Plaza de España is an attractive circular plaza found in the heart of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Stop for a break and enjoy some people-watching in this pleasant square dominated by a commanding memorial and a unique wading pool.
The plaza is located near the town’s harbor, making it a convenient first stop before you begin exploring the Old Town. Touted as the biggest piazza in the Canary Islands, Plaza de España was redesigned by famed Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron in 2008.
It’s impossible to miss the enormous Monumento de los Caidos towering over the center of the square. Shaped like a gigantic cross, the monument commemorates victims of the early 20th-century Spanish Civil War. Look for bronze figures decorating the monument these were created by Spanish artist Enrique César Zaldivar.
Stroll along the square’s massive artificial wading pool and view the impressive fountain at its center. Sit at a nearby café and watch locals socializing around the water or racing boats.
Visit the small museum located under Plaza de España, accessed via a stairway on the seaward side of the square. The museum includes remaining fragments of the 16th-century Castillo de San Cristóbal, which once stood on the site. Look for El Tigre (the Tiger), an infamous cannon said to have blown off Admiral Nelson’s arm when his army attacked Santa Cruz in 1797.
See the Cabildo Insular, a large, early-20th-century building on the south side of the square. Designed by architect José Enrique Marrero Regalado, this building is considered to be an interesting example of Fascist architecture.
One of the best times of year to visit Plaza de España is during late February or early March when it serves as the main site for Carnaval Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s colorful street party. Reach the square by bus or use parking available for a fee underground.