La Orotava

Centre of the fertile Orotava valley

La Orotava is set in the fertile Orotava valley and is renowned for its stately mansions, elegant parks and stunning architecture.

It is an important cultural centre, but foremost among its delights is the rich heritage of the steep cobbled streets of the old colonial quarter.

The municipality of La Orotava, territorially the largest on the island, stretches from the peak of Teide down to three delightful black sand beaches at Playa Bollullo, Playa de los Patos and Playa del Pozo, which are rarely crowded.

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The church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, the parish church of San Juan Bautista del Farrobo, the former convent of San Agustin, together with the churches of Santo Domingo and San Francisco give testimony to the importance religion played in the development of the town.

But there's much more to La Orotava than just grand churches. It has some even more impressive civic buildings, such as the majestic House of the Balconies, while the Town Hall and Plaza de la Constitución are equally as magnificent.

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The town's Botanical Gardens have over 100 tropical and sub-tropical species from the Americas, Africa and Australia, while the elegant Victoria Gardens also have a good variety of trees and flowers in a magnificent formal setting.

People from all over the world travel to La Orotava every year at the time of Corpus Christi (in June) for the annual Carpet of Flowers celebrations.

Magnificent sand paintings, using materials collected from the vast caldera that surrounds Mount Teide, adorn the Plaza General Franco in front of the town hall and the cobbled streets are decorated with hundreds of intricate and delicate images created largely from the petals of flowers.

La Orotava was the scene of the final capitulation by the native Guanches to the Spanish armies of conquest led by Alonso Fernandez de Lugo in 1496.
The famous German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, on passing through the Orotava valley on his way to the top of Teide, is said to have fallen to his knees in front of so much beauty.

He was moved to write: "I confess to never having observed in any part of the world a scene more varied, more harmonious or more attractive. I can only compare the views with those of the gulfs of Genoa and Naples; but La Orotava exceeds them for the size of its forests and for the richness of its vegetation."

A lookout offering spectacular views of the valley, Mirador Humboldt, is named after him.