What cities of Tenerife are worth visiting for those, who flew in or sailed here for the first time? Millions of tourists every year aspire to this island, because here they can relax in any of the 12 months of the calendar year. The amazing and unique nature of Tenerife attracts like fans of parasailing, diving, hiking and snorkeling, like a magnet. The most unusual sights of the island should definitely see everyone, who happened to be here.
But besides nature, the cities of Tenerife deserve attention: large and small, southern and northern, located near the ocean and in the heart of the mountains. In the settlements of the island you will be surprised by churches with magnificent altars, modern architectural masterpieces, charming narrow streets with white houses, unusual museums. And nature will be sure to be present in each of these towns, and you will be able to admire it constantly.
During my trip to Tenerife I visited various locations. I want to share with you my impressions of the most beautiful and unusual towns of this island.
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE
I begin my review from the capital of the Canary archipelago – SANTA CRUS DE TENERIFE. It is located in the northeast of the island and is its largest city. It can be reached from both the South and the North Tenerife Airport, using public transport or taxi transfer.
The city is different from the resorts of the southern part of the island, because there you will see only the ocean, shopping centers, restaurants and an abundance of hotels. And here the life of the Canarians is in full swing. Here are the offices of large companies, port, large bus station. Narrow long streets lead you from the ocean to beautiful green parks, and along the sidewalks grow old trees with spreading crowns. In the squares, on the benches near the small fountains, locals and tourists spend their evenings. It is interesting to just wander through unfamiliar streets and watch people. And even to get lost in Santa Cruz is nice, anyway, soon you will go to the ocean.
What is worth seeing in the capital for those, who came here for 1 day or 24 houres? In my opinion, you need to do the following:
1. Walk around Auditorio de Tenerife and see unusual stones on the waterfront.
2. Visit the Plaza of Spain with a huge fountain in the center.
3. Ride the tram to the town of La Laguna.
4. Go to the park and listen to Spanish music.
5. Look into the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
6. Take a bus to the suburb of San Andres to the golden beach of Las Teresitas.
The symbol of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is an amazing futuristic building, reminiscent of a snow-white ship with a sail. This is The Opera or Auditorio de Tenerife, designed by engineer Santiago Calatrava in expressionism style and built in 2003 on the ocean. The building houses several concert halls: chamber and symphony, music festivals, symphony orchestra performances, concerts, and international conferences are held.
Even if you fail to get inside this unusual structure, you will also like the walk around it. From the platform, on which stands a giant snow-white construction, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. On the shore are boulders, on its of which portraits of famous musicians, actors, politicians are painted. Here you can spend the whole evening, admiring the unusual architecture and portraits.
How to get there? If you arrive in Santa Cruz by bus, you will immediately see the Auditorium Tenerife building. It is located near the bus station. You will need to go around the station and cross the road and tram tracks.
The largest area of the Canary Islands is the Plaza de Espana. It was designed in 1929 and has a size of 5026 square meters. In the center of the square there is a fountain in the form of a huge lake, filled with sea water. This fountain is loved by city dwellers in the evenings.
Your eyes will linger on an unusual cross-shaped tower and naked warrior figures with swords. This sculptural composition is a tribute to the memory of those, who died in the Civil War. On the square you can also take a picture of the city name Santa Cruz and look at the vertical gardens – walls of flowering plants.
How to get there? You can walk from the station to the port along Avenida Maritima and you will find yourself on the Square of Spain.
If you want to ride the tram on Tenerife, you can do it by visiting Santa Cruz. In 1901 a tram line was built here, which functioned for 50 years, and then was closed. In 2007 the tram service in the capital resumed. Now there are 2 lines: a short 3.5 km long and 12.5 km long. A long line connects the modern capital of the Canary Islands with the city of La Laguna, which was also the capital of Tenerife. The route starts opposite the Intercambiador bus station and ends on the main street of La Laguna. Traveling by tram costs 1.05 euros for the Titsa TENMAS card. Travel time is 30 minutes.
Garcia Sanabria Park
Walking through the streets of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, I admired the abundance of green spaces. So many trees and flowers here. In addition to the squares with fountains and ancient sculptures in the city there are several beautiful parks. Not far from one of them, García Sanabria Park, was my hostel El Jostel, very clean, bright and comfortable. Book a room in it can be on the sidebar of my site, as well as using the service Hotellook.
Garcia Sanabria Park is famous for its abundance of tropical plants. Over 200 species of flowers, shrubs and trees are planted on its territory. I was lucky to be here both day and night. The park is beautiful at any time of the day. During the day you can see its greenery in all its glory, sit in a cafe in the park, and in the evening stroll along the lanes illuminated by built-in lanterns and listen to beautiful Spanish and world hits performed by the male ensemble. At the entrance to the park there is a beautiful flower clock, by which you can compare time.
You can find this lovely corner of Santa Cruz, if you move from the Plaza de Espana along one of the leading up streets, for example, Calle Villalva Herbas, then along Calle el Pilar.
Although modern Santa Cruz de Tenerife is located on the site of the ancient kingdom of Anaga, in which the Guanches lived, the Spanish history of the city began in 1494, when conquistador Alonso Fernandez de Lugo arrived here. Once on Canary land, he set up a silver Holy Cross (Santa Cruz) in honor of it conquest. Centuries have passed, but you have the opportunity to see the very old cross. You can look at it in the museum of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary or Iglecia Matriz de la Concepcion .
This church was built at the beginning of the XVI century in honor of the Holy Cross and gave the name of the city. After a fire in 1652, it was restored a year later, and its bell tower only by 1786. Now this beautiful building can be seen from several points of the city. Inside are magnificent altars, sculptures of saints in velvet robes, silver arks. During the holiday Corpus Cristi, the road, leading from the Church of St. Francis to this temple, is laid out with pictures of volcanic stones. Very beautiful sight.
How to get there? The Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary or Iglecia de la Concepcion is located near the bus station and across the street from the Plaza of Spain.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In the eastern part of the city is the third largest port in Spain. Here ships sail from the mainland, bringing huge quantities of goods. And on cruise liners in Tenerife tourists arrive. Along the port you can walk on foot, or you can take a ride on the bus number 910. It follows to the town of San Andres from the bus station of the capital. During the trip you can see the port in all its glory.
After 20 minutes your transport will reach San Andrés, which clinging to a rock. There are several good fish restaurants in the town. But come here for the beautiful beach of Las Teresitas, stretching for 1.3 km. This corner at the foot of the Anaga Mountains was chosen by tourists, who like the light and soft sand, brought here from the Sahara in the early 70s. 20th century. Be sure to spend at least a few hours on the beach. And if you have the opportunity, climb the mountain in the eastern part of the Playa de las Teresitas. From here there is a magnificent view of the beach, San Andres and the city of Santa Cruz, which every traveler needs to visit.
Candelaria, located in the east of Tenerife, 19 km from the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is the religious center of all the Canary Islands. This place is closely intertwined beliefs of the indigenous population of Tenerife – Guanches and their conquerors Spaniards. It all began at the end of the 13th century, when a wooden statue of a mother with a baby in her arms was found on the ocean shore by the Guanches. They brought it to the cave and began to worship as the goddess Chaksiraksi, the Mother of God on earth and in heaven. In this area began to arrive a lot of people. They worshiped the statue of the goddess and settled near the cave.
When Tenerife was conquered by the Spaniards, they also began to worship the Black Madonna and called her the Virgin of Candelaria, the Mother of Christ. Thus, the adherents of the two religions equally worshiped the mysterious statue. And when Christianity became the main religion on the island, conquistadors built a church next to the cave, which was consecrated in 1672. The cult of the Virgin Candelaria spread beyond Tenerife, and she was called the Patroness of all the Canary Islands. Next to the temple grew a monastery, in which the statue of the Madonna was kept.
At the end of the 18th century, the church burned down, but the Virgin of Candelaria was saved from the fire. And in 1826, a terrible storm struck the coast, during which the statue disappeared without a trace. It was searched for a long time in the ocean, but was never found. Admirers of the Virgin decided to make a copy of the statue and asked the sculptor Fernando Estevez. He fulfilled the order, and his work today can be seen in the main altar of the church.
The church after the fire was long restored with donations from believers of the whole island. In 1951 the building was consecrated, and in 2011 it became known as the Royal Basilica of Candelaria. The holiday in honor of the Black Madonna is widely celebrated on the island on February 2 and August 14-15, and you can look at the statue every day from 7.30 to 19.30.
If you are not a religious person, then you can come to this city for another attraction, which is located next to the Royal Basilica. Along the parapet that separates the ocean from the land, there are 9 statues of the Menseans (rulers) of the Guanches. Before the Spanish conquest, the island of Tenerife was divided into 9 kingdoms, which were ruled by leaders.
9 last Menseans entered the fight against foreign invaders, but were defeated. In 1959 in memory of these people stone statues were erected on the embankment of the town. But under the influence of the salty ocean waves, which noisily fell on the shore, the monuments began to collapse. In 1993 instead of them 9 bronze sculptures were installed on stone pedestals, which any visitor can see today.
Leaders of different ages are depicted in national robes and ornaments, with spears and other weapons. I suppose, that every tourist, who comes to Tenerife, should visit Candelaria to look at the bronze faces of the indigenous inhabitants of the island, honor their memory, and realize, that they were the first inhabitants of Tenerife.
You can get to Candelaria from different parts of the island on a rented car. From the north of Tenerife, take the TF5 highway, then take exit 17, and from there take the TF283 road. From the South Tenerife Airport, you can get to the city via the TF1 highway, moving off from it on the number 17 road to the TF283 highway.
If you want to get to Candelaria by public transport of Tenerife, then it is easier to do it from the city of Santa Cruz, from where buses No. 122, 123, 124,131 often go, less often buses No. 120,121,126. From the south of the island to its religious center will take you to the transport number 111. Buses stop at a small square in the city center. From there you need to move to the right, and you will come to the square with the basilica and the statues of the Guanches.
I decided to visit Candelaria on the last day of my stay on the island. I went to the basilica to the service, walked along the embankment past the bronze leaders, bought a lot of souvenirs. Here its are cheaper, than in Puerto de la Cruz or Las Americas, but the choice is great. I also collected food on the road at the local Merkadone, sat in the Plaza restaurant on the square and watched the salsa festival, which was held in the city. I had a wonderful 5.5 hours here. And when it got dark, I went to the airport, because my plane flew only early in the morning.
It was already 22.00, and the locals helped me find the right stop. Night bus number 711 in the city does not goes. It moves past it on Autopiste Sur or the Southern Highway, which is located in the area of a large transport ring. The last bus passes here at 22.45, and I managed to get there safely. It takes more, than 60 minutes, to go to the airport.
Not far from Puerto de la Cruz in the north of Tenerife in the beautiful green valley is located the small town of La Orotava. It is famous for its well-preserved historic center, carved balconies, lace and Carpet Day. Intrigued? Then about everything in order.
On the territory of the picturesque Orotava valley once lived the Guanche tribes, but in 1496 the conquistadors subjugated the inhabitants of Tenerife and made the island possession of Spain. They settled on the site of the old settlement, because they loved the clean air of these places and the magnificent scenery. Gradually the settlement turned into a town with beautiful mansions and churches. Centuries have passed, but if you arrive in La Orotava now and will not pay attention to cars, scurrying through the narrow streets, you will find, that you were transported 200-300 years ago.
The town has preserved many old residential buildings and a number of baroque churches. It is so pleasant to stroll through the streets and alleys of La Orotava, looking at the amazing carved balconies and admiring the rampage of green plants, growing everywhere. The historic center of the city for the abundance of architectural structures of 16-18 centuries are going to be included soon in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Here before you the magnificent church of Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion of the 18th century, built in the style of the Canarian Baroque. Its two 24-meter bell towers and a huge Byzantine dome can be seen from different places of the city and beyond.
The temple was built in 1516, but as a result of three volcanic earthquakes of the 18th century it was heavily damaged and was restored by 1788. In the church you can see 6 beautiful old altars of the 17th century, a tabernacle of jasper and marble, and paintings by artists from the 16th and 18th centuries.
Wandering through the streets of La Orotava, you will see beautiful wooden balconies of various shapes and sizes on the old mansions. They are made of Canarian pine, whose wood is so strong, that it does not burn in the fire, but only melts. Although the historical center of the city has many buildings with such terraces, the main building in La Orotava is considered to be the House with Balconies or La Casa de los Balcones. The luxurious mansion built in 1632 is now turned into a museum, where you can see paintings, pottery, lace and many different souvenirs. Also here you can buy as a souvenir skillfully made mini-copies of Canarian balconies.
Another museum,the Tourist House (Casa de Turista), is located opposite the Casa de los Balcones. This is the oldest building in the city, built in 1590. Here, in addition to souvenirs, you will see a room, in which everything is devoted to the art of laying paintings-carpets of volcanic sand.
Carpets of multi-colored grains of volcanic sand in La Orotava were created hundreds of years ago. But from the middle of the 19th century, this action was timed to coincide with the large Catholic holiday Corpus Cristi, when solemn processions pass through the city streets.
It all started with the fact, that one aristocratic, Leonor Monteverde, in 1847 made a picture of flowers and colored grains of sand in front of her house, where the procession was to go. It looked so beautiful, that other residents of La Orotava followed her example next year. Since then, on the eighth day after the feast of the body of Christ, in the town El Dia de los Alfombras (Carpet Day) is celebrating.
Residents of the city, mostly men and boys, create on several streets paintings on biblical themes from flower petals, seashells, volcanic sand and multi-colored pebbles. The largest carpet, consisting of three parts, annually appears on the square near the city hall. Its area is about 1000 square meters.
Every year people creates different pictures, photos of which can be seen in the Tourist House, as well as a beautiful sand pattern with the face of Jesus Christ.
But it is better to come here on the eve of Carpet Day and see, how these interesting masterpieces are created. This summer, El Dia de los Alfombras was celebrated on June 7th, and I was lucky to be in La Orotava on May 31st. The city was already preparing for the holiday: the walls of the houses were decorated with colorful ribbons, and 3 tents (from wind and rain) were spread out around the city hall, and work was underway to create another triptych. It was very interesting to watch the actions of the Canarians.
On this day, the city mayor’s office was open to the public, and one could walk along its corridors, look at works of art (paintings, furniture), admire a beautiful view of the botanical garden.
As I said, the Canaries are very green, and nature constantly reminds of itself. Everywhere in La Orotava you will see flowers in tubs, unprecedented plants and trees in squares and parks. The greenest place of the city is the Botanical Garden, which was established at the end of the 18th century. Here from 9 to 14.00 you can see the dragon tree, giant ferns, lush palm trees, unusual flowers.
Thus, this pleasant town, located on the slope of the Teide volcano, surely deserves your attention. Visit it if you stay in the north of Tenerife. From Puerto de la Cruz you can reach it in 20-25 minutes by buses No. 345.348, 350.352.353. From the capital, Santa Cruz, 107 bus goes to La Orotava.
PUERTO DE LA CRUZ
The beautiful and green city of Puerto de la Cruz can compete with the resorts of the south, Las Americas and Costa Adeje. Although it is located in the north of the island of Tenerife, where the climate is more humid and cool, there are beautiful parks, a gorgeous historical center, and black sand beaches. This place attracts many tourists from all over the world.
The city is located on the slopes of the Teide volcano, on which run up the streets with the names of countries: Calle Belgica, Monaco, Portugal, Suiza, etc. Puerto de la Cruz – the main northern resort of the island, so there are many hotels and apartments, book a place in which you can, using the search form on the side bar of my site. But the abundance of hotels does not spoil his appearance. The city still remains pleasant and multifaceted.
Puerto de la Cruz travels from the south to visit attractions such as Loro Park and Lago Martianez, try authentic Canarian cuisine, and see the endless Atlantic Ocean. From this city it is convenient to make forays to other places of interest in Tenerife: La Orotava, Icod de los Vinos, Garachico, Las Cañadas del Teide National Park. Tenerife North Airport, Los Rodeos, is just 25 km from Puerto. In this city you fall in love at first sight. It seems fun and elegant. Here is a special atmosphere, different from the southern resorts. Here you feel free and easy and joyful.
I liked it so much in this beautiful city, that I can not single out only 2-3 of its attractions. Everything here causes bright feelings and positive emotions. Therefore, I’ll tell you, what I was able to see here in 2.5 days, and add my photos and videos to my story. And you decide, what to see in Puerto de la Cruz on your arrival here.
I will begin my review of Puerto de la Cruz from its ancient part, clinging to the ocean. Once there was a fishing harbor. Next to it is the Plaza del Charco – a rectangular square with a beautiful view of the ocean. The city has beautiful mansions and an old fortress. By the way, here you can also see magnificent wooden balconies, and they look no worse, than those that are on the houses of La Orotava. The ancient churches of Nuestra Senora de la Pena de Francia and Convento de San Francisco of the 17th century deserve external and internal inspection. There are many souvenir shops in the Old Town, where you can forget about time. But it’s better to spend your precious vacation hours exploring Puerto de la Cruz.
Along the coastline of the city you can walk endlessly, discovering its charming corners. In the western part of the city there are several beaches with black sand. The most famous is Playa Jardin, designed by a native Canarias, painter and sculptor Cesar Manrique. You can spend more, than one hour, admiring the greenery bordering the garden beach, sunbathing on its black volcanic surface, swimming in the turbulent waters of the Atlantic and enjoying the beautiful view of the Teide volcano and ocean expanses.
Opposite the Jardin beach is the famous Parrot Park or Loro Parque. All children coming for holidays in Tenerife are trying to get here. But it will also be interesting for adults to watch killer whale and dolphin shows, to see the red panda and feathered inhabitants of the park.
Moving along Explanada del Muelte towards the southern part of the city, you can see a long observation deck. People come here in the evenings to meet the sunsets, famous for their gloomy beauty, and to admire the ocean waves, noisily hitting the shore.
Passing the fortress and the old part of Puerto de la Cruz, you find yourself on the promenade of San Telmo. Here you can also look at the ocean and even swim in it. The embankment is named after St. Telmo, the patron saint of fishermen. On the shore stands the eponymous chapel of the 18th century.
Behind the chapel is a complex of artificial lakes with sea water – Lago Martianez. You can come here for the whole day and have a good time, swimming in the salty water, enjoying refreshing cocktails, admiring the scenery surrounding you. Avenida de Colon (Avenue Columbus) leads you to another black beach, Playa de Martianez. From here there is a magnificent view of the eastern part of the city.
On the streets of Puerto de la Cruz, trees and flowers, that I had never seen before grow. Here there are houses in the Canarian style and palm alleys, as in California. And green parks beckon to hide from the heat in the shade of tropical trees.
How to get to the beautiful pearl of the north of Tenerife, the city of Puerto de la Cruz? The easiest way is to fly to Los Rodeos Airport, and from there, take bus number 102 and quickly get to Puerto. From the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, you will reach here in 1 hour (No. 101,102,103). From Tenerife South Airport you will need to travel with a transfer, first to Santa Cruz by bus number 111, then by transport number 101-103. Taxi-transfer from Tenerife North Airport will also be a convenient means of transportation and quickly takes you to Puerto de la Cruz.