I think it is well known that Spanish culture is full of – often religious – celebrations. It is also a fact that this is often accompanied by cheerfully decorated streets and village squares.
The cream of the crop when it comes to that is La Orotava, Tenerife, during the celebration of Corpus Christi, which falls on June 15, 2023 this year.
Sand and flower carpets
Where other villages and towns fill the streets with brightly colored flags and ribbons, La Orotava goes the extra mile. An artistic flower carpet is laid out in the city centre . The route runs through the narrow streets of La Orotava and leads to the town hall square, which is completely covered with a beautifully colored sand carpet.
The preparation for this special street decoration starts more than a month in advance. The alfombreros (literally: the carpet layers) work day and night with great patience to carefully draw out the designs to scale. These designs are then colored with miniscule precision using lava sand. This naturally colored sand comes from the Teide National Park.
Incidentally, storm Oscar threatened to ruin everything. Fortunately, they were prepared for this and everything was covered in time without significant damage.
Guinness Book of Records
The size of the carpet on the town hall square is approximately 859,42 m2. In 2007, it was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest natural sand carpet in the world.
When and how to view these carpets?
The day when both the flower and sand carpets can be admired in all their glory this year is Thursday, June 15, 2023 . As with other major events, it is advisable to leave the car at home. From the south it is best to take the (early) express bus to Santa Cruz and change to bus 108. Calculate about 2 hours travel time for the entire route from Costa Adeje to Orotava.
If you are staying in the north, there is a good bus connection from Puerto de la Cruz such as 351, which takes you to La Orotava in 10 minutes. If you have never traveled by public transport in Tenerife, be sure to consult the Public transport, website for usefull information.
Insider Tip: Casa de los balcones
If you are not on the island during Corpus Christi, don't worry! The museum Casa de los Balcones , located in La Orotava, has a very interesting exhibition dedicated to the sand carpets. The museum is open all year round and the entrance is inexpensive, 5 euros per adult, including audio guide in Spanish, English, German and French.
The museum is not very big, but it gives you a very nice overview of, among other things, the sand carpets. It is recommended to buy a ticket in advance. Via GetYourGuide's you pay the same price as in the museum, without being tied to a specific time. Plus you can cancel free of charge a day in advance if something comes up. Here is the link for tickets. Really worth it! Nice to plan in, for example, if you make an island tour by car.
So far the latest from sunny Tenerife.
Stay safe and ¡Hasta Pronto!