Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) is the capital of the island of Tenerife and the province of the same name in Spain, one of the two capitals of the Canary Islands, where their parliament is located. Surrounded by the steep cliffs of the Anaga mountain range, the city lies on the gentle slope of one of the mountains, descending to the harbor of the same name in the northeastern part of the island.
The city got its name from the silver Holy Cross of the Conquistadors (Spanish: Holy Cross – Santa Cruz), which Alonso Fernandez de Lugo hoisted after landing on the coast of Añaso in 1494. In common parlance, the city is called Santa Cruz, despite the fact that there are many cities with this name in the world. The official prefix to the name “de Tenerife” not only distinguishes it from others, but also symbolizes the status of the capital of the island.
How to get there
According to wholevehicles, Tenerife is the only island in the Canary archipelago that can be reached by direct flight from Moscow. There are two airports on the island: Reina Sofia in the south, near Los Cristianos, and Los Rodeos in the north, near the city of La Laguna. The island can also be reached by the Transmediterrania ferry. The ferry leaves from the city of Cadiz and takes 2 days.
From Tenerife, by plane or by ferry, you can get to any of the islands of the archipelago. The most convenient and fairly economical option for traveling around the island is to rent a car.
The beaches of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
In the immediate vicinity of the city there are two magnificent beaches: Taganana with volcanic black sand, common for these places, and the only yellow sand beach in Tenerife – Las Teresitas, one of the most popular beaches in the archipelago. This is a one and a half kilometer artificial beach, to which yellow sand from the African Sahara was brought by barges in the 1970s to replace the local black volcanic origin. The strip of beaches stretches to the very mountain of La Esperanza, whose slopes are covered with plantations of Canarian pines.
Las Teresitas is the only yellow sand beach in Tenerife and one of the most popular in the archipelago.
There are several diving centers around Santa Cruz de Tenerife suitable for divers of all skill levels. In addition to classic diving, scuba diving is popular here. Also in Tenerife you can go surfing, windsurfing and other water sports.
In the local waters, the coral reefs Devils Reef, Garden, Stena, the underwater caves of Groupers Cave and La Cueva del Roquete, as well as the sunken 70-meter Carbonero ship, chosen by sharks, rays and barracudas, are of interest.
Many tourists come to Santa Cruz de Tenerife for shopping – the capital of the Canary Islands is firmly entrenched in the fame of a “shopping paradise”. There are especially many shops, shops and boutiques on Plaza La Candelaria and the pedestrian street Calle de Castillo, perpendicular to the square.
In the Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa city market, located on San Sebastian Street, you can buy fruits, vegetables, flowers and, mainly, spices. The covered market, which looks like a spacious courtyard decorated with arches, is not at all like a European one and attracts tourists with its exoticism.
Restaurants in Santa Cruz de Tenerife offer primarily Canarian cuisine. In the bars, when it’s tapas time, you can find an endless variety of Canarian dishes, as well as dishes from all over Spain.
Entertainment and attractions of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The facades of houses in a certain color scheme, decorated with wooden balconies – this is the so-called Canarian style. There is a lot of greenery here, the old part of the city, immersed in gardens, can be walked around, enjoying historical sights. Any sightseeing tour of Santa Cruz de Tenerife starts from the traditional Plaza de España. In the very center of the square is the monument to the Fallen in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.
Close to the center, in Plaza La Candelaria, are the Tenerife government building Cabildo Insular, the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, as well as a curious example of Spanish architecture of the 17th century – the Carta Palace. Of particular note are two baroque churches in the city center: St. Francis (17-18 centuries) and Iglesia La Concepción (16-18 centuries), where the Holy Cross of the Conquistadors, which gave the city its name, is kept.
The name of one of the central squares of the city comes from the name of the patroness of the island – the Black Virgin of Candelaria (Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, popularly called La Morenita). In fact, we are talking about the appearance of the Virgin Mary to the locals, but since Africa is nearby, the Madonna introduced herself to the local blacks.
The Museum of Natural History holds evidence of the transformation of the Canary Islands into a modern center of tourism – from their formation from the explosion of a volcano at the bottom of the ocean and the history of the indigenous population of the island – the Guanaches, to the glorious military history, evidence of which are the banners captured from Admiral Nelson after his unsuccessful attacks on the city. In addition, the island has a Museum of Military History, located on the shore of the bay next to the Royal Tenerife Yacht Club and the Nautical School.
Tenerife and the Canaries themselves, due to their location along the largest trade routes, have experienced many attacks by pirates, conquistadors and warlike fleets of European maritime powers throughout their history. In memory of the largest victories of the Spaniards over the fleets of the English admirals Blake, Jennings and Nelson, in addition to the Holy Cross of Conquest, three leopards are depicted on the coat of arms of Tenerife.
On El Principle Square is the Municipal Museum of Painting and Sculpture, which exhibits paintings by Ribera, Brueghel, Madrazzo, Van Lu, as well as local artists. Of the modern symbols of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the quaint building of the Auditorio Opera Tenerife, erected in 2003, and the twin towers of Torres de Santa Cruz, skyscrapers that reach a height of 120 m, stand out.
There are also Russian pages in the history of Tenerife: the route of the first Russian circumnavigation of the world passed through this city in 1803–1806, and in 1866 Miklouho-Maclay visited it.
6 things to do in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
- Take a picture against the backdrop of a luxurious flower clock.
- Check out the beaches with black and regular sand.
- Dive to the bottom of the sea with scuba gear on your back.
- Spend all cash in local shops.
- See the whole city during a sightseeing tour.
- Go to the Teide volcano.
Excursions around Tenerife
In addition to the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, tourists can go on tours of the ancient capital of the island – the city of La Laguna, now considered the cultural center of the island.
30 km southwest is the ancient colonial town of Orotava, as well as Puerto de la Cruz, where the famous parrot park Laura Parque is located. Nearby is a large botanical garden – Garcia-Sanabria with an area of 67 thousand square meters. m, famous for its huge artificial iceberg with penguins and the largest dolphinarium in Europe.
Also from Santa Cruz de Tenerife you can go to the foothills of Anaga in the northeastern part of the island or inland to the extinct volcano Teide (3718 m), which is located in the national park of the same name.
On the east coast of Tenerife is the religious center of the region, the city of Candelaria, and the city of Guimard, famous for its ethnographic park of the Pyramids of Guimar. Here are six stepped pyramids erected by the aborigines of the Canary Islands by the Guanaches, oriented strictly to the cardinal points like the Egyptian ones.
Excursions are organized from Tenerife to the island of Gomera: unlike other islands of the Canary archipelago, there is no volcanic activity on it, which preserves the magnificent tropical forests in their original form. In the center of the island is the evergreen Garajonay Natural Park, declared an international conservation area by UNESCO.
It is believed that it was on the island of La Gomera that Christopher Columbus made his last stop on his way to the New World.
The noisiest and most popular resort towns in Tenerife are located in the south: El Medano.
Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos
and Costa Adeje.
Perhaps the brightest event of the year in Tenerife is the February carnival, the second largest and most colorful after the famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Carnival processions stretch all over the island, but the brightest and most exciting action always takes place in the capital.
Weather in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Tenerife is located at the latitude of the Sahara desert – it is not surprising that it is warm here all year round. The average temperature in winter is +21 °C, in summer – +27 °C. The water temperature is +20 °C all year round.