Wander along the cobbled streets of this charming fishing village, where whitewashed houses and brightly colored cottages belie a surprisingly turbulent history.
Garachico in Tenerife is known for its natural volcanic rock pools and distinctly Canarian culture. Bordered by the rocky coast and packed with well-preserved colonial buildings, the town is remarkably beautiful in spite of the disasters it has suffered over the years.
The city was Tenerife’s most important port until it was struck with an unlucky series of floods, fires, storms and epidemics. Although Garachico managed to survive these initial calamities, it was then hit with a major volcanic eruption in 1706. The eruption destroyed the port and half the town, leaving it unfit for commercial shipping.
Today the natural pools, formed when the destructive eruption reached the ocean, are a major tourist attraction. Known as El Caléton, this beach and its pools are surrounded by walkways for sunbathing or simply enjoying scenic coastal views. Swim in the warm waters and watch fish swimming below the surface.
Next to the volcanic rock pools, find Castillo San Miguel. One of the few buildings to survive the 1706 eruption, this modest fortress was originally constructed in the 16th century to protect the city from pirates. Look for a crucifix attributed to Spanish sculptor and architect Martín de Andújar. Appreciate the picturesque views from the castle’s ramparts, noting the two solidified rivers of lava that cling to the mountainside.
Explore the small nature museum inside Convento de San Francisco. Constructed in 1524, this former Franciscan monastery is the oldest building in Garachico. Notice the old photographs and maps in the building’s House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura), which provide interesting insight into the city’s history.
Admire the intricate ceiling design in the nearby Church of San Francisco. Look inside 18th-century Church of Santa Ana to see its gorgeous Baroque altarpiece.
One of the most exciting times of year to visit Garachico is during the San Roque Festival in August. Reach Garachico by bus from nearby destinations like Puerto de la Cruz, La Laguna and Santa Cruz.