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Puerto de la Cruz is a town located in northern Tenerife that opened to tourism over 200 years ago. Since then, visitors, including ourselves, have fallen in love with it. Surely, it’s easy to see that it’s one of the most important places to visit in Tenerife. We recommend stopping here in both our 5-day itinerary to Tenerife and our one-week route through Tenerife.
You can find an extensive list of places to visit in Puerto de la Cruz. Here you will be able to walk among traditional Canarian buildings, some of which date back to the 16th century. You can also take advantage of the Canarian climate and enjoy the viewpoints and beaches of Puerto de la Cruz.
I recommend staying here overnight as we did, but if you’re in southern Tenerife and short on time, you can take a day tour to see this city or combine it with an excursion to Teide.
For those who, like us, prefer visiting the city on their own, here are the top 10 things to do in Puerto de la Cruz, including the best restaurants and hotels.
1. Lake Martiánez, a lovely place to visit in Puerto de la Cruz
Lake Martiánez is one of the many creations by Lanzarote artist César Manrique, who collaborated with engineers Juan Alfredo Amigó and José Luis Olcina. The lake is an oasis on the shores of the Atlantic and a must-see in Puerto de la Cruz.
This leisure complex offers beautiful views of the sea and Mount Teide. It has a large artificial lake with emerald-colored seawater and five small islands. The Central Island is home to the Casino de Tenerife, as well as several terraces, stalls, and restaurants.
This Asset of Cultural Interest is one of the best things to see in Puerto de la Cruz for all ages. There are four pools for adults and three for children.
2. Botanical Garden, the best thing to see in Puerto de la Cruz
Another beautiful place to visit in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife is its Botanical Garden. Here, you can take an exotic plant tour that will awaken your senses.
What makes this 18th-century garden a must-see in Puerto de la Cruz is its extensive sample of tropical plants that will transport you to different parts of the world. Among the 2,500 specimens are flowers from Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Europe, and huge trees with impressive twisting roots.
Without a doubt, visiting the garden is one of the top activities in Puerto de la Cruz, especially in the summer.
3. San Felipe Castle & Playa Jardín, two other places to visit in Puerto de la Cruz
San Felipe Castle was built to defend the city from pirates, and it’s a great place to visit in Puerto de la Cruz if you like history.
Its construction dates back to 1599, although it underwent renovations in the 19th century. The castle was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1949, and, to this day, it still retains its original appearance.
Just a few feet away is Playa Jardín, a lovely beach in Puerto de la Cruz and one of the best beaches in Tenerife. It’s made up of three coves: Playa del Castillo, Playa del Carcón, and Playa de Punta Brava. A promenade connects all three and lets you walk over the black sand.
4. Plaza del Charco, something else to see in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
If you’re not sure what to do in Puerto de la Cruz, check out Plaza del Charco, one of the most popular sites in town. The name isn’t too original and comes from the puddle of seawater that used to appear in the center of the square in the past.
The plaza has been undergoing renovations in the last decades, but it still preserves the idian laurels brought from Cuba. The square also has impressive palm trees and the famous ñamera, an exotic yam plant with large leaves.
This is one of the top sites in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife if you want to take in the city’s ambiance. You’ll see many locals milling about here, and the remains of Bar Dinámico, the best-known establishment in Plaza del Charco. The bar opened in 1956 and, since then, has attracted residents, tourists, and intellectuals. In 2019, it transformed into the more modern Cosmopostelana Club Cafe.
5. Playa Martiánez, one of the best beaches in Puerto de la Cruz
If you want to see one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto de la Cruz, you must visit Playa Martiánez. It’s at the northern end of Lake Martiánez, which I already mentioned.
The black sand beach stretches for over 980 feet and is one of the top places in town for surfing, thanks to its splendid waves. On the downside, the waves can be quite dangerous, so swimming is prohibited at certain times of the year.
While visiting this place in Puerto de la Cruz, be sure to walk along the maritime boardwalk, where you can find shops and restaurants serving local cuisine.
6. Church of Our Lady of Peña de Francia, one of the top sites in Puerto de la Cruz
The Church of Our Lady of Peña de Francia is another must-see in Puerto de la Cruz. It originated as an old hermitage in 1684, although its tower was added in 1898.
Also, the church houses some of the most-loved images in Puerto de La Cruz, including the Virgen del Carmen and the Great Power of God. For this reason, visiting the church is one of the best free things to do in Puerto de la Cruz.
7. San Telmo hermitage & beach, a beautiful place to visit in Puerto de la Cruz
Another thing to do in Puerto de la Cruz is to visit the Paseo de San Telmo. In it is the hermitage of San Telmo, which was founded in 1780 and dedicated to the patron saint of sailors.
As you walk through, you can catch the most beautiful sunsets on San Telmo beach. This swimming spot is popular among locals, especially at low tide when the little seawater pools form. Moreover, the black sand beach has a small jetty you can walk on, making it one of the best beaches in Puerto de la Cruz.
8. Visit Barrio de la Ranilla, another thing to do in Puerto de la Cruz
If you’re going to take a holiday to Puerto de la Cruz, you must visit the La Ranilla neighborhood. It runs from the Plaza del Charco to the Peñón del Fraile. It is said that its name comes from the first person to settle in this area, soldier Ruiz Ranilla.
This place started as a humble fisherman’s neighborhood, reflecting the economy of Puerto de la Cruz. Over time, it has transformed into a vibrant and colorful part of town.
Thanks to the Puerto Street Art Initiative, the neighborhood has artwork and murals made by top international artists. Along with its craftsmanship and creativity, La Ranilla has tons of high-quality shops and restaurants. Without a doubt, walking through this neighborhood is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Puerto de la Cruz.
9. See the Hermitage of San Amaro, another free thing to do in Puerto de la Cruz
Another free thing to do in Puerto de la Cruz is to see the Hermitage of San Amaro, which dates back to the end of the 16th century. At that time, the residents wanted an alternative to the Orotava parish, so they built a hermitage to Our Lady of La Paz.
Built in 1591, it is the oldest religious building in Puerto de la Cruz, although it has undergone renovations and expansions over the centuries. Despite its simple construction, the hermitage attracts pilgrims from all over Tenerife, who come to celebrate the San Amaro festivities every January 15th. If that date coincides with your visit, it’s one of the activities in Puerto de la Cruz you can’t miss!
10. Mirador de La Paz, another awesome place in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
If you’re looking for panoramic views, the Mirador de la Paz is one of the best places to visit in Puerto de la Cruz. From here, you can see the newest area of the city, as well as Playa Martiánez. Moreover, it’s one of the most romantic places in town for couples since the sunset here is incredible.
The viewpoint has two levels and a garden area with benches. You’ll also see several sculptures here, including one of the author Agatha Christie. Puerto de la Cruz welcomed this famed writer during one of the worst moments of her life, and the views inspired her novel, The Mysterious Mr. Quin.
The Mirador de la Paz is on the edge of the Ladera and Martiánez Cliffs. The Sendero de la Costa route starts here and runs along the entire coast and is a great way to see Puerto de la Cruz.
Where to stay in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
Puerto de la Cruz is the ideal base camp for your trip to Tenerife. If you don’t want to drive, there are plenty of tours from Puerto de la Cruz.
We stayed at the H10 Tenerife Playa, which is one of the best all-inclusive hotels in Tenerife. The hotel is amazing, right in front of Lake Martiánez, and it offers incredible ocean views. Among its facilities are two swimming pools for adults (one of which is heated during the winter), a children’s pool, and a jacuzzi. You can use the sauna and hydromassage showers, or book a massage, for an extra charge.
One of the best hotels in Puerto de la Cruz for its location and nice service is the Smy Hotel Puerto de la Cruz. It has two outdoor pools (one of which is heated), lush gardens, and balcony rooms. It’s just a 5-minute walk from the city center and just over half a mile from Lake Martiánez. Moreover, the complex has a buffet restaurant and bar that holds performances and concerts throughout the year.
Ten minutes from Puerto de la Cruz Beach and Lake Martiánez are the Casablanca Apartments another interesting option. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a separate children’s pool, and a café-bar serving breakfast and lunch. It’s just a few steps from the city center, so you can visit the best restaurants in town with no problems.
Finally, I’ll leave here my guide with the best places to stay in Tenerife, in case you visit other areas of the island.
Where to eat in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
There are lots of great restaurants in Puerto de la Cruz where you can enjoy the local food of the island. The most iconic restaurant is El Taller Seve Díaz, which you should reserve in advance since it’s very popular. The imaginative menu is based on Mediterranean cuisine, and while it’s not too big, there are two tasting menus. One has 6 courses and the other has 11; we chose the 6-course menu and felt fully satisfied.
A cheaper, yet still wonderful, option is Casa Mediterránea, which serves quality meat dishes. The Romanian restaurant Bambi Gourmet is another excellent restaurant with a good reputation.
Finally, if you’re looking for a good family restaurant with hearty dishes, I recommend Bodega Julián. Here, you can try the famous Canarian mojo and other typical dishes from this area.
How to get to Puerto de le Cruz, Tenerife
If you rent a car at Tenerife North Airport, this is the best way to visit Puerto de la Cruz:
- Take the TF-5 towards TF-31
- Take Exit 32 and continue on TF-31 to TF-312.
If you prefer public transportation, take Bus 30 towards Puerto de la Cruz. The ride into the city takes about 30 minutes (there are 14 stops).
Of course, you could also book a private transfer from the airport. Many hotels in Puerto de la Cruz also offer pick-up services for an extra fee.
Map of Puerto de la Cruz
To make sure you don’t miss any of the places I recommended, here is a map of Puerto de la Cruz.
That’s it from me! If you have any questions or want to recommend another place to visit in Puerto de la Cruz, leave me a comment. Have a safe and wonderful trip!