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Santa Cruz de Tenerife

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Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital and largest city of Tenerife. It's also the capital city of the Canary Islands, together with Las Palmas.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Auditorium


Santa Cruz de Tenerife is situated at the eastern tip of the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Island chain. The municipal borough covers an area of 150.56 square kilometres and it is divided into two differentiated areas: the Anaga Massif and the southern ramp formed by the lava flows that run down from the Acentejo peak to the coast. The maximum altitude in the borough is 750 metres above sea level. Over half the municipal perimeter is shoreline. Population is 223,347 (2005).


Before the arrival of the Castilian conquerors, the territory where the city would be based, constituted zones of wild vegetation pertaining to the menceyato (kingdom) of Anaga, that governed the Mencey Beneharo. The pre-Hispanic history of the city is carried out by the legacy of 'guanches' (from Guan Chenech, meaning 'man from Tenerife') and several foreign expeditions which arrived at the coast. In 1494, in one of these trips, the Castilians arrived and established in Santa Cruz the camping bases for the conquest of the island, that extended until 1496, the year in which Tenerife was incorporated into Corona of Castile.

From the beginning, the economic nucleus of the city centred on the port. The first wharf, constructed in 1548, was located by the beach of Añazo, but it was later destroyed in a storm. The present port corresponds with four old points of dockage in the municipal coast: the port of Horses with the creek of Blacks, the creek of Blas Diaz, the High Step and the Bufadero. The bay of Santa Cruz was appreciated by navigators due to its natural advantages, that turned it into a food supply center for the ships that sailed for the New World.

Panoramic view of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

At the end of the 15th century a heterogenous society began to form, composed of soldiers, native sailors, merchants and guanches. The first population establishments were located in the surroundings of the castle of San Cristóbal, a fortification that protected the small town. In the second half of the XVI century, one began to construct the first seat, located in front of to the castle, that would denominate seat of Pila and it corresponds with the present seat of the Candlemas. New defensive castles were constructed along the coastal areas because the people of Santa Cruz had to defend themselves from frequent attacks by privateers and berberiscos pirates, Gallic and English. Until the British Navy, with admiral Nelson to the front, it fell defeated the 25 of 1797 July. This episode, by its importance, will mark the history of the city.

Santa Cruz continued growing and soon she ran into the obstacle of the precipice of Saints that was saved with the construction of several bridges: bridge of the Cabo, Zurita bridge, bridge of the Asuncionistas, etc. Little by little an urban weave to both sides of the precipice made up of small streets and pack animal roads was forming.

In the eighteenth century the first expansion of Santa Cruz, derived from a series of factors took place, as the transfer of the residence of the commander-in-chief from the city from La Laguna to the castle of San Cristóbal. It trasvase of the capital status of the island originated a new administrative dimension. In addition, in 1803 Santa Cruz villa was considered free and the first city council was constituted. The city received importance and to it had also contributed the destruction of the port of Garachico, because of the volcanic eruption of 1706, because it brought with himself a displacement of the economic and commercial activity and the establishment of a bourgeoisie that it wanted to control the harbor businesses.

This increasing population is the one that soon demanded services and zones of leisure. The tree-lined avenue of the Duke, the seat of the Prince, the seat of Weyler and Recova welcomed the bustle and the transfer of the people of Santa Cruz. To the primitive nuclei, like the Toscal, they went adding to parcels of houses and parks that composed new districts. In the 20th century and with the arrival of modernity and the "demographic boom", the city extended its limits as far as possible, becoming the large city that is today and whose borders blur with the urban sprawls of the adjacent municipalities.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Tenerife North Terminal Building

There are two different airports in Tenerife. The Tenerife South Reina Sofia International Airport [4] (IATA: TFS) (ICAO: GCTS) is located about 60km away from Santa Cruz, in the south of Tenerife. It's open the 24 hours of the day with almost 9 million passengers every year. The other airport Tenerife North Los Rodeos International Airport [5] (IATA: TFN) (ICAO: GCXO) closest to the capital, was limited only to island and nationals flights, but the recent opening of the new airport terminal and the entrance of international flights has allowed it to improve the connections with the rest of the country and abroad.

Tenerife North Airport

  • Taxi fares from Tenerife North International Airport to Santa Cruz is 15€.

From Tenerife South International Airport to Santa Cruz is 60€.

  • Bus lines 102, 108, and 109 go from Tenerife North Airport to Santa Cruz. Line 111 connects Tenerife South Airport with Santa Cruz and travels onwards to Los Cristianos (half hourly at 00 and 30 minutes past). One line connects both airports (Line 340). Another service runs express to Los Cristianos (110). [ times and fares]

By boat[edit]

The Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has become one of the main ports of the country in transit of passengers. You can arrive the city with a Ferry that connects Santa Cruz de Tenerife with Cadiz, in the Mainland, but the trip takes two days. The company that operates this route is Acciona Transmediterranea [6]. You can also take a ship to travel between the islands. The main company is Fred Olsen [7]. There is a free shuttle bus available to/from Fred Olsen and Naviera Armas sailings (the other large ferry operator) for passengers arriving at Los Cristianos in the south from La Palma or La Gomera. The bus picks up and drops off from outside the main bus station and tickets can also be bought for the ferries inside the station at the counters

Get around[edit]

By bus. Fairly cheap (especially if you have a Bono card from bus station and some tobacconists) and fairly regular. Driving is very fast or very slow with little inbetween. Streets can be very narrow. Parking is a problem in the centre.

See[edit][add listing]

The beaches are less crowded than in the south. The largest is Las Teresitas is made of imported yellow sand and a short 20 minute bus ride (number 910).

The quieter Las Gaviotas is the next bay over and features black sand and plenty of nudists. The infrequent bus 254 there gives impressive views of Las Teresitas.

Do[edit][add listing]

A number of museums. A good natural history (Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre) museum five minutes walk from the bus station, where the No. 14 bus stops. It has some interesting mummified human remains on display An art gallery in town and a small planetarium\science centre on the way to La Laguna (bus 14 passes it). A Bono bus card not only entitles you to cheap travel on TITSA buses but cut price museum entrance. Large Sunday market near the bus station. There is a free museum on the history of the former castle now buried under the car park at the Plaza Espana, it is on the port side of the square and is open from 10am Monday-Saturday. It's quite interesting with lots of information on the history of the city. There are also discounts to be had with the leaflet advertising the "hop on hop off" sightseeing bus. It has various coupons that in theory are supposed to be shown along with the ticket but it was possible to use one at the Natural History museum to obtain free entry.

  • Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, [1]. The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the biggest and most spectacular events of its kind in the World. Every February, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the largest of the Canary Islands, hosts this historical event, attracting around a million people from everywhere.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are two El Corte Ingles department stores selling pretty much everything, as well as various shopping complexes on the outskirts. The main market is well worth a visit, although it is not aimed at the tourists - great fruit, veg, flowers, etc. There is a flea market on a Sunday near the bus station, if you're short of fleas. Some electrical tourist tat near the main square, which are probably best avoided.

If you're on holiday though, there's more to life than shopping. Why not stroll around the beautiful park up by the Rambla instead?

Eat[edit][add listing]

Canaries food, Spanish food and inevitably, fast food. Most places are good value, but one or two tourist traps near the port. Plenty of good fish, although a dictionary would be useful.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Whatever you want. Only a few bars, with a few local people in them. Most of the bars are concentrated around the streets running off the main esplanade and the pedestrian zone around the Plaza Espana. There is also an "Irish" themed pub called JC Murphys near the cathedral

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are a few reasonable hotels in the city, the best placed is the Hotel Principe Paz. However, parking can be a nightmare, so it's best to use one of the underground car parks at around 12 euros a day. Santa Cruz doesn't feel overly touristy (it doesn't really cater for them), so can be a pleasant change from the hot spots in the south.

  • NH Tenerife, Candelaria Esquina Doctor Allart, +34.922.534.422 [8]. NH Tenerife is a recently built 3 stars hotel situated in the main centre of the historical and bussines areas of the city. It is located very close to the Auditorio, the shopping area, the harbour and the theatres.
  • Résidence Maeva Marazul del Sur, [2]. This 11-floor residence with lifts has a heated freshwater swimming pool and a seawater pool. This beautiful complex overlooks the sea and is set in 8 hectares of exotic greenery. 8 km from Playa San Juan, 10 km from Fañabe beaches, 13 km from Los Cristianos and 30 km from the surfers’ paradise in Medano. Car recommended.  edit
  • Gran Melia Palacio de Isora, (34) 922 86 90 00, [3]. Luxury 5-star accommodations, business meeting spaces, resort activities and more.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

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