… Let tradition and history guide the way
Icod de los Vinos and Garachico are two of the most historic and emblematic towns in Tenerife.
Despite having two very different stories, the elegance and grandeur of the buildings in both Icod de los Vinos and Garachico and their history go hand in hand. Both towns are in the western region of Tenerife and they were both founded at a similar time (1501 and 1496 respectively). Because of this, I'm going to write an article about both towns together.
Here at Tenerife Travel Secrets, we want you to be able to easily find the most emblematic and beautiful places in Tenerife – as if you were a local. As such, we're going to describe the ideal day you might spend in Icod de los Vinos and Garachico.
The ideal route starts in Icod de los Vinos. Before arriving in town, you'll be able to enjoy one of the best views of Mount Teide as its splendour looms. Upon arrival, you should try to park close to el Drago Milenario – although parking here can be somewhat of an impossible challenge, particularly in the morning. From here, you walk towards San Marcos Church, passing through until you arrive at Plaza de la Pila. The town's culture and architectural design are heavily linked to the religious world.
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There is a palm tree with seven branches in the peaceful and unique Plaza de la Pila. As they explained to us at The Palmetum, the tree probably became diseased and grew another branch (that survived) before it died.
Afterwards, don't miss out on the opportunity to go into the park, where you can marvel at the size of the Millennial Dragon Tree of Icod. Over 1,000 years old, its roots stretch out and reach 'La Palma' (which is the palm tree next to it) 😊
After that, I would take the car and, if it's a nice day, head to Playa de San Marcos. With its peaceful atmosphere, black sand and incredible places to eat, this beach is very popular with the locals.
After spending a bit of time and having something to eat at the beach, drive over to Garachico. The road into town is gorgeous, as it runs along the coast. After going through a tunnel, you'll be able to see la Ermita de San Roque and, after that, you'll see what is perhaps the most prominent part of Garachico: the Monumento Natural del Roque de Garachico (1994). It is located only 300 meters away from the short. However, access to this part of the coast sadly isn't possible.
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Garachico Rock is of volcanic origin. There's hardly any plant life nearby but, due to its height of 77m, it is an ideal refuge for migratory birds.
When you get into town, park the car on the main road and visit the natural pools in El Caletón. Afterwards, walk until you get to Castillo de San Miguel and, from there, cross the road and walk to Parque de la Antigua Puerta de Tierra. When you arrive in the town centre, you'll find churches, buildings and convents like la Iglesia Mátriz de Santa Ana – which is the home of the Marquis of Quinta Roja Casa. There is also the Palacio de los Condes de La Gomera, the Convento de Santo Domingo de Guzmán and the Convento Agustino de San Julián – as well as the former convent of San Francisco de Assis, which is now the Casa de la Cultura. Many of these monuments can be found close to Plaza de la Libertad and the Simón Bolivar monument.
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Garachico is famous for El Volcán Negro (the Black Volcano) which erupted in 1709, and buried a large part of the village. At the entrance to the village, there is a house that shows how the village was before the eruption.
Outside of the town, you can walk around and experience the La Culata Cliffs or the Madre del Agua Ravine.
In terms of accommodation, apartments and rustic houses are the most common type available in Icod. However, Garachico is home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful hotels in the north of Tenerife. You can find the charming 4-star Hotel La Quinta Roja (a hotel and manor house) in Garachico's main square. With a motto of 'a natural way of living', everything in this hotel combines to create the perfect stay. Not too far away from Hotel La Quinta Roja is Hotel San Roque, which is an enchanting boutique hotel operated in an 18th-century house with a swimming pool. Hotel Rural El Patio can be found in the middle of a banana plantation that is a bit outside of Garachico's town centre. It is a charming location and has a courtyard that is filled with centuries old palm trees.
The entertainment in this part of the island is largely based around cultural and traditional festivals, like the August festival in Garachico to celebrate the Festividades de San Roque. We particularly recommend that you go and experience the dance of the magicians and the San Roque pilgrimage on 16th August. On the other hand, Icod is one of the best wine producing regions in Tenerife. Because of this, the Festival of San Andrés takes place between 28th and 30th November to celebrate the new crops. During this time, you can also taste the newly produced wine in the local bodegas (wine cellars) in Plaza de la Constitución. And finally, the festival is capped off with the famous Bajada de Las Tablas – a tradition originating in the 16th century where local young people slide through the streets on improvised sledges.
With all that walking and partying, you're going to need to find a place to eat! We recommend you go to Restaurante El Drago, a restaurant located on the edge of Carretera del Guincho, for their signature octopus dishes. In Icod, Restaurante Augustín y Rosa has some delicious meals.
Due to their rich history, beauty and refined and traditional architecture, a visit to these two towns is definitely a must. You can take a leisurely walk through the streets and feel like you've gone back in time. The architectural design in both towns remains very faithful to the island's traditions and, since we don't want you to miss out on any opportunity during your visit to Tenerife, a joint visit to both of these towns will, at the very least, leave you satisfied by the history and wonder of the area. Icod de los Vinos and Garachico are great places to spend a relaxing day – and are often empty of tourists during the week.