“Probably many people have shared my feeling of disappointment on landing at Santa Cruz…but even so, the utter hideousness of the capital of Teneriffe was a shock to me”
Florence Du Kane, The Canary Islands, published 1911
Santa Cruz may be a long way off rivalling Florence, Venice and Paris for inclusion in the list of the World’s most beautiful cities, but nevertheless it has come a long way since Florence Du Kane and her sister disembarked at the dirty port in 1911.
Dominated for many years by the ugly and smelly skyline of the CEPSA oil refinery, nowadays visitors arriving by ferry and cruise liner are greeted by the sexy, sleek curves of Santa Cruz’ 21st century icon, Santiago Calatrava’s Auditorium, its cobra head blindingly white against the cobalt sky.
Once on dry land, the city opens her doorway with the lake-filled Plaza España and its strikingly eclectic blend of Franco symbolism and urban modernity. Below the surface lie the fortified remains of a city that withstood three attacks by British naval forces, the final encounter leaving Horatio Nelson with just one arm and the British fleet marched back to their ships in disgrace.
Santa Cruz lends itself beautifully to exploration on foot. Avenidas overhung with the scarlet flowering branches of flamboyance trees provide shady walkways through its compact centre while palm-filled plazas beckon with the aroma of freshly filtered coffee and the cry of wild parrots in the canopy. The magnificent Parque García Sanabria is an open air art gallery set within acres of mature botanical gardens which showcase Tenerife‘s amazing capacity to grow exotic flora to Jack and the Beanstalk proportions.
Art lovers will be hard pressed to drag themselves away from the canvasses of religious Masters in the Belles Artes gallery or the contemporary eclecticism and surrealist imagery housed in the architecturally stunning T.E.A (Tenerife Espacio de las Artes). Shoppers will find air conditioned plazas filled to their designer label roofs with VAT free bargains and city centre streets where household chains and small independents sit cheek by jowl with pavement cafés and tapas bars.
Architecture, sculptures, markets and museums are all within easy walking distance of the port and the city centre but like any city, Santa Cruz can be difficult to navigate if you don’t know your way around and you can miss many of its finest attractions.
For that reason we have written and published a guide to exploring Santa Cruz on foot which will show you the city’s best profile and give you all the information you need to get the most from your visit.
The Santa Cruz City Guide features a guide to the city’s attractions complete with the time we think you’ll need to allow to get the most from each one; two routes from which to choose deciding on how far you want to walk, what you want to see and do and how much time you have available, and an easy to follow map with clear timings and directions.
Best of all, it’s in PDF format sent to your email in-box so there’s no waiting for postal delivery or wandering around trying to find a shop that sells it. You just print it off before you go and start planning your trip. We’re pretty sure it’ll be the best €3 you ever spent.
So avoid sharing Florence’s feelings of disappointment and make sure you get to see the very best of Santa Cruz.