I rarely blog anything other than Tenerife or our neighbour La Gomera but seeing this article published by Vueling really whet my appitite.
Tejeda is a stunning village set so high up that you have the clouds at your feet.
The island of Gran Canaria offers all the rural leisure amenities you can imagine and more, including adventure sports and trekking.
From Sea to Sky
One breathtaking route stretches from the Gran Canaria coast to the top of the island’s highest peak, a secluded spot which is the closest you’ll ever get to a lunar landscape. In the municipality of Tejeda, some 44 km from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, you can easily find yourself trapped by a sea of clouds. Tejeda can be reached mainly by the Centro GC 15 main road, a somewhat winding route flanked by stunningly beautiful scenery which takes you through the towns of Santa Brígida and Vega de San Mateo. The most exciting part of the journey starts here, as you begin to climb so steeply that the clouds recede below you. The 44-km drive takes about an hour. It can also be reached by public transport from the Guaguas station in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
El Roque Bentayga and the Archaeology Park
Tejeda is a must-see if you come to Gran Canaria and more so if you’re interested in archaeology. Here you can find vestiges of burial caves, rock carvings, paintings and dwellings. The Roque Bentayga provides an excellent sampling of all this. This unique, natural rock precinct was sacred to the original inhabitants, as it was here that they prayed to their gods. Also in the area are Las Cuevas del Rey (the King’s Caves), in which you can see cave dwellings, granaries, rock carvings, rock paintings and various incisions in the rock walls that suggest this was a pre-Hispanic religious site. The Parque Arqueológico del Bentayga is an ecomuseum built next to the Roque. It also serves as a venue for performances, both for the archaeological rock complex (Bentayga, Andén de Tabacalete, Cuevas del Rey and the Roquete) and its surroundings. It also affords wonderful views of the southern and western reaches of the island.
Culture and Mysticism
The symbol of Gran Canaria is also to be found at Tejeda. This is the Roque Nublo, a huge basalt rock in the form of a monolith stretching 70 metres into the air. On its north-eastern side stands another monolithic rock known as El Fraile (the Friar), as it physically resembles a monk. While you’re here, take the chance to roam through the Inagua and Ojeda pine forests and, further north, that of los Pechos,for here you are bound to fall in love with the views.
Art and culture also make their presence felt in Tejeda. Here you can visit the Abraham Cárdenes Sculpture Museum, dedicated to this Canary Island sculptor, who hailed from here, and also theEthnographic Museum, where you go on a journey of the town’s and the island’s history. Here, too, theCentro de Interpretación Degollada de Becerra is another spot well worth visiting. It is situated on the main road between La Cruz de Tejeda and los Llanos de la Pez, and features a viewpoint affording spectacular scenery and, more importantly, a centre where you can learn about local ethnography. Lastly, the town boasts a Centro de Plantas Medicinales, where you are invited to discover the varieties of plants, herbs and flowers indigenous to Tejeda and the island and their varied use in medicine, religion and cosmetics.
Establishments in the town centre offer all types of craftwork and you can also find the typical sweets made here. You are also advised to stop at one of the bar terraces and restaurants located on the side of the Parador Nacional, a magnificent vantage point providing spectacular views of the whole island.
Almonds play a major role in the cuisine of Tejeda, a town which has become one of the landmarks of Canary Island confectionery, noteworthy among which are the bienmesabes and marzipans. Both sweets are made using ground almond, the former also being one of the traditional accompaniments of local iced desserts. In Tejeda you can also sample any of the Canary Islands’ traditional dishes, the mainstay of which are beef and goat’s meat. Make sure to try such dishes as the caldos de papas (potato soup) and the potajes de berros y jaramagos (watercress and hedge mustard stews). If you’d like to sample good local cooking, a restaurant you should not miss is the Cueva de la Tea, where you can order a potaje de berros and their speciality, ropa vieja– chick peas, potato, hog’s head, chicken, tomatoes, peppers and onion. The average price per head is 12 euros and the helpings are generous. It also has the advantage of affording spectacular views.
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