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Discover Tenerife's Santa Cruz

The capital city of Santa Cruz is one of Tenerife’s best kept secrets; a bustling, vibrant port city set at the foot of the stunning Anaga Mountains. With its roots steeped in history and its outlook resolutely on the 21st Century, this is a city that has everything for the discerning traveller.

Santa Cruz offers beach, plazas, parks, museums, shopping, theatre, art, fine dining and a lively Tenerife nightlife. It’s large enough to provide an endless variety of things to do and see, yet compact enough to explore on foot and by tram and with all year sunshine and a balmy average annual temperature of 22° Celsius in the shade, Santa Cruz offers the perfect combination of city and sub-tropical island.

Plaza España
Santa Cruz City Breaks – Perfect for a winter sun 3 night break which lets you combine beach with city and takes you to a world just a few hours and a million miles from home.

Santa Cruz as a Cruise destination – with over 4 million cruise passengers a year, Santa Cruz, Tenerife is rapidly becoming one of the world’s favourite stopovers for ocean liners. The city centre is a perfect size to explore in a day; get in some tax free shopping, discover a taste of Tenerife’s history and culture and round off your excursion with some traditional Tenerife dining.

Day excursions to Santa Cruz – Wherever you’re staying on Tenerife, Santa Cruz is easily accessible by car, or by bus and provides a complete contrast to your resort. Add another dimension to your holiday by spending a day in the city to discover some of the true culture of Tenerife and stock up on some bargains before you head home.

A colourful way to travel
Getting to Santa Cruz

Taxis: from Tenerife North Airport (TFN) take approx. 10 minutes and cost €15 ; from Tenerife South Airport (TFS) take approx. 50 minutes and cost €65 - €80 depending on time of day/night.

Buses: from Puerto de la Cruz (102,103) run every 30 minutes and take 40 – 55 minutes; from Playa de las Américas (110, 111) run every 30 minutes and take 70 – 90 minutes; from Tenerife South Airport (341) runs every hour and takes 50 minutes; from Tenerife North Airport (102,107,108) runs every 30 minutes and takes 15 minutes.

Getting around the City
Trams run quietly and efficiently throughout the city enabling easy access to all the main areas of interest. Buy your ticket at any tram stop and simply ‘punch’ it once you board. Single journeys of any length are a standard rate (€1.25) and you can purchase multiple journeys for even greater economy. Visit their website at for routes and fares.

Find out About Tenerife
Culture Vultures in Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Museum of Man and Nature: Three vast floors of exhibits and information about the Canarian Archipelago from its volcanic origins and climate, through its history, flora and fauna to the fascinating mummified remains of its original inhabitants. You’ll need a couple of hours to do this justice.
(0034) 922 212 909; Calle Fuente Morales (opposite the Church of La Concepción); Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am-7pm, closed Monday; entrance €5, free on Sundays, 50% discount on production of a Bono card.

Military Museum: Packed to the gunwales with military artefacts and history including a scale model of Nelson’s failed attempt to storm the city in 1797 in which he lost his right arm. Just to rub salt into Nelson’s wound, the museum also houses the Tigre; the cannon that took the offending arm. Guns, models, uniforms, photographs, flags, medals, maps and ships; a fascinating treasure trove set in a working barracks.
(0034) 922 843 500; Calle San Isidro (on the small hill behind the fountain of ‘The Angel of Victory’); open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 2pm, closed Sunday & Monday; entrance free; passport required.

The Guimerá Theatre
Architecture: The streets of Santa Cruz are lined with wonderful architecture from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and covering a multitude of styles including traditional Canarian, Victorian, Renaissance and Baroque. Particularly worth seeing are Calle Castillo (drag your eyes away from the alluring shop windows to look up at the quality of the buildings); Calle Viera y Clavijo with the wonderful Banco de España and City Hall; Plaza de La Iglesia with its traditional houses; the buildings around Plaza de la Candelaria and the pretty Plaza de los Patos with its Gaudi-esque ceramic fountains and benches.
Check out too the vanguard architecture of many of its modern buildings.

The Guimerá Theatre: An iconic theatre mask sculpture signals the site of one of Spain’s most beautiful theatres. Opened in 1851 to provide a suitable venue for some of the world’s greatest theatre and opera companies who would call into Santa Cruz en route to touring Central and South America, it now stages musicals, opera and plays.

Typical street in Santa Cruz

Sun Worshippers in Santa Cruz
Playa de Las Teresitas – 8 km outside the city below the quaint fishing village of San Andrés, is Tenerife’s most spectacular beach. One and a half kilometres of beautiful white sand brought from the Spanish Sahara and backed by palm trees. A reef protects the beach from high rollers, creating an idyllic swimming and snorkelling lagoon. The entire city could choose to spend the day here and it still wouldn’t feel crowded. Watch out for windy east coast days when the fine sand is lifted and covers everything. The village of San Andrés has excellent fish restaurants whose cooking aromas beckon for a pleasant stroll to a memorable lunch.
Goldens sands and azure seas at Teresitas
César Manrique Maritime Park – sited alongside the Auditorium is the César Manrique designed swimming pool complex. Sun bathing terraces amidst palm trees and sub-tropical foliage, swimming pools, fountains, cafes and restaurants provide an oasis in the heart of the city.
(0034) 922 203 244; Avenida de la Constitución,5; open 10am – 7pm daily; entrance €2.50

Art Lovers in Santa Cruz

Sculpture Trail – A legacy from the International Street Sculpture Exhibition of 1974, Santa Cruz is home to sculptures by artists such as Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Martin Chirino and Oscar Dominguez. Many of the works of art are along Rambla General Franco, the arterial walkway that runs the length of the city; Parque García Sanabria, the ‘lungs’ of the city and around Plaza de Toros (the Bull Ring).
Tours in English are available by arrangement with the Tourist Office

Municipal Museum of Fine Arts (Belles Artes) – has a permanent exhibition of paintings and sculptures from its own collections, with many Flemish and Canarian works of art, from 17th century to contemporary. Ground floor used for temporary exhibitions, again covering everything from Renaissance to Avant Garde.

Galería Leyendecker – on Las Ramblas exhibits in the coolest of contemporary surroundings and has a penchant for photographic images including Jeremy Blake and David LaChapelle.

'Fecundidad' at night
Music Lovers in Santa Cruz

The Auditorium – this magnificent icon of the city was designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2003. It’s home to the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and stages a full and varied programme of music as diverse as The Chemical Brothers, Diana Krall, Van Morrison and Bebel Gilberto.

Tenerife's iconic auditorio

Iglesia de la Concepcion
Soul Seekers in Santa Cruz

Iglesia de la Concepción – the landmark grey and white six tier tower and belfry of the Concepción make it easy to locate. A church has been on this site since 1502 and marks the spot where a cross was placed in the ground by the conquering Spanish army in 1496 (and is still housed in the church today), thus giving the city its name, which means Holy Cross.

Iglesia de San Francisco – is one of the city’s most beautiful churches; 17th century Baroque.

Santa Cruz Shopping

African Market – very distinctive pink(ish) building with a statue of a woman with a basket on her head. Here you’ll find the very freshest and best fruit, vegetables, flowers, meat, dairy produce, herbs & spices. On Sunday mornings a huge rastro (market) takes place outside.

Calle Castillo – the city’s main commercial, pedestrianised shopping street which is crossed by other, smaller streets filled with shops too. Keep your purse occupied with this great selection of outlets selling clothes, jewellery, shoes, designer labels and high street names.

CC Meridiano – on the outskirts of the city near the CEPSA oil refinery, seven storeys of retail outlets to keep even the most hardened of shopaholics out of therapy for a while. Head to the top floor for fashion.

El Corte Inglés – by the bus station. Tenerife’s answer to Selfridges, they’ve used George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron as the ‘face’ of El Corte Inglés in recent years; none of them English, but you get the ‘stylish, good looking, sophisticated’ message of how they see themselves.

The African Market

Santa Cruz Nightlife

Bars - If you’ve chosen to eat in the Noria District then you’re already in the city’s newest and coolest night zone. Start with a couple of liveners in the traditional lounge bar of JC Murphy’s where the blasting out rock, jazz or soul will set you up nicely and then head along towards the viaduct, sampling as many of the bars as you can find a seat in. On a Saturday or Sunday night when this area’s teeming with Santa Cruz’ coolest, that might not be many and you may be better advised to grab a seat and stay there!
Live music usually makes an entrance on the upper terrace of Bulán at weekends and in the newest and coolest ‘Arcos’ appropriately named for its position under the arches.

Clubs – if you’re still on your feet when the bars in Noria start to turf people out (around 3am Fridays and Saturdays) then head to the recently refurbished decking and candle light of the Jam Beach Club in the Parque Marítimo César Manrique on the portside, or to Dreams Tenerife next door and if you’re still awake when they close, you can pick up the fresh bread on your way home.

Noria district, Santa Cruz

Los Reunidos in the Noria District, Santa Cruz
Restaurants in Santa Cruz , Tenerife

Restaurants – head for the grey stone tower of Iglesia de la Concepción to reach the lively, Bohemian old quarter of the Noria District where you’ll find a wide range of restaurants lining the trendy Calle Antonio Dominguez Alfonso. Try the chilled atmosphere of Bulán for mouth watering Mediterranean, the distinctly Castillian look and menu of La Tasca Sáffron y Porron or the creative cuisine of Los Reunidos. There are loads more to choose from in this small section of the city so if a menu doesn’t appeal, just try next door.

Tapas – in the heart of the city on Calle Imeldo Seris you can watch the trams swishing by from Bodeguita de Canarias. Try a ‘tabla’ of cheeses or jamon Serrano, or a selection of ‘montaditos’ (small slices of toasted bread with a variety of toppings) alongside your tortilla Español.
Beside Parque García Sanabria on Calle Dr José Naveíras are Tasca de Enfrente and Tasca Tagoror where you’ll find excellent tapas to while away the time while you watch the night joggers, strollers and romantics who use the park after dark.

Hotels in Santa Cruz , Tenerife

Hotel Mencey – old fashioned opulence and first class service from this old world five star classic hotel on the Rambla, across the road from the magnificent ‘lungs of the city’; Parque García Sanabria. This is where the rich and famous stay when they visit Santa Cruz.

El Contemporáneo – across the road from the Mencey. in complete contrast to its opulent neighbour, this 3 star hotel, as its name suggests, is beautifully contemporary in style. Bright, sophisticated and generous on the floor space.

Hotel Plaza – right in the heart of the city in Plaza de la Candelaria so perfectly positioned for exploring. A typical, modern, city centre 3 star hotel; short on space and facilities, big on central location.

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Parking – Santa Cruz

Trying to find a parking space in Santa Cruz can be like trying to find a parking space in any city that you’re unfamiliar with…fraught. However, the car park at the revamped bus station is brightly lit, has loads of spaces and is very reasonable. It’s a few minutes walk to the city centre, but that’s a fraction of the time you’ll spend trying to find a space otherwise.

“… your book Island Drives really made our holiday so much better.”

Detailed Santa Cruz Guide only €3

*NEW* HOW TO SEE THE BEST OF SANTA CRUZ - With our City Centre and City Highlights routes (PDF format sent to your email address) visitors to Santa Cruz no longer need to spend valuable hours searching for the city's top spots. Our detailed routes include the most popular attractions, parks, plazas, museums, art galleries, restaurants, bars, shopping areas and even toilet stops. Our unique info guide to the main attractions means that you can even customise your route to suit your preferences. This is the essential walking guide to Santa Cruz.