If you are planning your Santa Cruz de Tenerife holidays, the following information may help by giving you an overview of the resort and the surrounding area, and assist you in your selection from our range of hotels.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island of Tenerife and lies on a sloping apron of land between a sheltered bay and the steep Anaga Mountains, which shield it from damp trade winds. Santa Cruz de Tenerife is located on the southeast facing coast of Tenerife’s north spur, 38 miles from Reina Sofia airport [Tenerife South] and 4 miles from Tenerife North airport. Although Santa Cruz is located in the wetter part of Tenerife, its coastal position means that it misses much of the cloud and rain that is found at some of the higher levels. Therefore, any time of year is suitable for a visit to the capital. However, it does get extremely hot in summer which some people might find oppressive, but you will find plenty of shady corners and indoor cafes to escape the midday heat.
The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has a long history which dates back to 1494 and the arrival of the Conquistadors. It was Alonso Fernandez de Lugo who landed on the beach – the beach was called Añaza. He then planted his Holy Cross on the beach and it was from this cross that the city acquired its name. A fortress was then built to defend the settlement and de Lugo then set about subduing the Guanches.
La Laguna was the first capital of Tenerife and Garachico became the main port. However, following the destruction of Garachico in the 1706 volcanic eruption, Santa Cruz took more business and the port started to flourish and in 1723 it replaced La Laguna as the capital of Tenerife. Tourists visit mainly for shopping expeditions, or for its astonishing Lent Carnival [usually February], but there’s a lot more to a Santa Cruz de Tenerife holiday than that, such as its seafront promenade, leafy squares, historic churches and excellent museums. Although many of the original buildings have been destroyed over the years, they remain in sufficient numbers to create a pleasant atmosphere.
Eating out in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
There is a wide choice of restaurants, with some Italian, Mexican and Chinese but primarily Spanish establishments representing various regions of the country. Options range from tapas bars to high-quality dining. Tenerife’s local cuisine includes fish [salted halibut is a favourite] and vegetables. “Papas con mojo” are local unpeeled potatoes cooked in sea water, served with a piquant sauce. “Golfio escaldon” [hand-rolled balls of toasted maize flour] is a speciality eaten with a dip, so you will be spoiled for choice on your holiday to Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
What to do on your Santa Cruz de Tenerife holidays
The Tenerife Auditorio – this is a striking piece of architecture which is worth a visit in its own right, just to see the building. Architect, Santiago Calatrava, created this stunning building. Its semi-domed shape and soaring curves makes for perfect acoustics for performances inside. The Auditorio draws top names, dance and music events and is home to the Orquestra Sinfonica de Tenerife. Book ahead to take a guided tour of the Auditorio, which will include hidden corners rarely seen by the public.
Most of the main sights lie in the streets immediately behind the Plaza de Espana in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and the whole area has been pedestrianised recently. In fact, it is difficult to see where one ends and the other begins. However, this is the area in which people gather or take a stroll. The best city-centre shops are concentrated around Plaza de la Candelaria and Calle de Castillo. El Corte Ingles on Avenida del Tres de Mayo is the biggest department store; you will also find masses of duty free outlets – ideal for that souvenir of your holidays to Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Overlooking Plaza de Candelaria is the 18th century La Carta palace which is now a bank. Inside you will see the former glory of this mansion which has been restored. In the centre of the square you will find the image of Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria who is the islands patron. Unlike Plaza de Espana [where traffic can be found], Plaza de Candelaria is for pedestrians only. The market is an excellent way to absorb the local culture. A visit to Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa is a must when you are on your holidays in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. You will find everything from cheese, to fish and flowers. The entrance was built by the Franco regime in the 1940s and the outside has a North African feel to it. This is where the local people come to buy their locally produced meats such as rabbit and goad, and fresh vegetables. If you enjoy Canarian cheese then this is the place to come as you can buy hard Tofio cheese, or pimentonwhich is tangy paprika cheese, goat cheese and some which have been mixed with herbs. The enclosed marked has flowers and plants on display and downstairs you will find the butcher and fishmonger stalls. You will also find handicrafts on sale.
Parque Maritimo is well worth a visit. Cesar Mantique designed this and turned a derelict dockyard into a public swimming park. He linked the city to the sea with seawater swimming pool and palm trees and completed the park in 1991 which has become one of Santa Cruz de Tenerifes favourite places.
In complete contrast to the city itself is the Parque Garcia Sanabria which comprises fountains, sculptures all in green space. Santa Cruz de Tenerifes annual Carnival is held for 9 days just before Lent and is considered to be one of the best in the world. There is a different theme each year which comes through in the processions which take part with floats and wonderful costumes. The floats are accompanied by dancers, singers and musicians. Dont expect a good nights sleep if you are staying in the area! One of the highlights of the Carnival is the election of the carnival queen and finally the Burial of the Sardine. This is a huge cardboard model of a sardine which is carried through the streets to the waterfront where a “funeral” takes place. The sardine is then burnt on a large bonfire and is the signal to the start of the fireworks display.
If museums are more to your taste then pay a visit to the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre [Museum of Nature and Man]. This museum will give you an insight into the Canary Islands from their formation to the islanders themselves. Lots here to keep the children amused, with interactive exhibits. One of the most interesting exhibits are the mummies of the Guanches, and there are also sealife exhibits.
Visit Centro de Fotografia Isla de Tenerife – [Tenerife Photographic Centre] located next to the Guimera theatre, where you will find an absorbing collection of black and white, and colour photographs taking you on a journey of Tenerife’s past right up to the present day.
Look for the “Tiny Fort” which can be found just outside the Auditorio. You shouldnt miss it as it is in stark contrast against the white of the Auditorio – the fort is black and built of volcanic stone and is almost completely surrounded by water.
Don’t miss Iglesia de San Francisco – this Franciscan church is all that remains of the monastery. The entire wall of the high altar is covered in gilded carving. Painted wood panels cover the sanctuary ceiling, and the suspended pulpit is also painted.
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE – MAP
By its very nature much of the information in our travel guides is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they are relying with the relevant authorities. Corona Holidays [UK] Limited cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.