Venture away from coastal Tenerife to discover the hidden gem that is La Orotava. With historic buildings, stunning architecture and beautiful gardens, this town is not to be missed. The top-quality hotels and restaurants here also offer incredible value for money, and the hiking in the area is some of Tenerife’s finest.
Located in northern Tenerife, La Orotava is located on top of a hill in the most lush, fertile region of the island. This pretty town is surrounded by the banana plantations, chestnut orchards and vineyards of the valley, and is a short distance from the coast. To the south, Mount Teide National Park looms over the landscape.
The Old Town of La Orotava is a lovely place to stroll around, as it’s full of original Canarian architectural features such as cobbled streets, Castilian mansions and dark wooden balconies. During the first half of June each year, the town is also filled with flowers to celebrate the Corpus Christi festival.
Unspoiled La Orotava is one of Tenerife’s most picturesque spots. Some of the historic and religious buildings here date back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It’s also a very popular area for hiking into the pine woods of the interior, while enjoying coastal views from more elevated sites.
If you’re spending time in the north of Tenerife, then paying La Orotava a visit should not be missed. This guide will show you where to stay and eat, what to see and do and how to get to this beautiful place. If you too want to visit La Orotava, read on so you can plan your ideal itinerary.
You can take bus lines 102 and 108 to get to La Orotava from Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The journey takes around 35 to 40 minutes, and the fare costs about 4,30€. Alternatively, you could take a taxi, which typically takes 25 minutes and costs 30€ to 40€.
From Puerto de la Cruz, the easiest and cheapest way to get to La Orotava is via the local bus lines 351 and 104. This trip costs 1,45€ and takes 5 minutes. A taxi should cost around €8-11 for the same journey.
Things to Do in La Orotava
Top of the list of what to see in La Orotava is the House of the Balconies. This dates back to 1632 and is La Orotava’s best-known attraction. The three-storey home has carved wooden balconies clustered around a typical Canarian central courtyard, plus those that can be seen from the exterior. Each balcony is decorated with flowers, and elaborate motifs also decorate the building and its courtyard.
A museum shows visitors how the house looked in the past and you can see original antiques. The museum offers lacework displays and demonstrations, and you can also find out about Canarian wicker work, weaving and wine making here.
A visit here is a must for anyone interested in history, tradition, architecture, handicrafts and folklore. Step into Casa de Los Balcones and you really do feel as if you’ve been transported into another era. Book in advance if you can, as numbers are restricted. There is free visitor parking directly opposite.
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Price: 5 euros + 1 euro if you want an audio guide in English, Italian, German, French or Spanish.
Location: Google Maps
The Jardines Victoria is another of La Orotava’s most treasured attractions. Dating from the 18th century, they were constructed in a classical French style, with terraces that appear to tumble down the hillside. Colourful flowers, palm trees, fountains and a stream running through a ravine also add to the appeal.
A tomb created for Don Diego de Ponte, the Marqués de la Quinta Roja, is also here. It’s a mystery regarding what’s actually inside the Carrara marble mausoleum though, as the wife and mother of the Marquess apparently disagreed regarding his final resting place.
It’s worth visiting Victoria Gardens just for the breathtaking views alone, which are nothing short of incredible. The neatly laid out site is also abundant in a rather ordered sort of beauty. In terms of things to do in La Orotava, the gardens are among the most popular.
Hours: Weekdays from 9 AM to 8 PM, weekends 9.30 AM to 8.30 PM.
Location: Google Maps
Wander through the Botanical Garden
Hijuela del Botánico can be found west of Jardines Victoria, behind the town hall. Though compact in size, La Orotava botanical gardens boasts a good selection of exotic plants from all over the planet, plus an impressive dragon tree at the centre. As it’s free to visit, you can wander in and out as you please.
In 2008, the Botanical Garden was designated a Site of Cultural Interest. It was originally created to complement the larger Botanical Garden in Puerto de la Cruz.
3,000 species of flora can be found here, including a lofty Norfolk Pine, an Indian chestnut tree and Australian conifers. There are plenty of seats here for taking a break, plus local butterflies and birds fluttering around while you explore.
Hours: Weekdays from 9 AM to 6 PM, weekends 10 AM to 3 PM.
Location: Google Maps
La Orotava’s neoclassical town hall was erected on the former site of the San José Monastery in 1895. It can be found in Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where the Octava del Corpus festival occurs yearly in June. During the celebrations, you can see a vast, religious scene here that is crafted from volcanic sand by local artists.
Both floors of the town hall display stunning artworks, original furnishings and other period curios dating as far back as the 16th century. If you visit northern Tenerife during the feast of Corpus Christi don’t miss out, as the sand and flower scene holds the record as the world’s biggest floral carpet.
Hours: Weekdays from 8 AM to 1.30 PM, weekends – closed.
Location: Google Maps
Casa Lercaro is a palatial building displaying Baroque and Italian design features. It is also home to a pair of courtyards. The central one contains Corinthian-style columns, cafe and native and tropical plants, while the second houses a water mill dating back to the 16th century. A lovely garden and traditional balconies also embellish the exterior.
Inside this Property of Cultural Interest you’ll find a selection of replica and antique furniture. You can also buy artworks at the shop here, as there’s a range of pretty objects offered for sale.
Due to its beauty, Casa Lecaro has often been used as a film and TV set. It’s considered by some to be the most archetypal traditional Canarian home on the archipelago. The cafe here is also a great place to sample traditional Canarian cuisine.
Hours: Daily from 12.30 to 6:30 PM.
Location: Google Maps
Enjoy a Taste of the Cheese Fair
The local cheese festival (Feria del Queso de Canarias) occurs during April in La Orotava, when it’s held at the Pinolere Ethnographic Museum and Park (location). You can sample cheese from all over the Canaries during the two-day event.
It comes with a wide-ranging activity programme too, so kids can try their hand at milking while adults try the wines and craft beers of the Valle de La Orotava.
The Corpus Christi festival is a religious event that’s practised by Roman Catholics worldwide. La Orotava is home to Tenerife’s most spectacular celebration in June, where carpets of flowers and volcanic sand decorate the town.
Plaza de Ayuntamiento (located here) is at the centre of it all, and here coloured sands from El Teide are used by artists to create a stunning biblical scene decorated with branches, petals, and leaves. This world record holder is a month or more in the making.
Iglesia de la Concepción is in the centre of La Orotava, and its history can be traced back to the early 16th century. The current structure dates from the late 18th century, as earthquakes destroyed it during the early 18th century.
This church with two tall bell towers is one of the best examples of baroque architecture in the Canary Islands. It has intricate stonework, lovely stained glass and elaborate wood carvings within. You can also see the original marble altar at this national monument, which was rescued after the earthquakes.
Where: Find it on Google Maps here.
Museo de Artesanía Iberoamericana showcases the artistic and cultural ties between Central and South America and the Canary Islands. The building was once the San Benito Abad convent.
Things to see here include ceramics, musical instruments, baskets, textiles, furniture and other antiquities from Latin America and the Canaries. There’s also a great gift shop here for picking up some objets d’art of your own. Make sure you see the timple while you’re here, a Canarian take on the ukulele.
Hours: Monday-Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM, Saturdays – 10 AM – 2 PM, Sundays – closed.
Location: Google Maps
You can see the whole of the Orotava Valley from Humboldt Viewpoint, plus of course majestic Mount Teide and other volcanoes. The viewpoint is named for a prominent explorer.
At Mirador de Humboldt you can look out over the banana plantations, volcanoes and vineyards of the valley from the huge picture windows. It’s around 3 miles (or 5 kilometres) from La Orotava.
Location: Google Maps
Some of the most scenic spots in Tenerife are located within the picturesque La Orotava Valley. Take a hike and you can see banana plantations, fertile vineyards and pine forests. Valle de la Orotava formed after a landslide that occurred over 550,000 years ago.
The famous organ pipes are basalt pillars standing between 100 and 150 metres tall. You can only see them from a small section of the TF21 highway, after leaving the village of Aguamansa.
To walk to the organ pipes, use this map to take a moderate 8.0-km loop trail beginning in the recreational area of La Caldera. It’s a good one to follow all year round, and takes around three-and-a half hours. If you can, go counterclockwise as it’s easier for tackling the terrain.
Alternatively, go for a slightly longer circular hike in this area.
You can use this map to follow a 5.6-km loop trail through the Corona Forestal Natural Park. It starts and ends at the La Caldera recreational car park, and takes about two hours to complete. Expect to see lots of other hikers en route, as well as birdwatchers.
Though this is in essence a woodland walk, you can catch some spectacular coastal glimpses. With no La Orotava beach, this is the closest you’re going to get in this part of the island.
If you like, continue the walk down to Aguamansa, where you can enjoy a cool drink at the local cafe. Good shoes are recommended for this trek, and it’s not ideal for kids due to exposed sections.
For more hikes in the La Orotava area, check out the selection at the All Trails website.
Best Places to Stay
Best – Hotel Rural Victoria
This three star hotel in La Orotava is situated between the mountains and ocean in northern Tenerife. There are just 13 rooms here, plus one luxury suite, giving the property an intimate feel.
Hotel Rural Victoria is centrally located close to all the sights, including the famous House of the Balconies and the Jardines Victoria. The property offers some guest parking, helpful staff, a great breakfast, lovely views and clean, comfortable accommodation.
Best – Hotel Alhambra
This hotel is housed in a historic Canarian mansion. As well as original features such as parquet flooring and ornate plasterwork, the property offers spacious accommodation, deluxe bathrooms, a sauna, a games room, an outdoor pool and free tea and coffee all day long.
The owner Jorge is only too happy to share their local expertise with guests, and this elegant hotel has a most welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. A delicious continental breakfast is served daily, and you’ll find charming artworks and antique furnishings throughout.
Mid-Range – Hotel Rural Orotava
Hotel Rural Orotava can also be found close to sights like Casa de Los Balcones, Victoria Gardens and Nuestra Señora de la Concepción Church. It’s a real treat to stay here, in one of the town’s oldest villas with an interior courtyard.
Period furniture and original decor can be found at this mid-range hotel, including within the rooms. The property also has a library, a restaurant serving authentic, home-made Canarian dishes, and a historic wine cellar.
Budget – Pension Silene Orotava
If you want to save your cash, Pension Silene Orotava is the best choice in the budget category. Many rooms here come with an ocean view terrace or a lounge area. All have a private shower room, and a continental breakfast is served here daily in the central courtyard.
As a family-run pension since 1970, this place offers a warm welcome. It’s situated in the historic heart of La Orotava, close to local cafes and attractions. The building has been a family home since the 19th century, and guests have access to a couple of elegant drawing rooms here.
Our Favorite Restaurants in La Orotava
One of the best La Orotava restaurants can be found at Casa Lercaro which we already mentioned above. It’s housed in the flower-filled courtyard, and serves a range of traditional Canarian dishes.
For homemade, authentic Canarian food, come to Bar Los Castillos. It’s tiny, but offers friendly service plus local food and wine.
If you fancy a burger or some Tex-Mex fare and great value for money, head to this joint. The nachos come very highly recommended.
Though it’s a little out of town, locals and visitors flock here for delicious and very affordable gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian food.
If you would decide to try one of the hikes we mentioned above, this eatery in Aguamansa will come in handy. Not only the location is great but it serves excellent Spanish and Canarian specialities.
To sample local fare such as Canarian potatoes, soups and meat dishes, this centrally located restaurant and bar is very much recommended.
Breakfast, brunch, coffee and desserts are King at Relieve. The sweet treats are superb, but get in quick as there’s just three tables.
Generous portions are the order of the day at Ohana, so head here when you’re hungry for croquettes, sandwiches, burgers, churros and more.
Expect the best burgers and fries in town at this centrally located little gem. The sandwiches are also very good.
For great breakfasts, delicious Spanish tortilla and more, RetaMar is the business. You can dine on the terrace here too.
Map of La Orotava Attractions
To explore Tenerife to the fullest and at your own pace, we highly recommend renting a car. Our favourite place for car rental is the RentalCars website. It allows you to compare different providers and pick the best deal. You also get the best protection and flexibility for booking terms.
We also recommend taking at least one guided tour. Our favourite place for booking tours in Tenerife is GetYourGuide.
Top 3 excursions on the island:
- A whale and dolphin watching (pick by location: Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes).
- Stargazing in Teide National Park
- Kayaking and Snorkeling with Turtles
The best hotels for families with kids (in our opinion):
Luxury: GF Victoria (Costa Adeje) or Bahia Principe Fantasia (Golf del Sur)
Mid-Range: Spring Hotel Bitácora (Playa de las Americas) or Iberostar Bouganville Playa (Costa Adeje)
Budget: GF Isabel (Costa Adeje) or Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle Hotel (Los Cristianos)
The best adults-only hotels:
Luxury: Iberostar Grand El Mirador (Costa Adeje) or Gran Melia Palacio de Isora (Alcalá)
Mid-Range: Tigotan Lovers & Friends (Playa de las Americas) or Iberostar Selection Sábila (Costa Adeje)
Budget: Barceló Santiago (Puerto de Santiago)
Top hotels for everyone:
Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton, Abama or Bahia del Duque (Costa Adeje)
Mid-Range: Hard Rock Hotel (Playa Paraiso) or Dreams Jardin Tropical Resort & Spa (Costa Adeje)
Budget: Alexandre Hotel Gala or Olé Tropical Tenerife (both Playa de las Americas)