There’s an easy way to tell if the town or resort you’re staying at on Tenerife is a traditional one or was purpose built to meet all your holiday needs.
Does it have a plaza?
The plaza (square) is usually the central hub of a town on Tenerife. It’s the place where local families gather at the end of a working day and during the weekend; the setting for fiestas and often the venue for live music concerts.
Because plazas are the focal point of a town, there are always bars and restaurants lining them, the number depends on the size of the town, making them the perfect place for locals and visitors alike to hang out.
They’re also fabulous people-watching spots for the observant amongst us (observant spelled n-o-s-e-y).
It was a plaza that made us decide that Tenerife was right for us. A sunny May afternoon in Plaza del Charco was our first introduction to Puerto de la Cruz. The place was buzzing with families and there was a mix of nationalities speaking various languages around us, with Spanish speakers dominating. There were parrots in the palm trees and huge Indian bays kept the big square in partial shade, whilst children raced themselves silly around a trickling yam fountain. It enchanted us.
Plaza del Charco has remained my favourite plaza on Tenerife and it’s one of the first places we take visitors so that they can absorb the beating heart of the northern town. The atmosphere there is infectious.
Of all the plazas on Tenerife it probably boasts the best balance of tourists and residents. With its restaurants, hot dog kiosks, candy floss/sugared almond stalls and bars filled with locals watching La Liga it’s the buzzing place to spend time whatever your age.
La Orotava up the hill also has a pretty appealing plaza with a classic old bandstand café and a couple of bar/restaurants but it is less bustling than its coastal neighbour.
Another favourite is Plaza España in Santa Cruz which, with its mini lake and historic monuments, is an impressive introduction to Tenerife’s capital city for cruise passengers arriving at the port. The plaza that stretches to the start of Calle Castillo can be the venue for all sorts, from packed carnival street parties to political protests.
Because most Canarios have traditionally lived north of Candelaria and Guimar, plazas in the south of Tenerife aren’t on the same scale as those of the bigger northern townships, especially on the coast. But, where they exist, they are the centre of activity. The one behind the beach in El Médano reflects the nature of the town and has a seductively relaxing vibe. The developers of Los Gigantes cleverly included a plaza in the design and, although it’s a purpose built resort, the plaza fulfils the same role as towns that have been around for centuries.
If it’s your first time on Tenerife and you want to get a feel of the place you’re staying, head to the local plaza, order a beer, relax and soak up that local scene.
If the resort doesn’t have a plaza, there’s always the beach. No hardship.
Category : about tenerife
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