevertheless, there are several clubs and pubs spread across the city. The best known are in the Parque Marítimo César Manrique, May 3 Avenue and back, and in La Noria street Residencial Anaga. Moreover, in the area of Industrial Mayorazgo, three new clubs have opened. There are also pubs that have survived without belonging to a particular location for leisure, as the platform, near the Bullring, which opened its doors in 1991.
The downside is that good bars in Santa Cruz can be spread out and valuable mojito drinking time is lost hoofing it between them.

Las Américas is the island’s cabaret capital, the metropolitan area (Santa Cruz and La Laguna) offers a more authentic taste of Tenerife’s nightlife with great bars, atmospheric clubs and a healthy live music scene.



Spain is usually known for fantastic shopping and at great prices. However, the Canary Islands, Santa Cruz included, have not got the reputation for great shopping. This said, you will find mainstream Spanish shops like Zara, El Corte Inglés, between others. Also, what you are most likely to find are local wines and cheeses, gourmet food produce from the Spain and local goodies.

Puerto de La Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz is located in Santa Cruz province and is the most sought for area within the province. With plenty of activities and tours to do, from Water-parks (heated pools too!), Loro park (a famous zoo and park), beautiful botanical gardens, plazas (Plaza del Charco for example) with restaurants and bar to spend your eves in,… the list goes on. La Ranilla is a small fishermans village that would be curious to see and also Castillo San Felipe, a small stone castle located nearby Playa Jardín (the famous gardens that reach out to the sea shore).
Puerto de la Cruz