Canary Islands: Holidays, Climate, Guanches
Cultural and sporting events
The Carnival of the Canary Islands, celebrated with great exuberance all over the islands and especially in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is the best example to see how much the religious rites of the conquerors are fused with the pagan rites of the indigenous people.
The “Canarian wrestling” is a very popular martial art on the islands and its roots go back to the Guanches. The large number of around 5,000 wrestlers (span. Luchaderos) is distributed among an estimated hundred clubs all over the islands, especially since this martial art is promoted by the Canarian schools. For the fight, two teams with twelve fighters each compete against each other and wrestle with each other in three 2-minute rounds. The winner is the one who can win two rounds. The loser is the fighter who touches the ground more than once with hands, shoulders, knees or head during the fight.
Salto del pastor
The remarkable “leap of the shepherd”, a Canarian national sport, goes back to the Guanches, who used a 3.5 meter long wooden lance with pieces of metal to conquer rocky terrain. This sport, which is particularly popular with the younger generation, is even the focus of a competition that is held once a year.
Holidays and religious festivals
|January||Festival Internacional de Música In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria|
|February March||Carnaval (= Carnival) celebratedeverywhere on the islands, but especially in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Festival de Opera
In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Día de Los Indianos (= day of the emigrants)
It is the largest festival in Santa Cruz de La Palma.
|May||Festival de Ballet y DanzaIn Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Celebrated In Arrecife, Lanzarote.
|June||Aguaviva FestivalThe open-air festival is annually throughout June and takes place in the Estadio de los Cristianos in Arona on Tenerife.|
|August September||Fiesta de la Virgen del PinoThe most important religious festival in Gran Canaria. It lasts for two weeks and culminates on September 6-8.|
|September||Encuentro Teatral Tres ContinentesIn Agüimes on Gran Canaria. European, African and Latin American theater companies meet on this occasion.|
|October November||Muestra Internacional de CineIn Las Palmas de Gran Canaria|
|Every 5 years||Bajada de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (= Descent of the Virgin from the Snow)Celebrated on La Palma every five years from 21.06. until 30.06. It is the largest religious festival in the Canaries.|
In addition, the patron saints are particularly venerated in the respective areas on certain days. An important expression of Spanish piety are the processions and popular pilgrimages (Romerias).
Highly recommended is the Rastro, the flea market that takes place on the 1st Sunday of the month in the parking lot at the port of Santa Cruz de la Palma.
The Guanches – The indigenous people of the Canaries
The Guanches were the indigenous people of the Canary Islands. In the course of the Spanish conquests in the 15th century, they were exposed to such severe oppression that their culture, which was still stone-age until then, was almost completely lost. This was due on the one hand to the harsh suppression of the European conquerors, and on the other hand to the great interest of the Guanches in (technical etc.) innovations.
The old Canarians were resettled within the Canary Islands by the new island rulers, sold as slaves or assimilated under great pressure. The result of this forced adaptation was that the culture of the native population disappeared more and more and soon became invisible behind the Spanish one.
How quick and comprehensive this process was can be seen in the equality order from 1514, which legally raised the Guanche to the same level as the Spaniards. However, their culture was able to mix with the Spanish to a small extent. Therefore, there are still many people on the island who explicitly have old Canarian roots.
Important signs of the once lively culture of the Guanches are the many cave paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries that can be seen all over the islands, but especially in the Cuevas of Agaete, Barranco de Balos, Gáldar, El Julán and Zarza. A special characteristic of the Guanche is the fact that they did not appear to have any writing.
A variety of poetry was transmitted orally and later translated by the Italian historian Leonardo Torriani.
But the special whistling language El Silbo is still alive. This unique cultural asset is a possibility developed by the Guanche to be able to communicate even over great distances.
Today the Silbo can only be found on the island of La Gomera, where it is being taught again in schools.
Music, traditions, religion and society
Religious and Social Morals
For centuries, Roman Catholicism has been the dominant religion in the Canary Islands. 90% of the residents belong to it pro forma or pro fide, so that the church with all its rites, traditions and obligations plays a very important role in the everyday life of the people. The most important church initiation rites are baptisms, weddings and funerals. But signs of dissolution regarding church life can also be observed, for example with the Sunday mass sacrifices, in which not even half of the Canary Islands take part.
As for the social life, it’s very Mediterranean. Social contacts mainly occur outside of the apartments, so that invitations or social events in your own house are rarely found. The daily rhythm of life cannot be more Mediterranean. The morning, which starts late, is followed by a long lunch break (siesta) with a family meal between 2 and 5 p.m., before the very sociable evenings begin after a few more hours of work and often last well into the night.
Timple – musical tradition The
timple is a stringed instrument similar to the guitar, which is also closely related to the ukulele and is manufactured in the well-known workshop in Teguise (Lanzarote). The timple, which goes back to the Berbers, is also present in Latin American (especially Cuban) music and accompanies dances such as Isa, Folía and also the Tajaraste, the only traditional dance of the Guanche in the Canary Islands.
Virgen de Candelaria, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
The cult of the Virgin of Candelaria (simply called La Morenita, from Spanish morena = brunette or black) goes back to the appearance of the Virgin Mary on the island of Tenerife. The city of Candelaria is the religious pilgrimage site of the Black Madonna. The fact that the Madonna has been the patron saint of the Canary Islands since 1559 goes back to a legend described by Alonso de Espinosa in 1594.
In 1392 two Guanche goatherds are said to have found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the beach of Chimisay (Güímar), who was holding a child in one hand and a green light in the other. After the two shepherds tried to damage the statue, they suffered physical damage themselves.
In 1497 the first mass was held in honor of the statue and in 1526 construction began on what is now the Basilica de Señora de la Candelaria. After the church was destroyed in the 19th century and the statue was lost as a result of a flood in 1826, unfortunately only Fernando Estévez’s copy can be seen in the restored sacred building.
Gran Canaria special
Gran Canaria – popular with Germans – 3 top reasons!
Gran Canaria has been very popular with German holidaymakers for many decades. This is not least due to the special environment, which immediately creates an absolute holiday mood.
But why has the island been firmly on the top of the most popular travel destinations for Germans for so many years?
Summer temperatures all year round
Year after year, thousands of Germans decide to spend their annual vacation in Gran Canaria. This puts the travel destination even ahead of some Scandinavian countries, England and even the USA.
A first reason for this is to be found in the special climate, which enables travel at any time of the year. All year round, travelers in Gran Canaria find pleasant summer temperatures, which ensures that the number of visitors is significantly more constant throughout the year than in many other holiday regions. If you want to escape the German winter with all its unpleasant sides for a while, Gran Canaria is a travel destination that reveals an immediate holiday mood.
But even in the summer months, the maximum temperature is often still a pleasant 27 degrees, which protects tourists from the stifling heat.
In the summer half-year, the island’s weather stations only record one to a maximum of three rainy days per month, which means that travelers can enjoy their stay to the full.
The small continent
Another special feature of the travel destination compared to other regions is the diversity. The island is often described as a small continent, which is primarily due to the many different landscape facets that stand together in a narrow area.
On the one hand, tourists will find suitable offers who would like to spend a few quiet days on the inviting beaches. It is also possible to discover the fascinating nature on a hike or an extensive bike tour.
The holiday destination, whose economy is largely dependent on tourism, benefits from a very broad target group of tourists who can find suitable offers.
A quick comparison is often enough to find the right offer. The perfect conditions are now available on site for numerous leisure activities, which promise plenty of entertainment.
The island can be experienced from a very special perspective on one of the many trips by larger ships. Divers also use the reefs off the coast for extensive dives in order to get a proper look at the underwater world of the region.
Local cultural highlights
In addition, there are still numerous cultural highlights to discover on Gran Canaria, which clearly differ from our typically European surroundings. The region around Las Palmas in particular becomes a real magnet for those interested, who see a lot of sights in the narrow streets of the historic city center. For example, old buildings from the colonial era, such as the “Columbus House”, the oldest elements of which date from the 17th century.
Since the governors appointed by the Spanish crown once ruled there, a lot can be learned about the past of the place in the old building fabric. The architectural flair of the Canary Islands can still be heard clearly in the younger buildings. Typical are, for example, the small wooden balconies, which are often even provided with a corresponding roof for comfortable use. Much evidence of the country’s exciting past can also be found in some museums in and around Las Palmas
The local cuisine
In order to really immerse yourself in the flair of the Canary Islands, the culinary side must not be neglected. If you want to eat your way through the local delicacies, you should choose less touristy city districts, whose offers are not yet so tailored to the incoming visitors to the island. The cuisine primarily combines traditional Spanish recipes with African and Latin American cuisine. In many cases, the well-known tapas are served in various variations for the starter, in order to get the guest in the mood for the upcoming meal.
In addition to lots of fresh fish, which are usually caught on site, paella can also be found on the menu of most restaurants. Meat is also served with many main dishes, but is then often made into hearty stews.
The crowning glory is usually a sweet dessert. Bienmesabe in particular is very popular locally to bring the meal to a successful conclusion.
A rightly popular travel destination
A rightly popular travel destination All
in all, there are numerous reasons to pay a visit to Gran Canaria. There is much more than just perfect weather to discover, which promises a successful stay. The island with its small towns still has a very authentic charisma, which has already been lost in other holiday destinations around the world due to the tourist rush. In addition, there are the many possibilities to organize the time on site.
For every age group there are the perfect conditions to either switch off completely and enjoy relaxation, or to fill the time with exciting and unforgettable experiences.
Thanks to the high demand that has existed in Germany for decades, the prices for travel and accommodation have also fallen again. Since numerous providers are now squabbling over the customers’ favor, they have the opportunity to get hold of the best offers at fair prices. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the summer months to experience the island in its full glory.
The Canary Islands are blessed with a very pleasant Mediterranean-subtropical climate all year round, which is probably due to the proximity of the archipelago to the northern tropic (between 27th and 29th parallel). Thanks to this year-round pleasant weather, the archipelago also owes the sonorous epithets of islands of eternal spring. The peculiarity of the Canary Islands climate is that the Canary Islands current is constantly cool and compensates for the high temperatures. So it gets warm, but not hot. In addition, the trade winds prevent the really hot air masses from the nearby Sahara from reaching the island kingdom, although one must not forget the exception:
the Calima weather situation ensures that hot and dry air with Saharan dust reaches the Canary Islands when the wind is easterly.
The year the climate of the Canary Islands can be divided into a summer dry season and a winter rainy season, with temperatures in the coastal regions averaging 25 °C in summer and 17 °C in winter. In general, the climate of the Canary Islands is very healthy and extremely beneficial for those suffering from nerves and breasts.
The Canary Islands – Canaries for short – are an archipelago in the Atlantic.
The shortest distance from Fuerteventura to the African coast is about 100 km.
As part of Spain, you belong politically and culturally to Europe.
The largest island is Tenerife with an area of 2,034 km² – followed by Fuerteventura with an area of 1,660 km².
The northeasternmost Canary Island of Lanzarote with an area of around 846 km² – on which the Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago (1922-2010) lived for a long time – is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago.
Lanzarote, which was the first of the Canary Islands to be declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993, spreads just 12 km from Fuerteventura and is in the immediate vicinity of the Chinijo Archipelago, to which the islets and rocks La Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Alegranza, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este belong.
The name of Lanzarote is inextricably linked with César Manrique (1919-1992). This Spanish artist had made a decisive contribution to the island design and its harmonious preservation. His efforts are still omnipresent, but they could not prevent the emergence of tourist strongholds such as Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen or Playa Blanca.
The seven largest islands in the Canary Islands are presented here in detail. These are in alphabetical order:
– El Hierro
– Gran Canaria
– La Gomera
– La Palma
Canary Islands: Unesco World Heritage Sites
Garajonay National Park (Gomera Island)
La Gomera – located west of Tenerife – has an almost circular diameter of only approx. 22 km, so its area is approx. 370 km². The highest point is the mountain “Alto de Garajonay” with a height of 1,487 m.
The area of the protected national park park is approx. 40 km².
In the center of the island is the largest laurel forest – the “Laurisilva” – on earth.
This forest is partly evergreen cloud forest – the Yunga – in which huge ferns, many endemic plants (only found here) and lobe-like plants grow.
In 1986 the park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
San Cristóbal de la Laguna (Tenerife Island)
San Cristóbal de la Laguna is located about 12 km west of Santa Cruz de Tenerife at an altitude of about 550 m, but the cities have almost grown together due to the settlement of the outer districts.
In winter it rains a lot there, while in summer it is very hot and hot, dry winds from the Sahara often blow there.
The city has been a university town and bishopric since 1701.
The city was founded in 1496 and was the center of the island in every way between 1510 and 1823. The square-based city center with its winding streets has retained its old character, and you can admire the former homes of the rich.
The old town of San Cristóbal de la Laguna was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.
Teide National Park (Tenerife Island)
The mountain Pico del Teide has a height of 3718 m. The Pico del Teide is a volcano that rises from a “caldera” (describes a place in the volcano that has collapsed and has the shape of a “cauldron”).
The slopes have hardly any vegetation. The Teide erupted for the last time in 1798.
The Observatorio del Teide is located at an altitude of 2,390 m. In order to be able to climb to the top, one must have a permit, which can be obtained from the office of the National Park Administration in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Teide forms the northern border of the national park.
At the foot of the mountain are the “Roques de García”, a collection of colored pinnacles.
The Teide National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007.
El Hierro was formerly called Ferro and Isla del Meridiano and is the smallest and westernmost of the seven “large” Canary Islands.
Up until the 15th century, El Hierro was therefore believed to be the end of the world.
The 268.71 km² island is inhabited by around 10,600 people and is less popular with package tourists because of the somewhat complicated accessibility and the absence of typical beaches.
However, in recent years the island government has made (successful) attempts to promote the interesting and varied landscape formations of the Isla de la tranquila diferencia (= island of contemplative otherness). The fact that it was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2000 may also have helped.
In addition to the variety of landscapes, the lava tunnels of the Cueva de Don Justo, the rock engravings Los Letreros and the Miradores with their magnificent views, one of the smallest hotels in the world in Las Puntas also beckons. It has just four rooms.
The island’s capital, Valverde, has a more rural character, but impresses with the archaeological museum, the town hall (Ayuntamiento) from the 1930s, the Ermita de Santiago – the oldest church on the island – and the three-aisled main church of Santa María de la Concepción which dates back to the 18th century. In the west of the island, near the Santuario de la Virgen de los Reyes, El Sabinar spreads out, a forest to which the Sabinar trees also belong.
It is worth mentioning the volcano of the same name, which showed increased activity in 2011.
Since 2012 the island has been able to supply itself with electricity completely. Around 80% of the electricity demand is covered by wind turbines and the rest by solar cells.
Due to the differences in altitude on the island, excess electricity can temporarily be stored indirectly with the help of a water pump storage plant.
Fuerteventura: salt pans and pirates
Kilometers of sandy beaches like those in the Caribbean are unparalleled in Europe. You can find them on Fuerteventura.
With the beautiful beaches and temperatures even in winter over 20 degrees, the island attracts more and more holidaymakers to the Canary Islands.
It’s time to take a closer look at the island.
Fuerteventura is located around 120 km west of the Moroccan coast in the Atlantic. Like the other Canaries, it belongs geographically to Africa.
Politically, however, it is part of the Kingdom of Spain. Fuerteventura is particularly known for its fine sandy beaches.
Wind and kite surfing Wind and kite surfing also have
a long tradition here. With strong winds and waves up to two meters high, there are perfect conditions for water sports.
The Surf World Cup has been held every year at Playa de Sotavento since 1986. The world’s best windsurfers and kiteboarders come to the island from the end of July to the beginning of August.
Many viewers book their vacation in holiday apartments on Fuerteventura especially during this time to watch the spectacle.
A little culture
But Fuerteventura is not only interesting for water sports enthusiasts. Handicrafts such as pottery, basket weaving and wood carving have a great tradition.
The latter can be especially admired in the 30 or so churches on the island. Many of the buildings, often designed with white walls, are decorated with handcrafted wooden portals.
The different architectural styles in the Gothic and traditional Canarian colonial style make the churches something very special. The Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Regla, for example, is very beautiful.
It was built in 1685 in Pajara, one of the oldest villages on Fuerteventura. The stone church portals in particular are worth a closer look. They were carved by stonemasons to show Aztecs.
Salt and salt pans
Also worth a visit is Las Salinas del Carmen and the salt pans El Carmen. It was built in 1910 when salt was still one of the Canaries’ most important export goods.
In Fuerteventura, salt was used to preserve foods such as fish and meat. Las Salindas del Carmen is the last salt production plant in the Canary Islands.
It was in operation until 1980. Today there is a salt museum right next to the saltworks on the Atlantic, which can be easily reached by rental car from the holiday home. The entrance is adorned by a 20m long whale skeleton.
The museum explains the culture and trade in salt and is divided into two areas. In the modern building there is an audio presentation and videos in which one learns about the importance of salt and the importance of the property for the Canary Islands.
The second part of the museum is a fully functioning outdoor saltworks.
Smugglers and pirates
Whoever had to think of villains and pirates when hearing the words Caribbean and beach, Fuerteventura offers a historically exciting cave system.
At the beginning of the 15th century, the first pirate attacks took place on Fuerteventura. The Canary Islands were already a strategically important point at that time.
From them one could sail to Africa, Europe, Asia and America. Many smugglers and pirates took advantage of this situation. They hid their prey in the large caves of Ajuy on the west coast of Fuerteventura.
On the island itself, they ambushed, raped, killed and enslaved residents. The Playa de los Muertos beach in Ajuy still reminds of the deeds with its name.
The “Dead Beach” was often the landing place for the pirates’ ships and the starting point for their raids. Today the pirate caves belong to the Natural Park Monumento National de Ajuy and can be reached via a path.
The Caleta Negra, the black grotto, is about 600 m long and can be visited. However, you should pay attention to good shoes and the time. Otherwise you will be surprised by the flood.
The almost 1,660 km² large island of Fuerteventura is (after Tenerife) the second largest island of the Canaries and (after Lanzarote) the second most easterly.
Her name means “strong luck”, even if it is usually rendered as “strong winds”.
The oldest of the Canary Islands, whose highest point, the Pico de la Zarza, reaches a height of 807 m, is inhabited by about 95,000 people; 35,000 of them live in the capital Puerto del Rosario.
Politically, Fuerteventura belongs to the province of Las Palmas, which is one of the richest provinces in Spain and whose government has a special status.
In just twelve minutes by ferry from Fuerteventura you can reach Lanzarote, which extends further north. The actually quiet island of Fuerteventura allows a variety of holiday activities such as swimming and sunbathing on one of the more than 150 beaches.
Characteristic in the image of the island are the numerous windmills that can be found everywhere. And in spring the island attracts with its carnival (span. Carnaval), which has to be counted among the biggest cultural events of Fuerteventura.
Churches and monasteries
The building was built in 1410 in the Mudejar style
Franciscan monastery, near Betancuria
The ruins of the impressive Franciscan monastery, located a little outside of Betancuria, represent the remains of a sacred building that was initially damaged as a result of a pirate attack and later fell victim to secularization. The still preserved walls are surrounded by a pretty park.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, La Olivia
This parish church was built at the beginning of the 18th century and, apart from the sacred building in Betancuria, is Fuerteventura’s only three-aisled church. The Roman Catholic church, whose whitewashed church walls contrast strongly with the dark, massive tower, houses a simple interior, but with a gigantic representation of the Last Judgment.
Iglesia de Santa Maria, Betancuria
This church in Betancuria, which dates back to the time of Jean de Béthencourt, only received its present form in the 17th century, as it was destroyed as a result of a pirate attack. The three-aisled church attracts today’s visitors with the baroque high altar made of gold and the figure of Santa Catalina. The latter is one of the oldest wood carvings in the Canary Islands.
Casa Mané, La Olivia
Anyone interested in the art of the Canary Islands is in good hands at Casa Mané. The graceful mansion alone, which houses the exhibition rooms, is worth seeing, as it also has numerous Moorish elements.
Casa Santa María, Betancuria
This museum presents workshops that still practice traditional handicrafts.
Centro de Arte Juan Ismael, Puerto del Rosario
The Centro de Arte Juan Ismael was once a cinema palace that now serves as a center for modern art. It was named after the Canarian surrealist Juan Ismael.
Ecomuseo de de la Alcogia,
Tefía The museum located in the center of Tefía contains a mill and numerous traditional farmhouses. Anyone looking at the museum will get an insight into the traditional methods of making bread, flour and cheese.
Museo de Arte Sacro, Betancuria
Church treasures and sacred buildings of Fuerteventura can be seen in this museum in Batancuria.
Museo de Betancuria, Betancuria
The local museum of the former island capital Betancuria is dedicated to the old Canarian residents (Guanches) of the island.
Museo del Grano, La Olivia
In the Casa de la Cilla, the former residence of the tax collector, visitors are informed about the traditional way of growing grain.
Unamuno Museum, Puerto del Rosario
In this museum in the island’s capital, you can see documents and photographs of the Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno, who spent many years in exile in Fuerteventura and fell in love with the island.
Interesting evidence of the Guanche civilization can be seen here.
Barranco de la Madre del Agua, near Ajuy
The green gorge is entered via a wonderful dry river bed and can be accessed with the help of extensive paths. You can see many imposing palm trees.
Dunes of Corralejo (also El Jable)
This is an extensive dune landscape in the north of the island, which is composed of the finest sand. The area, which has been under nature protection since 1982, is so valuable because of the rare animal and plant species that exist here.
Malpaís Grande, near Tuineje
This 3,000 hectare lava field, formed around 10,000 years ago, consists of unreal rock formations and can be overlooked from the edge of the caldera.
Oasis Parque, near La Lajita
The 780,000 square meter Oasis Parque near La Lajita is particularly popular with families. It attracts with more than 250 animal species, a botanical garden and spectacular animal demonstrations.
Playa de Cofete
On the northern coast of the Jandía peninsula is the Playa de Cofete, an endless-looking beach surrounded by rugged cliffs. Unfortunately, the sometimes very unpredictable waves and the strong current prevent swimming in this part of the island, so that only sunbathers can get their money’s worth.
Playas de Barlovento
It will take a 4×4 to reach these beaches on Fuerteventura’s southwest coast. They are a lot better for swimming than Playa de Cofete.
Playas de Sotavento, near Costa Calma
Empty beaches with golden sand – that is what you will find at the Playas de Sotavento, the most beautiful part of which is certainly Playa Barca. It is not only appreciated by bathers, but also by surfers.
Casa de los Coroneles, La Olivia
Fuerteventura’s most important secular building is laid out like a fortress with battlements and corner towers. With its numerous windows and Canarian wooden balconies with their baroque carvings, the casa served as the seat of the highest commanders in Fuerteventura until the 19th century. The building, which unfortunately looks a bit shabby today, is not open to visitors.
Wreck of the American Star
About 80 meters off the Fuerteventuran coast, near Ajuy, the wreck of the American Star still rises.
It is the biggest attraction on the west coast of the island. The former luxury liner was supposed to be transferred to Asia in 1994, but ran aground immediately off Fuerteventura.
Exploring the ship with binoculars from land is a lot safer, as seven people lost their lives while diving down to the wreck.
The Canary Island Gran Canaria, which belongs to the province of Las Palmas, is the most populous island in the Canary Islands with a little less than 850,000 residents after Tenerife with around 890,000 residents.
Gran Canaria is also the third largest of the Canary Islands with an area of 1,560 km². It has an almost round shape and has an estimated coastline of 236 km.
Its name is probably derived from the Latin word Canis, which means dog and certainly alludes to the fact that there were once many dogs on the island.
The island is one of the most visited in the Canary Islands: around 2.2 million people come to the island every year and spend their holidays mostly in one of the tourist centers in the south of the island.
The most popular places are Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas and San Agustín. The south, which is excellently developed for tourism, is contrasted with the quieter and less visited north.
Cathedral de Santa Ana, Las Palmas
Directly opposite the Palacio Episcopal, the bishop’s palace, in the historic district of Vegueta at the Plaza de Santa Ana, stands the cathedral of Las Palmas, the cornerstone of which was laid in 1497.
The church shines with elements from Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassicism and houses the diocesan museum Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro in a side aisle.
San Juan Bautista, Telde
The most important sacred building in Gran Canaria in terms of its art history is the parish church of San Juan Bautista, dedicated to John the Baptist.
The laying of the foundation stone of the three-aisled church goes back to the first half of the 16th century, where it was made of differently colored volcanic rock. Later structural alterations and additions changed the shape of the church, but left the late Gothic main facade from the 16th century relatively untouched.
The imposing bell towers are works from the 20th century. Inside, the church captivates with a wealth of retables, statues and pictorial representations of all kinds.
Important buildings and structures
Casa de Colón, Las Palmas
Once upon a time, the Casa de Colón served as a residence for the governor of Gran Canaria. It is named after Christopher Columbus (Spanish: Cristóbal Colón), who visited the house in 1492. Today’s viewer of the house will quickly notice that the shape of the Casa de Colón is a child of the 1950s, while parts of the old governor’s palace have been integrated. The house also has several courtyards, the largest of which was equipped with a Gothic fountain and an impressive Renaissance arch. The Casa de Colón now houses a Columbus Museum with fifteen exhibition halls.
Castillo de la Luz, Las Palmas
In the south of Las Palmas lies the imposing fortress Castillo de la Luz (German fortress of light). It is surrounded by a small park and numerous rose beds and its structure dates back to the 16th century. The building, which was extensively restored in 1990, is a listed building and is now home to municipal exhibition rooms and a maritime museum.
Fortaleza de Ansite, Santa Lucía de Tirajana
In Santa Lucía de Tirajana you will find the fortress Fortaleza de Ansite. But it doesn’t give the impression of a fortress in the classic sense of the word. Rather, it is made up of numerous cave structures.
Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, Las Palmas
Anyone using the northern exit of Las Palmas will reach the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus. This modern concert hall was built in 1997 right by the sea and was named after the tenor Alfredo Kraus, who was born in Las Palmas.
Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM)
The museum and cultural center of Las Palmas opened in 1989 and has exhibitions of avant-garde artists. The CAAM also has a collection of works by Canarian artists from the 20th century
Museo Canario, Las Palmas
The Museo Canario of Las Palmas shows a very interesting collection of old Canarian finds.
Museo de Colón, Las Palmas
Fifteen exhibition rooms are dedicated to the great navigator Christopher Columbus and his travels, but also to the history of the Canary Islands as it looked before the Spanish conquest. It is housed in the Casa de Colón, which once served as a residence for the governor of Gran Canaria and was visited by Columbus in 1492.
Museo León y Castillo, Telde
In Telde’s old town, a museum has been set up in an old mansion, which is dedicated to the two brothers Fernando and Juan León y Castillo. Fernando, as Spain’s foreign minister, had been very active in the Canary Islands in the 19th century and was supported in these efforts by his brother Juan. Anyone interested in the brothers’ work and time will see lots of antique furniture, plans, pictures and personal memorabilia of the brothers in the museum.
Museo Néstor, Las Palmas
The Museo Néstor in Las Palmas is dedicated to the works of the famous Canarian painter Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre.
Necropolis of the Guanches
This necropolis of the Guanches of Artenara is located in San Bartolomé de Tirajana
The archaeological sites in Malpais
One of the most important landmarks of Gran Canaria is the Roque Nublo, an 80 meter high basalt monolith in the center of the island.
Cactualdea cactus park, near San Nicolás de Tolentino
On the west coast of Gran Canaria near San Nicolás de Tolentino is the Cactualdea cactus park, which is one of the largest cactus complexes in Europe
Montaña de las Cuatro Puertas, near Telde
The 319 meter high mountain of the four gates was named after four artificial rock openings that lead into the mountain. These “doors” lead to a kind of hall that was used as a cult center in ancient Canarian times, while the free space in front of the cave served as a place of assembly (tagoror). If you go to the southern slope of the mountain, you will find some old Canarian caves. They are connected to each other by a stone staircase.
Jardín Botánico Canario
The full name of this botanical garden is Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo. Jardín Botánico Canario “means” Botanical Garden of the Canaries “in German and Viera y Clavijo” refers to the universal scholar José Viera y Clavijo.
You can find the garden in the northeast of Gran Canaria in Tafira Alta – about 7 km southwest of the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Work on this garden began around 1952 and ended in 1959 with the opening of this 27 hectare garden. Here the visitor will find many of the approximately 500 endemic (only occurring here) plant species endemic to the Canary Islands and through research work also provides assistance for species protection programs. It should be mentioned that the garden has had a seed bank since 1983, in which, among other things, the seeds of around 400 endemic tree species occurring in the Canary Islands are available or stored..
Cenobio de Valerón
The impressive 298 tufa caves of the Monastery of Valerón date back to the Stone Age. The purpose that may have been behind their edification has not yet been fully explained. The atmospheric caves, which are among the most important architectural monuments in Gran Canaria, can be reached via the federal road C810, which you follow to Cuesta de Silva, from where you can hike to the caves.
Cave structures in Santa Lucía de Tirajana
Anyone who comes to Santa Lucía de Tirajana does so primarily because of the numerous historically extremely interesting cave structures that were once living quarters and burial sites for the Canarios.
Cueva Pintada in Galdar
This cave contains polychrome geometric paintings.
Montaña Sagrada in Telde
In the sacred mountain of the Guanches there are several caves worth seeing, which were inhabited by the indigenous people of the Canary Islands.
Palmitos Park, Maspalomas
This is a 20 hectare bird park that extends in a gorge with lakes and small springs. The delightful park was unfortunately almost 65% destroyed by fire in July 2007, so it remained closed until it reopened in August 2008. But now it is back and has since been divided into several subject areas. These include an orchid house, a cactus garden, a butterfly enclosure and various bird shows.
Explore Gran Canaria with a rental car
The Canaries, which belong to Spain, are a varied and diverse group of islands whose sights can be easily explored with the help of a rental car.
Thanks to its geographical location and proximity to Africa, all islands are warm all year round. In summer it is not too hot and in winter the temperatures are mild. Gran Canaria is one of the most popular islands in the Canaries.
The 1,432 km² island is also suitable for both hiking and a relaxed beach holiday.
Exploring with a rental car
Gran Canaria is a prime example of a diverse landscape with sandy beaches and a varied interior with mighty volcanic craters and bottomless gorges that can be explored perfectly with a rental car.
You can get cheap rental cars at cardelmar.de, for example. If you want to explore Gran Canaria in the high season between December and February and between May and October, you should find a rental car in good time and book it from home, as many rental cars are often no longer available on site during this time.
Perfect for individual
tourists Gran Canaria has a very well developed road network, which makes it easy for individual tourists to move independently and quickly from A to B. If you are looking for peace, quiet and authenticity, you should avoid the beaches on the south coast, especially Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés, as around 95 percent of tourists can be found here.
The capital Las Palmas
Gran Canaria’s capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is not only the most populous city on the islands with a little less than 380,000 residents, but also one of the two administrative centers of the island kingdom (the other is Santa Cruz de Tenerife).
From the center of Gran Canaria, the 1,949 m high (extinct) volcano Pico de las Nieves and the 1,813 m high Roque Nublo tower up the two highest peaks on the island.
Las Palmas is located on a peninsula and can be easily reached by rental car. The historic Vegueta district with the Columbus House, the Casa Colon, the Gabinete Literari and the Santo Domingo Church is particularly impressive. If you like fish, you should stop by the Amigo Camilo restaurant in Las Canteras. There you can choose a fresh fish, have it prepared as you wish and then enjoy it on the panoramic terrace.
In the interior of Gran Canaria
In the northeast of Gran Canaria you will find a quiet, rural idyll. The Bandana nature park with the famous volcanic crater is also located here. You can also visit the town of Arucas with its blue-black basalt stones and the municipality of Vega de San Mateo, where a popular farmers’ market with culinary delights takes place every Saturday and Sunday. In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs, spices, honey, cheese, wine and much more are on offer. There are also local handicrafts such as baskets, knives, leatherwork and wood carvings to admire and buy. If you are in the mood for a relaxed beach holiday without many tourists, you should visit Puoerto de las Nieves with the rental car, where there is a beautiful bay to the south of it.
Before El Hierro, La Gomera is the second smallest of the seven large Canary Islands and has a size of around 370 km².
The approximately 22,300 residents of the island, whose capital is San Sebastian de La Gomera, live on an island that is one of the older of the Canary Islands and in the center of which is the largest still closed laurel forest on earth.
Together with the 1,487 m high Garajonay, it belongs to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage “Garajonay National Park”. This almost 4,000 hectare = 40 km² national park, which covers almost 10% of the island, consists mainly of ever-green cloud forest and huge ferns.
La Gomera is also famous because of the worldwide whistling language El Silbo, which the old Canarians (Guanches) used. Apart from the capital San Sebastian de La Gomera (and its main attractions such as the Torre del Conde, the Casa de Colón, the Iglesia de La Asunción and also the luxury hotel Conde de la Gomera), La Gomera offers such visitor magnets as the small, winding town of Agulo on the northern coast of La Gomera.
The Valle Gran Rey inspires with its terraced cultural landscape, which also includes extensive banana plantations.
A centerpiece of the area is the Mirador del Palmerejeo, created by César Manrique, an observation tower with large panoramic windows. Located in a green valley in the north of La Gomera, the city of Hermigua near its Santa Catalina district also offers a wonderful seawater swimming pool and excellent hiking opportunities.
Popular hiking trails lead past a waterfall to El Cedro and up to the 1,453 m high Garajonay and the Los Organos lava slot. And whales are also among the sights for which La Gomera is known – the island has one of the largest whale populations on earth.
Responsible organizers offer the opportunity to see the gentle giants up close. You will also see 100% whales, but above all pilot and/or pilot whales.
If you are very lucky, you will also see sperm whales and dolphins.
The north-easternmost Canary Island is Lanzarote, where the Portuguese Nobel Prize winner for literature José Saramago (1922-2010) lived for a long time. It is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago.
It measures 845.94 km² and is home to 132,000 residents, of which about 57,000 live in the island’s capital, Arrecife. Lanzarote, which was the first Canary Island to be declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993, spreads just 12 km from Fuerteventura and is in the immediate vicinity of the Chinijo Archipelago, which includes the small islets and rocks of La Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Alegranza, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este belong.
Vacationers appreciate the island’s scenic charm, although its vegetation is rather sparse due to the low rainfall. In addition to mountain ranges, the sandy desert of El Jable, the Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) and the Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote attracts with countless remarkable volcanic cones and 10 kilometers of sandy beaches.
75% of the incredible island is covered with lava, whereby the eruptive material from 1730 to 1736 alone characterizes almost 170 km² of the island. The name of the island is inseparable from one name: César Manrique.
This Spanish artist made a decisive contribution to island design and its harmonious preservation. His efforts are omnipresent, but they could not prevent the emergence of tourist strongholds such as Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen or Playa Blanca. There are a large number of hotels on the island for both small and large budgets
Nuestra Señora de los Volcanes
Nuestra Señora de los Volcanes, Mancha Blanca. After the devastating volcanic eruptions of the 18th century were supposed to be stopped by the Virgen de los Volcanes, the residents of the spared villages vowed to build a chapel in honor of the saint.
This sacred building could not be completed until 1781. Since 1862 the figure of Mary can be found there, which had previously stood in the church in Tinajo.
Important structures, caves
Castillo Santa Barbara, Teguise
The Habsburgs also built a fortress on Lanzarote. It is located on the eastern outskirts of Teguise and is enthroned on a volcanic cone called Guanapay. The fortress, which is visited today mainly because of its magnificent view, once served wealthy families as a refuge from invading pirates, but now houses a museum.
Fundación César Manrique, Taro de Tahiche Do
n’t miss out on a visit to César Manrique’s wonderful house, which he built in five volcanic bubbles.
Mirador del Río
This viewpoint at the northernmost end of the island is another work of César Manrique. From his bar he offers wonderful views of the islets in the north near Lanzarote.
Palacio Spinola, Teguise
On the west side of the Plaza de la Constitución rises the Palacio Spinola, which was built between 1730 and 1780 and is now used as a museum and representative building.
La Cueva de los Verdes
Just a few hundred meters from the Jameos del Agua lies the Cave System of the Greens, a collection of tunnels and caves formed by an underground lava flow. This huge cave system of about 7 km in length connects the Corona volcano with the sea. The light reflections inside are particularly worth seeing. The Langostino Blanco, a type of white lobster, lives exclusively in these caves.
Casas Honda near Taiche
These volcanic caves were once inhabited by the Guanches.
Agricola Museum, Echedey
The farm museum gives an insight into the traditional life of the farmers and craftsmen in Lanzarote. It is rarely haunted by tourist buses, which is a shame as it shows interesting tools, household appliances and much more.
Whale and Dolphin Museum, Puerto Calero
The Museo de Cataceos de Canarias is dedicated to the many dolphins and whales that can be found in the Atlantic near the Canary Islands. The gigantic skeleton of a whale outside the museum gives a good idea of what to expect inside.
Jameos del Agua
In the north of the island are the Jameos del Agua, volcanic formations that were created when the ceiling of an underground lava tunnel collapsed and opened up a view of the sky. Under the supervision of César Manrique, a concert hall was built here, which is also used for musical performances.
El Mirador del Rio
The bizarre, 600 meter high rock protrudes into the sea opposite the small island of Graciosa and offers an extraordinary view.
El Valle de Haria
In this valley with its volcanic landscape of gorges and craters as well as huge palm forests there is an unusual wine-growing area.
This volcanic crater flooded by the sea also offers a special sight. The emerald green water shimmers surrounded by black sand.
Unreal and crazy rock formations shape the stretch of coast between El Golfo and the Salinas do Janubio. The actual name only means the one section that is characterized by a rock-like bridge in the sea, which is also accessible. These rock formations were formed from the lava of the Timanfaya volcanoes
Playa de Papagayo
These are good sandy beaches, which in addition to the actual Playa de Papagayo are made up of other sections that are quite well protected against wind and surf. The wonderfully blue water forms a pleasant contrast to the white sand of the beaches.
Timanfaya National Park (also Montañas del Fuego)
Lanzarote’s 51.07 km² Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, declared a national park in 1974 and also known as the Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains), spreads in the south of the island.
The eruptions of the years between 1730 and 1736 are the most remarkable in history, both in length and number.
You can reach the wonderful national park via well-paved roads and take a 15 km bus tour there. You should definitely visit the 350 m high Montaña Rajada, from which you get a gigantic view over large parts of the Timanfaya National Park.
Brief information from La Palma
About 86,000 residents live on the 708.32 km² Canary Island of La Palma, which is actually called San Miguel de la Palma.
It is the northwesternmost and fifth largest island in the archipelago. The largest town on the island is not the capital Santa Cruz de La Palma, but Los Llanos de Aridane, founded in 1812.
With the 2,423 meter high Roque de los Muchachos, the island (after Pico del Teide on Tenerife) also has the second highest point in the Canary Archipelago. Unlike Tenerife and Gran Canaria, for example, La Palma has so far been spared from mass tourism.
Only a few hotels scratch the horizon, because on La Palma people tend to focus on private accommodation and the rural tourism that has been emerging for several years (“span. Turismo rural”), for which old Canarian farmhouses are renovated in the typical island style and rented out as tourist accommodation.
The majority of holidaymakers, around 80%, come to Puerto Naos and Los Cancajos, while (especially German) long-term holidaymakers and dropouts have made themselves comfortable in the interior of the island.
Traditionally, La Palma is still mainly used as a hiking island.
Numerous providers cover the need for long hikes, but also offer guided riding and/or mountain bike tours. In addition, some diving providers have established themselves, which can be found in particular on the west and east side of the island.
Santo Domingo Church, Santa Cruz de La Palma
This 16th century church was once part of the San Miguel de las Victorias monastery. Those who are enthusiastic about Flemish oil paintings will find a large collection of such works of art inside the church.
Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, Los Llanos de Aridane
The three-aisled parish church of Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios is located in the Plaza de España. It was built in the 17th century.
Iglesia de Encarnación, Santa Cruz de La Palma A
special part of this church is the Flemish sculpture The Annunciation. It goes back to the 16th century.
Iglesia de San Francisco, Santa Cruz de La Palma
The church built in the Renaissance style is an art-historical monument. It once belonged to the Real Convento de la Inmaculada Concepción. There are remarkable groups of sculptures inside the church.
Iglesia Matriz de El Salvador, Santa Cruz de La Palma
The Iglesia Matriz de El Salvador is enthroned in the Plaza de España and dates back to the 16th century. It consists of three naves that have elements of the Mudejar style.
Virgen de las Nieves, Santa Cruz de La Palma
The pilgrimage church of the Virgen de las Nieves is the focus of the Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves every five years. Inside the church you can admire the portrait of the island saint and the imposing silver altar from the 17th century.
Significant buildings and places
Casa Massieu, Tazacorte
In Tazacorte, Casa Massieu is the oldest of the once impressive residences of noble lords. The casa is located in the beautiful El Charco district and was once owned by the large landowners Massieu van Dalle, who came from Flanders.
Finca Tabaquera “El Sitio”, Breña Alta
This tobacco finca, which still stands in the old tradition, should be a must for every cigar smoker. You can look over the shoulders of the cigar makers at work.
Castillo de Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz de La Palma
This fortress from the 16th and 17th centuries is surrounded by gigantic stone walls. The castle was built by the Italian builder Leonardo Torriani on the orders of the then emperor Charles V.
Plaza La Glorieta, Las Manchas
This pretty square is located in Las Manchas, with its colorful mosaic work. The executive artist here was Luis Morera, a student of César Manrique.
City Hall of Santa Cruz de La Palma
The city hall of the island’s capital dates back to the 16th century and rises on Calle O`Daly (also Calle Real). It was built under the rule of the Spanish King Philip II and impresses with its wooden coffered ceiling.
Casa Massieu, Tazacorte
In Tazacorte, Casa Massieu is the oldest of the once impressive residences of noble lords. The casa is located in the beautiful El Charco district and once belonged to the large landowner family Massieu van Dalle, who came from Flanders
Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos
This settlement of several observatories is located on the slope of Roque de los Muchachos and was opened in 1985. The facility, which several countries are helping to finance, is one of the most important of its kind on earth.
On July 24th, 2009 the Spanish King Juan Carlos on La Palma inaugurated the largest gaming telescope in the world at the time. It is located at an altitude of 2,400 m on the Roque de los Muchachos. The 10.4 m telescope will be used to explore space in the range of visible light and in the infrared range. A 30 m telescope was built in Hawaii in 2018.
Archaeological Island Museum, Los Llanos de Aridane
The Archaeological Island Museum of La Palma has only existed in Las Llanos de Aridane since 2007. You can see exhibits from the time of the Canarian indigenous people, the Guanches.
Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno
Here an important collection of contemporary art can be viewed.
Casa Luján, Puntallana
In the Casa Luján, an old manorial country house, you can admire historical furniture and decorations.
Casa Sotomayor, Los Llanos de Aridana
The manor house, one of the oldest buildings on the island, impresses with its traditional construction and an impressive baroque portal. In the interiors of the casa there are exhibitions on Palmyric handicrafts.
Casa de Colón
The house with interesting objects is reminiscent of Columbus’ expedition.
The Canarian Museum contains an extensive exhibition about the indigenous people of the archipelago, the Guanches.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Santa Cruz de La Palma (Contemporary Museum) was opened in October 2014. It is located in an old villa that was destroyed by fire in the 1970s and has now been restored.
The visitor will find works by contemporary Canary Islands artists.
The exhibition rooms, an event hall and a library extend over three floors. Paintings and sculptures by, for example, Pedro González, César Manrique and Carmen Arozena are currently on display.
The museum is located in the old town of Santa Cruz in the San Telmo district between the pedestrian street Calle O´Daly and Calle San Telmo in Calle Virgen de la Luz 13
Evidence of the Guanche culture
Guanche Cave, near La Zarza
Many finds have been made on La Palma, but none of them were as remarkable as the stone engravings from La Zarcita and La Zarza. The finds discovered in 1941 in the gorges between La Mata and Llano Negro are explained in the visitor center of the archaeological site.
Parque Belmaco, at Mazo
10 caves of the Guanches can be seen in the archaeological Parque Belmaco. They are connected to one another via narrow paths and are explained and explained in detail in the visitor center.
The “old peak” is an almost 2,000 meter high, estimated 14 kilometers long volcanic chain that runs through the south of La Palma. It also belongs to the nature park of the same name and can be explored via a volcano route, from which one can enjoy the fantastic views of the neighboring islands.
Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente
The breathtaking national park includes the area around the Caldera de Taburiente, the largest known depression in the world. The gigantic crater is about nine kilometers in diameter. At its deepest point, it goes 430 meters into the ground. You can experience the park on guided hikes that start from the visitor center.
General information about Tenerife
With its 2,034 km², Tenerife (Spanish: Tenerife) is the largest of the Canary Islands and at the same time with around 890,000 residents the most populous island in all of Spain.
222,000 of the residents of the island live in the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which together with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria also belongs to the two administrative headquarters of the island kingdom.
Incidentally, the Parliament of the Canaries has its seat here and with San Cristóbal de La Laguna one of the largest cities in the Canaries is located here. This fascinating place is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Tenerife, which with the 3,718 m high Pico del Teide can also call the highest point in Spain its own, is a typical holiday island and therefore lives mainly from tourism.
An estimated 5 million visitors come to Tenerife every year and spend their precious vacation days in particular on the north (especially around Puerto de la Cruz) and south coast (near Los Cristianos).
What often fascinates these people is the sometimes very unreal landscape, which was formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago.
The Anaga (in the northeast) and Teno Mountains (in the northwest) are among the oldest parts of the island. And volcanic eruptions still occur. The last one was just 100 years ago.
Antiguo Colegio de las Dominicas, La Laguna
This is a former Dominican school from the 18th century, which consists of several buildings. What is remarkable about the building are the artistic decorations that contrast with the medieval architectural concept.
Convento de San Juan Bautista or Santa Clara, La Laguna
The Poor Clare Monastery, founded in the 16th century as the first nunnery in the Canary Islands, is still inhabited by nuns who live here in seclusion. The single-nave monastery church with its impressive octagonal ceiling above the main altar is particularly worth seeing.
Convento de Santa Catalina de Siena, La Laguna
The Dominican convent of Saint Catherine of Siena, built in the 17th century, was once the richest sacred building in Tenerife. It is still inhabited by the Dominican Sisters and attracts many visitors because of the Mudejar elements of the monastery church, but also because it contains the body of Sister María de Jesús León y Delgado, who had a reputation for holiness.
Ermita San Miguel, La Laguna
This is a chapel in the Plaza del Adelantado. It was built in the early 16th century and got its current appearance in the second half of the 18th century. In 1999 the church, which hosts exhibitions today, was listed as a historical monument.
Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción de la Virgen María, La Laguna
Tenerife’s oldest parish church dates back to the end of the 15th century, but no longer has any structural elements from this period. In the 18th century, the church received large parts of the structural form that can still be seen today. On the whole, however, its architecture is a conglomerate of a wide variety of stylistic devices. Its bell tower, which is enthroned as a separate body on a square base, is very characteristic.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The tower of the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción is the secret landmark of Santa Cruz. The church was built in 1653 on the remains of a chapel that burned down in 1502 and for a long time (also) served as an observation point, from which enemy (pirate) ships could be seen from afar.
Iglesia de San Marco, Icod de los Vinos
The church of San Marco has stood near the park, which also includes the famous dragon tree Drago Milenario, since the end of the 15th century. In the course of its existence, it has undergone several modifications and enlargements. The most impressive structural components of the church are certainly the renaissance portal and the baroque altar with its silver decorations.
Iglesia Santa María de los Remedios, La Laguna
The former parish church of Santa María de los Remedios has undergone many changes in the course of its existence, so that hardly anything of the original form of the 16th century has been preserved. At the beginning of the 19th century the church was declared a cathedral (= bishop’s seat). The sacred building, which immediately catches the eye with its crossing dome, has unfortunately not been accessible for several years due to restoration work.
Iglesia Santo Domingo, La Laguna
The construction of the Convento Santo Domingo, a monastery of the Dominican Order, which is now used by the municipality of La Laguna, dates back to the 16th century. The monastery church, in which many well-known families from the city are buried, also includes the bell tower (espadaña) from the 18th century, which connects the church and the monastery. The church, which has been a listed building since 1986, is currently used as a parish church.
Santo Domingo, La Orotava
In the former Santo Domingo Monastery in La Orotava, you can now visit the Museum of Ibero-American Art.
Auditorio de Tenerife (Auditorium of Tenerife), Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The congress and concert hall designed by the star architect Santiago Calatrava was designed in the avant-garde design and has been the landmark of the island’s capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife since its completion.
Casa Alvarado Bracamonte (also Casa de los Capitanes Generales), La Laguna
This casa was built in the 17th century as a residence for Diego de Alvarado y Bracamonte (= governor, corregidor and commander in chief of Tenerife and La Palma) and his wife María de Vergara y Grimón designed. The building, which has been a listed building since 1981, is now used by the city administration.
Casas Consistoriales, La Laguna
The town hall of La Laguna is located on the Plaza del Adelantado with the Casas Consistoriales. The ensemble, which dates back to the 16th century, has undergone a number of renovations over the centuries and has hardly preserved any of the original elements. But with its neoclassical facade, the open portico and the staircase leading to the anteroom of the council chamber, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.
Casa de la Alhóndiga, La Laguna
The Casa de la Alhóndiga was built between 1705 and 1709 and immediately catches the eye with its beautiful portal. The building, the facade of which was restored in the 19th century in the neoclassical style, served as an alhóndiga, i.e. as a public Konrspeicher, but was also used as a prison, court, barracks and inn.
Palacio Salazar, La Laguna In
1687 the baroque Palacio Salazar (also Casa Salazar) was completed, which in 1892 had become the seat of the bishop and his administration. The coat of arms of the Salazar family can be seen at the end of the gable. The building, which was listed in 1983, unfortunately suffered considerable damage from a fire in 2006 and had to be partially restored.
Palacio de la Marqueses de la Villa Nueva del Prado, La Laguna
Also called Casa Nava y Grimón, the palace of the Nava y Grimón family dates back to the 16th century, although some elements are children of the 17th century. The facade alone is very remarkable, made of Cantería azul, a type of stone quarried in Tegueste. The palace has been a listed building since 1976.
Bullring, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The former bullring on the Rambla del General Franco in Santa Cruz is now used as a concert hall, because several years ago the Parliament of the Canary Islands banned the Corridas de Toros. In addition to concerts, other types of performances are also held in the imposing building.
Museums and theaters
Museo de Historia de Tenerife, La Laguna
The Tenerife Historical Museum is housed in Casa Lercaro, a private building from the 16th century. The exhibition rooms opened after the house was listed as a historical monument in 1983.
Museo del Arte Iberoamericano, La Orotava
In the former monastery of Santo Domingo in La Orotava you can now visit the Museum of Iberoamerican Art.
Teatro Leal, La Laguna
This theater, which was established in 1915, is located on Calle Carrera. In addition to the eclectic facade with its three-story towers, the building has wonderfully frescoed interior walls and ceilings.
Anaga Mountains (Macizo de Anaga)
In the northeast of the island rises the Anaga Mountains, the highest mountain of which is the 1,024 meter high Cruz de Taborno. The laurel forest Las Mercedes is one of the most important parts of the massif. Large parts of the mountains belong to the Parque Rural de Anaga Nature Park, founded in 1987.
If all of this is not enough for you, you can continue to the village of Chinamada, where some residents live in a kind of cave dwelling.
Barranco del Infierno (Hell Gorge), near Adeje
Near the city of Adeje is probably the most spectacular gorge in Tenerife. It bears the ominous name Hell Gorge and was inhabited by the Guanches in ancient times. The gorge, which today belongs to the Reserva Natural Especial de Barranco del Infierno nature reserve, can be reached via a three-kilometer hiking trail, with the help of which one climbs about 200 meters.
Dragon tree, Icod de los Vinos
The Drago Milenario, already an old man at 400 years old, is the most famous dragon tree in Tenerife. It is part of a park where the Iglesia de San Marco from the 15th and 16th centuries is located.
Pico del Teide, National Park Teide
The mountain Pico del Teide has a height of 3,718 m and is thus the highest point not only in the Canary Islands but in all of Spain. The Pico del Teide is a volcano that rises from a “caldera” (describes a place in the volcano that has collapsed and has the shape of a “cauldron”). The slopes have hardly any vegetation. The Teide erupted for the last time in 1798.
The Observatorio del Teide is located at an altitude of 2,390 m. In order to be able to climb to the top, one must have a permit, which can be obtained from the office of the National Park Administration in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Teide forms the northern border of the national park. At the foot of the mountain are the “Roques de García”, a collection of colored pinnacles.
The Teide National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007
Roques de García
These colorful pinnacles rise about 3.5 kilometers south of the valley station from which the cable car leads to the Pioco del Teide. Most notable is the Roque Chinchado (stone tree).
Valle de La Orotava (Orotava Valley)
This fertile valley in the north of Tenerife extends from the sea to an altitude of about 2,000 meters and almost to the Las Cañadas. The capital and tourist stronghold of the valley is Puerto de la Cruz. Although mass tourism has spread to the Valle de La Orotava, large parts of the valley have remained quiet. This also applies to many of the small villages that can be reached via hiking trails.
San Cristóbal de la Laguna
San Cristóbal de la Laguna is located about 12 km west of Santa Cruz de Tenerife at an altitude of about 550 m, but the cities have almost grown together due to the settlement of the outer districts. In winter it rains a lot there, while in summer it is very hot and hot, dry winds from the Sahara often blow there.
The city has been a university town and bishopric since 1701. The city was founded in 1496 and was the center of the island in every way between 1510 and 1823. The square-based city center with its winding streets has retained its old character, and you can admire the former homes of the rich.
The old town of San Cristóbal de la Laguna was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.
Jardín de aclimatación de La Orotava, Puerto de la Cruz
The Botanical Garden of Puerto de la Cruz, also known as Jardín Botánico de la Orotava or Botánico for short, is one of the most beautiful Jardines Botánicos in Tenerife. It makes it possible for the various plants from Africa, Europe and America to grow right next to each other. The 60,000 m² area is home to more than 5,000 types of plants and 120 trees as well as a collection of over 50,000 plants from all continents of the world.
One of the largest employers in Tenerife is the zoo in the north of the island. The park, actually set up as a parrot park (Loro = parrot), not only houses the largest collection of parrots in the world, but also enclosures, aquariums and aviaries. The fascinating park can be reached with the yellow (free) tourist train from Puerto de La Cruz.
Pueblo Chico, Valle de la Orotava In
1999 this model complex was opened, which brings it to a size of 20,000 m². You can see models of the Canary Islands, which were made on a scale of 1:25. This includes buildings, landscapes and neighboring islands.
Pyramids of Güímar, near Güímar
These six pyramid-shaped terrace buildings made of lava stone date from the 19th century and extend over an area of 65,000 m². There were actually nine pyramids, but only six of them have survived. Its purpose has not yet been properly investigated.
Siam-Park, Adeje The
Siam-Park of Adeje is a water park whose main attraction is the wave pool with its artificially generated waves. You can even surf there.
Tenerife includes five Denominación de Origen (DO) wine-growing areas with an area of 7,050 ha = around 70.5 km²
The largest DO growing area is the approximately 2,200 ha = 22 km² DO growing area Abona to the south, which extends to an altitude of around 1,800 m.
On the west coast is the 1,800 ha = 18 km² DO growing area Tacoronte-Acentejo.
The DO cultivation area Ycoden-Daute-Isora covers an area of 1,600 ha = 16 km². Its name comes from the ancient Guanche kingdoms of Ycode and Daute and the kingdom of Princess Isora. The cultivation area extends up to an altitude of about 1,400 m. The DO cultivation area Valle Güimar covers an area of around 750 ha = 7.5 km² and extends up to an altitude of 1,400 m. The DO area Valle de la Oratava covers an area of approx. 700 ha = 7 km².
The main port of export for wines is the coastal town of Garachico.
The designation DO used to be a designation for certain growing areas for quality wines, but was replaced by the designation DOP in August 2009 as a result of the EU wine market regulation. In Spain, DOP stands for Denominación de Origen Protegida. But the old names are still allowed.
Smaller islands of the Canaries
The Montaña de Alegranza rises 289 m high into the sky, the highest point on the uninhabited Canary Island Alegranza, which is just 10.30 km². It extends about 10 kilometers from La Graciosa and has been on the list of the Bien de Interés Cultural, the property of cultural interest, since 2002.
The main attraction of the small island, which is currently privately owned, is the Faro, the 15 m high lighthouse at Punta Delgada.
It rises on a narrow headland in the far east and offers a small jetty that protrudes a few meters into the sea.
La Graciosa Island
This 29.05 km² island, north of Lanzarote, is the smallest inhabited island in the Canaries. It offers very sparse vegetation and some sandy beaches (some of which are not suitable for bathing). The main town is Caleta del Sebo, where almost 650 people live mostly from day tourism and fishing.
The small fishing port, from which the ferry to Orzola (Lanzarote) departs, is idyllic. You won’t find much in Caleta del Sebo, but there are bike rentals for island visitors, restaurants and several supermarkets.
The place Pedro Barba consists almost exclusively of holiday homes and is mostly only inhabited in summer. What La Graciosa still has to offer is the landscape with the beautiful ice plants and the 157 m high Montaña Bermeja, on whose foothills lies the white sandy beach of Playa de Las Conchas.
Los Lobos Island
The almost 5 km² island between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote is uninhabited. It was declared a nature park in 1982 and can be hiked through within a couple of hours. The island can be reached by passenger ferries (from Corralejo). Incidentally, the island owes its name to the monk seals (Spanish: Lobos Marineros), which unfortunately were already extinct less than a hundred years after the name was given. The lighthouse Faro de Martiño, which was built in 1863 on the northern tip of the island, is worth seeing. The famous writer Josefina Pla was born there in 1909. Also worth seeing are the remains of old cisterns (aljibes) that were built by farming families. If you get hungry, you can find one of the two restaurants on the pier in Casas del Puertito.
Montaña Clara island
This rocky island belonging to the Chinijo archipelago is located north of Lanzarote. It is under nature protection and serves as a refuge for birds. The privately owned islet is currently being sold.
Roque del Este
This 0.06 km² island also belongs to the Chinijo archipelago, which is north of Lanzarote. The uninhabited islet is under nature protection and can only be approached from one point, La Cueva. The rock formation El Campanario and a long cave nearby are worth seeing: there you will find a rich marine fauna, which is also home to some very rare species.
Roque del Oeste
Also to be assigned to the Chinijo Archipelago in front of Lanzarote is the 0.015 km² Roque del Oeste, which is little more than a rugged boulder and is also called Roque del Infierno (Hell Tower) because of its danger to ships.