Although the holiday island of Tenerife is known predominantly for its sun, sea and beaches, it also has a history filled with an artistic and cultural side.
To discover the island’s rich past and thriving arts scene, the many museums and galleries dotted for the most part around the north of the island are the places to visit.
The locations where the main museums and art galleries are concentrated are the capital of Santa Cruz, the university town of La Laguna, La Orotava which is where the local wines are made and the northern resort of Puerto de la Cruz.
The two most notable art galleries in Santa Cruz are Le Recova Arts Centre and Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, also known locally as “Museo de Bellas Artes”.
Another gallery well worth a visit is the Photographic Gallery (Centro de Fotografia), which always showcases excellent photographs all year round.
La Recova Arts Centre – Located on Plaza de la Madera, is one of the main centres for arts and culture on the island of Tenerife and a visit is well worth it..
The exhibitions in this centre include paintings and sculptures of many local Canarian artists.
La Recova is open from Monday to Friday during normal working hours and admission is free.
Municipal Museum of Fine Arts – This museum houses many important works of art that date back as far as the 17th century. These are showcased in numerous rooms and galleries including interesting sculptures made using a wide range of mediums.
The museum contains a large collection of paintings from Spanish artists which includes the works of many local artists from all the Canary Islands.
The Municipal Museum is open Monday to Friday during normal working hours and the admission is also free.
Photographic Gallery – Home to a diverse collection of photographs, it includes contemporary digital works and popular video art. One of the highlights of the year at the gallery is the Foto Noviembre exhibition which is held annually every November.
The gallery is open from Monday to Friday; opening at 11.00 am with a break for usual siesta and stays open until 9.00 pm. Admission is completely free so it’s worth a visit if in Santa Cruz.
The following are just some other places of interest you can visit on the island to learn more about its art and culture:
The Museum of Man and Nature on Calle Fuente Morales in Santa Cruz is the perfect place to learn about the original inhabitants of the islands, the Guanche. They were cave dwellers and you can discover how they lived and the history covering their era.
It also has a great section on flora and fauna from the islands and has exhibits about geologists, naturalists and archaeologists who have visited Tenerife over the years.
Santa Cruz is also host to the Regional Military Museum and the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes which is an exhibition centre and gallery located in the restored old quarter of the capital.
The Museo Arqueologico on Calle Loma in Puerto de la Cruz has exhibits of various types of artefacts displayed from the Guanche people.
Just a short drive away is the Museo de Ceramica on Calle Leon in the wine region of La Orotava.
Staying in La Orotava, the Museo de Artesenia Theroamericana is a handicrafts museum that takes you on a journey through the ages of how crafts were developed and used in different eras.
Finally, for those interested in the volcanic history of the Canary Islands including Mount Teide on Tenerife, the Teide National Park is an excellent source of information which will give you an insight as to how the islands were formed.
If you ever visit the island of Tenerife, a visit to any of these places is essential to get an idea of the history and culture that makes it such a rich and diverse island.