La Orotava is a town founded in the 16th century and is the craft centre of Tenerife. The town is located in the Orotava valley overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the coastal town of Puerto de la Cruz. The town has some of the best preserved historical architecture in the Canary Islands, with fine examples of Spanish colonial buildings dating back to the 16th century. La Orotava’s importance grew when wealthy families from La Laguna moved to the area and built mansions and churches in the 18th century. There are many historic places to see in La Orotava.
Getting to La Orotava is easy, just catch a bus. From the bus station at La Orotava follow the signs to the old town.
The old town of La Orotava is an amazing area with narrow hilly streets lined with beautiful 17th and 18th century buildings. Many of the buildings have the traditional teak balconies and internal court yards where the buildings have overlooking teak terraces with palms in the centre of the shaded court yard.
The main square at the Plaza de la Constitución, here there is an amazing view down the Orotava valley to the coast. Here also is the casa da la Cultura San Augustine a monastery church dating back to 1694. There is also a nice café, Bar Parada, in the square where you can relax and enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine or beer.
Just along the Plaza from the café located above the plaza is the brightly painted Liceo de Taoro which is a mansion built in the 19th century and is now a luxury private club and casino. For a small fee you can become a member for the day and enjoy a drink.
The town hall is a 19th century building, painted pink, set in a square lined with beautiful old buildings and tall palm trees. From here you should walk up the narrow hilly street to the Calle San Francisco where the highlight of La Orotava is located, Los Casas de los Balcones (The Houses of the Balconies).
These are two magnificent 17th century houses that have been joined together and you get a real feel of the Spanish colonial times. The exterior of the buildings have a series of impressive carved teak balconies. Inside there is court yard with palms and ferns with overhanging balconies and a small museum where you can see hoe the families that lived here existed.
There is shop here selling embroidery and traditional items and a fine wine shop at the rear of the courtyard.
Opposite Los Casas de los Balcones is casa del Turista which was built in 1590 and was once a convent. Here there is a coffee shop and gift and craft shop. The Casa del Turista has a car park and the terrace has fantastic views over the Orotava valley to the sea.
Just up the hill is the Plaza San Francisco where there are the remains of an old gofio mill and a fine specimen of a dragon tree.
Where is La Orotava
La Oratava is situated in the north of Tenerife in the La Orotava valley above the seaside resort of Puerto de la Cruz. La Orotava is approximately 105km by road from the southern resort of Playa de las Americas and the journey takes about 1 hour 15 minutes.