Calle Colegio, La Orotava
Calle Colegio, La Orotava
Founded at the beginning of the 16th century, La Orotava’s first two centuries of existence proved very prosperous. Surrounded by the best agricultural land on the island, a thriving wine production industry soon got under way and splendid mansions and religious buildings were built with the proceeds. The town went through a period of decline during the 18th before the it was reinvigorated in the 19th century thanks to cochineal and then banana production.

The town is full of well-preserved architectural treasures from throughout its history, but is perhaps most famous for its traditional 17th century balconied mansions built around a central atrium. The most famous example is the Casa de los Balcones on Calle San Francisco (open to the public).

Other attractions include the Baroque Iglesia de La Concepción – built between 1767 and 1788 on the site where the previous church had been destroyed by an earthquake – and the 17th century Iglesia de San Agustín.

Carpets of Flowers and Sand

If you’re lucky enough to visit La Orotava during Corpus Christi, then you’re in for a real treat. Since 1847, locals have been decorating their squares and streets with Alfombras de Flores y Arena (carpets of flowers and sand) to celebrate the occasion. The images produced are of incredible detail and quality and are a sight to behold.