If you want to impress your friends, take them to Garachico. The town and harbour in the north west of the island is small enough to walk around in 20 minutes but I don´t know anyone who has done that.
We parked along the seafront, El Caletón. It was a lovely day, the sea was a high as we walked amongst the rock pools but not high enough to be cordoned off, as sometimes happens in the spring, when the waves can be spectacular but dangerous. It is here that the council have created walkways and paved areas, where people can sunbathe, go swimming or just walk amongst the lava flow, which once buried most of the town in the 1700s. The small beachfront cafe had closed so we strolled up into the town, checking out the beautiful Canarian wooden balconies on many of the buildings along the way.
We headed for the Plaza de la Libertad, a typical Canarian square, surrounded by old houses and small cafes where you can while away time nursing a drink by the bandstand in the shade of the trees. At the edge of the square is the Convento de San Francisco. The convent and church are the oldest buildings in town and house the town’s museum. For the €0.60, entrance fee you see the exhibition that describes how the lava stopped just at the edge of the town, but it is also worth visiting for the fine carvings and beautiful floors around the central courtyard.
Fortunately, our dogs are small, so tucked under our arm we entered the Church of Santa Ana to see the figure of Christ made by the Tarasco Indians in the 16th century. Then down to Plaza de Abajo, a small park where the famous ‘Puerta de Tierra’ (Land Gate), one of the few remains from when Garachico was destroyed, can be found. The park also contains the old wine press, huge and overgrown with flowering shrubs. On turning again, we spied a suggestion that a drink was in order, it was a statue holding a barrel of wine. This commemorates the occasion when in 1666 the local wine producers poured barrel after barrel of wine down the drain in protest to the prices the British were charging. Finally we went to the strange Museo de Carpintería y Vinoteca part exhibition of old woodworking tools and part wine shop – what is this obsession with wine.
After a pleasant afternoon in Garachico we headed for the car taking in the view from the ramparts of Castillo de San Miguel, a small fort built to guard the harbour from pirates.
As you leave Garachico, you can easily make a detour to see the famous Drago Tree in Icod de los Vinos or visit Puerto de la Cruz, however we had seen so many references to wine that we decided it was straight home for a few glasses of plonk on the patio.