Although only 10km from Santa Cruz, La Laguna rarely makes it onto the tourist radar. Yet the city is one of the most emblematic and historic towns in the Canary Islands. A lively university town it is also home to one of the islands airports and was once the capital of Tenerife until it lost its crown to Santa Cruz in the 18th Century. Being a good deal higher than the capital, the climate is cooler, cloudier, and rainier, especially in winter, a reason to wear warmer clothes should you visit, but visit you must!
La Laguna is a shopper’s paradise. The streets overflow with a host of shops selling the latest fashion, local produce, even cellars selling Canary wines. In Calle Herradores relax in one of the many bars, pastry shops, or cafes and enjoy a delicious snack, before heading to Plaza del Cristo and probably the oldest food market on the island the Mercado Municipal. Open every day you can feel the air of tradition that permeates the place and indulge in the knowledge that everything is fresh and top quality.
Wander the squares and parks where children safely play, old men sit and nostalgically discuss the past and students, carrying backpacks, face the future.
After the mornings activities, take a quiet journey into the past.
Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city does little to court tourism. Nevertheless, its well-preserved historic centre remains a showpiece of Canarian architecture; its cobbled streets, open spaces, and culture make it home to a wealth of hidden treasures.
The Tourist Information Office provides all the information you need if you want to wander yourself. They also offer guided tours (in English) where you can choose different routes that take you to the various landmarks. To book a tour phone the Tourist Office 922631194 (9am to 5pm). They do like you to give notice.
To unearth the magic you need to walk, but that’s no hardship, the palm tree lined streets in the historic centre invite you to stroll.
The imposing Cathedral is a good place to start. Climb to the top and take in the spectacular view, then sit on one of the benches in the square and people watch before continuing to view churches, monasteries, and buildings dating from the 16th to 18th century. Peak into the flower filled courtyards of the beautiful mansions, many of which have become public buildings. There is so much impressive architecture crammed into such a small area. To admire it all will only take a couple of hours on streets where time has stood still.