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Santa Cruz the capital of Tenerife and the joint capital of the seven Canary Islands

Updated on September 11, 2015

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - capital of the island

Santa Cruz is the capital of Tenerife and is situated right on the coast of the northeast of the island.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, to give the city its full name, is the joint capital of all seven Canary Islands, holding this distinction with Las Palmas on Gran Canaria.

Santa Cruz's neighbour is the university city of La Laguna, and the two cities seem to run into one another as they continue to expand. In 2008, Santa Cruz had a population of 221,956 but its numbers will have grown since then.

Around the city of Santa Cruz

At the Carnival
At the Carnival
Santa Cruz Auditorium
Santa Cruz Auditorium
Parque Garcia Sanabria
Parque Garcia Sanabria
Aerial view of Santa Cruz
Aerial view of Santa Cruz

Annual Carnival in Santa Cruz

Every year in February, Santa Cruz stages its carnival, and the event has become famous all around the world. It is so spectacular that it is said to rival the Rio de Janeiro carnival

Because of all the people it attracts each year, carnival time in Santa Cruz has been declared an international tourist attraction.

Santa Cruz is where the parliament for the island of Tenerife meets and the city is also home to very many other official government departments and buildings.

Santa Cruz Auditorium

The Santa Cruz Auditorium, with its distinctive design, is one of the most important venues on Tenerife. Many big stars of international status have performed there and big-scale entertainment events are held in it.

Santa Cruz is one of the best places to find live music, exhibitions and many other artistic and cultural events. The Teatro Guimerá staged the rock musical We Will Rock You a few years ago. This show was inspired by the legendary band Queen and lead guitarist Brian May was its musical director.

Close to the sea

With its proximity to the sea, Santa Cruz has a strong maritime atmosphere. With its large dockland the city is still a very busy port in the Canary Islands with cruise ships and ferry-boats arriving and departing every day.

If you are interested in historic buildings there are many examples of Spanish Canarian architecture in Santa Cruz, as well several museums. Of course Santa Cruz has its squares and the Plaza de España and the Plaza de Weyler are two that are worth visiting. The Church of La Concepción and its magnificent tower are among the historic sights of interest.


The Archaeological and Natural Science Museums are where to go if you are interested in the Guanche people, who were the original islanders on Tenerife before the Spanish conquest.

Another important building is the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (Tenerife Space of Arts - TEA), which was designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron with the help of the Canary Island architect Virgilio Gutierrez Herreros.There are exhibitions of paintings, photography and other artworks in the TEA.

Los Rodeos Airport

The very big bus station for Santa Cruz provides services to most parts of Tenerife. Because it is close to the Los Rodeos airport for Tenerife North, Santa Cruz has a regular bus to the Reina Sofía airport in the south.This is invaluable for tourists who have arrived on or are leaving the island.

If you feel like taking a break from sight-seeing or shopping in Santa Cruz there is an amazing park which is like a real oasis in the city's bustle and is known as Parque García Sanabria. These ornamental gardens have fountains, lily ponds, a bamboo grove, rose and herb gardens, displays of sculpture dotted around the park and much more to delight the eye.

No visit to Tenerife is complete without spending a day in Santa Cruz.

Where is Santa Cruz?

© 2010 Steve Andrews


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