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La Laguna

The definitive guide to exploring Tenerife by car

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On the Map

Nestling in the Aguere Valley at the gateway to the Anaga Mountains, San Cristóbal de La Laguna is one of Tenerife’s most historical cities, yet this gem of a place is ignored by many of the island’s visitors.

La Laguna was founded by Tenerife’s conqueror, Alonso Fernández de Lugo in 1496 and served as Tenerife’s capital until 1821. Home to the Canary Island’s only University, it’s an academic as well as an ecclesiastical centre. Outwardly it might appear like any modern, sprawling Spanish city. However, the original old town (a UNESCO World Heritage site) remains perfectly preserved, almost hidden away in the heart of the city just waiting to be discovered.

Give it Your Best Shot
La Laguna’s old cobbled streets look as though they’re straight out of a film set. There are iconic images all around the old quarter which will have photographers clicking away with glee. Calle Obispo Rey is a particularly beautiful and photogenic street, especially at dusk when antique street lights bathe it in an almost palpable, nostalgic golden glow. Another photographic highlight in La Laguna is the tower of the Iglesia de la Concepción, but to be honest, any number of charming concealed inner patios or latticed wooden balconies rising above convent walls will return great photos.
The Main Attraction
Without a doubt, the most unforgettable time to visit La Laguna is during Semana Santa (Holy Week) at Easter. The Magna and Silent Processions are a poignant and incredible experience. Hooded fraternities parade silently through the medieval streets, some carrying full sized wooden crosses on their shoulders. To observe it is akin to seeing a snapshot into another century.

Whilst there are plenty of museums and exhibitions to be found within the myriad of 15th, 16th and 17th century buildings that make up La Laguna’s old quarter, they almost seem redundant as the grid of streets which lead away from the delightful Plaza del Adelantado feel like one big open air museum. There are quirky treasures to be found everywhere; the font used to baptize Tenerife’s original inhabitants, the Guanche, in the Iglesia de la Concepción ; a sculpture commissioned by de Lugo in the Iglesia San Francisco; or even the fascinating market on Plaza del Cristo with it’s stalls brimming with cut flowers, salted fish and perfect vegetables (including purple cauliflowers). In La Laguna’s case, the old city is the main attraction.

For a Cloudy Day

Museo de Historia
Bite sized snapshots of Tenerife’s history in an atmospheric old building.
Entrance free on Sundays, Calle San Agustín, 22; La Laguna

Museo de Ciencia y El Cosmos
Interactive science museum with themed areas centred on the Sun, Earth, Universe and the human body. It's a lot more fun than it sounds
Entrance free on Sundays, Calle Vía Láctea; La Laguna

Choice Menus

There are plenty of atmospheric tascas lurking behind inviting doorways on La Laguna’s picturesque streets. One favourite is the Patio Canario on Calle Manuel de Ossuna. Stone walls, antique tiled floor and a delightful covered courtyard means that you can enjoy their delicious tapas ‘al fresco’ whatever the weather.

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