What to see in Tenerife North: 10 places not to be missed

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Pau Monfort
@paumonfort
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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After the article on What to see in Tenerife South the time has come to tell you about the northern part of the island, the historical, more fascinating one, which amazed me the most. I loved the nature of the gods very much monti Anaga, all of the north coast, the historic cities of San Cristobal de la Laguna, La Otorava and Puerto de la Cruz. The Teide with its immense National park it is a separate thing, geographically it is located in the south but it takes the same time to reach it both from the north and from the south (and I will dedicate a separate article to it). In general I think that the thing I loved most about Tenerife is its incredible variety of landscapes. This is a feature that it also shares with other islands (such as La Palma, La Gomera and Gran Canaria), but in Tenerife it is much more pronounced, especially in the north. There is really everything: volcanic landscapes, centuries-old woods, Saharan white sand beaches, black sand beaches, forests, very high cliffs… really a little bit of everything! So what are the things to see in Tenerife North? 



What to see in north Tenerife: 10 places not to be missed

In a trip to the island, the northern part of Tenerife will be the one that will strike you the most in my opinion, because it is definitely unexpected. You will see natural landscapes that closely resemble those of Hawaii or the Azores islands, as well as the most beautiful and traditional cities of Tenerife.

1.Santa Cruz de Tenerife

I start this virtual tour of Tenerife North starting from the capital, the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a welcoming port city and then I will continue counterclockwise. The things to see here are:


  • Historic Centre: it is limited to a few streets around Plaza de la Iglesia, with the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion and Calle Antonio Dominguez Alfonso, a very nice street with colorful houses and many bars and restaurants. 
  • Market of our lady of Africa: housed in a historic building, this market dates back to 1944 and brings back to South American atmospheres. This is where the people of Santa Cruz come to shop for fruit and vegetables and cut flowers.
  • Tenerife Space of the Arts (TEA): designed by Herzog & de Meuron, this large volcanic stone building houses the Museum of Contemporary Art, a photography center and library. 
  • Tenerife Auditorium: probably the best known building in Santa Cruz, which is impossible to miss on the waterfront. Designed by Calatrava, it looks a bit like the Sydney Opera House. It is possible to take guided tours inside.
  • Palmetum: beautiful botanical garden that brings together the largest European collection of palm trees from all over the world. Built in a landfill, this park is now completely ecological: the soil is covered with shredded plant residues and city wastewater is used for irrigation. 

2.Playa Las Teresitas and semaforo di Anaga

A few kilometers north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, there is the beach most loved by the chicharreros, the inhabitants of Santa Cruz, or Las Teresitas Beach.A very long and deep beach of white sand imported from the Sahara (as often happens in the Canaries), equipped and with calm and clear calm. The best view from the top is from Las Teresitas viewpoint, located along the road to Igueste. If you are looking for a white sand beach, this is by far the most beautiful in North Tenerife. If, on the other hand, you want to walk, I recommend you reach Igueste de San Andrès and make a beautiful trek that reaches both the Traffic light of Anaga, which, even better for the view La Atalaya viewpoint. From here you will have a magnificent view across the coast to the tip of the island. The trek is quite short (1h uphill), but hard enough because the difference in height is about 500-600 meters. 



3.San Cristobal de la Laguna

Among the things to see in Tenerife North there is certainly San Cristobal de la Laguna, the ancient capital of the island. Declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, La Laguna (as it is called) was founded in 1496 and its checkerboard layout was then used as an urban model for all the colonial cities founded by the conquistadors in the New World. It is very pleasant to stroll through the streets of its historic center, full of colorful buildings, with carved wooden doors and windows. There are also many historic houses (such as Salazar Palace or the Cayetano Gómez Felipe House Museum)), the churches and convents that date back to 1500. The whole historic center, however, develops around the axis Adelantado Square e Church of Our Lady of the Conception. If you want to know more about this beautiful colonial city, I recommend that you join this one 2h free tour (in English), in which they explain the history of the city and its most important buildings. For lunch / dinner I recommend the Guaydil restaurant, a nice restaurant with local gourmet cuisine. PS cover up more than usual when you come to La Laguna because it is always cold, even 10 degrees less than in the south !!).

4.Rural Park of Anaga

One of the most beautiful things to see in the north of Tenerife is the Anaga Rural Park, which occupies the northeastern end of the island. This nature reserve is of a disarming beauty, with dense laurel woods, immense moors and fayas, the typical plants of the Canaries. The roads that cross the Anaga Mountains they are all of curves and all super panoramic, with various gazebo that open from time to time, and the possibilities for trekking here are almost endless. The Visitors Center it is found at Cruz del Carmen, where there is a beautiful mirador (from which you can also see the Teide) and from which various paths start, such as that of the "3 senses" or the one that reaches Pico del Inglès (both great!). Not too far, after having covered dozens of curves, I recommend that you also reach Taborno and do the trekking to Roque de Taborno, really beautiful and panoramic. It's not difficult, but you won't have to suffer from vertigo. 



5.Taganana e Benijo 

Descending from the Anaga mountains towards the sea, on the north coast of Tenerife, you will meet Taganana, a picturesque village nestled between two barranchi (canyons), with typical Canarian houses. Going down again Almaciga e Benijo, two small towns on the coast, overlooking the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This stretch of coast is truly spectacular, certainly the most beautiful in North Tenerife, but perhaps the whole island! It feels like being on some island in Hawaii, with green cliffs plunging into the sea. The beautiful pebble and black sand beach of Benijo, if the sea is calm it is also possible to swim, but be careful because the sea here can be very violent. In Benijo the road also ends, but you can continue on foot (and it is a beautiful trek) up to The Draguillo or to the northeastern tip of Tenerife. This super wild stretch of coast is also very popular with surfers, especially the good ones.

6.Bejamar and Punta del Hidalgo

The remainder of the north coast, the one that goes from Almagica up to Punta del Hidalgo, it is inaccessible by car; it is an extremely wild and rugged stretch of coast and you can only reach a few beaches by trekking (not exactly simple). However, you can reach Punta de Hidalgo with the road it passes through Bejamar. This location is famous for its natural swimming pools, with free access, created by the waves of the ocean that crash against the breakwaters. The pools are very impressive I must say! TO Punta del Hidalgo instead there is a lighthouse (modern, of dubious architectural taste), a mirador and several beaches very popular with experienced surfers. 


7.Costa de El Sauzal

Proceeding in the other direction, towards the south, on the west coast of Tenerife you reach a stretch of coast called El Sauzal. This area of ​​the island is full of vines and wineries, banana groves, guachinche (the typical Canarian country trattorias) and villas overlooking the sea. Here you can do various things, such as walking along the paved path on the coast (to park you will have to reach this parking lot ... the road is curvy and narrow alas), have a tasting in a cellar or simply relax on a terrace overlooking the sea in a place like The terraces of the Sauzal o La Baranda, which is located next to the Casa de Vino, where you can buy local wine. If you want to do a tasting, I recommend the Monje Winery; they have various types of tastings and you can also take a guided tour of the cellar. As for the guachinche instead, in the area I recommend the guachinche La Finca, nice free-range, abundant and super cheap (you eat grilled meat).

8.La Orotava

We now come to the city that, for aesthetics, I found the most beautiful in Tenerife. Let's talk about de La Orotava, overlooking the fertile valley from which it takes its name, within the Costa de El Sauzal. The city still has many finely restored stately homes with the most beautiful wooden balconies in all the Canaries, magnificent gardens and has a really nice atmosphere. Among the things to see in La Orotava:

  • Balcony House: a magnificent house that dates back to the 5th century, with stunning carved wooden balconies and many of the original furnishings. The interior patio is also beautiful. To enter you pay XNUMX euros (but it's worth it all!).
  • Lercaro house: on the same street, another very beautiful and very well preserved XNUMXth century palace. The inner courtyard full of palm trees and plants houses a restaurant. 
  • Gardens of the Marquesado de la Quinta Roja: also known as Jardin Victoria, these are XNUMXth century French-style terraced gardens that slope down the hill and offer magnificent views down to the sea. 
  • Taoro Lyceum: next to the gardens, this brick red neoclassical building has a nice bar on the terrace. The garden is also noteworthy. 
  • Church of Our Lady of the Conception: beautiful baroque church, rebuilt in 1768 with beautiful stained glass windows. 

9.Puerto de la Cruz

Among the things to see in Tenerife North there is Puerto de la Cruz, probably the most livable city in Tenerife, not surprisingly the city chosen by most of the ex-pat and digital nomads who move to the island. Puerto de la Cruz is a fairly large and very lively city, a destination for English tourism in search of the sun since the 800th century. The historic center is practically all pedestrianized and retains many houses with traditional balconies, historic buildings and churches from 1600-1700. A plus .. from Puerto de la Cruz you can see the Teide very well !! On a clear day it is truly a spectacle. Heart of the center is the shaded Charco Square, from which you can then reach the seafront, very lively, full of bars, restaurants. In this regard, I strongly recommend that you go and eat the fresh fish on the terrace of the La Cofradia Restaurant. Among the things not to be missed for me in Puerto de la Cruz (apart from all the historic center, where I recommend you take a nice walk of a couple of hours):

  • The Ranilla: to the left of the port, was the old fishermen's quarter. It is made up of low colored houses, all refurbished, bars and restaurants. The area is also full of street-art, if you are a fan of this art form it is absolutely a must!
  • Orchid Garden of Sitio Liter: located a little higher, just outside the center, this garden dates back to 1730 and contains a huge collection of orchids and tropical plants. A true hidden paradise !!
  • Acclimatization Garden of La Orotava: the botanical garden of Puerto de la Cruz, created in 1700, with many plants and flowers from the Canaries and the rest of the world. Magnificent ficus of more than 200 years with flying roots.  
  • Martianez Lake: an artificial brackish water complex that includes various pools surrounded by volcanic plants and rocks created by Cèsar Manrique.

10.La Gordejuela and Rambla de Castro

With a nice walk along the sea, starting from the center of Puerto de la Cruz to the south you can reach the Gordejuela e Rambla de Castro, two beautiful places. If you don't want to walk 5 km you can get even closer by car, but it would be a shame because the walk is really beautiful and panoramic. La Gordejuela it is one of the most photographed and visited abandoned buildings in Tenerife. Also known as Hamilton House, the Gordejuela is a steam lift (it was the island's first steam engine!) built in 1903 by the Hamilton company to pump water from the Gordejuela springs to the banana plantations of the Orotava Valley. The building can only be seen from above because it is unsafe, but it is really very impressive. Walking further you will then arrive at the bay and beach of Rambla de Castro, very suggestive, a bit reminiscent of Hawaii. 

You might also be interested in these other articles I wrote about the Canary Islands:

  • What to see in Tenerife South: 10 places not to be missed
  • Where to stay in Tenerife: the best areas
  • Canary Islands: which ones to choose
  • The 15 most beautiful beaches in Tenerife
  • La Gomera (Canary Islands): what to see
  • What to see in La Palma, the 'isla bonita' of the Canaries
  • What to see in Lanzarote: all the places not to be missed
  • El Hierro: what to see and what to do
  • Fuerteventura: what to see and where to go
  • How to organize a trip to Lanzarote
  • The most beautiful treks in Lanzarote (Canary Islands)
  • La Palma (Canary Islands): the most beautiful treks
  • Lanzarote: the most beautiful beaches and natural pools
  • Smartworking from the Canary Islands: info and useful tips for digital nomads
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