For the past two or three years, we have discussed with friends going to San Cristóbal de La Laguna on our day out. This has not happened, it was too hot to make the journey, too overcast, too late in the day, just wanted to stay somewhere local, there was always a reason why we didn´t quite make it. Yet having now been it is a lovely day out.
Only really knowing the area of La Laguna around the Al Campo shopping centre where you can find Leroy Merlin, IKEA and Toys R Us we decided that rather than get lost in town (not knowing if there were signposts or not) we would head for Santa Cruz and catch the tram. This runs every 5 or 6 minutes and a return ticket is €2.45. If you are the sort that uses the bus and the Bono ticket you can also use these on the trams, but we stick to the car. We got our tickets at the main office but there are ticket machines at all of the stops en route. Once on the tram you need to validate your ticket and that’s it, you are on your way.
Although La Laguna is the next-door neighbour of Santa Cruz, it is completely different. To really unearth the magic, you need to walk its cobbled streets and squares that take you back in time to a past when aristocratic families and merchants lived in the colonial style buildings.
Guided tours are available from the Tourist Information Office, where you can choose between a number of routes. The office is located in La Carrera Street and provides all the information that you need of the city. This is a good place to start. One of La Laguna’s landmarks is the tower of the Church of la Conception; visitors can climb to the top and take in one of the most spectacular views of the city. Some of the best places to see are the Teatro Leal, which opened in 2008, after being closed for 18 years. The interior features murals and paintings of landscapes, nymphs and ancient Greek scenes as well as an elegant Paris- style café. Las Casas Consistoriales, a set of colonial-style mansions, the Cathedral and numerous churches and chapels.
The historical pedestrian centre of the old city is great to stroll through, the streets are busy, but with a welcoming, friendly, young and dynamic atmosphere. There are art galleries to potter around, plenty of bars and cafes, as well as shopping in designer boutiques and traditional shops. All of these combine to make the city a mesmerising blend of the historical and the modern, of the traditional and the contemporary.
It was seeing this video La Laguna that made me finally get around to visiting and it was a lovely day, however, there is just one word of warning, La Laguna is one of the coolest places in Tenerife, even during the summer months so make sure you take a sweater.