Pilgrimage routes in Tenerife, Spain

The Camino de Santiago is not the only opportunity to make a pilgrimage in Spain. Besides the inland camino chain, there are also routes on several of the Canary Islands. Geographically, the largest island in the Canaries is Tenerife. It is a popular holiday destination for a year around summer climate, a rather cheap stay (we found deals on booking.com), and offers various hiking possibilities (for example, El Teide volcano). Besides that, there are quite a few possibilities to walk a short camino and get a touch of some religious history and culture of Tenerife.

Ruta Jacobea Tinerfeña

Ruta Jacobea Tinerfeña, or the Way of Saint James in Tenerife, or El Camino de Santiago del Teide is a part of the Camino de Santiago and is around 40 km long. It is usually walked in two days from its starting point at the Plaza de la Parroquia del Apóstol Santiago in Los Realejos. The route goes through Realejo Alto, Mirador de La Corona, Los Campeches, La Tahona, El Lagar, Arenas Negras, San Jose de Los Llanos (here an overnight stop is usually made), then continues to Franqui Matches, El Calvario, Valle de Arriba, Chapel of Santiago, and ends in Santiago del Teide. The pilgrimage celebration and organized two day procession takes place yearly around August 25th – the day of Saint James. For more details check the map of the route.

There is not much complete information on the route on the internet about the situation on the way. It seems that the people mostly walk it during the celebration, when it is organized by Camino de Santiago Tenerife.

Also informative was this blog entry (in Spanish) about part of the Santiago del Teide route.

The Asociación Tinerfeña de Amigos del Camino de Santiago would be a place to ask for information as well.

El Camino de Candelaria

El Camino de Candelaria is the most famous pilgrimage route in Tenerife. Every year on August 14-15th a huge pilgrimage festival is held in Candelaria in honour of la Virgen de Candelaria, who is also the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands.

As legend goes, a statue of a black woman with a child in one hand and a candle in another was found in 14th century in Güímar beach by two local Guanche (Tenerife’s indigenous people) herds. The statue was taken to the cave of Achbinico, and later, after the christianization of Tenerife, was proclaimed a statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue is now in the Basilica de Candelaria, which makes it the pilgrim’s end destination.

The pilgrimage route starts in La Laguna and reaches its end after a 21 km walk. The road runs through the valley of Güímar in the eastern side of the island, and passes by towns of Los Baldíos, Llano del Moro, Machado, Barranco Hondo and Igueste of Candelaria. It is a one-day hike, however, it is advisable to check the weather conditions and the state of the route as some sections of it are prohibited to walk without a guide. You can find updated information, maps, historical facts and even archive of the historical records in Camino Viejo de Candelaria website (in Spanish).

A collection of GPS maps pertaining to this route made by other travellers can be found here.

Another good read before walking Tenerife is the Walking Tenerife blog (in English).

El Camino de Hermano Pedro

Another famous pilgrimage route in Tenerife Island is El Camino de Hermano Pedro. Originally Pedro was a Christian priest and a goatherder. Later but still during his lifetime he was proclaimed a saint (XVII century). What today is a pilgrimage route before was Brother Pedro’s herding path. He used to bring his goats to a cave (today’s Cueva del Médano) where a rainwater-gathering place was for his flock to drink. He also meditated in the cave and nowadays it is a place of interest for pilgrims.

The pilgrimage along with its procession and celebration takes place each year in April (check the El Médano Tourist Office). However, the route is open all year long and goes 20 km from town of Vilaflor to the Cave of El Médano. The road flows through small villages and different natural landscapes, which makes it a good choice for both cultural and nature experiences.

A travel story on doing the camino Hermano Pedro can be read in Walking Tenerife blog. More precise history of the Saint Hermano Pedro can be found here (in English) as well as a collection of GPS maps.

 

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