It’s fair to say that culture and history are not the top draw for travelers to Tenerife, the Canary Island that many consider the jewel of Spain’s resort archipelago.
But just a 15-minute drive through verdant forests from the beaches of Tenerife’s main city, Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal de la Laguna — commonly known as simply La Laguna — is a city that may challenge your notions of a Canary Islands vacation.
La Laguna has no beach. Its historic center, with hundreds of architecturally distinguished buildings from the 16th through 18th centuries, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Perhaps most appealingly, La Laguna, a university town of about 150,000 residents, has very few tourists.
As pine forest gives way to eucalyptus and La Laguna comes into view, its setting, in a valley nestled amid green mountains, is reminiscent of South American cities.