Visiting the largest of the Canary Islands, our Tenerife cruises bring you close to one of the world’s most dramatic and varied landscapes, ranging from verdant valleys and lush plantations to glorious beaches, vast pinewoods and the volcanic `moonscape’ of Mount Teide National Park.
Tenerife’s cruise port Santa Cruz has grown from a fishing village to a splendid city with classy bars and restaurants, varied shops, fine architecture and interesting museums.
With our cruises to Tenerife the action begins right outside the port gates, where you will find a café-lined boulevard leading to the Plaza de Espana, at the heart of the port’s main shopping area. Look out for bargain electrical goods and cut-price CDs, Tenerife’s speciality.
Prefer museums and galleries? Try the Museo de Bellas Artes, which contains works by Bruegel, or discover the island’s history, topography, flora and fauna at the Museo de la Naturaleza y El Hombre.
With Tenerife being the largest of the Canaries you will not get around everything in one visit, so when it comes to attractions it all depends on what you want from the visit.
What you need to understand is that where you berth in the north of the island the weather can be very different to that of the south. Although compared to the UK, Tenerife is warm all year round; you can expect cloud and sometimes rain in the north, even in summer, when it is normally bright sunshine all year round in the south.
So, here is a breakdown of what is on offer.
Santa Cruz De Tenerife (Capital): The ship will berth within walking distance of the town, however, a shuttle bus is normally put on to the port entrance. The main shopping area is around the Plaza de la Candelaria. This area is pedestrianised and situated just north of main port area. On leaving the port area, when you get to the main road you need to cross over the dual carriageway and you will find the main area just to the left of the main square. The main square also houses the tourist information centre in a domed building.
If you are looking for a bargain then visit Mercado Nuestra Senora de Africa this is Santa Cruz main market, open Monday to Saturday. Sells everything from meat, fish, flowers as well has cheap CD’s and DVD’s and is located on Calle de San Sebastian. It is closed on Sunday but there is a flea market outside the main building.
There is another small shopping area for those of you that like Corte de Ingles, it involves a small walk, so, on leaving the port area, when you get to the main road, turn left and follow the Promenade, keeping the road to your right, after about 20 mins, just before the Monument look to the right and you should see a grassy area with tram lines going through, cross over to the far side, over the grass and go slightly to the left and then to the right and you will find Corte de Inglas up to the left. When you leave CDI do so by the bottom corner entrance and cross directly over the road and follow the road going directly away you, this leads back to the main shopping area and also goes past the market, see above, it looks a little down and out but is quite safe.
Parque Garcia Sanabria. head straight up the main street of Calle de Castillo, when you reach the pretty square called Plaza General Weyler, turn right at the top along Avenida Ventricinco de Julio and after about a 10 minutes walk you reach the park which is absolutely beautiful, full of fountains, beautiful plants and flowers and statues and all without having to pay anything.
Playa de Las Americas/Los Cristianos: just to see what the hype is about. About 45 miles from Santa Cruz De Tenerife. This area mainly gets bad press because of the nightlife etc.
There is normally a shuttle laid on to here, at a cost, the 2015 P&O holiday booklet DIY to Playa was £24pp return.
If you are thinking DIY to here, the distance is about 80Km. I have done a little research on Google and could not find a price for Santa Cruz – Playa, however, a taxi from the airport to Playa is €26 and a taxi from the airport to Santa Cruz is €100, total of €126 but remember that that is one way, so €252 for the round trip, you will have to do the sums against the DIY coach. Still if you are thinking about a taxi there should be plenty available where you berth. My feeling is the Coach is the better option.
The area around the Parque Santiago III hotel is excellent for shopping and dining. There are three areas worth looking at, firstly in the corridors under the hotel, then there is the area opposite the hotel and finally if you stand with the hotel behind you turn right and walk for about 300 mts there is another small shopping precinct on the right. Opposite the hotel there was a musical fountain the last time we visited, do not know if it is still running and also a crazy golf course.
Another shopping area worth a visit is C.C. Gran Sur Shopping Centre. This is a modern shopping centre on 2 levels. It is a little out of the way, near Costa Adeje, but worth the visit.
Just outside, more to North of Los Cristianos is the Eagles Park. Much smaller than Laro Parc, but still plenty to do. They have eagle shows, tropical birds, boat rides and many more other shows and walks.
Dolphins and Whales; both Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos have harbours that offer trips to see whales and dolphins. Be warned however, nothing is guaranteed. If I remember right from our last visit the trips normal tke about 2 hours and are at regular intervals.
Waterparks; The Siam Water Park is a super way to spend a few hours if you have enough time as it’s in the South of the island.
The beach at Playa de las Vista is recommended, excellent sand, shallow beach with plenty of sun beds. There are many others. Manly dark sand, remember the island is volcanic.
Puerto de la Cruz; Do not get this mixed up with Santa Cruz, It is about 26 miles away, but well worth the visit. Puerto Cruz is most famous for hosting Laro Parc. This is a tropical wildlife park that has an abundance of animals including killer whales and a penguin centre that has real snow and of course a Parrot park. There is a local bus between the two places for just a few euro each. From where the ship berths it takes about 45 mins to an hour to the main bus station and then from the centre there is a free ride to Loro Parc which takes 10-15 mins. The parrot shows are on twice in the day and there is lots of animal enclosures throughout the park to look at. You will definitely need a full day if you are to see all the different shows at the park, I would advise you check out the Tenerife forum as they have lots of information.
The town of Puerto de la Cruz is very pretty in parts, much of the area around the old fishing port is full of narrow cobbled streets packed with colonial architecture. Close to the town is Jardin Botánico (Botanical gardens) with over 5,000 exotic tree and plant specimens from all over the world. Playa Jardín (Sand Beach) Puerto de la Cruz’ main beach was also designed by César Manrique and is backed by extensive gardens, including a large cactus garden.
Palmetum of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This is a large botanical garden that specialises in palms. The park is divided into sections and includes a large system of waterfalls, streams and ponds. It is a nice park and a good place to relax if you’re out walking around Santa Cruz. There is a cafeteria at the lower end, they specialize in freshly squeezed juice. There is also a museum that explains everything about the flora and fauna found in this place. http://palmetumtenerife.es/?lang=en
La Laguna; La Laguna is the old capital. If you are thinking of visiting here the easiest way is by tram. Make your way towards the Tourist Information Centre in Puerto de la Cruz, where you can ask for a map of La Laguna. The tram stop is about 5 min away from the Tourist Information Centre. Ticket can be purchased at the tram stop. The cost is €2.50 return. English instructions are available on the machine. The trams run about every five minutes and you want the one going up the hill to La Trinidad (line 1) which is the Main Street in La Laguna. The journey takes about 35mins and there are some good views as you climb up the mountain.
In the La Luguna Tourist Information Centre they do English speaking FREE TOURS, and it was well worth having the tour, they are from Monday – Friday I believe twice a day. So, once in La Laguna face the end of the street with your back facing the end of the tram line. Go straight to the end of that road, the road crossing you is called “Calla Herradores”, you turn right there and walk till the next street left into “Calla Viana”, then first right again into ” Antigua Calla La Carrera” or as the locals call it “Calle Obispo Rey Redondo”. Make your way to the Tourist Information Centre it is a dark yellow sort of building with just a plaque on the outside.
Mount Teide; is a must. If you come up from La Laguna side (north) you will pass a visitors centre, this is worth a visit to learn the history of the Volcano. On reaching the main area of the volcano there is small café with a cable car. Now, if you want to get to the very top, firstly, as far as I know no excursion will take you to the top of Mount Teide, you will need to take the cable car as a DIY when you get there, that is an extra cost, and will you have time? Because it gets full when the main coaches arrive any time from 11am.
Guimar; South West of Santa Cruz. A collection of pyramids and visitors centre. Founded and studied by Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian Explorer.
Food; in both Playa del las Americas and Los Cristianos the restaurants are mainly British type. However, in Los Cristianos you are still able to find some local restaurants by looking down the side streets.
Beaches; Try Playa de las Teresitas, just North East of Santa Cruz. This is the main local beach. White sand, imported from the Sahara desert.
By Peter Dagnall
See our holiday photos click here.