San Cristóbal de La Laguna, informally known as La Laguna, is a city in Tenerife. It is the oldest city on the island and has a well-preserved city centre, and in 1999 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its elevation is considerably higher than Santa Cruz de Tenerife, making it noticeably cooler than other nearby settlements.




First called Aguere by the indigenous Guanche inhabitants, the entire valley and the large lake which onced existed in its depression (the Spanish name La Laguna) was originally a pilgrimage site. Following the Battle of Aguere in 1494, the Spanish established their own settlement in 1496 and declared it the capital of Tenerife, and later of all the Canary Islands.

The city centre with its current layout and architecture dates largely to the late 16th century. Its urban plan was considered to be so successful that it was then used as a blueprint for later Spanish colonial cities in the New World, including such diverse places as Oaxaca, Lima, and Havana. Whereas coastal cities on Tenerife were periodically raided by pirates, San Cristóbal de La Laguna enjoyed steady growth and peace because of its inland location.

By the end of the 17th century the tides started to turn however, and the city suffered from a declining population. In 1723, its title of capital was stripped and transferred to adjacent Santa Cruz de Tenerife. A consequence of the tampered growth is the conservation of most of the historic city centre, in contrast with Santa Cruz de Tenerife that transformed into a metropolis with a high rise skyline. For history and architecture loving travellers, the historic centre makes San Cristóbal de La Laguna a must-see destination when visiting Tenerife. Since the centre was declared a WV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999, additional protection measures have been taken to preserve the cultural heritage, and the most significant historical streets and squares have been closed off for motorized traffic. It is sometimes called the Florence of the Canary Islands because of its numerous churches and convents. Many tunnels, passages, and underground vaults have been discovered in the city in the 21st century, indicating that the current city was raised by as much as 1 metre as at the time of its founding. Some of these tunnels lie under iconic buildings such as the Iglesia de la Concepción, the Cathedral of La Laguna and the former Convent of San Agustín, among others. These suggests there are many archaeological secrets buried beneath the surface of the old town.

With 150,000 inhabitants, San Cristobal de La Laguna is still the third most populous city of the Canarias, after the capitals Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. It was the ancient capital of the Canary Islands archipelago, and is still widely considered its cultural capital.



Sights and Activities

The historic centre of San Cristóbal de La Laguna is a WV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage site and having a walk around is worth a visit on its own. The most important sights are in the historic centre, many of the architectural highlights in the Calle de San Agustín. There is a single ticket giving access to the Church of the Immaculate Conception (including ascent of the tower), the Casa Salazar, the Church of St. Dominic, and the Church-convent of Santa Catalina de Siena, for €2. Keep your ticket, as it will be perforated for each of the sights you visit.

Churches and Cathedrals

Church of the Immaculate Conception (Iglesia de la Concepción), Plaza de la Concepción, ☏ +34 922 259 130. M-F 08:30-13:30 18:00-19:30, Sa 08:30-13:30 18:00-20:30, Su 07:30-14:00 16:30-20:00. Established in 1511, this is the oldest parish church on the island. The interior has beautifully-painted Mudejar wooden ceilings, and visitors can climb the bell tower, which is the tallest in the Canary Islands. It's prohibited to ring the bells, although very tempting! Outside the church is an ossuary with the remains of victims of many epidemics. Photography inside the church is not permitted. Tickets must be purchased from the ticket office next to the bell tower. €2.
Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Laguna), Plaza de los Remedios, ☏ +34 681 19 72 36, ✉ [email protected]. M-Sa 08:00-18:00, Su 08:00-14:00. Main religious building in the city, declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1983, and a WV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The current structure was built between 1904 and 1915 in the Neoclassical and Neogothic styles, on the site of an early 16th-century chapel which is believed had been built atop an earlier Guanche necropolis. Inside is the elaborate Baroque 18th-century altarpiece of the Virgin of Los Remedios (La Virgen de los Remedios), the patron saint of the city; seven painted panels have been attributed to the Flemish master Hendrick van Balen. Also noteworthy is the marble 18th-century pulpit carved by the Genoese master Pasquale Bocciardo. A visit accompanied by audio guide takes about 45 minutes. €5, includes audioguide.
Convent of Santa Clara of Assisi (Convento de Santa Clara de Asís) (between C/ Viana and C/ Anchieta). Tu Th Sa 10:00-17:00. This working Franciscan convent was established in 1547 as the first nunnery in the Canary Islands. Inside, visitors can see the beautiful carved wooden balconies and visit the museum, which showcases monastic treasures of gold, silver, textiles, and sculpture and painting. €5 (adults), free (children).
Royal Sanctuary of the Christ of La Laguna (Real Santuario del Santísimo Cristo de la Laguna), Plaza San Francisco, s/n (Plaza del Cristo). M-Th 08:00-13:00 16:00-20:45, F 08:00-21:00, Sa 08:00-13:00 16:00-20:45, Su 08:00-21:00. The most important religious building in the city, this houses the Cristo de La Laguna ('Holy Christ of La Laguna), one of the most venerated religious artifacts in the Canary Islands and a symbol of the city. The church also has an exact replica of the Shroud of Turin, one of only two copies existing in Spain. Free.
Church of St. Dominic of Guzmán (Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzmán), C/ Santo Domingo, 1, ☏ +34 922 259 927. Daily 10:00-19:00. Built on the site of an earlier chapel, the current church and the attached convent date to the 16th and 17th centuries. The church is known as the burial spot of Amaro Pargo, one of Spain's most infamous pirates, a La Laguna native who died here in 1747. Also noteworthy is the interior 22-metre-long fresco, painted in the 1940s by Mariano de Cossío and Martínez-Fortún. Free.
Convent of Santa Catalina de Siena (Convento de Santa Catalina de Siena), Calle Dean Palahi 1 (Plaza del Adelantado), ☏ +34 922 25 85 30. Dominican order convent at the Plaza del Adelantado, hosting the preserved body of Maria de Leon Bello y Delgado, popularly called La Siervita. The convent was founded in 1606 by alderman Juan de Cabrejas and his wife, who purchased the residence of Alonso Fernandez de Lugo in the early 17th century and converted it into the convent. In 1611 the convent was inaugurated and 4 nuns from Seville moved in, multiplying to many hundreds of nuns over the next centuries. The current church is topped with a belfry with a single nave, and high and low choirs. Noteworthy are the 2 carved wooden access doors flanked by stonework arches. The altarpiece stands out in particular, along with the ironwork that separates the inner sanctum dating from the 17th century. The large altarpiece in the main chapel is from the hand of Antonio de Orbaran and Antonio Alvarez, dating from 1665. The convent was declared a cultural monument of the Canarias in 1986, and worth a visit.
Convent of St. Agustin (Convento San Agustín), Calle San Agustín 46-48. Convent attached to the fire damaged church of the same name, which became the first institute of the Canary Islands in 1846, the IES Cabrera Pinto.
Church of the Dolores Hospital (Iglesia y Hospital de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores), Calle San Agustín 40. Church between the former Convent of St. Agustin and the Casa Salazar, occupied by the bishopric of Tenerife. It was the first permanent hospital in the city, dating back to the 16th century, whereas the church itself was only added in the 18th century. Pope Leo X authorized its construction in 1514, co-housing the Confraternity of Mercy, which soon relocated to the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán. The church has a single rectangular nave and presbytery, and houses important artistic works from the 17th and 18th century, most of which were from the hands of Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana and Antonio Estévez. The gilded wooden altarpiece sands out, with a sculpture of the Virgin Mary.
Church of St. Juan Bautista (Iglesia de San Juan Bautista), Calle Pablo Iglesias. Parish church with a single nave decorated with timber sculptures dedicated to San Juan Bautista, the co-patron of the city, and before the 16th century merely a saint like any other. When the bubonic plague was brought into the city in 1581, concealed in tapestries imported from Flanders, an outbreak followed immediately and resulted in 9,000 casualties. The dead were buried in mass graves at an improvised cemetery. The outbreak was declared over when no more deaths had occurred for a year, on 24 June 1582 - the day of San Juan Bautista. As a monument in honour of the saint, a church was constructed and named after him near the cemetery. Free.
St. Juan Bautista Cemetery (Cemeterio de San Juan Bautista), Leocadio Machado. Improvised cemetery where over 9,000 victims of the 1581 bubonic plague outbreak are buried.


Casa Salazar, Calle de San Agustín 28. A Baroque palace, and one of the most outstanding examples of Canarian architecture that combines Mannerist and Neoclassical elements. The palace is the seat of the Dioscese of Nivariense. Construction started around 1829 by Cristóbal Salazar de Frías, and completed by his son around 1687 who becamse the first Count of Marqués de Estremiana. Bishop Ramón Torrijos y Gómez purchased the estate in 1891 and turned it into its current function of diocese. The palace is a cultural monument since 1982, and part of the historic centre that was declared a WV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The building was completely destroyed by a fire in 2006, leaving only the facade intact. The ruins underwent restoration and reconstruction following a crowdfunding campaign, and the palace was reopened to the public in 2009. The palace has 2 floors, in which the facade stands out with its central finish and gargoyle figure decorations. Free.
Plaza del Adelantado. 24/7. One of the central plazas in the city, named after conqueror of the island Tenerife, Alonso Fernandez de Lugo, who had his residence at this plaza in the 16th century where what is now the Convent of Santa Catalina de Siena. Until the end of the 20th century the plaza was the most important location for public events, markets, processions, bullfights, and even the execution of death sentences. For the first centuries of its existence the plaza was barren, until it was paved for the first time in 1798 and trees were added to provide shadow in 1843. The central marble fountain is the most characteristic element of the plaza, and the most aesthetic of the historical quarter. It was sculpted in Marseille where it embarked to San Cristóbal de La Laguna in 1869. The 30 ton fountain arrived by ship, and was inaugurated in 1870. Free.
Adrián Alemán de Armas Library (Biblioteca Municipal Adrian Aleman de Armas), Calle Juan de Vera 9, ☏ +34 922 25 99 40. M-F 09:00-21:00. Public library in a historic building, named after Adrián Alemán de Armas (1935 - 2008), a journalist, doctor in geography, and history and Spanish professor. This beautifully restored building is a prime example of historic architecture repurposed for modern needs. The library has free wi-fi access and power sockets. The garden has benches under lime trees providing shadow, making it a great place to rest. Free.
House of the General Captains (Casa de los Capitanes Generales), Calle Obispo Rey Redondo 5. Early 17th-century house, constructed between 1624 and 1631, then known as the House of the General Captains after the 6 army captains who lived here between 1705 and 1723. Architectural curiosities are the windows set in red stone frames, arranged asymmetrically. The building is arranged around a central patio. It now houses the City Hall and a tourist office. The atrium is worth a visit.
Cabrera Pinto Institute Museum (IES Canarias Cabrera Pinto), Calle Anchieta 58. The oldest university on the Canary Islands, founded in 1846 by the rector of the San Fernando University which ceased to exist in 1845. Its main buildings are the old Augustinian convent housing the classrooms, assembly hall, gardens, and library. The museum has a historical collection with specimens from the past 4 centuries. Free.
Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Tenerife (Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Tenerife), Calle San Agustin 23. Society founded in the second half of the 18th century at the peak of the Enlightenment Age, with the aim of stimulating improvement in all aspects of public life and in all areas of knowledge, from social and experimental sciences to music and literature. The society is housed in a historic building with architectural contrasts between old and new. Free.
Mesa Mota Monument (Tenerife Airport Disaster Memorial), Camino Mesa Mota 2. 24/7. The International Tenerife Memorial March 27, 1977, erected in memory of the 583 victims of the Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport) accident, the deadliest accident in aviation history. That morning, 2 Boeing passenger jets collided on the airports runway, killing almost all passengers in the resulting fire. From the site of the memorial there is a view of the airport and even, on clear days, the silhouette of Mount Teide. The monument was inaugurated on March 27, 2007 (the 30th anniversary of the disaster), in the presence of many relatives of those killed in the accident. It is shaped like a spiral staircase, with steps that connect the earth and sky. The 18 m high structure was designed by the Dutch artist Rudi van de Wint. Free.

Museums and Galleries

Casa Lercaro / Museum of the History of Tenerife (Museo de Historia y Antropología de Tenerife), C/ San Agustín, 22, ☏ +34 922 825 949. Tu-Sa 09:00-20:00, Su M and holidays 10:00-17:00. Housed in a reportedly haunted mansion which once belonged to an Italian noble family, the museum has exhibits illustrating Canarian life from the 17th to 19th centuries. Descriptions of exhibits are only in Spanish, but there is an English commentary availble for smartpones (be sure to bring a headset or earphones). €5 (adults), €3.50 (concessions), €3 (Canary Island residents), free on F Sa 16:00-20:00.
Museum of Science and the Cosmos (Museo de la Ciencia y del Cosmos), Calle Via Lactea S/N (tram line 1, get off at Museo de la Ciencia), ☏ +34 922 315 265. Tu-Sa 09:00-20:00, Su M and holidays 10:00-17:00; last admission 30 min before closing. Museum of astronomy, technology, and science, founded in 1993 by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC). It is the most important science and astronomy museum of the Canary Islands. The inauguration of the museum in 1933 was attended by Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. The objective of the museum is the promotion of science, and has a focus on interactive exhibits and displays. It covers mostly astronomy but also many other sciences, and has displays on topics such as solar activity, model telescopes, human senses, and general physics principles. It also features a 6.5-m planetarium. Most exhibits only in Spanish, so a working knowledge of Spanish is required for full appreciation of a visit. With planetarium included, count ca. 2-3 hours for a complete visit. Museum: €5 (adults), €3.50 (concessions), €3 (Canary Island residents), free on F Sa 16:00-20:00; planetarium: €1 (adults), free (children under 8).
IES Canarias Cabrera Pinto (Ex-convento de San Agustín), C/ San Agustín, 48, ☏ +34 922 250 742, fax: +34 922 315 053. Tu-F 10:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-15:00. This former convent is now the home to a school, known for such famous students as the surrealist painter Óscar Domínguez and the novelist Benito Pérez Galdós. Visitors can see the cloisters and two exhibit halls which have rotating temporary exhibits, usually of Canarian artists. The former convent church now lies in ruins and is off-limits to visitors, but it is possible to gain a peek of the interior through a window in the locked gate. Free.
Fundación Cristino de Vera (Casa Saavedra y Martínez-Barona), C/ San Agustín, 18 (next to the Museum of History), ☏ +34 922 262 873, ✉ [email protected]. M-F 11:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-14:00. The foundation has a permanent collection of artwork by Santa Cruz artist Cristino de Vera, and hosts temporary exhibits by other highly-regarded contemporary artists. Free.




Unlike most other cities on the Canary Islands, San Cristóbal de La Laguna enjoys a Mediterranean climate instead of an arid climate. Temperatures are mild throughout the year, and the increased elevation prevents it from getting too hot in summer. The maritime and subtropical influences also keep temperatures above frost at all times. Most of the rain falls during winter months, which condenses from the prevailing northeasterly winds.



Getting There

By Plane

Tenerife Norte (Los Rodeos, TFN IATA) is next door to the city. Titsa bus lines 102, 107, and 108 depart from the airport to the central bus exchange (intercambiador), which is a single stop away. Departures are approximately every half-hour, and a one-way ticket is €2.45, payable directly to the bus driver.
Tenerife Sur (Reina Sofia, TFS IATA) is 70 km to the southwest, with good bus connections to the city.

By Tram

Line 1 of the MetroTenerife tram system (look for Atari like symbols) links Santa Cruz with La Laguna, terminating at Trinidad, at the southern edge of the historic centre. Trams depart approximately every 10 minutes, and the journey takes 20 minutes. There is an automated ticket vending machine at every stop; a one-way fare costs €1.35, and ten+ cards are accepted. Smart cards need to be validated on the vehicle. To validate a journey for multiple travellers, touch the smart card to the validation machine once for every passenger.

By Car

Motorway TF-5 connects the city with Santa Cruz to the east and with Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava to the west. From the south of the island, TF-1 connects with the shorter TF-2, from which travellers can pick up the TF-5.

The historic city is closed to motor traffic, and therefore drivers must park on the outskirts. There is a large public parking Las Quinteras (€0.60/hr, max. €7.50/day) on the eastern edge of the old city with a another car park just a short distance north, but parking spaces can be very scarce, so be prepared to circle around the lot a few times before finding a space.

By Bus

La Laguna is well-connected with other parts of the island by bus, with most buses stopping at the La Laguna Intercambiador (bus exchange), which is about a ten-minute walk to the centre. The Titsa Information Centre (☏ +34 922 381 807, M-F 06:00-20:00, Sa Su and holidays 09:00-17:00) has bus schedules and route maps, and sells ten+ cards.

From the Santa Cruz bus exchange, buses 14 and 15 arrive every 10 minutes or so, with a journey taking 20 minutes and costing €1.45. Buses 101, 102, and 103 serve Puerto de la Cruz, and 108 is the most direct bus to La Orotava.



Getting Around

The historic city centre is completely pedestrianised and easy to walk around. For further distances, Titsa buses also function as the local bus service; see above for details.




There are plenty of tapas bars and cafés in the centre; prices in the pedestrian zone tend to be higher than on the outskirts. There are also some excellent cake shops with great prices.

Ca'Zona, Plaza de la Concepción, 22, ☏ +34 922 267 393. Su 11:00-16:00, M 11:00-17:00, Tu W 10:00-22:00, Th-Sa 11:00-24:00. This very popular restaurant serves traditional tapas as well as full meals. Indoor and outdoor seating, indoor seating has a view over the kitchen. The paella for €7.50 is extremely good value. There is a selection of deserts to choose from the black refrigerator at the entrance, with excellent tiramisu and chocolate pudding. €11 set menu.
Tasca La Venta de la Esquina, Plaza Concepción, 9, ☏ +34 673 094 514. Tu-Su 12:00-24:00. A lively tapas place offers traditional Canarian-style tapas as well as a large wine selection.
El Capricho, Avenida Gran Poder 21, 38250 Bajamar, ☏ +43 922 54 33 39. M-Th 19:23:00, F-Su 13:00-23:00. High quality food prepared to order, but for reasonable prices. The setting, a dining room filled with antiquities, is rather interesting as well.
Guanchinche Paraiso, c/ Ascanio y Nieves 7, ☏ +34 822 773 879. Traditional restaurant specialized in Canarian food. Try their goat meat stew (Carne de cabra) for €8.50 or the chicken in red mojo sauce for €7.10.
Los Tarajales, Avenida Gran Poder 6, ☏ +34 922 540 260. Fine dining restaurant close to the pools. Their cuisine is mostly continental, with a touch of Spanish specialties. Their steak (with mushroom or peppercorn sauce) for €13.90 is good value. Also worth trying are their Canarian deserts, most notably bienmiele, a desert with honey and nuts.




Palmelita, Plaza de la Concepción 14, ☏ +34 922 25 04 05. 09:00 - 22:00 daily. Cafe with outdoor seating with view on the magnificent bell tower. Their fresh fruit salad for €2.70 and barraquitos for €2.50 are worth the money. They also have a variety of cakes to choose from. You'll need to pay inside at the counter.




Hostal Berlín (Pensión Berlin), C/ Marcelino Perdomo Reyes, 1 (near the airport), ☏ +34 922 255 043, ✉ [email protected]. Singles/doubles with shared toilet €20/40, singles/doubles with private toilet €30/50.
Hotel Aguere, C/ Obispo Rey Redondo, 55, ☏ +34 922 314 036, ✉ [email protected]. Located in a restored 18th-century manor, the hotel also has an onsite bar-restaurant and a couple of shops. Free Wi-Fi is in the lobby. Singles €62, doubles €80, includes breakfast.
Hotel Laguna Nivaria, Plaza del Adelantado, 11, ☏ +34 922 264 298, fax: +34 922 259 634, ✉ [email protected]. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The centrally-located hotel offers apartment rooms with kitchens. Other facilities include a fitness centre, onsite restaurant, and free Wi-Fi; pets permitted by request. Private parking €8/day. Singles from €90, doubles from €110, includes breakfast.
Casa Rural Finca El Picacho, Los Mohos 8, ☏ +34 670 80 52 53. Posh hotel far away from the tourist mobs, with open air swimming pool.
MC San Agustin, San Agustin 12 (In the historic centre), ☏ +34 922 825 194, ✉ [email protected]. Check-in: 13:30-20:00, check-out: 12:00. Posh hotel in a 18th-century house with a mix of classic and modern design. €74.

View our map of accommodation in La Laguna




See also Travel Safety

The historic centre of the city is very safe and mostly pedestrianized. Walking around alone at night should not be an issue, although isolated incidents with drunk students are always possible in the early morning hours.

Pickpocketing is an issue around the busiest tourist hotspots (cathedral square etc) and where outdoor seating facilities for restaurants and bars concentrate into large numbers of tables in a crowded area.

Parkings are unsupervised at night, so avoid leaving valuables in sight in vehicles to reduce the chance of windows being smashed.




The city is home to the University of La Laguna with ca. 30,000 students, the first university of the Canary Islands archipelago, founded in 1701. Courses are taught in Spanish, although some English language MScs have become more common since the Bologna Process reforms in 2009.



Keep Connected


Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.

In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.

The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.


If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.


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This is version 7. Last edited at 13:44 on Apr 7, 20 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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