Tenerife is a popular holiday destination for us Brits, and for many other nationalities too. The year round sun, delicious food and short flight time make it an ideal getaway from most European countries. But while many tourists flock for the southern resorts of Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje, the northern gem of Puerto de la Cruz doesn’t get the attention it truly deserves.
With companies such as Holiday Gemsoffering affordable package holidays to the area, and plenty to see and do close by, it’s easy to see why this is a popular holiday spot in the north. Here are just ten reasons why it should be on everyone’s to-visit list:
Black Sand Beaches
In contrast to the golden beaches of the south, Puerto de la Cruz in the north channels the volcanic island vibes with black sand beaches. Add the gorgeous sea views and clear blue skies Tenerife is famous for, and it really is a sight to see!
Just a stone’s throw from the centre of Puerto de la Cruz, the world famous Loro Parque offers a great day out for everyone. Rated #1 on TripAdvisor for activities in Puerto de la Cruz, this is a definite must do for anyone wanting to see animals in impressive and scenic surroundings. Plus, if you’re a fan of waterparks Loro Parque offers twin tickets – hello discount! – with Siam Park in Costa Adeje, an hours drive away. With the Thai scenery, numerous rides to please all adrenalin levels and it’s very own beach area, it’s no surprise that Siam Park is ranked #1 on TripAdvisor’s list of things to do in Costa Adeje.
A chilled, relaxing activity comes in the form of a visit to Jardin Botanico. The botanical gardens are just a 20-minute walk from the centre, and offer a quiet, tranquil place to retreat and check out the flowers and plants there. With an entrance fee of just €3, it’s the ideal place to escape the heat for a couple of hours.
Another option for a relaxing afternoon stroll is Parque Taoro, also within walking distance. More low key than Jardin Botanico, you’ll be treated to waterfalls and mountain views instead. If you make it to the top of the park, you’ll find a cafe for a cold drink and stunning views over Puerto de la Cruz.
Bateria de Santa Barbara
A taste of Tenerife history can be found with a visit to Bateria de Santa Barbara and to Castillo de San Felipe. Both within walking distance of the centre of Puerto de la Cruz, a short visit to either/both will be an interesting insight into the old defence systems of the island. Castillo de San Felipe allows you free entry, so you’ve nothing to lose from a relaxing stroll along the seafront to check it out.
A holiday isn’t truly relaxing without a trip to the spa, and thankfully Puerto de la Cruz has more than one on offer. Mostly of the Thai massage variety, you can easily spend a few hours being pampered at one of the spas.
Right on the doorstep of the city, next to the black sandy beaches, is Lago Martiánez. Manmade pools filled with seawater sit alongside jacuzzis, kids’ pools, fountains and sunbathing areas. Top it off with stunning sea views, and it’s the ideal alternative to a day relaxing on the beach.
Markets are a great way to find bargains and shop as the locals do. Mercado Municipal is described by some as a type of a flea market geared more towards locals than tourists, but this attracts me to it as a more authentic shopping experience than a tourist market that is similar to those in many other countries.
If shopping centres are more your cup of tea, you’ve got a few to choose from in Puerto de la Cruz, with two in easy walking distance of the centre. Centro Comercial Pirámides de Martianez and Canary Center both offer plenty of shopping choices to cover any shopping needs.
The lively Tenerife Carnaval arrives on the island in February, and the north is where the main processions are! Celebrations rival those in the capital Santa Cruz, with music, processions and sardine funerals all taking place. Yes, a sardine funeral. A giant papier mache sardine is carried through the streets, before being set on fire as part of a fireworks display. The carnaval celebrations in Puerto de la Cruz are full of life, with an obstacle course taking place, in which all of the male participants must wear heels of no less than 10cm. Definitely something you don’t see every day!
The first thing that pops to many minds when you mention Tenerife is Teide. Taking pride of place in the centre of the island, this still active volcano is described by UNESCO as the third tallest ‘volcanic structure’ in the world, and is surrounded by the Teide National Park, also an UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a popular spot to visit, and cable cars can take you above the clouds high up on the volcano. On a clear day, you’ll be able to spot the neighbouring islands of La Gomera and Gran Canaria among others. Although not technically in Puerto de la Cruz, a visit to the island isn’t complete without a taste of Teide, and it’s an easy day trip from the city.
These are just some of the reasons Puerto de la Cruz is worth a visit, and that’s not even mentioning the obvious attractions of reliably good weather, amazing food – hello tapas!– and relaxed Spanish holiday vibes!
Have you been to Puerto de la Cruz? What was your highlight?
This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Gems.