The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was founded in 1494 and has been the capital of the island of Tenerife since 1833. Together with the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, it is also one of the two capitals of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands. The city is located directly on the sea on the northeast coast of Tenerife, has about 210,000 inhabitants and is the most important berth of the island of Tenerife for cruises in the Canary Islands. We took a whole day to explore the most famous sights and most beautiful photo spots of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
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Attractions & Photo Spots in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Since we drove with our rental car from the south of Tenerife to Santa Cruz, we parked our car directly on the southern outskirts of the city in a large, free parking lot on avenue la Constitución (location in Google Maps). From here we were able to explore the sights of the city perfectly on foot and on our own.
The palm garden “Palmetum”
We started our city tour at Palmetum, a botanical garden where everything revolves around the palm tree. On an area of 120,000 m² you will find about 600 different palm species from all over the world. In addition, a few small waterfalls, streams and ponds. It is interesting that the site was once a landfill in the 1970s and the botanical garden was built on this 40-meter-high garbage mountain. It took almost 20 years to remodel the park to open to the public in 2014.
The ticket counter and a small shop are located at ground level. Here we bought our entrance tickets in the amount of 6 EUR per person. An elevator or a spiral staircase then leads to a bridge that leads to the garden. In addition to the many palm trees, we liked the viewpoints the most: from many places of the park you can enjoy fantastic views of the city of Santa Cruz and the ocean. From here you also have the very best view of the very photogenic Auditorio de Tenerife, a congress and concert hall.
The swimming pools in parque Marítimo César Manrique
Just below the Palmetum is the large Parque Marítimo César Manrique, a large entertainment complex that opened in 1995 and consists essentially of three seawater pools, restaurants, and sun terraces. We were not in it ourselves, but could look from a wall very nicely into the swimming pool. We were particularly impressed by the size of the pools and the natural design of the complex with volcanic rocks, palm trees and other ornamental plants.
The park is open daily and is a very popular destination for locals, especially on weekends and holidays. The entrance fees are very moderate with 5 EUR per person (incl. lounger); Children from 2 to 12 years pay just 1.50 EUR. More information about the park can be found on the official website.
The Castillo de San Juan Bautista
If you leave the swimming pool on the right and walk the promenade further towards the city, you will pass the Castillo de San Juan Bautista, which is often called “Black Castle”. After its construction in the middle of the 17th century (1641 to 1644), the castle was considered the second most important fortress in the defense of Santa Cruz. Until 1924 it served as a military fortress. In 1948 it was converted into a military museum.
The Auditorio de Tenerife
It is considered THE landmark of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and is visually definitely a feast for the eyes: the congress and concert hall Auditorio de Tenerife which is located right next to the Black Castle. The building was officially opened in 2003 with a concert and the presence of Queen Sofia and Crown Prince Felipe. For events, two halls with capacities for 1,658 and 428 listeners are available. The Auditorio is surrounded by a 16,289 m² square, which is also used for open-air events.
Our tip: If you stand on the plateau in front of the hall, it is definitely worth taking a look behind the wall at the stony breakwaters. On these are small colorfully painted portraits of musicians and artists, such as Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and many more. A very nice idea, which comes from the Bulgarian artist Stoyko Gagamov.
The old town & Plaza de España
From the Auditorio we walked about 20 minutes to the Plaza de España, one of the main squares in the center of Santa Cruz. The square is partly located on the site of the Castillo de San Cristóbal defense complex, which was demolished at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the square is dominated by an artificial pond, at the edges of which there is a monument to the fallen of the Civil War, as well as an 11.1-meter-long and 1.4-meter-high sculpture that reflects the tourist slogan of the city.
In the old town itself there are some pretty buildings, but you can not expect too much here 😉 Worth seeing is definitely the catholic main church Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, which is located on the edge of the paved and equipped with trees and benches Plaza de la Iglesia.
It is interesting that in Santa Cruz de Tenerife there is the tram Tranviá Tenerife, the only rail-bound means of transport in the Canary Islands. The tram has been in operation since 2007 and connects Santa Cruz de Tenerife with San Cristóbal de La Laguna and overcomes a height difference of almost 600 meters on the route.
The Market Hall Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África
During our city tour, a visit to the well-known market hall Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África, which has been around since 1943, could not be missed. Unfortunately, it was already in the afternoon and most of the more than 200 stands were already closed. Nevertheless, we were able to get a small einlick in the market and even get some fresh fruit. We particularly liked the fish hall in the basement. Even though all the fresh fish was already gone there, many locals and visitors sat at the counters and enjoyed drinks & food with this special flair.
The Parque García Sanabria
Our next sightseeing stop was the 6.7-hectare Parque García Sanabria, which is located at the northern end of downtown and is freely accessible at all times. We used the peace and quiet in the park directly for a small lunch break and to treat our feet to some relaxation 😉 In the park you can walk between palm trees, exotic plants, fountains and countless sculptures. Especially beautiful we found the flower arch, which was not so colorful but still gave a great photo opportunity.
The beach “Playa de Las Teresitas”
About 9 km north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is playa de Las Teresitas, a sandy beach about 1.5 kilometers long. It is one of the few white beaches in Tenerife, because primarily the island has beaches with black sand of volcanic origin. In 1973, about 270,000 tons of white sand from the Sahara were piled up at Playa de Las Teresitas to create an oasis of peace and relaxation for locals and tourists. In fact, the beach is still one of the most famous and popular beaches on the island. Off the coast, breakwaters have been installed, so that nothing stands in the way of relaxed bathing and splashing. We noticed positively that there are enough free parking spaces directly on the beach as well as appropriate sanitary facilities.
Our tip: For a perfect view of Playa de Las Teresitas, a detour to the viewpoint “Mirador Playa De Las Teresitas”, which can be easily reached by car within 5 minutes, is worthwhile. From up there, off the coast of Tenerife, we also saw 4 parked ships of the AIDA fleet, which are currently not in use due to corona.
From our parking lot at Parque Marítimo César Manrique it took us about half a day for our walking tour to see all the sights of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
A map with all sights & photo spots on TenerifeOn the following map at Google MyMaps we have marked all important sights, attractions and photo spots on Tenerife.
Our travel reports from Tenerife» Santa Cruz de Tenerife – 8 Things to do & Top Photo Spots
» The east coast of Tenerife – Attractions & Photo Spots
» The old town of La Laguna & the Rural de Anaga Park
» The Loro Park (Zoo) in Puerto de La Cruz
» The Los Gigantes Cliffs & Mountain village of Masca
» Puerto de la Cruz – Sights & the best Photo Spots
» North coast of Tenerife – Sights, Photo Spots & Things to do
» The Volcano Teide & Parque Nacional del Teide