A day in Santa Cruz on Tenerife


The Santa Cruz de Tenerife area lives from tourism, from the international port, from the movement of goods and from its diverse public facilities. From our point of view, Tenerife's capital of the island embodies mercantile Spain.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Interesting facts

The island was conquered from Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In addition, the city benefited from the sea routes and trade contacts to the New World that had previously been discovered. Merchants settled in the city; public institutions emerged. With the expansion of the port, the region's economic strength grew. Santa Cruz is currently at the forefront of Spanish Atlantic ports. You should know all this before the cruise ship docks in the port of Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - ferry and cruise terminals

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - ferry and cruise terminals


Explore Santa Cruz with the Hop On Hop Off bus 

Santa Cruz offers its visitors sights in abundance. One day is nowhere near enough to get an impression of the city. The day guests of the cruise ships can get an initial overview, however, on tours with the Hop On Hop Off sightseeing buses. In addition to Plaza España, top stops are the traditional Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África and the sensational congress and concert hall Auditorio de Tenerife. The buses start near the cruise terminal. The tickets cost 22 euros (as of 2021).

City tour in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Compared to Hop On Hop Off buses, city tours offer more intensive impressions. In the following we describe the main program points of our city tour. The cruise terminal is our starting point.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Cruise Terminal

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Cruise Terminal


Plaza España

Our first destination, Plaza España, cannot be missed because of its enormous dimensions and a water basin with a diameter of a good 80 meters. The pool's water rises and falls with the tide. Hidden under the square is a multi-storey car park and a museum dedicated to the history of the former Castillos de San Cristóbal and the attack by the British fleet on Santa Cruz in 1797. Admiral Horatio Nelson commanded the attack. In the unsuccessful landing maneuver, the British naval hero lost his right arm.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Espana


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Espana


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Espana


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Espana 


To the west, a cross-shaped monument surrounded by a semicircular colonnade closes the square. The 25 meter high monument is adorned with four allegorical figures. The monument is dedicated to the city's sons who died in the Spanish Civil War. Some distance away is the Cabildo Insular, the seat of the administrative and representative institutions of the Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias. Next to it is the post office and telegraph office building. The tourist information office is hidden under a lavishly greened hill on Plaza España.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Monument to the Fallen, Cabildo Insular, Post Office and Telegraph Office


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Monument to the Fallen, Cabildo Insular, Post Office and Telegraph Office


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Monumento a los Caidos - Monument to the fallen


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Monumento a los Caidos - Monument to the fallen 


Plaza de la Candelaria

The Plaza de la Candelaria borders the Plaza España. In the past it was both a market and a trading center. In the present it is a chic strolling zone. The tall monument El Triunfo de La Candelaria, crowned by a statue of Mary, is striking. Four figures are grouped around the base of the column. The figures represent Guanches who submit to the Spaniards. The statue symbolizes the victory of the Christians over the indigenous people.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza de la Candelaria

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza de la Candelaria


The Plaza de Candelaria is home to some of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The Casino Principal, which has been a listed building since 2006, is one of them. It's not what the name suggests. The building is owned by a private organization whose purpose is to promote culture and leisure activities. And something else: several oversized, abstract bronze figures by the English sculptor and draftsman Henry Moore decorate the square.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza de la Candelaria - Henry Moore sculpture

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza de la Candelaria - Henry Moore sculpture


Iglesia de San Francisco

At the front of the square we turn right into Calle San Francisco. We leave the street at the Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís. The parish church belonged to the former Franciscan monastery of San Pedro de Alcántara. Construction of the monastery began in the second half of the 17th century. Today the monastery no longer exists, it had to give way to the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Canarias and the municipal museum of fine arts. The three-aisled church, however, was preserved. It was completely renovated in 1970. Beautiful altars adorn the interior of the church; the most magnificent is the main altar.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís - main altar
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís - ceiling paintings
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís - side altar

Plaza Principe de Asturias

At the back of the former monastery complex we come across a small tree-lined park, the Plaza Príncipe de Asturias. The square is several meters above the level of the surrounding streets.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Principe de Asturias

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Principe de Asturias


From there we see the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes and the Circulo Amistad XII de Enero. This building belongs to a social institution founded in 1903. It was built between 1904 and 1934 and is considered a particularly beautiful example of Second Empire architecture in the Canary Islands.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Municipal Museum of Fine Arts


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Municipal Museum of Fine Arts


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - the Circulo Amistad XII de Enero


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - the Circulo Amistad XII de Enero 


Garcia Sanabria Park

We leave the park on the west side and follow Calle el Pilar to Parque Garcia Sanabria. Our way leads past chic shops. The green area, named after a former mayor, is not stingy with palm trees and tropical and subtropical plants. The park, which is almost seven hectares in size, is criss-crossed by tree-lined avenues that form wonderful lines of sight. We see water features, a flower clock and large sculptures. A fountain surrounds the Monumento a García Sanabria. Several café restaurants invite you to take a break on Calle Méndez Nuñez, which runs below the park. The Rambla de Santa Cruz runs on the opposite side of the park. The boulevard, previously named after General Franco, leads towards the sea. Hotels and restaurants line the street, the main feature of which is a magnificent tree-lined promenade.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parque Garcia Sanabria

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parque Garcia Sanabria


Weyler Square

We save ourselves the promenade and follow Calle Mendez Nuñez towards our next destination, Plaza Weyler. Along the way are Santa Cruz's beautiful town hall and the handsome building of the Subdelegacion del Gobierno, the regional government.

 

 

The Plaza Weyler is a 3.600 m² inner-city park. It is dedicated to the Spanish general and governor Valerià Weyler. The marble fountain Fuente del Amor rises in the middle of the complex. On the edge of the square is the magnificent Palacio de la Capitania General, the seat of the military commander in chief of the Canary Islands.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Weyler with the Fuente del Amor


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Plaza Weyler with the Fuente del Amor


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Captain General de Canarias


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Captain General de Canarias 


Calle del Castillo begins at Plaza Weyler. The pedestrian zone and shopping mile lined with shops leads in the direction of the harbor to Plaza de Candelaria. We follow it until we come to Calle Teobaldo Power. We turn left into it to take a look at the Parlamento de Canarias.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parliament of the Canary Islands

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parliament of the Canary Islands


In 1982 Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas on Gran Canaria were declared capitals of the Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias. The seat of government changes every four years. The regional parliament of the Canary Islands meets exclusively in Santa Cruz.

The historical structure and the attached modern administrative wing of the regional parliament are worth the little detour. The oversized metal sculpture by the Spanish sculptor Martín Chirino is also worth seeing.

Guimerá Theater

We now follow Calle Teobaldo Power in the opposite direction, we cross Calle del Castillo and walk to the end of the street. There we cross Imeldo Serís Street, keep left and immediately right again. We are now at the Teatro Guimerá. The theater was built in the mid-19th century with the aim of building an event space that corresponded to the importance of the city at the time. Today the construction serves different purposes, for example the beginning of the street carnival.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Guimerá Theater


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Guimerá Theater


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Teatro Guimerá - Carnival event


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Guimerá Theater 


Mercado Nuestra Señora de Africa

After the Teatro Guimerá we walk over to Calle de Valentin Sanz to reach our next destination, the Mercado Nuestra Señora de África. To do this, we cross the wide, dry riverbed of the Barranco de Santos.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Barranco de Santos

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Barranco de Santos


Before we reach the market operated by a cooperative, we pass the TEA - the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes. The building is an excellent example of contemporary Spanish architecture. On an area of ​​20.000 square meters, visitors experience contemporary art from the Canary Islands region. The collection of the surrealist Oscar Dominguez, he was one of the most famous artists in the Canary Islands, has found its home in the TEA.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - TEA-Tenerife Espacio de las Artes


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - TEA-Tenerife Espacio de las Artes


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - TEA-Tenerife Espacio de las Artes


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - TEA-Tenerife Espacio de las Artes 


Behind the entrance area crowned with a clock tower extends the Mercado de Nuestro Señora de África. The two-storey market hall was built in a Moorish style. In the spacious area, buyers get everything they need: fruit, vegetables, fish & meat and much more. The Mercado is one of the most beautiful Spanish market halls that we know.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Mercado de Nuestro Señora de África


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Mercado de Nuestro Señora de África


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Mercado de Nuestro Señora de África


Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Mercado de Nuestro Señora de África 


In front of the entrance portal we see the representational, life-size bronze figures of a milkmaid and two fishermen who are bringing a rowing boat ashore or lowering it into the water.

Mother Church of Our Lady of the Conception

Again we cross the Barranco de Santos and go down to the right to the main church of Santa Cruz, the Iglesia Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. It is the largest church in the city. Its special feature and at the same time the city's landmark is the square tower with the octagonal tower. A previous church was originally built at its location in 1502. After a fire, the church was rebuilt in 1652. Externally, the church consists of a large number of buildings, the heights and roof shapes of which differ considerably. Inside the church we can see five ships. The main nave and the two inner aisles were provided with a continuous wooden ceiling in Mudejar style. Over the centuries the magnificent church has been redesigned several times.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Iglesia Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Iglesia Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción - Nave
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Iglesia Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción - Main altar
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Iglesia Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción - wooden ceiling

A cross attributed to Alonso Fernández de Lugo, which Alonso Fernández de Lugo had erected on the beach of Santa Cruz when he arrived in Tenerife, is kept in the church. It is considered to be the symbol of the occupation of the island by the Spanish crown. At the foot of the founding cross, three lion heads symbolize the three victoriously repulsed attacks by the British fleet.

Auditorio de Tenerife, fortifications and the Parque Maritimo

Several restaurants in the vicinity of the church invite you to take a break. Before we stroll past the bus station, which is well worth seeing, to the Auditorio de Tenerife, we enjoy a break in one of the restaurants.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Intercambiador bus station

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Intercambiador bus station


Spanish star architect Santiago Calatrava designed Santa Cruz's spectacular, ultra-modern congress and concert hall. The shell-shaped top of the building rises approximately 100 meters in height. The auditorio, built next to the shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean, was opened in 2003.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Auditorio de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Auditorio de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Auditorio de Tenerife - side view
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Auditorio de Tenerife - Café

The round Castillo San Juan and next to it the powder magazine are within sight of the auditorio. This is followed by the Parque Maritimo. The 22.000 square meter outdoor swimming pool was conceived and created by the Spanish architect and artist César Manrique. Manrique, who comes from Lanzarote, planned the Lago Martiánez outdoor seawater swimming pool in Puerto de la Cruz.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Castillo San Juan
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Powder magazine
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - César Manrique artwork in front of the Parque Maritimo
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Parque Maritimo

Return to the ship

After visiting the auditorio, we walk straight over to Plaza España, and then we see our cruise ship.

All in all, we saw a lot of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We had visited Tenerife several times in the past. We have never seen the city as intensely as during our last stay. Even if your feet hurt at the end, it was a rewarding and educational experience, and there was even enough time for some shopping.

Update June 2021

 

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