La Orotava, located north of the largest Canary Island, Tenerife.
It’s a town that has been declared as being of national historic and artistic interest because of its traditional Canarian buildings and churches.
It’s placed at the foot of Tiede Mountain, making it the perfect place for growing the fruit it is famous for, bananas. You can’t go too far without seeing a banana tree in this town.
Another fruit that grows abundantly here is grapes, making this a good city to make wine in. The day that the wineries start to taste their new wine of the year is also on the occasion of Fiesta de San Andrés (usually late November).
This festival is to celebrate Saint Andrew, the first disciple of Jesus. There is dancing, music, food (including a lot of roasted chestnuts) and the new wines are all tasted.
There some traditions that are unique to Tenerife happen at this festival, such as the children running through the streets with pots, pans, cans, and anything that they can get to make a lot of noise. The whole town will join together to celebrate, and it’s really a good time to visit if you want to get involved with some traditions of the island.
The town is also well known for Dragon trees. Named this as the legend says when a dragon dies they turn into one of these trees. You’ll be able to see lots of these, as well as pineapple plants and 3,000 other species of plant in the towns very own Botanical gardens, La Hijuela del Botánico. Some of the plants you’ll see here are unique to the Canary Islands, and are under threat of extinction, so the botanical gardens are a very important place.
If you appreciate the nature, but want a bit more liveliness when you visit, I suggest visiting during Corpus Christi, which is usually around the start of June. You will see the streets covered with flowers, and coloured volcanic sand laid down by artists into patterns.
The beauty of the event comes at a price; all the streets are closed to traffic to protect these flower carpets. The day after the flower carpets are created a religious parade goes around it, destroying the carpets on their way.
It’s a remarkable event celebrated by the whole island. La Orotava has the most impressive displays to celebrate it. All around the weekend, celebrations will be taking place in the forms of music, dancing and drinking.
The town has a lot more to offer than just its festivals. La Orotava has some wonderful architecture, as well as fantastically stunning churches to see.
One of the finest churches is La Concepción, built in 1516. The Güimar volcano erupted in 1704-1705, destroyed the church. It was declared a National Historic Artistic Monument in 1948 and was rebuilt in 1768. Its distinguishing features are the two bell towers, measuring 24 metres high; it’s a very impressive site to be seen.