Garachico, under the slopes of a dormant volcano

La Villa y Puerto de Garachico seduces as soon as you arrive. It is one of those small, manageable villages that are often called “charming”. Its proximity to the sea gives it a special perfume. Garachico smells of saltpetre.

Its history is intimately linked to the coast, to trade, and also to volcanoes, especially the Trevejo volcano, which one day decided to wake up and change forever the history of this village in the north of the island of Tenerife. A charming village declared one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts and an Asset of Cultural Interest with the category of Historic Site in 1994.

Garachico, the old commercial port of Tenerife

Garachico lived its most golden age on the slopes of a dormant volcano, seeing its historic quarter and commercial port grow at a dizzying rate from the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th century. Two centuries of splendour whose legacy is still very much present. A walk through Garachico takes us back to a very special period in the history of Tenerife. It is a visit that will make you dream.

The cobbled streets of Garachico still hold the stories and secrets of the most important families on the island of Tenerife. Merchants, traders and shipowners settled near the coast, and palaces, manor houses, estates, churches, monasteries and convents were built. A large town grew up around what was the most important commercial port in Tenerife until the 18th century.

Ships laden with wine were constantly leaving the coast for America and Europe. Its streets were full of life. Business was sealed with a handshake at every corner and the population expanded around the church of Santa Ana.

In the early hours of 5 May 1706, the Trevejo volcano decided to wake up from its slumber. The ground trembled and the incandescent lava descended down the hillside towards Garachico, splitting in two and reaching the town.

After 58 days of volcanic activity, its harbour disappeared under the volcanic materials. Its historic centre had to be rebuilt. The rivers of lava gained territory over the sea, which is why today on its coast you can enjoy one of the best bathing areas on the island: El Caletón de Garachico, natural pools of crystalline waters resulting from the sudden cooling of the volcanic materials when they come into contact with the sea.

Strolling around Garachico, places you should not miss

Hermitage of San Roque

The small hermitage of San Roque welcomes us when we reach the municipality of Garachico. A simple temple of popular architecture built in the 17th century in honour of San Roque.

The temple was built to try to stop an epidemic of bubonic plague that ravaged Garachico at the beginning of the 17th century. Inside is the image of San Roque, patron saint of Garachico.

On 16th August, the day of San Roque, a festival is held in his honour and the streets of Garachico are filled with people and joy. The pilgrimage of Garachico is one of the most popular fiestas in the north of the island.  

Strolling along the coast towards the old town, we are accompanied by the Roque de Garachico, a small islet located just off the coast and which is one of the icons of the town, declared a Natural Monument in 1987.

Motín del Vino Monument

On our way to the heart of Garachico, we pass on our left a monument made of marble known as the Motín del Vino (Wine Mutiny). The sculpture represents a harvester holding a small barrel of malvasia wine with both hands while with his right foot he steps on another barrel whose contents are spilling.

This work tells us of Garachico’s intimate relationship with wine production and represents the mutiny that took place in 1666, when Canarian labourers tired of the English monopoly on wine production decided to storm the port’s cellars and spill the wine. The streets of Garachico became a large stream.

Liberty Square

The Plaza de La Libertad, in the heart of the historic centre, is the most important square in the town. It is the lungs of Garachico. Life revolves around this pedestrian square surrounded by some of the most important buildings in the town, such as the old Franciscan convent, the Town Hall, the Palace of the Counts of La Gomera and the church of Santa Ana.

Former Franciscan convent of Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles

On one side of the square and converted into the Casa de la Cultura is the former convent of Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles. A double-storey building that hides in its interior two cloisters made of Canary Island pine wood, as well as wooden ceilings decorated with beautiful Mudejar-style craftsmanship.

Palace House of the Counts of La Gomera

A solemn façade made of volcanic stone flanks the south side of the Plaza de La Libertad, known as the Casa Palacio de los Condes de La Gomera or Casa de Piedra because of its stone façade.

Its doors and windows are made of Canary Island pine wood, creating a strong contrast of materials and colours. Inside there is an art space where different cultural and artistic exhibitions are held throughout the year.

Church of Santa Ana

On one side of the square is the church of Santa Ana, the town’s main religious temple and a silent witness to the volcanic eruption that Garachico experienced in 1706.

Santa Ana is one of the most beautiful corners of the village. With its white walls, tower and hipped tile roofs, it is another symbol of the peaceful and welcoming village.

Juan González de la Torre Square

On one side of the Juan González de la Torre square, the iron gates open onto the so-called Puerta de Tierra, one of the most beautiful and important corners of the town.

Located inside a beautiful garden, the Puerta de Tierra was the main access to the port of Garachico, through which all goods entered and left. It represented the gateway to trade with Europe and America until the volcanic eruption of 1706.

San Miguel Castle

The castle of San Miguel is a small defensive fortress built in volcanic stone during the 16th century. A building of military architecture whose function was to guard and protect Garachico from attacks by pirates and corsairs. Today it houses a Heritage Information Centre that is well worth a visit.

El Caletón natural pools

Garachico has an excellent bathing area, known as El Caletón, where you can end this little tour of the old town with a dip in the sea.

The natural pools of El Caletón are located next to San Miguel Castle and represent one of the most unique bathing spots on the island. This is the end of the tour of Garachico, refreshing the body after one of the most recommended visits to make on the island of Tenerife.

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