Perched 600 metres above sea level in the south of the island, the picturesque town of Granadilla is surrounded by mountains and ravines, its hilly vista a hotch-potch of rural houses, terrace farms and vineyards. Recently, foreigners and locals alike have scooped scores of aging farmhouses in the region’s mountainous climbs. Once you get off the shabby main road and into the sleepy streets that make up Granadilla’s historical centre, it’s clear what affect this has had on the old part of town. Buildings are newly coloured in bright hues, cheery flowers are paraded on almost every windowsill and the year 2004 can be found etched onto inaugural plaques.
It’s easy to picture this knot of cobbled streets soon lined with chic boutiques, specialist shops and trendy restaurants. Whether that’ll be the case is anyone’s guess, though there is one current project, which promises to add to the increasingly well-to-do air about town – the development of a luxury Spa hotel ‘Casa Colina’, bang in the heart of the picturesque old town.
Whether or not it transforms itself into the Provence of Tenerife, Granadilla is still a pleasant place in which to enjoy a gentle stroll, one or two cultural stops and a spot of lunch.
Abona was one of the Menceyatos (Guanche kingdoms) established prior to Spanish invasion. The name of Granadilla was not added until the 16th century. From the moment the island was captured, settlers soon arrived to populate the area and the town was founded. A church was quickly erected and Granadilla gained the status of parish in 1617.
Due to inadequate routes, in order to reach the rest of the island from town, the inhabitants were forced to travel by boat from the ports of El Médano and Los Abrigos, until the 1930’s saw the road of the south finally extend to the town itself.
What to see
Convento de San Luis Obispo
Situated opposite the town hall, in the well-kept Plaza de Gonzalez Mena, this 17th century Franciscan convent is now a venue for cultural events. A fire ravaged the building in the early 1990s, requiring extensive restoration work. The refurbishment was completed just two months ago and the convent is now open to visitors (weekdays from 10.00 to 13.00 and 16.00 to 20.00).
La Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua
Built in the 1600’s, this church has an unassuming dark stone façade, which shifts the spotlight onto its bright white stripe of a tower. The church tower was added over a century and a half later, after the main structure was built. Relief columns and a floral-themed frieze frame the entrance, while the interior continues the unimposing style, with simple whitewashed walls and wooden pews and adornments.
What to do
Eat al fresco
A small picnic area with barbeque grills is situated on the left hand side of the road as you drive into town. While there are better places in the island to hold an outdoor social gathering, this provides a cosy lunch spot for two.
Break a sweat
There are several hikes in and around the hills of Granadilla, mainly heading towards the towns of La Fuente and Vilaflor. Most of the treks start by the church. Walking maps are available at the Hotel Senderos de Abona (see Where to stay) next door and if you’re a hotel guest they can also arrange a guided walking tour with a Belgian gentleman who lives in town, or with Jeep Safari Tamarán (00 34 922 794 757), a company based in Los Cristianos.
Brush up on your history
Located in an old Canarian house in the old part of town, the Museo de la Historia de Granadilla de Abona (History Museum of Granadilla de Abona) details the town’s past from the time of the Guanche people. A total of 12 rooms provide exhibits, displaying objects and photos that describe, amongst other topics, the town’s agricultural practises, popular customs and folklore dress.
922 660 803; Calle Architeco Marrero, 11; opening from 10.00 to 14.00 and 16.00 to 20.00, closed weekends; free entrance
Yvonne’s Flores y Regalos
This little shop a few steps away from the church has an impossibly pretty setting. Taking up half of the ground floor of a restored Canarian house, the entrance lies at the end of a garden littered with flowers. As the name suggests, this store sells flower arrangements and gifts, such as candles, glasses and photo frames.
Calle el Pino, 36 (on the corner of Calle Architecto Marrero), open from 10.00 to 14.00 and 16.00 to 18.00, closed Sundays
Located along the main road just past the town hall, this shop specialises in art supplies. There’s a good stock of paints, brushes and canvasses, as well as a side room for full of figurine moulds and ready-to paint plaster statuettes. For wannabe artists the store runs oil painting classes (in Spanish) on Monday mornings during the spring/summer period. Ask at the shop for more details.
Calle el Calvario, 4; open from 09.30 to 13.00 and 16.30 to 20.00, Saturdays 10.00 to 13.00, closed Sundays
This is the central branch of a chain of shops specialising in home decoration and furnishings. Free home delivery, store credit and wedding lists are some of the services they offer.
922 770 665; Calle Garajonay, 2; open from 09.00 to 13.00 and 16.00 to 20.00, Saturdays 10.00 to 13.00
Where to stay
Hotel Rural Senderos de Abona
Formerly the old post office, this 19th century family-owned hotel is hard to miss. Perched on a steep slope by the Iglesia San Antonio, the exterior is bright yellow. Set amidst tall palms, this beautifully restored rustic building has shady gardens with hammocks, fountains, fruit trees, a barbeque area and even a swimming pool. The romantic rooms are straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, with velvet lampshades, dusty Persian rugs and a cacophony of patterned fabrics. There’s even a museum in which every available surface parades a rusting agricultural tool or an aged instrument.
922 770 200; C/ Peatonal de la Iglesia, 5; www.senderosdeabona.com;
[email protected]; double rooms from €65 a night, junior suite from €95, including breakfast
Pension Dos Hermanos
Located on the main road, this pension is run by the same people that own the bar next door. The rooms are very basic, but at least they’re clean and all en-suite.
922 770 735; Avda Fundador Gonzalo González; double rooms from €30 a night
Casa Rural El Traspatio
Situated in the historical centre next door to the museum, this rural hotel accommodates a grand total of just eight guests. Split into three rustic-style apartments, each living area has its own lounge with sofa bed, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and double bedroom. Spacious patios and palm-filled terraces make up the communal areas. It’s preferred that guests stay a minimum of three nights.
922 630 596; Arquitecto Marrero, 9; www.toprural.es; apartments from €48 a night
Where to eat
The décor of this converted Canarian house takes its inspiration from one of Spain’s most famous artists. Stylish splashes of colour and a picking of Picasso prints liven up the rustic interior. Aside from main course dishes, this cosy eatery serves a good selection of well-prepared tapas, such as meatballs in mustard sauce. The menu is available in a range of languages to cater for the varied foreign clientele. Choose from a booth or a table. Alternatively, dine alfresco on the front patio.
922 774 477; Calle del Pino, 15; average price for a main course, €5; average price for a tapa, €3 ;open from 12.00 till midnight everyday
Restaurant El Terrero
Located within the Hotel Rural Senderos de Abona, this low-key eatery serves Canarian dishes. You can dine in a range of settings, from the elegantly decorated main salon to a number of outdoor terraces. You can even pull up a chair in the hotel’s own Canarian museum.
922 770 200; C/ Peatonal de la Iglesia, 5; average price for a main course, €5; open from 18.00 to 22.00
Serving mainly Bavarian and Austrian cuisine, Casa Tagoro claims to have a young, fresh and creative menu. Antique tables and chairs embellish the restaurant, which also has a courtyard bar.
922 772 240; Calle Tagoro, 28; average price for a main course, €6, open from 18.30 to 24.00, Sundays 12.30 to 24.00, closed Mondays.
Found opposite the ayuntamiento, this friendly little bar serves the Venezuelan snack – arepas (fried polento scones). Even if you’re not peckish, they do a great cup of coffee, which you can sip in front of a hammy South American telenovela (soap) usually showing on the corner TV.
922 770 569; Calle Arquitecto Marrero; average price for a snack, €5; open from 07.30 to 23.00 weekdays, Saturdays 13.00 to 16.00, Sundays 13.00 to 23.00
As with most small towns on the island, there isn’t much in the way of nightlife aside from a clutch of restaurants. Evenings in Granadilla are generally as peaceful as the days. The only exception is when it’s fiesta time. The biggest festival on 13th June honours Saint Antonio de Padua, the Patron saint of Granadilla. Decorated floats parade through town, while musicians and folklore groups lead the dancing and singing.
There’s a taxi stand on the main road, Avenida Fundador Gonzalo González, adjacent to the post office or you can also call a cab from the local firm on 922 392 119.
There are a handful of banks along the main road of Calle el Calvario.
There’s a small office located in the Hotel Rural Senderos de Abona (922 770 362) which is closed until autumn because the office worker is on maternity leave. The nearest alternative tourist office is located in El Médano, a ten minute drive away.
But, if all you need is a map, you can pick one up in the town hall on Plaza González Mena.
There’s a tiny car park in front of the church, although it’s not too difficult to find a parking space near the old part of town.