If you’re more interested in a cultured, elegant vacation experience than rowdy night-long parties Puerto de la Cruz, with its small town mentality, is everything you’ve been looking for. Situated on the northwest coast of Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz is one of the main tourist centres on the island yet has a small population of around 30,000 people. It is an old colonial town which has long been a favourite destination for visitors from northern Europe.
Puerto de la Cruz started life as a port city and fisherman’s haven and, unlike many other towns in Tenerife, has retained a great deal of its original architecture and charm. Though there is a modern Spanish element to the town you’ll still find plenty of shady streets, lovely tree-lined avenues and secluded plazas. Puerto de la Cruz is one of those towns that you could spend days exploring and delighting in the little secret places that have been preserved for hundreds of years.
The old town of Puerto de la Cruz is centred on Plaza Charco which is surrounded by ancient buildings. To the west are the main shopping streets where you’ll find some of the best duty free shopping opportunities on the island amongst the maze of tiny streets. There are great deals on electronics, alcohol and tobacco products but be careful to make sure they’re authentic before buying. The main nightlife is also centred on and around Plaza Charco.
There are a number of churches around the centre which are worth a look including the Ermita de San Juan which dates back to 1599. The old customs house (Casa de la Aduana) was built in 1620 and now houses a selection of artisan shops. For a great example of Canarian architecture take a look at Casa Miranda (c/ Santo Domingo, 13) which now serves as one of Puerto de la Cruz’s finest restaurants. The helpful tourist information office in Plaza Europa provides details of all the main sights.
February is a great time for a winter break in Puerto de la Cruz when it’s the festival of Carnival which is a smaller version of the wild partying that happens in Santa Cruz, but this party is still one that can take your breath away with its vibrancy and joy. A few things to keep an eye out for are the Funeral of the Sardine and salsa bands that play in the Plaza del Charco.
Puerto de la Cruz hosts some of the greatest range of accommodation on the island with lots of competition between hotels. You can stay at excellent big-name hotels for very reasonable rates or choose from a fine selection of small hotels and family-run establishments. Be sure to book well in advance if coming for Carnival.
For a good time that leaves you feeling refreshed and restored, head to Puerto de la Cruz for a deeply restful, wonderfully lively experience with the culture of the Canary Islands.