The Canary Islands complex is a Spanish archipelago. It is the southernmost autonomous community located in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Morocco, at the closest point. They belong to the African Plate, like the cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the African mainland. The eight volcanic, main islands are (from largest to smallest in the area) Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa – though the archipelago includes many other smaller islands.
The archipelago's beaches, climate (it is warm during the entire year), flora, and fauna are essential natural attractions that get the attention of many visitors every year. These amazing volcanic islands hide real natural treasures and have a very relevant and long historical background. The islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the most touristic ones and also the most populated. In this story, I want to tell you about an excellent place on the island of Tenerife, which is known as Valle de la Orotava and located by the Teide Volcano.
The Orotava Valley (Spanish: Valle de la Orotava) is an area in the northern part of the island of Tenerife. The valley measures 10 km by 11 km and stretches from the north coast to about 2,000 m elevation, at the northern foot of the Teide summit. To the west and east, the valley is delimited by two steep escarpments, respectively, the Ladera de Tigaiga and the Ladera de Santa Ursula. The valley takes its name from La Orotava. In the era of the Guanches, before the conquest by the Spanish in 1496, the valley was known as Taoro.
Because of its morphology, it looks more like a very steep plateau than a valley, since from the Teide, it descends on a broad and sloping plane, with little steep slopes, to bathe on the Atlantic coast. Although much has been built in the valley, it still retains the exotic splendor of yesteryear, lush vegetation, and large areas of banana trees.
The geographer and naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt had described the valley as 'the most beautiful corner in the world.' To his honor, there is a viewpoint known as 'The Humboldt viewpoint,' which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the entire Orotava Valley - the German geographer and naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt is considered the “Father of Universal Modern Geography.”
The valley got its name from the main town, Orotava. The historical churches and the elegant town hall are the preferred buildings where many people choose to get married. There is no better way to discover one of the most charming towns in the Canary Islands than a walk in good company through its historical center. Some of the essential places that should be marked on your map are the Church of the Conception and the Plaza de la Constitución, amongst others.
The Berbers from Africa who received the name Guanches arrived first to this fantastic corner, around the 5th century BC, and kept the Orotava Valley for more than 2,000 years until the arrival of Christians in the Middle Ages. Some and others were surely, once prostrated from the viewpoint of La Orotava - like Humboldt. He was overwhelmed due to the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean, the Teide, and the serenity of the forests that extended from the slopes to the coast. In your visit to Tenerife, you should not miss out on this fantastic natural gem, Orotava Valley!
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.