You’ve got a couple of hours to kill whilst passing through Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz. It’s not enough time to explore the city in full, but it’s too much time to kill with a cup of coffee in the bus station.
What to do?
This scenario actually happens quite a lot with a friend of ours, passing through Tenerife on her way home to La Gomera. If we’re about, we pop into the city to meet her for a couple of hours. From Puerto de la Cruz it’s only a 20/25 minute drive.
As we’ve only got a couple of hours to spare we don’t like to stray too far from the bus station. That’s not a problem as there are plenty of interesting things to see and do quite close by.
First, we’ll walk towards the city centre having a bit of a moan about how the oil rigs spoil the urban vista. At the Avenida José Manuel Guimerá we’ll head inland to the Mercado Nuestra Señora de Africa to have a browse around the stalls in the best looking market on Tenerife. It has nothing to do with Africa, but there is a slight French Foreign Legion fort appearance about the place.
After that we’ll pop across the road to see what’s on at TEA, the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes. The modern, bunker-type building might not be everyone’s architectural cup of tea but I’ve grown to like it and have seen some interesting things there – from multi-coloured whales and a documentary about Sir Frances Drake and the Canary Islands to Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in English.
Following our cultural hit, we’ll cross the Serrador Bridge and drop down the stairs onto Calle Antonio Dominguez Alfonso in the Noria district. This part of Santa Cruz is made up of a maze of narrow streets lined with old cottages. Some have been turned into trendy restaurants with rooftop bars that spring to life late at night. Others are home to carnival associations and musical groups. Walk down this street and it’s worth having a nosy inside any open doors to see what lies within.
Calle Antonio Dominguez Alfonso is also café society central. At lunch you get some really good menu del dia deals along here with classy tapas at good value prices.
At the bottom of the street you arrive at the Iglesia de la Concepción whose tower acts as a landmark for the area. Nearby is the Museum of Man and Nature but there’s far too much to see in that grand old building, including Guanche mummies, to fit in on a flying visit to the city.
Instead we might head to pretty Plaza de la Iglesia which looks at its best when its flamboyant trees are in full bloom. The plaza is home to one of our favourite music festivals in June, Santa Blues. The rest of the year it’s home to JC Murphy. There might seem nothing special about there being an Irish bar on Tenerife, but this one is different and has a legitimate reason to be there. The J stands for José, one of Santa Cruz’ famous sons.
After refreshments in JC’s it’s time to wander back to the bus station satisfied and sated after a short but sweet visit to the capital.
Category : food and drink
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