Booking.com: best prices
Candelaria is an important pilgrim town for its shrine to Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, the Virgin of Candelaria. It is located on the east coast of Tenerife, 17 kilometers south of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Candelaria is an important pilgrim site and many of its visitors come to the Basilica to the shrine of the Black Madonna, the Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, who is the patron saint of the Canary Islands. Every year on the 15th August there is the Fiesta of Candelaria and this is one of the most important fiestas on Tenerife.
Thousands of visitors arrive for the celebrations. Many arrive on foot after a long walk from their home elsewhere on Tenerife.
The statue of the Black Madonna was originally found by Guanche goatherds and taken to the palace of the Guanche king and venerated as the Guanche goddess Chaxiraxi (mother of the gods). The Guanche were the original aboriginal people of the islands before the Spanish Conquest in the 15th century. When the conquistadors arrived they decided it was a statue of the Virgin Mary and constructed a hermitage which was later replaced by the Basilica.
Next to the Basilica is the Convent of the Dominican Fathers who look after the shrine of the Madonna. The convent was severely damaged in a storm which also took the original statue in 1826. The current Madonna was made by Tenerife artist Fernando Estevez in 1827.
Just past the convent is the Cave of Achbinico, also known as the Chapel of San Blas, where the Guanches had originally placed the statue of the Madonna. You can visit the cave but the sea can be quite rough along this path and so only visit when the sea is calm.
The town of Candelaria itself is pleasant and the main square has plenty of bars and nice shops. Enter the bank at no. 9 (Banco Espanol) because it has the lovely wooden balconies and patio typical of Canarian architecture. There is also a nice promenade along the sea-front and a small harbour.
On the square in front of the Basilican on the edge of the sea, the Plaza de Patrona de Canarias, there are 9 bronze statues of Guanche chiefs along the sea wall. Close to Candelaria are a number of prehistoric caves containing Guanche burial sites with mummies of Guanches.
photos kindly supplied by the Turismo de Tenerife
Places to visit nearby
La Orotava is a lovely city and in its old town you can see more examples of typical Canaries buildings with their interior courtyard and ornate wooden balconies.
Head to the north eastern tip of Tenerife and you get to the stunning scenery of the Parque Rural de Anaga. Here you can find the amazing Laurel forest called the Mercedes forest which has 30 meter tall laurels. This area is now a UNESCO biosphere.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Tenerife guide.