Discovering Tenerife through its historic burgs.
We’re city dwellers, not necessarily city vacationers (working on this). But so much of Tenerife’s character is lodged in its coastal cities, plazas, and shopping streets, so we partook….a little. Here are our findings.
We loved the cobblestone streets and steep inclines of La Orotava. The Spanish-Colonial architecture of the city makes it a historic hotspot for city explorers - it was constructed in the 16th century. We ventured into La Casa de los Balcones, chock full of traditional Tenerifian wares from clothing to pottery.
Talk about green spaces. In the middle of the city, we wandered into a central garden - Acclimatisation Gardens of La Orotava - full of exotic looking plants and flowers and the birds that hover around them on the regular.
Icod de los Vinos
This was another classic example of how the Tenerifian locals gather during various points during the day. Located in the northwestern part of the island, the city showcases beautiful architecture, fertile landscapes, and ocean views. It’s also famous for the massive El Drago Milenario, a dragon-like tree that’s allegedly 1,000 years old, but more likely to have been around for hundreds of years. Still old in our book. It’s about $6 to enter the grounds to see the tree in full view but you can easily get a glimpse standing above the garden in La Plaza de Andrés de Lorenzo Cáceres.
While exploring the various streets, we met several shopkeepers who invited us to take a peek from the back courtyards of their stores. We felt intrusive but not for long. The views we saw from the city overlooking the rest of the island in the late afternoon sun gave us such perspective. We were taking in eyefulls of lush landscape and strips of ocean with virtually every glance.
Candelaria - Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias
We were on the hunt for fresh flowers as a thank you to our hosts and a card, plus souvenirs. Arriving just before lunch, we parked in time to see local school kids gathering in a circle in the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias for recess. After parking in a spot between the Basilica of Candelaria and the plaza, we headed to the pedestrian street of shops.
Candelaria was an ideal spot for mementos - from the quintessentially tourist fridge magnets to gorgeous jewelry. For us (for everybody?) souvenir shopping is an ordeal. We like gifts to be as useful as they are characteristic of the place we visited. And we’re picky. And we also like to include ourselves on the list. And we’re on a budget. And, yeah, we’re picky.
We walked up the street to take inventory of the stores but neglected to notice that they closed during the lunchtime hour. Fortunately, a few shops stayed open, namely a gorgeous flower and plant shop, with flora that set us back not more than $4 and Tenerife Pearl, one of eight locations on the island.
We returned to eat lunch on the beach that abuts the plaza. Nine statues of the Guanche kings who ruled over the island during the pre-Castillian era guard the square, which was now occupied by a guy who travels from country to country spreading bubbles in public places. He let us try our hand at some bubble making too.