A Taste of Traditional Santa Cruz
Given that Tenerife’s capital is a typical Canarian working city, rather than a dedicated tourist destination, getting a taste of what makes Santa Cruz tick is essentially as easy as exploring the plazas and backstreets with their local bars, parks and family-owned shops. The following route should give you a head start.
- Start Plaza Príncipe de Asturias
- End La Tasca
- Length 2km; 1½ hours
Plaza Príncipe de Asturias
Grab a coffee at the traditional Kiosco Príncipe in the Plaza Príncipe de Asturias' subtropical park dating from the mid-1800s. Admire the award-winning sculpture, Courage, by Hanneke Beaumont, the traditional bandstand and fountain, and the lofty trees, including Indian laurels imported from Cuba. It's always full of local strollers with plenty of bench space for gawping at folk.
The emblematic plaza itself is at the heart of the city. Ponder the memorial to locals who died during the Spanish Civil War, take a paddle in the vast wading pool, then duck down to the tiny underground Castillo de San Cristóbal to see fragments of the former castle that once sat majestically here.
Dining with History
Weave your way through the backstreets to La Hierbita – the first restaurant to be licensed here in 1893, in the (then) heart of the red-light district. Part of the building used to be a brothel, but there’s nothing seedy about the excellent contemporary-style Canarian cuisine served here now.
Traditional Cafe Charms
The delightful Café Palmelita has a vintage exterior, a theme which continues within. The emphasis here is on serious indulgence: hot chocolate with double cream, or cold with vanilla ice cream; foamy frappés; buttery pastries; and traditional German cakes. It's also a superb breakfast spot.
The main pedestrian walkway in town is lined with shops and boutiques and is the city’s top see-and-be-seen street for locals on weekends. All the national chains are here, as well as smaller independent shops. Just to the south of Calle Castillo’s western end, you’ll find La Tienda de Aloe Vera, which sells everything to do with this locally grown super-succulent.
The nearby small grid of streets to the north of Calle Castillo is known as Soho and is home to some of the city's most fashionable cafes, tapas bars and shops. Time for a breather? Then head to La Casita, with several cosy dining rooms plus a lovely terrace.
- Handsome parks and squares
- Charming cafes
Walk The Plaza Príncipe de Asturias is right in the heart of the city.