La Laguna's Canarian Mansions

Bright facades graced with wooden double-doors, carved balconies and grey stone embellishments typify the pristinely preserved 16th- to 18th-century mansions of La Laguna, while elegant, wood-shuttered windows conceal cool, shady patios surrounded by 1st-storey verandas propped up by slender timber columns.

Calle San Agustín and the surrounding streets are lined with fine old houses. Take a look at the beautiful facade of Casa del Montañés with its decorative carved window frames. Destroyed by a fire in 2006, Casa Salazar has a beautiful, if austere, baroque facade and two lovely patios; it is now used for offices. The imposing Casa de los Capitanes is beside the ayuntamiento (town hall) and houses the tourist office. The distinctive blue facade of the mansion at Calle Carrera 66 is the former home of surrealist painter Óscar Domínguez.

Both the exterior and interior of the 19th-century Teatro Leal is a pleasingly over-the-top butterfly of a building that is open to the public only during performances.

Whenever you see an open door, peek inside – with luck the inner sanctum will also be open, but do remember that many are private residences or offices.