The town of Garachico was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1994 under the Historical Site category. Its arrangement strictly follows the urban layout that the Spanish Crown exported to America. The main feature is the rectilinear layout of its streets, which invite visitors to explore each of their corners one step at a time. You will find the atmosphere here to be peaceful and calm, but alive with tradition and culture.
The real heart of Garachico was at Plaza de las Lonjas (the Fish Market Square), where all the trade activity went on near the port. Sadly, the eruption of the Trebejo volcano in 1706 left no choice but to rearrange the city in spatial and functional terms when the old harbour was buried under hot tongues of lava. The route we recommend will enable you to visit some of the town's most significant historical buildings, some of which date from before the eruption.
The tour begins at the San Francisco convent. This is the oldest building in Garachico, dating from 1526, and had to be rebuilt after the volcano rumbled to life. The Plaza de la Libertad was once an area full of houses that became the town centre as a result of the eruption.
The next stop is the Casa de los Condes de la Gomera, also known as the Stone House. Its construction was ordered by the first Marquis of Adeje in the late 17th century. The house was devastated by the volcano and all that is left of the original building is the Renaissance stone façade.
From there, our tour takes us to the church of Santa Ana, which stands in an area that once housed a chapel dating from 1520. It was named in honour of the wife of Cristóbal de Ponte, a Genoese tradesman who settled in Garachico and gave away part of his land to build the chapel on. All that the lava left intact were the two stone doorways and some of the outer walls, which were used in the reconstruction work.
Next, you will reach Plaza de Abajo or Plaza de Las Lonjas, which is currently known as Plaza Juan González de la Torre. This was the town's main square in the 16th and 17th centuries, and bore witness to no end of trade agreements and transactions, as well as housing the fish market. After the eruption, its importance as an organisational hub and social meeting place waned. However, we recommend you take in every detail, including the Puerta de Tierra, a stone doorway that marked the boundary between the port area and the city.
Moving on from this landmark, head towards Calle Pérez Zamora, where today's buildings were built on the lava. The route will lead you to the city's old harbour, the only natural port on the Island's north coast, which once buzzed with activity thanks to the so-called "West Indies Fleet". Wine accounted for the bulk of Canarian exports until the early 19th century, which meant that in the 16th and part of the 17th centuries, this was Tenerife's major port. The eruption in May 1706 buried it under molten lava, sadly reducing it to a marginal port with little trade activity.
Continue your walk along the coast, feeling the gentle caress of the sea breeze, until you come to the San Miguel Castle, which has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, under the Monument category. Construction began in 1575 but the castle was later destroyed by a great fire named San José that broke out in the town in 1697. It was not until the mid 18th century, however, that the refurbishment work began.
Stay by the sea and take a wander through the area of El Caletón, with its natural pools, back towards the starting point at the San Francisco monastery. Here, you will come across the last point of interest on this route: the House of the Marquises of la Quinta Roja. This 16th century building was completely rebuilt in the 17th century by the first Marquis of la Quinta Roja, Cristóbal de Ponte y Llarena. The main feature is its inner courtyard with open wooden verandas. On the façade, with its asymmetrical openings, don't miss the top windows with their beautiful shutters and geometric patterns.
This brings you to the end of the route, giving you a taste of the monumental and historic-artistic wealth that this northern municipality offers its visitors.