©RossHelen/Getty Images

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Whatever you do, don't bypass the bustling capital, the handsome and friendly port of Santa Cruz, in your dash for the beach on Tenerife. Backing onto a superb range of undulating hills, this wholly Spanish city is home to evocative, brightly painted buildings, grand and historic architecture, sophisticated and quirky shops, riveting museums and art galleries, a showstopping auditorium, flashes of bold and vibrant street art, and a tropical oasis of birdsong, fountains and greenery in the city park. Backing all this up are friendly locals, a terrific spread of quality restaurants, as well as an excellent bus and tram system, making Santa Cruz a sensible and convenient base for exploring the sublime landscapes of the island's northeast.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Santa Cruz de Tenerife.