La Laguna is a beautiful city, well off the normal tourist track, but definitely worth a visit.
It took us about 1.25 hours to drive here from our base in the south-west of Tenerife. It is motorway all the way and was an easy and pleasant drive. We found an underground car-park which was very central and perfect for exploring.
La Laguna was actually the old capital city of Tenerife. It was founded way back in 1496, when it was a real boom town and there was a lot of wealth and prosperity in the city. They constructed many wonderful buildings and there are still some fantastic examples of Renaissance architecture to be found here today. La Laguna remained Tenerife's capital until 1833, when Santa Cruz took over and became the new capital city.
The location of La Laguna is lovely - set on an inland lake, and it is a lively place, full of young people and students due to the university that is located here. I loved the feel and atmosphere of this place, the old architecture and historical buildings are amazing, but it also has a young, fresh vibe about it.
Despite being so beautiful, La Laguna is a bit off the beaten track for most tourists, there are few (if any) coach tours etc. which come here, so it is unspoilt and perfect.
La Laguna was the first city in the world built on a geometric grid system. This was the departure point for colonists setting off for the New World in the 1500's, and hence they took the grid system idea with them and it became the model for the street pattern of virtually every city in Central and South America. It is lovely to just stroll around the streets and wander at your leisure - the grid system means it is virtually impossible to get lost.
The outside world, amazingly did not pay much attention to La Laguna until 1999. It was at this point that it was given World Heritage Status by UNESCO.
We found the cathedral, but unfortunately it was completely covered with scaffolding and there was extensive work going on. We did also discover a beautiful old church and bell tower. The town is full of lovely, coloured buildings and some amazing examples everywhere of the wooden, traditional Canarian balconies. There are also lots of great shops in the town, tucked along the little old-fashioned streets.
We spent a couple of hours here, it is the perfect spot to spend a sunny morning. The only problem we encountered was actually trying to leave. The one-way street system is a bit complicated and our sat-nav seemed to find it all a bit challenging, but we managed in the end! La Laguna though, although off the tourist track, was definitely one of my highlights during our trip to Tenerife.