A Visit to Vilaflor

Mon, May 30th, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

Nestling amongst the pine trees that crowd Tenerife’s interior between the hill towns of the south coast and Teide National Park, the pretty little hamlet of Vilaflor has two main claims to fame. Sitting 1500 metres above sea level, it’s the highest village in Spain and in its humble streets in 1626, one Pedro de San José Betancur was born, the man who was destined to become Tenerife’s one and only Saint.

Pedro grew up to become a goatherd and spent his days shepherding his goats between Vilaflor and the coast of El Médano where he slept in a cave. At the tender age of 23 years, Pedro decided to leave his native Tenerife and travel to the New World. Arriving in Guatemala City, Pedro went on to found the first monastic order in the new colonies – the Bethlehemites – and to devote his life to the care of the poor and the sick. He was canonised in 2002 and is known to millions of devotees across the world simply as Brother Pedro.

What to see
In its alpine setting, Vilaflor benefits from regular cloud cover from which its porous, volcanic soil absorbs the moisture which ensures that everything grows well. As a result, the village is almost always in blooming lovely condition with window boxes, the tops of walls, planters and flower beds packed to the petals with profusions of flowers. In early summer you’ll see the unmistakeable spikes of the red tajinaste flower in gardens and growing wild by the roadside.

The tables and chairs of the two small cafeterias in Plaza de San Pedro offer a very pleasant place to sit and enjoy the flowers and the fountain with the figure of the town’s famous son. Afterwards it’s worth popping into the 16th century Church of San Pedro for a glance of the baptismal font in which the young Pedro was baptised.

Climb up to the tiny Ermita (chapel) of San Roque for wonderful views over the village and its layers of terraces in which some of Tenerife‘s tastiest potatoes are grown. On a clear day you can see all the way to San Miguel de Abona, the volcanic cones of Arona and the south coast. Just outside of the village, en route to Teide National Park, you’ll find an exceedingly large pine tree known as Pino Gordo (the fat pine) which is reputedly the largest specimen on the island.

Where to eat
There are lots of places in the village to enjoy good Canarian cooking but my favourite is Rincón de Roberto (closed Tuesdays) in Avenida Hermano Pedro where, in the winter months, you can sit by the huge, open stone fireplace and enjoy Pollo a la Abuela (Chicken the way Grandma used to make it) with a bottle of Flor de Chasna local wine. In summer, head to the picnic zone of Las Lajas and enjoy a good steak and some of those delicious local potatoes at the restaurant in the park.

Getting there
Vilaflor is less than an hour’s drive from Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Américas, Costa Del Silencio and Golf del Sur, winding your way above the coastline passing through pretty hill towns and along dappled forest roads.

Posted : Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 10:59 am
Category : days out
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4 Responses to “A Visit to Vilaflor”

  1. […] of others, and does so to this day. He was born in the south of Tenerife in Vilaflor de Chasna, Spain’s highest village, only minutes from what is now the Teide National Park. Records show he was baptized in March of […]

  2. […] get up early to spot the Great Spotted Woodpecker. An early morning stroll through the woods above Vilaflor on a weekend camping trip provided us with a sighting of half a dozen of these pretty birds […]

  3. […] final choice is the Spa Villalba Hotel in Vilaflor where access to the thermal circuit is included in your room price. The reason I’m including […]

  4. […] first glance the pine trees surrounding Vilaflor look tall, lush and defiant but it’s not easy looking that good. A walk arcing around the highest […]

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