It’s a tough act to follow, the magnificent basilica church standing proud over its square, and the statues of the Guanche kings looking in from the promenade. Candelaria Ayuntamiento (council) have risen to the challenge and are promoting seven great walks to unlock nature’s wonders along the coast and inland.
On a day when even the statues were sweating I chose the Samarines coastal path. The hardest part was the steep steps at the back of Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias to curl up and around the back of the basilica. That little puff and pant was soon replaced with a wow of appreciation; the church had certainly washed behind its ears and the tower led my eyes along the coast, over the marina and on to Las Caletillas.
Skirting along the top of the cliffs a cooling breeze was most welcome. The only sound was the drag of the shingle below and the sea was clear with just a bold white triangle on a small sailing boat. Blessed are the path makers, this route was marked out with stone edging steering it through the tabaiba plants and the samphire. Just past a dried, cracked stream I found a prominent rock like a throne and swigged my water while watching the seagulls and swifts wheel away from the cliff.
A small crevice running to the sea almost tempted me astray but the painted markings up ahead drew me back on course and I was soon looking across to the dark Samarines beach as it peeped out at the bottom of a barranco. A few people were making a barbecue from driftwood and stones but it was pleasantly unspoilt. Back up at cliff top level the pumice and rough soil dipped down below the fringe of the industrial estate but still left a small descent into Playa de La Viuda. A small weather beaten bench was in use by a local fisherman and beyond him the main bay spread out, lined by a rag tag collection of well worn houses. I felt a bit like a intruder taking the tight passage way below the church square to emerge at the untamed beach. There were no obvious shops but one house had a cola sign that suggested I might have got a drink if I had avoided siesta time.
There are always plenty of bathing spots around the Tenerife coast. This was a blistering afternoon at the height of summer but still only a scattering of people were taking to the raw, choppy waves. At this point I decided to push on towards Guimar, another two hours, but the Samarines walk is advertised as a return walk back to the heart of Candelaria. The 2 km walk had taken me 90 minutes at a leisurely pace with plenty of savouring time and is the flattest walk of the selection.
The other walks include Lomo El Centemo, the highest at 1,200 metres, at 5.7kms it is just behind the longest trek, Los Brezos. The Candelaria tourist information centre is on the big seafront car park in the centre of town and their knowledge will help you to pick a route that suits you. They also have the fold-out guide leaflet to all seven walks with English, Spanish and German information. I for one will certainly be heading inland to see how the pilgrims view Candelaria when they converge for the annual homage to the Virgen.
Category : beaches
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