The 8 Best Museums In Tenerife

Published by: Bounce8 July, 2022

Off the northwest coast of Africa, you will find the Spanish colony of the Canary Islands. There are eight main islands with Tenerife being the largest and most populated, and it is also the main destination for tourists. The islands have a rich culture and a very interesting history that when explored, makes a trip there even better.

While most people come to Tenerife for the sunshine and beaches, learning a little about the island and its people couldn't be easier. Tenerife is home to many art museums, historic houses, and science museums that are great to visit, especially if it is a rainy day or you just need a break from the beach. But with so many museums spread out over the entire island, how do you find the best ones to visit? That is easy, just read on to find out which are the best museums in Tenerife.

But before you start your cultural adventure of this lovely destination, store extra bags or personal belongings with a Tenerife luggage storage service. Don't be burdened by the extra weight as you have a terrific day of museum hopping. Many museums prefer you keep bags out of the building as well.

Museum of Science and the Cosmos

You might not expect a small island to have such an excellent museum of science and especially the cosmos, but Museo de La Ciencia y El Cosmos is just that. The interactive and informative exhibitions make learning fun. While the museum is not specifically designed for kids, it does have some excellent programs like overnight camping, holiday workshops, and a play area that kids will love.

The museum has great exhibitions about the human body, the Earth, and the Universe, but the star of the museum is the planetarium. The state of the art planetarium shows movies and shorts that present the cosmos in a fun and interesting way. It's a great way to introduce kids to science and the cosmos, and it's super entertaining for adults too. The museum also has a small portable planetarium which they use in the kids' play area and others throughout the complex.

The museum is free for ages 8 and under but the entrance and planetarium fees are very cheap.

Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm, Sunday & Holidays 10 am - 5 pm

Location: Av. de los Menceyes, 70, San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Casa de Los Balcones

This historic house allows you to walk through and see how a typical bourgeois homeowner lived. On the first floor, you will see the Museum of Traditions and Customs and witness the fine art of making the famous lace of the Canary Islands. You will also find a beautiful courtyard where you can picture the family of the house relaxing in style.

As the name "House of the Balconies" would suggest, the beautifully crafted balconies surrounding the house are a stunning example of colonial Canarian architecture. On the second floor, you will find the rooms where the family lived including the kitchen where the servants prepared the meals. Tickets are affordable with options for a great lunch in a traditional restaurant nearby. Audio guides are also available for just €1 to really get the most out of the tour.

Hours: Sunday to Saturday 10 am - 6 pm

Location: Calle San Francisco, 3, La Orotava, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Museum of Nature and Archaeology

Are you looking for things to do with the kids in Tenerife? This is a wonderful choice. When searching out the museum, you will find it goes by a couple of other names in English, like the Museum of Nature and man or Museum of Nature and Human, but officially it is the Museos de Tenerife Naturaleza y Arqueología. The museum is located in the Old Civic Hospital, a neoclassical building that is the symbol of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It houses some of the most significant collections of paleontology, botany and vertebrates in the Canary Islands.

Divided into two areas, Natural Sciences and Archeology, you will discover the natural riches of the Islands. It also houses the most extensive collection of the native people called "Gaunches", which includes mummies. There are some great programs like interactive classrooms and exhibits, the Small Night Birds, and holiday workshops for kids. The museum recently underwent a full remodel and now includes two courtyards, a library, shops, and gardens. If you want to experience the very cool science and nature of the Canary Islands at a very cheap price, this museum is the place.

Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm, Sunday & Holidays 10 am - 5 pm

Locations: Calle Fuente Morales S/N, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Museum of History and Anthropology

The museum is actually two buildings that house looks at different periods in Tenerife's history. The main building is the Casa Lercaro on Calle San Augustin and covers the periods from the 15th century to the present day. It looks at the fascinating economic, social, and cultural development of the island. See fabulous exhibits with traditional tools, charts, and even a horse-drawn carriage.

The second site is the Casa de Carta building which lets you walk through the past. As you move through the rooms of the 18th-century house you will see traditional clothing, furniture, architecture, and more. It truly is a fascinating look at how the Canarians lived and thrived on the islands.

As with the other museums in the Museums de Tenerife network, the entry fees are very cheap and well worth the visit.

Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm, Sunday & Holidays 10 am - 5 pm

Location: Calle San Agustin, 22, San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Museum of Contemporary Art Eduardo Westerdahl

This museum is quite different from other contemporary museums. It houses incredible artworks from mainly Canary Island artists such as Oscar Dominguez, Ceasar Manrique and Lola Massieu. However, it also is home to other non-island artists like Wolfgang Paalen and Angel Ferrant. But the museum is more than just an art gallery, it is very much a center for learning and engagement.

The museum has a cinema and lecture halls for readings, workshops, music, and meetings for artists. If you are looking for something engaging and out of the ordinary you won't want to miss this one. Prices for events will vary so it is best to check their website.

Hours: Monday to Saturday 1o am - 2 pm, plus Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 5 pm - 8 pm

Location: Calle Las Lonjas, S/N. Customs House (first floor), Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Regional Military Museum of the Canary Islands

The Museo Historico Militar de Canarias is one of those museums that just seems to appeal to everyone. It houses a great collection of weapons such as lances, swords, machine guns, a tank, and helicopters. A newer building has been added but the original building is actually a military fort from 1854.

The museum exhibits include models of the various battles within Tenerife's harbor like that against the English Admiral Nelson. The famous Tiger Cannon that is rumored to have taken off Nelson's arm in the battle is no longer at the museum but can be found at the fortress by the pier.

On the top floor, you will find a great diorama of the Napoleonic battles and the Army of Africa. Another fascinating item is a WWII Enigma machine, the message coding machine used by the Germans. Enjoy interesting displays in a truly cool setting, and to make it even better, it is completely free. The museum also has a nice cafe with an excellent view of the harbor for when you are finished exploring.

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 9 am - 3 pm, Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 10 am - 2 pm

Location: Calle San Isidro, 2, Almeyda settlement, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Casa Del Carnaval

There is much to do for free in Tenerife and this is one of the activities. This museum is by far one of the most colorful museums you will ever see. Located near the river Barranco de Santos in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, this small museum houses great displays of the lavish costumes worn during the Carnival in Tenerife. It is now regarded as an "International Tourist Attraction" around the world.

Although not a highly interactive museum, it does have excellent video and digital presentations in multiple languages that gives visitors the feeling of the Carnival. Entry is free and booking is normally required. However, if it is not busy, you can enter without a booking.

As interesting and fun as the Casa Del Carnaval is, younger children may not enjoy it as much as adults due to its lack of interactive exhibits.

Hours: Monday to Sunday 9 am - 7 pm

Location: Calle Aguere, 17, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

El Capitan House Museum

A great representation of the architecture of the Canary Islands, this historic house has both permanent and temporary exhibits that showcase the island's culture and history. Around the house, you will find a wine press and cellar, a barn with implements rooms, and a pottery room. On the guided tours you will learn about the history of the region, wine, and the importance of camels and their drivers.

The temporary exhibitions change every two months from craftworks to forging, saddlery, doll making and much more. This museum is a surprising gem that is not only wonderful to walk around but completely free too.

Hours: Monday 8 am - 1:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday 8 am - 1:30 pm & 4 pm - 7 pm, Saturday 10 am - 1 pm

Location: Calle el Calvario, S/N, San Miguel de Abona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

What are the best free museums in Tenerife?

A lot of historic house museums are free in Tenerife. However, if you are looking for the ones not to miss out on, you should definitely check out the Casa Del Carnaval. As for the bigger museums, the Regional Military Museum or the TEA art gallery are your top choices.

You will find some museums charge a general admission, but on certain days at certain times, they will offer free entry and you should definitely take advantage of them when possible. The museums in the Museos de Tenerife family offer free entry on Friday and Saturday after 4 pm, and the most fun (especially for kids) is the Museum of Science and Cosmos.

Which are the best museums in Downtown Tenerife?

When wandering around Santa Cruz de Tenerife shopping or dining out, there are plenty of museums that are worth a visit. The Museum of Nature and Archaeology has one of the best ranges of fascinating and engaging exhibits. The Castillo de San Cristobal is another excellent choice. The old fort remains and the museum gives a great look into the military importance of Tenerife and provides amazing views of the area.

Are there any cheap museums in Tenerife?

One of the best things about the museums on the island is the price. Almost every museum and art gallery is very inexpensive to visit, which means you can explore a plethora of them. A few that you definitely don't want to miss are Casa de Los Balcones and the Museum of Science and Cosmos. They look at life on the Canary Islands from totally different but very cool perspectives.

Learn About Tenerife

Going to a museum on vacation may not be for everyone, but it is the best way to learn about the culture and history of the island and its people. This may not be the biggest island in the world but you will find some excellent museums in Tenerife, which pleasantly surprises a lot of tourists.

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