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Home to the island’s north airport, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, to give it its Sunday Best name, was Tenerife’s capital up until 1821. Chosen for its elevated, inland position making it a clear vantage site and safe from the attentions of sea-faring brigands, the city was named after a nearby lagoon which supplied its water source but which no longer exists.
La Laguna quickly became the most populated city in the Canary Islands and attracted wealthy merchants, landowners, artisans and professionals to swell the population. With wealth came religion and by the end of the 16th century, more than 1000 dwellings made up the city including several convents and a multitude of churches and ermitas.
20th century housing developments have spread the city out across the Aguere Valley leaving La Laguna’s beautifully preserved old quarter to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site where elegant 16th, 17th and 18th century mansions display an eclectic range of architectural styles including Portuguese, Genoese, Flemish, French and Castilian.
A university city and busy commuter hub for the ‘new’ capital of Santa Cruz, La Laguna has a lively nightlife, excellent tapas bars, a cathedral that’s been closed for renovation as long as I’ve lived on the island, a strong spiritual life, and tram connectivity with the capital. It’s also considerably cooler than much of the rest of Tenerife and gets the lion’s share of rainfall, hence ‘La Laguna’. It’s the perfect venue for anyone looking for the real Tenerife and for day trippers. Don’t forget the brolly.
To get the most out of your visit to La Laguna, order a copy of the La Laguna Town Walk which includes comprehensive information on 17 of the city’s most interesting sites; detailed directions on how to get there by public transport and by car; where to park; and recommended refreshment stops. Priced at just €3 and delivered via email in PDF format.
Accommodation in La Laguna
There are fewer hotels in La Laguna now than there were a century and a half ago, such has been the impact of tourism on this fine city. But what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in character. See below for our opinion.
Restaurants in La Laguna
With a population of students, academics and office commuters, the emphasis is on traditional Canarian and Castilian from cheap and cheerful churros to former convents festooned with Iberian hams.
Nightlife in La Laguna
University term times see bars around the campus and Plaza de San Cristóbal buzzing with student life while Teatro Leal provides a suitably grandiose setting for avant garde theatre for the more discerning Laguneros.
The Pick of What To See in La Laguna
Built as a model town for the new peaceful era following conquest, La Laguna was based on Leonardo da Vinci's plan for Imola which provided a series of squares in a grid format. The design was conceived as... [Read More...]
The Real Tenerife Guidebook – in Print & on Kindle
For visitors to Tenerife who want to experience the best of Tenerife:- The 'Real' Tenerife guide to Tenerife's resorts, towns and villages is written with insight and passion by travel writers who have spent years treading the streets of every town and village, trekking along goat trails in the mountains and revelling at fiestas until dawn... [Find Out More]
Walk this Way – Tenerife
More than just a collection of the best walking routes for the island, Walk This Way Tenerife is a complete guide to self-guided walking on Tenerife. Available from Amazon. [Find out more]
Town & City Walking Routes
Tenerife has some fascinating towns, yet many visitors miss out on the best bits of them. But not those who have our Town & City Guides. With routes to our favourite sights, museums, galleries, parks, plazas, restaurants and more, these guides are your key to Tenerife towns & Cities. Routes for Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava now available.
Real Tenerife Island Drives
People in over 30 countries have discovered the best of Tenerife by car with Real Tenerife Island Drives, scenic driving routes through the best of Tenerife's countryside. On sale in PDF and Kindle formats. [More Information...]
Real Tenerife Island Walks
Discover verdant valleys, plunging ravines, sweeping forests, remote corners, tiny hamlets and vistas galore with our series of detailed walking routes, Island walks . On sale in handy PDF format. [More Information...]
The Real Tenerife Hotel Reviews
Our hotel reviews only include hotels across Tenerife we've stayed in. We haven't been paid to write them or to advertise any hotel and we don't earn anything if anyone books a hotel after reading one. These simply represent our experiences. [More Information...]