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Things to do in Guía

February 16, 2018
Guía's major church

After things to do in Guía? We’re continuing our series of Gran Canaria municipal guides by turning our attention once more to the island’s north west. You won’t find a more complete overview of the area than ours.

Guía is the abridged name of this GC municipio. Its full title is, in fact, Santa María de Guía.  Here’s a typically comprehensive four-part guide to the municipality which makes for some essential reading before you arrive.

  1. Holiday in Guía
  2. Tuck into cheese and biscuits in Guía
  3. Explore the lean streets of Guía
  4. Check out coastal Guía

1. Holiday in Guía

Use a combo of the island’s two major motorways to transport you to Guía from the airport. Turn right onto the GC-1 before heading west along the GC-2 when you reach capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It will take you around 40 minutes by car.

There are no hotels in Guía. If on a budget, the out-of-town Albergue de Guía‘s a hostel that makes a great base for an active holiday. Even more rustic is the Camino Art Hostel where the vibe is very much a Bohemian one with owner Beata opening up her cave home to visitors.

Then there’s the holiday-home option. We recommend family-friendly Montaña Alta’s Llanos de la Corona. This classic 18th-century Canarian property features two bedrooms and a patio with barbecue, self-catering at its tastiest.

2. Tuck into cheese and biscuits in Guía

Guía’s renowned for its queso de flor (flower cheese which is curdled with the head of an artichoke thistle). A blended queso, it’s primarily made with sheep’s milk mixed with cow’s or goat’s milk, or sometimes both. The flavour is not dissimilar to nettle cheese, such as the likes of Cornish Yarg.

An elaborate process sees thistle heads, picked well after they’ve bloomed, soaked in water for 12 hours. The brown-coloured liquid is then added to the already strained milk, taking up to two hours to curdle. After separating the curds and whey, Miss-Muffet style, the cheese is cut and left to dry before being placed in a mould. Pressed by hand and salted both sides, it ages stored on wooden shelves.

So crazy are the locals for their cheese, think a town full of Wallaces rather than Gromits, that they hold a Fiesta del Queso each year. Held in April/May, the population dress in Canarian costume to pay homage to their dairy product. Welcome to Gran Canaria’s Wensleydale.

You can learn more about the cheesemaking process at Montaña Alta’s Casa del Queso. If you’re more interested in tasting the fruit of the dairies’ labours, head to La Quesera in the municipal capital’s Calle Pérez Galdós. There’s an even larger selection at Casa Arturo on Calle Lomo Guillén which also sells Canarian knives and hardware.

Also on Pérez Galdós, you’ll stumble upon La Panificadora. By far the most popular item at this bakery are the mantecados. These are definitely not vegetarian as their key ingredient is derived from pork, as in lard.

Elsewhere, Bar Tiscamanita’s widely celebrated for its ropa vieja. This is a traditional Canarian dish which the Tiscamanita chef makes using the classic ingredients of chickpeas, chicken, and morcilla (blood sausage), with sauteed potatoes providing the perfect accompaniment. Coming from east or west, it’s the closest eatery to Guía’s main bus stops.

Heading towards Guía’s central plaza, you’ll turn into Calle Marqués del Muni. Here the smell of the chicken roasting at the Asadero de Pollo mingles with the aroma of Canarian doughnuts at the Churreria next door. You’ll walk past La Tacita where you can enjoy the finest battered courgettes, a popular sandwich filling on the island.

3. Explore the lean streets of Guía

The Iglesia Matriz de Guía, as well as an obvious Catholic place of worship, is a temple to neoclassical architecture. Inside it showcases the talents of Guía’s most famous offspring, sculptor José Miguel Luján Peréz (1756-1815). The architect of the handiwork depicting Jesus Christ in various guises.

Enter two museums for the price of €1 at Museo Néstor Álamo. Celebrating the life and times of another of the municipality’s favourite sons, composer, journalist and writer Néstor Álamo Hernández (1906-94), it also houses the Museo Historia de la Musica en Canarias. This central Guía institution makes space for the local tourist information office too.

Although principally an after-wedding and post-christening venue, keep an eye out for more inclusive events at La Kasa de Guía. You’ll find this 19th century property with beautiful garden on Calle Marqués de Muni. There are monthly beer/wine tastings along with more irregular diary dates such as artisan markets featuring live music.

Just around the corner, you’ll reach the Plaza de Anatoly Kárpov. Complete with chessboard, this square commemorates the 1996 chess tournament on Gran Canaria which pitted Kárpov against his nemesis, and eventual champion, Garry Kaspárov. Further afield, the winding Cuesta de Silva, off the GC-2, houses the Cenobio de Valerón, a former cereal storehouse of the island’s pre-Spanish inhabitants, the canarii.

4. Check out coastal Guía

Roque Prieto, confusingly located on the Galdár side of the GC-2, was where our Alex learned to swim when Mr Gran Canaria Local spent his first year on the island looking after him. We’ve returned as a family to bask in the warmer waters of this piscina natural (natural swimming pool). If you take us up on our tip, do pack a picnic as there are no bars or restaurants nearby.

Facilities are similarly minimal at nearby Caleta de Arriba. This rough-and-ready bodyboarding spot also attracts fishermen. Indeed, Mr GCL took a certain parental pride when Alex volunteered his services to assist these experienced anglers.

If you’re more of a foodie, San Felipe does have bars and restaurants you can sample the local cuisine at. The beach, however, usually has a red flag flying high above it. Which might well explain its popularity with Gran Canaria’s more experienced surfers.