San Cristóbal de la Laguna

The streets here have been intelligently planned and the houses and religious buildings are a mix of various European styles. All come together to give La Laguna its own unique character and why it was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.

Two thousand years ago the land was inhabited by the guanches (indigenous people of the Canaries) who preferred to live in the mountains and cultivate the fertile valley.

Designed by Leonardo Torriani and as can be seen in the plans for the Dominican convent, it was the first modern city and served as a model for all the cities that would be later built in the new world. The way of thinking had changed and is been seen by the fact that La Laguna was built without a surrounding wall.

It is a city that breathes with its wide, straight streets that have changed names throughout the centuries. Portuguese, Italians, English and Spanish have all come to La Laguna in search of easy money and left their mark and it is this mix that we could label the ‘La Laguna style’.

To gaze at the Conventos de Santa Catalina de Siena, the Dominicos or Santa Clara, poke around the houses of los Capitanes and the Casa del Corregidor or visit the Casa Salazar and learn a little of its history is one of the great pleasures the city has to offer.

Another pleasure without doubt is to enjoy the local gastronomy: papas con mojo picón (potatoes with a spicy sauce) batata (sweet potato), cherné (fish) or gofio (flour made from roasted grains). It is perhaps the most unique of all the Spanish styles and each dish is usually accompanied with sauces with more of a taste of the Americas than the peninsula.

The charms of this area don’t just end here though. La Laguna offers both beach and mountain. The natural pools of Bajamar are a good option as well as walking along the Playa del Roquete (Roquete Beach) with its fishing fleet or maybe a bit of surfing at Playa del Arenal (Arenal Beach).

For those who prefer the mountains you only have to visit Cruz del Carmen, and enjoy the view from the lookout there or choose one of the many walks that begin there. Walks of distances long and short and which take you all through the Parque Natural de Anaga (Anaga Nature Reserve).