Largely untouched by tourists despite being considered the holiest site in the Canary Islands, this small atmospheric town buzzes with life, particularly on Sundays. Narrow pedestrian streets are lined with little shops selling everything from kitsch religious items to more conventional souvenirs, while the traditional tapas bars and seafood restaurants are largely geared towards a discerning local clientele.
- Start Bar Mencey
- End El Muelle
- Length 1.4km; one hour
If you’re arriving by bus head down to Plaza Teror via Avenida Condesa de Abona, stopping at earthy and local Bar Mencey with its postage-stamp-size interior, complete with TV and slot machines. Head to the outside terrace with slices of sea views across the way, and enjoy a strong coffee and tostada con aceite (toast with olive oil).
Facing you is the tourist office, where you can grab a map and set off on one (or more!) of its five recommended Rutas de Tapas (tapas routes), to sample a variety of small dishes from various bars around town.
Get into the soul-stirring mood by checking out the religious statues, shrink-wrapped Santa Ritas, photos, plaques, candles and holograms of the Virgin Mary at La Casa de las Imágenes, which claims to have the largest selection of religious imagery in Spain.
The grandiose Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria sits on a vast plaza and is home to the Virgen de la Candelaria, the patron saint of the Canaries. You can’t miss the nine bronze, life-size statues of the former Guanche Menceys who ruled over the island before the Spanish conquest.
Just past the basilica, steps lead up the right-hand side to the signposted Centro Alferero de Candelaria, a small and very informative pottery museum. There's also a lovely shop where you buy the typical red pots, including the appealing jarra de vino (wine jug). There's an excellent 20-minute film that the attendant will start for you.
A Fishy Lunch
Retrace your walk and follow the sea past the churros kiosks, playground and small black beach, Playa el Pozo, until you reach the harbour and El Muelle, a popular seafood restaurant with a large terrace out back with harbour views that serves battered prawns, octopus vinaigrette, cuttlefish with garlic, fish of the day and tuna with mojo.
- Backstreet eats
- Religious culture
Car If you’re driving, take exit 9 off the TF-1 motorway.
Bus Buses 111, 112, 115, 116, 122, 123, 124 and 131 connect the town with Santa Cruz (€2.35, 30 minutes).