Seduced by the exceptional climate, stunning scenic landscapes and dramatic coastlines of Tenerife, visitors flock here every year.
You may wish you'd discovered Puerto de la Cruz sooner - it's been a big player in the tourism industry for over a century. Seduced by the exceptional climate, stunning scenic landscapes and dramatic coastlines of Tenerife, the sub-tropical gardens and enticing restaurants, all laced up with the threads of its historic past, visitors flock here every year.
Who holidays in Puerto De La Cruz?
The sheer variety of things to do in and around Puerto de la Cruz ensures a good time for everyone - young families, young singles and couples of all ages.
The wonderful thing about Puerto de la Cruz is the way it has remained distinctly Canarian in character in spite of being the main tourist resort in the north of the island. As such, it brings a different culture and new experiences mixed in with all the comfort and cosseting of home. Its reputation as a sophisticated holiday resort has been growing since the first tourists found their way there over a century ago, and it now displays an easy confidence as it goes on welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It easy to see why when you consider the fascinating coastline with its characteristic black volcanic sand and staggering cliff faces, the spectacular, often eerie landscapes in the surrounding unspoilt scenery, and the town itself inviting you to stroll down its elegant streets and relax in peaceful, leafy plazas any time of year. Though it is one of the sunniest parts of Tenerife's north, it receives sufficient rain to ensure healthy verdant vegetation in the many city parks and tropical botanical gardens which create such a pleasing environment. Thanks to its favoured spot on a projection of land at the foot of the beautiful La Orotava Valley, Puerto de la Cruz enjoys the very best of Tenerife's bountiful natural beauty.
An attractive, hilly town, the old quarter has paid little heed to the passing of time and is lined with typical Canarian houses where island life carries on as always. Ancient pretty churches and the small castle of San Felipe, towards the west end of the town, reward a stroll around the enchantingly narrow streets and, as the fishing boats return to port and the day's haul flip-flops on the cobbled stones, there's a sense that time has completely stood still.
The spell is broken when it's time to shop, and the newer part of Puerto de la Cruz brings you straight back into 21st century life. It's here, too, where night life really takes off with a wide choice of fine restaurants, swanky hotel bars and Karaoke clubs. At the other end of the scale, is the sophisticated Casino Taoro, built on the site of a spa which was the catalyst setting off the tourism boom here all those decades ago. The morning after the night before, you won't have to go far to find a beach on which to laze away the effects either; chose from the short stretches of volcanic sand edging the town, or venture further towards Santa Cruz to find Playa de las Teresitas which draws sunbathers with the fine golden sands brought in from the Sahara in neighbouring north Africa.
Hotels in Puerto de la Cruz are numerous and of a high standard. At Olympic Holidays, we've chosen from among the best. So if you pick Hotel Botanico & Oriental Spa, we're sure you won't regret it. You'll enjoy 5-star treatment in amazing sub-tropical surroundings as you luxuriate in sumptuous comfort and take advantage of the fabulous sports and pampering facilities. Or there's Hotel Rio Garoe, one of the best located in the area, with magnificent views and a tranquil atmosphere. Offering a wide range of entertainment for all ages, the hotel is perfect for families, friends and couples seeking a superb spot and fantastic facilities. If self-catering is more up your street, don't miss out on Apartments Casablanca, an outstanding complex of apartments where the service and cleanliness never falter.
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Things To Do
Sport: The enviable climate of the Canary Islands makes them the perfect holiday destination for sports lovers of all kinds, and Tenerife is no exception; virtually every sport is catered for on the island, with water sports facilities in abundance.
Deep-sea fishing: With some big fish potential in the catch, Tenerife is a great place from which to set sail to the briny blue and give deep fishing a go.
Diving: Immerse yourself in the colourful underwater world that swims beneath the waves of Tenerife's fascinating coastline. You may catch sight of barracudas and groupers as well as enjoying some close encounters with rays, turtles and sometimes even small sharks. Diving schools are located all over the island, especially in the south, at various beaches along the Costa Adeje coastline.
Sailing: Look out for the sports marinas (puerto deportivo), local sailing clubs and federations. You can rent yachts and catamarans for day excursions or longer trips.
Water-skiing: Experience the fantastic feeling of bobbing along on top of the waves with the wind whistling through your hair. Alternatively, bounce along on a jet ski, or parasail above the sparkling sea.
Windsurfing: This is one of the most popular sports as there's always a breeze in the air - sufficient to keep boarders skidding along the sea's surface. Windsurfing equipment can be hired at many places along the coast.
Cycling: Head for the hills and challenge yourself around the hairy mountain passes on a hired mountain bike, available in most resorts.
Hiking: If you're not up to the effort of cycling, don't miss out on the stunning countryside. With 21 marked trails through the Parque Nacional de las Cañadas del Teide, you can take your time appreciating the wonders of Tenerife's amazing landscapes. Alternatively, there are spectacular walks through the Anaga Mountain region in the north-east and around the Valle de la Orotava, also in the north of the island. (Click on Things to See for more details.)
Golf: Golfers from all over the world flock to Tenerife every year to enjoy indulging their passion on verdant green fairways and challenging courses with amazing ocean views to boot. There are numerous courses on the island.
Karting: There are several places to go-kart in Tenerife. Tracks vary in speed, size and facilities but most cater for all ages.
Tennis: Tennis is a popular sport in Tenerife with both public courts and tennis facilities within hotels.
Lago Martianez: Enjoy a day out as relaxed or active as you please, at this renowned lido which includes a spectacular swimming pool complex, with cascading waterfalls and beautiful landscaped gardens where sculptures by Lanzarote-born architect César Manrique, who designed the complex, can be admired. By night, the scene is enchanting with the pools lit from beneath and lights illuminating the pathways to the casino. There are restaurants, bars and a kiosk serving ice-cream and confectionery.
Aqualand: A little further afield, on the Costa Adeje stretch is this water adventure park for a family day out. It offers a selection of swimming pools, slides, tunnels and play areas. Entry includes an ever-popular dolphin show, seven of the amazing mammals having been born at the park. Restaurants, cafes, shops, sunbeds and parasols are all readily available.
Things To See
Loro Parque: One of the most famous animal parks in the Canary Islands, Loro Parque houses the largest collection of parrots in the world. It was founded as a refuge for the colourful birds in 1972 and has since become of the island's most popular tourist attractions. Covering 135,000 square metres, it includes an aquarium and a wide variety of other animals including dolphins, sea lions, gorillas, chimps, penguins and killer whales in realistic replicas of their natural habitats. Whale shows are a big attraction in the park. One of its newer attractions is Katandra Treetops, a network of suspended bridges from which you can observe a range of exotic birds at close quarters.
Los Gigantes: Cliffs are large by definition, it's true, but none more so than these awe-inspiring examples on the west coast, towering over the town named after them; they range up to 600 metres high. The dramatic precipices are visible from anywhere in the town, but you can really take in their majesty on one of the many boat trips out from the chic marina.
Mount Teide: Unless you feel confident navigating intimidatingly winding mountain roads, its best to seek out an organised trip to Mount Teide, 3717 meters high. It is the highest Volcano in the world, and the highest Spanish mountain. It sits in the massive crater of a prior ancient volcano, which so resembles the surface of the moon with its petrified lava formations, it was used by NASA to simulate actual moon landings. Look out for the Roques de Garcia. The obsidian (cooled magma), gives the rocks - and the consequent beach sands - their black colour and off-cuts are often polished up to fashion into striking jewellery. The mountain shelters the north of the island from Saharan winds creating quite a micro climate, but on the mountain itself, it can get quite cold, so take a warm sweater.
Bananera El Guanche: This is a private banana plantation 2 kms from centre of Puerto de la Cruz. A free bus service runs to the plantation departing from Avenida de Colon throughout the day. The visit includes a short video about Tenerife and a guided tour of the plantation. At the end, there is then an opportunity to sample the banana liqueur made there, and to order flamingo flowers and bunches of bananas to be delivered to your hotel.
Museo Arqueològico del Puerto de la Cruz: This is one of the most important archaeological museums in the Canary Islands offering a collection comprising more than 2,600 specimens of items from the Guanche culture, and a document collection named after researcher, Luis Diego Cuscoy. It has an enormous collection of Guanche aboriginal pottery, including the remains of several Guanche mummies. Also to be seen are two unique pieces from the island, one of which is two limpet shells, a finding of Telesforo Bravo, and a clay idol called El Guatimac.
Other historic buildings worth a visit in Puerto de la Cruz include the small castle of San Felipe, the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Peña de Francia and the Naval Museum of Iriarte House in the street of the same name, which shows the history and evolution of navigation in the area. All Saints Church, which dates back to 1890, is a place of Anglican worship built with money donated by foreign visitors and British residents in the city. The organ, the pulpit, stained glass windows, baptismal font and other items were private donations.
Masca: For the fit and strong, this picturesque village, located at the foot of the mountains in the northwest of the island, is well-worth the three-hour walk through deep ravines and breath-stopping winding roads; you'll be rewarded with stunning views, so remember to take your camera, as well as factoring in the uphill walk back. Alternatively, you can take a boat back to Los Gigantes.
Anaga Mountains: For breathtaking scenery and unusual landscapes, a hike through this protected part of northeast Tenerife is hard to beat. Still relatively unexplored, you will discover unusual rock formations and hidden villages in which some people still inhabit caves. The path to Barranco de Las Huertas is spectacular and leads to an amazing panorama of the craggy northern coastline.
Santa Cruz: Within easy distance of Puerto de la Cruz, this city, the island's capital, is well worth a visit. It is home to one of the most historically important harbours in the Atlantic Ocean, a frequent stop-off point for 19th-century fleets heading for the Americas. Today it is a vibrant cosmopolitan city choc-a-bloc with interesting things to see, arresting architecture and, of course, great places to shop and eat. Explore it on an open-topped bus with the option to get off and on as suits your schedule.
Festivals and Carnivals: Tenerife is an island that revels in its colourful celebrations which take place all year round. Carnivals take place in all areas, but especially Santa Cruz during February and March, when huge costumed parades and partying fill the streets. Easter celebrations are held in many places including Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava. The latter also plays host to the Corpus Christi festival in June, when the town square is decorated with tons of colourful sand to illustrate biblical events. August 14th and 15th are when the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands, the Virgin of Candelaria, is honoured with pilgrims from all over the Canaries travelling to the city of Candelaria in Tenerife to take part in processions. In late November, the Fiesta de San Andrés takes place in Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava when, traditionally, wine cellars are opened up and the new wine is tasted. Youngsters in Icod de los Vinos enjoy a tradition of sliding down the town's steep streets on greased wood boards. The climate in the Canaries makes it a favourite winter destination, too, and at Christmas and New Year, you may catch sight of the Baile del Nino (Dance of the Child) where groups of people in traditional dress dance before the image of the infant Christ, or one of the firework displays welcoming in the new year.
As well as religious celebrations, one of the most prestigious European classical music festivals takes place in June with a varied programme and impressive line up of musicians performing at various locations around the island. In Laguan in September, is the Sabandeno Festival of folk music with both Canarian and international bands in the line up.
Canarian Wrestling (Lucha Canaria): A popular tourist attraction, this is a spectator sport practised throughout the islands, usually in teams of twelve.
La Orotava: Located within the stunning Orotava valley is this ancient town distinguished by its picturesque buildings and quaint cobbled streets. Its historic centre is a popular tourist destination, where the Concepcion Church and Casa de los Balcones (houses of the balconies) perfectly represent the island's unique architecture.
The town also has a beautiful botanic garden, La Hijuela del Botanico. Created to acclimatise new species coming over from America, the garden was commissioned between 1788 and 1832 and came into being through investment from the Marquis of Villanueva del Prado. In the middle of the 19th century, gardener Germán Widpret further developed it into a splendid display and in 1941 it came into the hands of the Institute for Agronomic Research. It is now home to more than 3,000 plant species, mainly native Canary Island flora but also including spectacular exotic species.
Playa de las Américas: Renowned for its round-the-clock party atmosphere, Playa de las Americas is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe. Located on the south coast of Tenerife, it is the place young people head to for its hedonistic appeal. This emanates in particular from the one-kilometre stretch known as Verònicas, packed with nightclubs, cabaret bars, live music venues, shops and restaurants. Neon lights, music pumping out of doorways and people dancing in the street are all to be expected here every night of the week!