We were staying in Puerto la Cruz and decided to catch one of the local titsa buses down to Santa Cruz. The bus took about 40 minutes and cost about 12 euros, it dropped us at the bus stop slightly outside of the centre of town. We had a pleasant walk down some wide, rather urban streets into the city centre and down to Plaza de España. When we got there we were disappointed, the square wasn't beautiful and contained no great architecture, and the predominant feature we could find was a large McDonalds. We then decided to explore the windy shopping streets around the square but all we could find were rather soulless chain stores and nothing distinctive or cultural. After wondering around for over an hour and finding nothing of interest we headed to tourist information where we were informed that the city had few great tourist destinations and was more of a bureaucratic center. However the very helpful lady did advise us to visit Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre which was incredibly affordable and we really enjoyed, especially its collection of Guanche mummies. The museum itself was next to the church which was the oldest church in the city, although not able to enter the church and its surrounding grounds were very pretty and provided some good photo opportunities. I personally would not a recommend a whole day out to Santa Cruz, we found little here that interested us and although the museum was enjoyable it only took an hour to look round the whole museum.
Santa Cruze is a deeply European city often overlooked by Tenerife holiday makers. Those who think Tenerife is simply England on Sea will soon have a different opinion after visiting the capital of the Canary Island. With a population of just over 223, 000, there is no mistaking this as a modern Spanish city. While people watching at one of the many cafes, you could be sat in the centre of trendy Madird or buzzing Barchelona.
First stop must be the Auditorium. Designed by Calatrava, it is a sight to see even if you arent planning on going inside. A wander round this amazing building is not time wasted. If you can, get to see a performance and enjoy the best acoustics in Spain.
On into the city and you will soon see this is the place to be when it comes to shopping. On the outskirts lie the massive shopping centres while in town you can find designer shops and more specific retailers. The most important thing you will notice is that this is not a tourist retail area this is where the locals come to shop. On your tour, look out for what must be the smallest ever Marks and Spencer. It is worth going into for the sheer novelty value. Again, this is a shop for locals so dont expect your usual M and S experience.
Like every other European city, there are several wonderfully kept parks to see. The Spanish do parks very well and this city is no exception. Head upwards out of the city to find some of them. Probably the one most worth seeing is Parque García Sanabria which is nothing short of breath-taking.
If it is nightlife you are after, then you are in the right place. Pubs and clubs centre around the Marina park area, which is named after Canary Island artist Cesar Manrique. There are also some goings on in La Noria Street too. When it comes to choosing venues, the job is easy. All bars seem to be cheap, clean and friendly.
Hotels and getting about
If you want to stay in the city, you will find a good range of hotels from cheap and cheerful to five star suits. If you want to save a bit of money, go for one slightly out of town. It is much cheaper and taxis are not very expensive at all due to the islands system of using fixed fares for all companies and journeys. The bus company of the island is well run and on time. Look out for the green busses!
For children, this may not be the best place to stay for too long but for a romantic holiday, a weekend getaway or a cultural trip, Santa Cruz is perfect. If you want the usual Tenerife clubbing and drinking holiday, then stay somewhere like Playa de las Americas. However, the city is still worth a day trip.