Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands

A day in Santa Cruz de Tenerife


The starting point to tour the rest of the island

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, capital of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, is perfect to enjoy at any time of the year thanks to its pleasant climate. If you have organised a multi-day trip to tour the island, you must stop in this coastal city for at least 24 hours with its gardens, squares and terraces that are perfect for a drink. It is also known world-wide for its Carnival. You could even use Santa Cruz as your base and explore the rest of Tenerife by car. Here are some ideas for you.


Why not spend the first part of the day on the beach.

In the Canary Islands the weather is always pleasant, with the temperatures during the coldest months ranging between 16ºC and 24ºC. As soon as you wake up you could go for a swim, sunbathe or go for a stroll along its best-known beach, Las Teresitas. It is alive with palm trees and, although it belongs to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, it is located in the town of San Andrés. Its calm waters and great facilities are ideal if you are travelling with children. A little further from the city lie the beaches of Taganana and Benijo. The council has installed a series of webcams so that you can check them out in real time. 

Left: Las Teresitas beach / Right: César Manrique Maritime Park in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Other places to take a dip The César Manrique Maritime Park, a complex of several swimming pools with artificial waterfalls and beautiful views.If instead of relaxing you are looking for a bit of “action”, try diving, snorkelling, surfing, sailing or paddle-surfing. You will find a whole range of activities at the Marine Sports Centre.


Time to leave San Andrés and return to Santa Cruz. We recommend a spot of shopping and some food in the iconic Nuestra Señora de África market.

Before you leave the coast make sure you take some snaps for your memories, either on the Las Teresitas beach or in the marina, of the dozens of anchored yachts.Afterwards, you could take a leisurely stroll through the city's shopping streets and pick up a few souvenirs. You've probably worked up an appetite by now, and you've got several options. Treat yourself and book a table at one of the restaurants recommended by the Michelin Guide. A treat for any palate.

Another safe bet is the iconic Nuestra Señora de África market, where you will find different varieties of cheeses, wines, freshly made food and endless flavours, to eat in or take away. It only opens in the morning and is perfect if you're looking for an authentic taste of Santa Cruz.


Many of the city's tourist hot spots can be discovered on foot.

You could start by visiting some of the most famous squares, for example Plaza de la Candelaria, Plaza Weyler, Plaza del Príncipe de Asturias and Plaza de España. Hidden underneath the latter, in an underground gallery, are the remains of San Cristóbal castle, which was the first important fortification on the island in the 16th century. However, the best preserved castle in the city is San Juan Bautista.One of the best things about walking around Santa Cruz de Tenerife is that it has a large permanent outdoor exhibition. As you stroll along its avenues and parks, for example, García Sanabria, you will come across works by renowned artists such as Henry Moore, Martín Chirino, Joan Miró and Óscar Domínguez.

Left: San Juan Bautista castle / Centre: Plaza de España / Right: La Concepcion church in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Before you leave Santa Cruz, make sure to visit the La Concepción church or the San Francisco church. And if you feel like visiting a museum, the Nature and Archeology (MUNA) houses the famous Guanche mummies. The most popular museum in the city is the modern Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (TEA) which has showcased works by artists such as Warhol, Ansel Adams, Patti Smith, Carlos Schwartz, Dorothea Lange and Henry Moore. If you're travelling with the little ones, you'll love the Palmetum Botanical Garden and its impressive collection of palm trees (the best in Europe).


Santa Cruz is teeming with bars, restaurants, taverns and charming terraces where you can go for tapas, try tasting menus or sip a glass of wine.

Relax while nibbling on some “papas arrugadas” (wrinkled potatoes) with spicy mojo sauce, grilled cheese, “almogrote” (a kind of cheese paté), “ropa vieja” (a typical dish made with shredded beef and chicken)... In this page you can choose from the different beach clubs, roof tops, gastrobars and restaurants the city has to offer.

View of Santa Cruz de Tenerife at night (Canary Islands)

The best way to end your visit is a show, either before or after dinner. The impressive and iconic white building of the Tenerife Auditorium, designed by Santiago Calatrava, offers an impressive repertoire of music, dance and opera shows. Check the schedule, because you won't want to miss out on one of these performances.

Tips and recommendations

Worth knowing

To fly to the island, there are two international airports: Tenerife South and Tenerife North (the latter just 10 minutes by car from the city).There is a tourist bus and train that connects the main points of interest in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, such as the Plaza de España or the Auditorium. This map shows the different stops and timetables.Some of the most recommended trips from the city are:- The Anaga Rural Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve. You can explore different paths and bathe in the coves of fine black sand, for example Benijo.- Teide National Park, where you can find a volcano (its summit is highest point in Spain), which you can visit by cable car. - The nearby world heritage city: San Cristóbal de La Laguna.- Boat trip to the neighbouring island of La Gomera.- Whale watching by sailing boat.

When to go on the route

Any time of the year is a good time to visit Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the island in general, but the Carnival at the end of February should be on your bucket list. It is considered one of the best in the world. In this case you must book accommodation in advance though. At Casa del Carnaval you will find a permanent exhibition with traditional carnival costumes, posters and a sensory space with coloured lights and sounds that are typical of this celebration.

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