The main cities close to Los Cristianos. The capital Santa Cruz is around 70 kilometres from our sleepy little fishing village and is the largest and most famous of the cities in Tenerife. Apart from the capital there are other towns such as Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava, Garachico, La Laguna and La Candelaria.
The main cities near Los Cristianos were all built by the Spanish after their invasion of the islands many centuries ago. The current capital was not always the capital, the first capital city was La Laguna. La Laguna is now just on the outskirts of Santa Cruz as it has grown a lot and they are now run one into the other. Between the two towns there is a rich history of war and peace, prosperity and ruin.
The Spanish during their golden times here in the Canary island built many towns, not just Santa Cruz and La Laguna. There still exist many examples of Spanish colonial architecture in various towns across the island of Tenerife.
Puerto de la Cruz, practically the farthest point from Los Cristianos on the island, is as it name suggests one of the first major ports to be used on the island. It is now no longer used commercially as a port but is a small refuge for the local fisherman. The town itself is very lively and has some very pretty, quaint little buildings. Puerto de la Cruz was one of the first towns on the island to exploit tourism and as such is very lively.
La Laguna, the old capital, at some 70 kilometres from Los Cristianos is now a major cosmopolitan town famous for its university and fashion. Thanks tio the university, this old town has a lively and youthful spirit full of trendy bars and stylish eateries.
Santa Cruz, the actual capital, not only of the island of Tenerife but also of the whole Canary islands is one of the largest commercial spots on the island. A Mecca for shoppers, it is well worth a visit. Once you have tired yourself out on the Calle Castillo, a pedestrian street full of shops you can relax in one of its many Plazas that are located every 200 metres or so. There are plenty of European style street cafes offering Spanish coffee and snacks to refresh yourself. The biggest park in the centre of Santa Cruz, the Parque Garcia Sanabria is a little piece of heaven in the middle of this bustling town.
Garachico, at some 80 kilometres from Los Cristianos, is a very quaint little village that is a real pleasure to visit. This little town was almost completely destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the year 1706 and one of the only few surviving buildings was the church in the centre of the town. You can't visit Garachico without trying one its many natural sea swimming pools.
La Candelaria is a major coastal town famous for its church that houses the image of the Virgin of Candelaria. Every year thousands of people make the pilgrimage to La Candelaria to celebrate the day of the virgin Candelaria. Round the outside of the church square there are nine statues, each one representing one of the ancient Guanche tribe leaders.
La Orotava, in the north of the island, is a little piece of Spain. It still preserves many colonial buildings. The surrounding areas, and the Orotava valley are very fertile and this makes it a rich agricultural zone. It is the only place on the island where you can find cows, instead of the usual goats. Well known for orange and wine production it is well worth a visit to sample not only the wine but the local products. You won't be the first person to dry a dry malavasia wine from this region that will change your perception of Canarian wine forever.
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