Seeking a more authentic Canarian experience other than the just the beaches, I read about the small town of Teror being voted the most beautiful town on Gran Canaria.
On a Sunday, the town holds a street market and one which is described as not just being a tourist market with tacky souvenirs etc but one that locals actually shop at too. So, it was time to explore…
The Sunday we visited was actually pretty overcast so it was a perfect day to explore further into the island and not waste a day on a beach getting rained on anyway! So off we headed up into the hills.
I was surprised by just how green the journey was. Upon arrival at Gran Canaria airport you are struck by how desert-like the landscape is but as you journey up into the centre of the island you pass forest and areas of lush greens. There were some beautiful, traditional looking houses with pretty gardens a far cry from the high rises that dominate the capital of the island, Las Palmas just 20km away.
Parking up on the outskirts of the town we made a short walk into the centre and were greeted with security barriers and crowds of people lining both sides of the streets. Wondering what was going on we soon saw what all the commotion was about, the town was hosting the end of an endurance event. Think Tough Mudder, Gran Canarian style!
It was quite interesting cheering on the men and women that took on the monkey bars right by you before proceeding to lift heavy boulders above their heads all the while whilst covered from head to toe in mud and sweat. Rather them than me but fair play to them for giving it a go and it was certainly a crowd pleaser!
The end of the race finished in the plaza in front of the grand Basilica “Virgen del Pino”, a building of fine Canarian architecture. Apparently the Basilica is interesting to visit inside as well and has plenty of history. At the time of us being there Sunday mass was taking place so we didn’t think it appropriate to venture inside.
To the sides and the rear of the Basilica were the starts of the market though and our first stop was to a stall selling spiralled sweet treats that were a bit like doughnuts then dipped in cocoa, cinnamon or Nutella. Yummy!
There were plenty of stalls selling breads, locally-made cakes and other artisan produce which all seemed to be very popular with the locals and visitors alike. I loved looking at the fruit and vegetable stalls with the odd-shaped peppers, giant lemons and a whole host of dried herbs and spices. You could even buy bunches of Bird of Paradise flowers or fresh chamomile that you could then dry and turn into tea. Another popular stall was where a couple were selling cane sugar drinks that were being made there and then. They shoved the canes into a machine to literally squeeze the sugary liquid out of it. They then served this up straight over ice or with a dash of rum in it.
There were some of the stalls I’d deem as ‘tacky tourist’ ones but these were pretty few and far between and it was nice to hear the language around you being mostly Spanish.
Even when it’s not market day I’d suggest visiting Teror. The architecture and style of some of the buildings that line the main streets is stunning. Small wooden balconies adorn many of the buildings and one of my favourites was the perfumery which was covered with flowers as well.
There is a small selection of tapas bars and restaurants, shops selling locally made products (as well as your more traditional souvenirs of Gran Canaria) and lots of nooks and crannies to explore.
Surrounding the town are some big hills dotted with small villages with what looks like some great walking routes too. Unfortunately we only were in Gran Canaria for a long weekend so didn’t get enough time to explore these on this occasion.
Teror is definitely worth adding to your Gran Canaria adventure though!