My favorite Things To Do in Santa Cruz, Tenerife
So here I am again: back to Tenerife! This time we, my couple and I, are staying in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the north of the island. If everything works out as planned, then we’ll start our trip to South America from the Canarian islands.
So far things are going a bit differently as planned and so we are “forced” to stay longer in Santa Cruz as initially planned. Indeed we are planning to hitchhike the Atlantic by boat and we are having a hard time to find a boat. Which gives us time enough to discover hidden jewels of Santa Cruz that not many tourists get to see.
Primark and KFC are often the main reason why tourists from the south visit Santa Cruz. But there’s much more than that! It’s the contrast between futuristic design and colonial architecture that gives the city a unique touch. After spending more than a month in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s capital, I want to share with you some of my favorite things to do and places to see in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The Auditorio De Tenerife
The Auditorio quickly became one of Santa Cruz’ most emblematic sights. The building designed by the famous architect Santiago de Calatrava is famous for its curvy lines. Indeed the roof seems to floating in the air!
The building hosts the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and has a rich cultural program throughout the year. Assisting an opera must be a truly unique experience!
I recommend to walk around the Auditorio as you’ll love to spot the painted VIP portraits on the rocks.
Tenerife Old Town and Concepción Church
Whereas the Auditorio Adán Martín is emblematic for the avant-garde architecture, the old town around Concepción church makes you feel like in a colonial city in South America.
Indeed this is one of the most picturesque areas in Santa Cruz. The pastel-colored streets are inviting you for long walks and make the perfect photo backdrop.
You shouldn’t miss the oldest church in town, the Concepción Church, with its characteristic bell tower. The origins of this church go back to 1516.
Mercado de Africa
My favorite part is the Mercado de Africa, the local market of Tenerife. I loved to indulge here on fresh seafood accompanied by a glass of cava. Here you’ll discover tropical fruits and an unimaginable variety of potatoes (papas), quintessence of Canarian gastronomy.
It is really the perfect place to absorb the local vibe and get a feeling for the daily grind in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During weekends, people love to meet up in the market and have an aperitivo with some tapas.
Against my expectations, Santa Cruz de Tenerife has a large green lung! The Sanabria Park with its “Flower Watch” are true gems. It is the place where couples and young families meet up for a walk.
You’ll find several water fountains and exotic plants all over the park.
I really enjoyed to have my ice-cream here at the small food stall and watch the daily grind.
Tapas Time in Santa Cruz
The terraces in Calle S. Francisco were one of my favorite places to enjoy the finest Canarian cuisine. From here it’s only a stone’s throw to the romantic “Plaza del Príncipe” where you’ll end up having endless philosophical talks. Indeed the square is one of the prettiest in town.
Cesar Manrique Park
Cesar Manrique is the star-architect of the Canary islands. You’ll find some of his most famous designs in Lanzarote or in Puerto de la Cruz. But also in Santa Cruz de Tenerife!
Located next to the white auditorio de Tenerife, the park comes with many water features and invites to relax. There are beautiful palm trees and terraces to spend time next to the swimming pools. I even saw some people doing SUP-yoga in those pools!
The amusement park is definitely one of the things you should visit in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Las Teresitas Beach
Unfortunately Santa Cruz has no direct beaches.
Therefore one of the island’s largest sandy beaches, Las Teresitas, is only a 20 min drive away. On Sundays, the beach bars will get you in a Caribbean-inspired mood.
They are playing loud Salsa and rumba music and you’ll have a blast if you love to mingle with people.
Excursion to Anaga Park
Santa Cruz is also the best starting point to discover Tenerife’s wild north: Anaga. It holds some of the best beaches on the island. Playa Punta Santiago and Benijo are the most spectacular ones and the restaurants like Casa Africa will serve you the freshest seafood.
The reason of Tenerife’s landscape variety is only one of some astonishing random facts about this unique island.
Compared to other capitals, Santa Cruz is really easygoing and its many parks and plazas invite to relax. As much as I enjoy this slowpaced urban life, I can’t wait for our biiiig aventure to start: cross the Atlantic Ocean.
*Update 2018: we finally managed to cross the Atlantic via Cape Verde to Barbados. If you’re interested on how to hitchhike a boat, read on here.
Hotels in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
During our visit in Santa Cruz we stayed in several AirBnB’s, hostels and even tried Couchsurfing.
Some of the hotels that I would recommend, based upon their location in town and their reviews are the following:
Enjoy and relax:
Luxury Experience in Santa Cruz:
Everybody should have lived the madness of Santa Cruz’ Carnival. During almost one week in February, the city is out of control. Be sure that your costume is original… the Canarians take months to get theirs tailor-made.
For more information about tourism on Tenerife, I recommend the following webpage: Tourism of Tenerife.