Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Turismo en Tenerife - Tourism in Tenerife

History of the City

Before the arrival of the Castilian conquerors, the territory where today it is based the city was constituted by zones of wild vegetation pertaining to the menceyato (kingdom) of Anaga, that governed the Mencey Beneharo. The pre-Hispanic history of the city is carried out by the legacy of guanches and some foreign expeditions that arrived at the coast. In 1494, in one of these trips, they arrived the Castilians and they established in Santa Cruz the camping bases for the conquest of the island, that extended until 1496, year in which Tenerife was incorporated to Corona of Castile.

From the beginning the economic nucleus of the city resided in the port. The first wharf, constructed in 1548, was located in the beach of Añaza, but it was destroyed by a storm. The present port corresponds with four old points of dockage in the municipal coast: the port of Horses with the creek of Blacks, the creek of Blas Diaz, High Step and the Bufadero. The bay of Santa Cruz was appreciated by the navigators due to its natural advantages, that turned it food supply center for the ships that started off for the New World.

At the end of century XV one began to form a heterogenous society composed by soldiers, own sailors, merchants and guanches that got to integrate themselves. The first population establishments were located in the surroundings of the castle of San Cristóbal, a strength that protected the small town of earthly small houses that was created. In second half of century XVI one began to construct the first seat, located in front of to the castle, that would denominate seat of Pila and it corresponds with the present seat of the Candlemas. Throughout the coast new defensive castles were constructed because the people of Santa Cruz had to defend of the frequent attacks of privateers and berberiscos pirates, Gallic and English. Until the British Navy, with admiral Nelson to the front, it fell defeated the 25 of 1797 July. This episode, by its importance, will mark the history of the city.

Santa Cruz continued growing and soon she ran into with the obstacle of the precipice of Saints that was saved with the construction of several bridges: bridge of the Cabo, Zurita bridge, bridge of the Asuncionistas, etc. Little by little an urban weave to both sides of the precipice made up of small streets and pack animal roads was forming.

In century XVIII the first expansion of Santa Cruz, derived from a series of factors took place, as the transfer of the residence of the commander-in-chief from the city from La Laguna to the castle of San Cristóbal. It trasvase of the capital status of the island originated a new administrative dimension. In addition, in 1803 Santa Cruz villa was considered free and the first city council was constituted. The city received importance and to it had also contributed the destruction of the port of Garachico, because of the volcanic eruption of 1706, because it brought with himself a displacement of the economic and commercial activity and the establishment of a bourgeoisie that it wanted to control the harbor businesses.

This increasing population is the one that soon demanded services and zones of leisure. The Tree-lined avenue of the Duke, the seat of the Prince, the seat of Weyler and Recova welcomed the bustle and the transfer of the people of Santa Cruz. To the primitive nuclei, like the Toscal, they went adding to parcels of houses and parks that composed new districts. In century XX and with the arrival of modernity and the "demographic boom", the city extended its limits all the possible one until becoming the great large city that is today and whose borders become blurred by the proximity of the urban sprawls of the adjacent municipalities.


Santa Cruz de Tenerife is situated at the eastern tip of the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Island chain, on latitude 28º 28’ north and longitude 16º 15’ west. The municipal borough covers an area of 150.56 square kilometres and it is divided into two differentiated areas: on the one hand, the Anaga Massif and, on the other, the southern ramp formed by the lava flows that run down from the Acentejo peak to the coast. The maximum altitude in the borough is 750 metres above sea level, although, in the centre of the city, there are points that are a mere 4 metres above sea level, like Plaza España. Over half the municipal perimeter is shoreline (58 kilometres of coastline of 111 kilometres of municipal boundary).


The relief of the territory, and the fact that it is exposed to the flow of the Trade Winds (moist north east winds), are factors that generate a varied range of local climates, meaning that there are sunny, dry areas of coastline on the leeward side, together with damp and cloudy areas in the mountains and valleys of Anaga. 

The proximity of the Tropic of Cancer and the Trade Winds combine to give the city a mild climate that can be seen from the minimal temperature variations throughout the year. There are no great differences between the seasons, nor between day and night. The annual average is around 21ºC. The hottest year for the municipal borough of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was undoubtedly 1995, when the average temperature was 22ºC, whereas the coldest year was 1920, with an average temperature of 20ºC.

Rainfall in the city is moderate and irregular, with the highest rainfall between October and March, and summer is the dryer season.


The most outstanding area for botanic biodiversity, both in the city and in the Archipelago, is the Anaga Rural Park. In the city, especially in the Park, there are 21 locally endemic species (volkerii candle plants, simple bugloss, lemsii daisy, etc.), 64 species endemic to the island, 11 species included in the National Catalogue of Endangered Species, 6 species covered by the Habitats Directive 92/43 CEE, another 6 species covered by the Berne Convention, 45 species listed by the Red List of Vascular Flora and 11 invasive species that are or could be a threat, such as: American agave, eucalyptus, prickly pear, geraniums, cat’s tail, black acacia, etc.

In the Anaga Rural Park, and in some areas of the city, you can also find other kinds of forests and vegetation, like: tamarisk, balos, screlophyllous vegetation, forests, palm groves, spiny lettuce scrub, incense bushes, cistus, laurel forest, wax myrtle-tree heath vegetation, brambles, etc.

The most interesting, and at the same time the most endangered species in the built up areas are the relict spurges and cactus spurge populations in the southern part of the borough, which also spread up the slopes of the ravines of the southern periphery of the Rural Park.

Although Anaga is below the pine forest line, there is a small pine forest in the mountains, presumably planted by man, made up of Pinus canariensis, which has colonised the sunny side of a phonolytic crag; Roque de Los Pinos. There is an endemic cistus species associated with this pine forest, Cistus chinamadensis, along with several thermophyllous species.

The aforementioned coastal cistus scrub, is a halophyllous vegetation that is characteristic of the mouths of ravines, characterised by an abundant presence of tamarisk of the species (Tamarix canariensis). They sometimes form dense, almost mono-specific groves, with a rim of other halophyllous species like thorn bushes (Lycium intricatum) and salt plants (Schizogyne sericea).

Apart from the native species, be they endemic or not, the Park also contains many species that were introduced when the Island was conquered, in the late 15th century, and which now grown wild. These have had varied degrees of success, spreading through the different habitats of the Park, especially in nitrophyllous and uncultivated habitats. The most important features are the re-planting of Pinus radiata in El Moquinal, Solís and La Orilla, and of Pinus pinea in Casas de la Cumbre, and the Eucalyptus globulus in Jardina, El Llano de los Loros and Cabezo del Viento and elsewhere.


The greatest variety of fauna in the city is to be found around the rural settlements of the Anaga Rural Park. According to the Computerised Fauna Data Base of the Park’s Invertebrates, there are some 1,910 species of invertebrates, 512 of which live only in the Canary Islands, apart from a further 239 invertebrate species that are endemic to the island and 95 that are only found in the Park.

There is a Wide variety of habitats in the Anaga Massif (rock, water, cryptic, forest, etc.) that are distributed in an altitude range of almost one thousand metres. This makes it possible to find almost all the animal groups known in the Canary Islands.

The molluscs are the most interesting group of non arthropod invertebrates because of the high proportion of endemic species. The Roques de Anaga are vitally important for the sea birds as they are home to six nesting species, two of which (Bulwer’s Petrel and the Madeira storm petrel) maintain their largest populations here.

Of the other species of Anaga, the dark tailed laurel pigeon and the white tailed laurel pigeon are endemic to the Canary Islands, the plain swift, the canary and the Berthelot’s pipit are endemic to Macaronesia and, on a sub-specific level, there is a large number of species that are endemic to both the Canary Islands and Macaronesia.

The main threats to the bird population are poaching and the destruction of their habitats.
There are five species of chiroptera: the Savi’s Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus savii) the Madeira Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus maderensis) and the European free tailed bat (Tadarida teniotis) use cracks and cavities in the ravines and cliffs for roosting, while Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri) and the western barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus) use hollows in trees and abandoned buildings. All these species have suffered a considerable fall in population numbers in recent decades and only the Madeira pipistrelle can be seen flying around the public street lighting in rural villages with relative frequency.

Concerning fish species, the only species that can be considered native is the Anguilla anguilla, a migratory species that, after breeding in the open sea, swims up some fresh water courses. They are apparently common in the ravines of Igueste de San Andres and Afur. The decline in their numbers can be put down to activities that affect the water quality and the construction of damns across the ravines. This species is classed as “vulnerable” nationally".

On mud and sand sea bottoms, we can find mullet (Mullus spp.), sting rays (Dasyatis pasticana), electric rays (Torpedo spp.), angel sharks (Sguatina spp.), hound sharks (Mustelus mustelus and Galeorhinus gleus) and the Canary hake (Mora moro). With regard to endangered species, the Red List of Endangered Species includes 11 species that inhabit the waters of the municipal borough. Invading species include the river crab that lives in the most densely populated areas of the borough.


The rock towers formed by phonolite lavas in the Anaga massif and coast are of great morphological and structural interest. The main domes in the ravines and on the coast are as follows:

Roque de las Ánimas (Taganana). Rock with a small height to diameter ratio. 
Roque de Aderno. Situated in the proximities of the hamlet of Las Palmas de Anaga. This is an impressive, monolithic mass with practically vertical walls. 
Roque del Caserío del Draguillo. Situated to the east of Caserío del Draguillo. Elongated in shape, fattening out in the central part. 
Roques de Anaga. These are two small islets, just off the north coast of Anaga. El Roque de Dentro is a phonolite promontory, separated from the coast by a small spit that is almost completely revealed at low tide. El Roque de Fuera, smaller than the former, is an islet some 2 km off the north coast of the Anaga Massif. This is an elongated mass that has been profoundly eroded by the sea. The central part is a pronounced vertical spine type structure. Some distance away is a small outcrop called Baja de la Palometa, which barely sticks up above sea level. 
Raised beach of Tachero. Located to the west of Taganana, one or two metres above sea level. It consists of a layer of sand and cemented basalt pebbles. Its is of great palaeontological value because of the wealth of fauna to be found: lime stone algae, fragments of coral, bryozoans, echinoderms and warm water species like Ostrea edulis, Morula nodulosa, Planaxis lineatus and Cantharus viverratus.


The archaeological remains in the Anaga Rural Park are no different from those to be found in the rest of the island, as it was the same culture, the Guanches, which settled both the island and the massif. The most important archaeological sites include caves (remains of burials and housing), rock art (engravings and canals) and superficial remains (cabins, shell mounds, stopping places, etc.)

The main archaeological diggings in Santa Cruz de Tenerife have been done in Roque de Tierra Burial Ground (Las Palmas de Anaga), La Calera Burial Ground (Las Mesas) andLos Auchones Burial Ground (El Chorro, Taganana).

Other important archaeological sites that have been included in the List of Cultural Assets and city heritage are El Muerto Ravine, El Pilar Ravine and areas in the district of La Gallega.

How to come


The growth of the population and the economic activity has caused the increase of the daily flow of vehicles that enter and leave the city. For this reason they have had to make works that ensure communications of the capital with the rest of the island.

The most comfortable access from the south to arrive at the low zone of the city is to take the deflection from the Route of Penetration or TF-4, a freeway of four tracks, hardly four kilometers, that borders the coast, crosses the industrial zone and ends at the avenue of the Constitution, where is the Fairground of Tenerife and the Marine Park César Manrique. Although also it is possible to be continued by the TF-1 until arriving at the entrance by the General Franco Boulevard to go to the zone center of the city.

The entrance by the north is made through the TF-5 way, which it has four ascending tracks and three descendent ones in the capital section and that recently has been reformed. The originating traffic of the TF-5 basically runs by Manuel Hermoso Rojas Avenue and Tres de Mayo Avenue (to go to the low zone) and by the access to the Boulevards by the Municipal Swimming pool Acidalio Lorenzo.

In this zone the Tres de Mayo Avenue has been reshaped and a tunnel has been constructed that it canalizes most of the traffic of exit under earth.

In the last months the works have followed one another that will allow a fast exit by the southwestern zone: street 70 has been reshaped, the street Promotion and a track has been qualified bus. In addition next a direct link between the freeway of the south and the Príncipes de España Avenue will be created in the Ofra district. To the Southeastern it is anticipated to draw up a route that direct link the zone with the municipal term of La Laguna to manage thus to clear the traffic of the Boulevards and the Anaga Avenue.


Although neither airports of the island are in the municipal term of Santa Cruz of Tenerife, great part of the tourists and passengers who arrive at them pass by the city. The Airport the International Queen Sofía (South Tenerife) is open the 24 hours of the day and by it almost nine million people journey annually. Until now the airport of North Tenerife, closest the capital, it was limited only to island and nationals flights, but the recent opening of the new airport terminal and the entrance of international flights it has allowed to improve the connections of the city with the rest of the country and the foreigner. This airport anticipates to duplicate in ten years the traffic of passengers, that in 2002 was of almost two million and means of people.


In order to obtain greater data on facilities and services of the airports of the island, as well as the different airline companies that fly to Tenerife, can go to the web page of the organism of Spanish national airports: or to call to the following telephone numbers:

Airport North Tenerife 922 635 635
Airport South Tenerife 922 759 000
The Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has become one of the main ports of the country in transit of passengers, only in 2002 almost a million and average one of people arrived and left by the Port. The increasing marine traffic between islands and the arrival of numerous cruises have originated the necessity of new facilities.

The union of the port and the city project of Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron gather the construction in a next future of an international terminal of cruises and the remodeling of all the harbor complex.

In order to obtain greater data on facilities and services of the Port of Santa Cruz, as well as to see the companies that operate in this port, you can visit the web page of the Harbor Authority: or to call to telephone 922 289 410 
Public Transport.


You can choose to move in taxi from any point from the island to the city or within the own capital. The taxis of Santa Cruz are white and take a cross-sectional blue band in the lateral ones.

Radio Taxis Santa Cruz: 922 311 012
Radio Taxis Santa María: 922 671 489


The main company of public transport that operates in the city is the bus company TITSA(Interurban Transports of Tenerife Joint-stock company). By bus it is possible to be traveled from any municipality to Santa Cruz and also within the city the urban transport makes possible any type of displacement.

The bus station of Santa Cruz is next to the Palace of Justice, in the convergence of the Constitution Avenue and Tres de Mayo Avenue and in it all the transfers of lines are made almost, although some urban lines leave at the moment from the Bravo Murillo street. The station is a modern building with ample windows, coffee shop and waiting room for passengers, and that has been extended recently with the incorporation of the interchanger.

The train and the street car are projects for the future of the public transport of the city. A street car that will improve the internal traffic of passengers towards La Laguna and a train that will transfer, with greater comfort and faster, to those who daily travel until the localities of the south of the island.

Information of Line and Schedules: 922 531 300

Tenerife tram

Información proporcionada por el ayuntamiento de Santa Cruz.

Para ver Información en español sobre Tenerife, pulsa en el siguiente enlace: Turismo Tenerife