The port city of Santa Cruz on Tenerife island is a bright and lively place to visit. Walk through the bustling streets and discover elegant historical buildings or shop at a vibrant open-air market.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is also famous for its lovely beaches and scenic parks. Combined with the island’s pleasant climate, it is only to be expected that you’ll find some of the best luxurious island resorts here.
Where is Santa Cruz de Tenerife?
Just off the west coast of Africa, near Morocco, you will find a group of islands known as the Canaries. These eight islands form one of the autonomous communities of Spain.
The largest of the Canary Islands is Tenerife. The city Santa Cruz de Tenerife, often simply called Santa Cruz, is the capital of Tenerife island.
Santa Cruz is a maritime port city located on the northeastern coast of Tenerife island. With 58 km of coastline in the Atlantic Ocean, the city welcomes many tourist boats and trade ships.
Don’t confuse the Canary Islands with the Balearic Islands, which are located just off the eastern coast of Spain. Although, if you are interested, these Spanish islands also offer a range of fun activities and splendid tours.
Things to Do in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The port of Santa Cruz offers a variety of exciting activities for tourists. Whether you enjoy a lazy afternoon at the beach, an adventurous hike through the forest, or a fascinating tour of colonial architecture, a Tenerife vacation will not disappoint.
Spend a Day at the Beach
The beaches of Santa Cruz have naturally black sand, due to the volcanic rock of the island. Although it may look different to what you’re used to, black sand beaches heat up faster and make for a lovely warm day at the beach. You can find many popular beaches close to the city, as well as a few more remote ones if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
Las Teresitas is the city’s most famous beach. Artificially built from white sand imported from the Sahara, this long beach adorned with palm trees looks like an exotic island paradise.
Take a Nature Hike
The Anaga Country Park is a breathtakingly beautiful area of lush green forests, majestic mountain ranges, and a variety of fauna. The park covers a large part of Tenerife island and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many hiking trails and guided tours that will take you on a winding path through moss-covered trees and lead you to charming hidden beaches.
If you are looking for a more challenging hike, a trip up Mt Teide could be the perfect outing for you. The Mount Teide volcano is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest point on the Canary Islands. A complete contrast to the greenery of Anaga, the area around Mt Teide is torrid with wild volcano vegetation.
If you want to experience this towering natural wonder without undertaking a long hike, you can take a cable car ride to the top and enjoy the spectacular views.
Santa Cruz has lovely weather and pedestrianized streets that make it perfect for open-air shopping. Every day of the week, you can find a wide variety of street markets across the city. From flea markets to food markets, you can shop for unique products from Europe, Africa, and America.
The Mercado Nuestra Señora de Africa is one of the main markets in Santa Cruz. It is held in a large courtyard and has over 300 stalls with fresh fruit, flowers, herbs, and more for you to browse.
Admire the City’s Architecture
Tenerife’s capital city is a fascinating mix of historical and modern architecture. A walk through its streets will bring you across many examples of colonial buildings with their characteristic wooden balconies and ornate portals.
Santa Cruz has many well-preserved famous buildings you can visit, such as the age-old Church of the Immaculate Conception built in 1498, the impressive Casa Salazar from the 17th century, and the exquisite Casa Mesa from the 18th century, to name but a few.
There are many modern art galleries in the city, but the biggest exhibitions are on display outside. Parks and avenues throughout the city feature sculptures and paintings by famous artists such as Óscar Domínguez and Martín Chirino. The García Sanabria park, for example, can be found at the heart of the city. It is a beautiful place to wander around discovering hidden statues among tropical flowers.
Famous Festivals in Santa Cruz, Tenerife
The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is famous worldwide and second in popularity only to the carnival of Rio de Janeiro. It is a pre-Lent celebration that takes place every year around February.
Businesses close for an entire week while everyone takes to the streets for non-stop parades, masquerade balls, shows, and concerts. There are amazing singing and dancing competitions to attend, as well as the crowning of the Carnival Queens. It is a time filled with bright colors and stunning costumes that people from across the world come to see.
Another notable festival in the city is the Three Kings Parade, which is held in January. Children are especially excited about this festival, as they write letters to the Kings and receive gifts, similar to Christmas in other countries.
The Corpus Christi Festival and the Canary Islands Music Festival are other grand events celebrated annually on the island of Tenerife.
Final Thoughts on Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain
Santa Cruz is the perfect city to visit for a summer vacation. It has everything you could want from an island destination – pleasant weather, gorgeous beaches, fascinating architecture, and lots of places to shop.
Whether you plan to visit the island for the popular Carnival, or during the quieter times of the year, the city of Santa Cruz has a variety of attractions and activities to keep you entertained.
If you are looking for an island adventure closer to Spain, a day trip to Majorca in the Balearic Islands also makes for a wonderful outing.