… A UNESCO Heritage Site

La Laguna is one of the cities in Tenerife with the most to offer: with its monuments, history, vibrant youth, adventures in nature, beach and out-of-the-ordinary accommodation, there's no excuse not to go.

San Cristobal de La Laguna, or simply La Laguna, is one of the most emblematic and historic cities in the Canary Islands. In 1999, it was named a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site – a shining example of a “cityscape”. The city received this honour thanks to it being the first unfortified colonial town (which was due to the 'new' peaceful social organisation in the 16th century), as well as its condition and quality.

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The story goes that the design of the city's first streets was based on the geometry of a compass rose. As such, it serves as an example of the organization of unfortified cities in the New American continent.

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The city's climate contrasts with that of the rest of the island, and the average temperature is lower than in Santa Cruz, especially in winter. So remember to bring warmer clothes.

If you fancy going to La Laguna, you'll be welcomed by a beautiful, historical, cultural and symbolic city. I recommend that you park close to la Plaza del Adelantado, and begin your walk there. Your first stop should be the Convento de Santa Catalina, where you will find the intact remains of the nun Sor María de Jesús. Known as “the Servant of God”, she was laid to rest at the convent after her death in 1731. After that, you should walk along Calle Consistorio and admire the old buildings; then, you should go to Iglesia de Santo Domingo, where the body of the pirate Amaro Pargo is buried.

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The body of the Sor María de Jesús, who is currently in the process of being beatified, is displayed publicly in a glass coffin every year on 15th February.

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Afterwards, I recommend that you walk along Calle Obispo Rey Redondo, which will take you to the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios. From there, you need to walk along Calle Herradores, which is a pedestrian zone and has a shopping centre and some terraces that are perfect during summer. Continue along there until you reach the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, where you can see the old Dragon Tree. Continuing onwards, go down Calle de San Agustín where you will find many stately homes and museums that are worth a visit – such as the Palacio de Nava or the Convento de San Agustín. After that, you should continue in the direction of Plaza del Cristo, where you can indulge in excellent quality products at the Mercado Municipal de San Cristobal de La Laguna. From there, it won't be difficult to end up at Camino Largo, which is a great walk in the city surrounded by palm trees.

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If you instead prefer to go to a nature zone or discover La Laguna's coastal area, then you're in luck: Anaga Nature Park (which has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 2015) can be found on the outskirts of the city. To get there, you need to go into Monte de las Mercedes, which is a wonderful Laurisilva forest (a unique forest with vegetation from the Tertiary era). You should then stop at el mirador de la Jardina, la Cruz del Carmen or el Pico del Inglés.

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On a clear day, or at least when there isn't any fog, you should be able to wonder at the beauty of Mount Teide and its surroundings in the distance from the la Jardina and la Cruz del Carmen viewpoints. Take your time and enjoy the picturesque view.

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And finally, after taking deliberate detours, you'll arrive at Anaga Nature Park. We recommend that you go to the town of Taganana and do an excursion along the Anaga Mountain Range to experience the diversity of nature and the area's fragile ecosystems. You can also do this by visiting the Integral Nature Reserve in El Pirajal (make sure you book in advance, as they only accept a maximum of 45 visitors per day). There, you can enjoy the wonders of the area and its almost untouched black-sand beaches – such as Playa de Almáciga, Benijos or Roque de las Bodegas where you can see the Anaga rocks. Despite how peaceful these beaches seem, take extreme caution with the ocean currents.

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We have done several excursions in Anaga Nature Park, like the unforgettable Paseo al Roque de Taborno with Anaga Experience and the Salto del Pastor exhibition walk from Taborno to Chinamada with Domingo, one of the few shepherds who still live on the island.

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After leaving Anaga Nature Park, you could walk along the Punta del Hidalgo coast or go to any one of the three natural pools in Bajamar. The pools are the perfect place to enjoy a day with your family and, if you fancy, to taste some of the area's finest cuisine.

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La Laguna has many secrets and, in keeping with its reputation for history and culture, it is home to the oldest university in the Canary Islands: The University of San Fernando (founded in the 17th century). This means that La Laguna attracts a lot of young people and, during academic term-time, the area has a brilliant nightlife with many bars, pubs and tascas (Spanish bars). The epicentre of the area's nightlife is located between Calle Héraclio Sánchez and Calle Antonio González. Traditional festivals and celebrations are held throughout the year, like the San Benito pilgrimage in May, and las fiestas del Cristo or la Festividad de los Corazones in Tejina in September.

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And finally, where can you stay in La Laguna? Since it isn't your typical tourist destination, the choice of accommodation is relatively smaller than in other towns and villages across Tenerife. However, there are some hotels you can choose for an unforgettable and relaxing stay, like the Hotel Rural Nivaria in Plaza del Adelantado. Built in the 17th century, it has 62 studio apartments over three floors. There is also Hotel Aguere on Calle Carrera, which was built in 1760 and converted into a hotel in 1885, with 22 rooms and one suite.

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You can find some breath-taking accommodation outside of La Laguna, like Oceano Vitality Hotel & Medical Spa in Punta del Hidalgo – which has sea view apartments and a magnificent garden. There is also Hotel Costa Salada on the beachfront in Tejina, which offers rooms and suites with wonderful views of the sea and the gardens.

If you already have La Laguna on your list of places to visit in Tenerife, it is very easy to get to. You can get there in 10 minutes from Tenerife North Airport in Los Rodeos, or take the tram from Santa Cruz de Tenerife (which is 10km away from La Laguna).

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As you can see, there is a lot to do, see and enjoy in San Cristobal de La Laguna and the surrounding area. Since everything on offer is so good, there is no such thing as the “wrong choice” of things to do during your visit!

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