Any walk through the historic quarter of San Mateo must include a visit to the Parish Church of La Vega de San Mateo, located in Calle Principal (Main Street), where we find a two-nave building (the one of the left dates from 1800 and the one on the right from 1895). The upper middle part is crowned by a bell tower designed by Jose Lujan Perez. The church bell, added four years after it was made, was sent from Cuba by Canary Island emigrants from the area. This church shows a predominantly eclectic style with Neo-Classical influences.
La Alameda de Santa Ana (Santa Ana Esplanade), next to the church, was built in 1943. To do this, the Council bought plots in the area that had been occupied by a bakery. The oven was situated where the Music Kiosk now stands. Along with the Town Hall and the Church, it now forms a fine example of Neo-Canary architecture.
The countryside around La Vega de San Mateo is worth a trip too. Visitors can go to Roque Bicacaral, in La Bodeguilla, a natural lookout, half way to Santa Brigida, which offers magnificent views over the whole area.
You can also take the route along La Mina Ravine, running along Las Lagunetas and La Yedra. There is permanent water in the ravine, which conserves the vestiges of laurel forest and the old water mills here.
The Montaña Cabrera Look out, situated on the mountain of the same name, is a wonderful observatory overlooking the basin of the Guiniguada Ravine, the municipality and the Foothills of Gran Canaria, and even the city of Las Palmas. The La Cruz Natural Look out and El Montañon also offer excellent views over the municipality.
Hoya del Gamonal, Roque and Cruz del Saucillo; form part of Las Cumbres Protected Natual Area, a place of extraordinary beauty with an intrinsic wealth of endemic species.
Finally, there are several recreational areas where you can enjoy a day in the open air: The La Lechucilla Recreational Zone, just a few kilometres from the centre of the municipality and set in an area of chestnut trees, has an area for barbecues and the Llanos de Ana Lopez Recreational Zone, situated at the top of Cueva Grande in a pine forest and surrounded by the typical alpine vegetation of the Gran Canaria mountain tops.
The Farmers’ Market is a weekly tradition in La Vega de San Mateo, every weekend. This shows just how important farming is in this area. Locals and visitors walk around the market in search of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses, etc.
You can also see the local handicrafts in the same market. The local cheese is excellent, as is the wine, which, due to its high quality, gives prestige to the wine cellars of the municipality.
The craft activities to be found in San Mateo include wicker work, Canary Island knives, leather work and wood work.
The farming and livestock activities of the municipality of San Mateo are the best guarantee of succulent food for visitors. The local restaurants offer typical dishes of pork, marinated pork, ribs, barbecue sausages, etc. Other favourite dishes include vegetable broths, "gofio escaldado" and fresh cheese.
But in San Mateo, you can find both the traditional Canary Island dishes and a very select cuisine, both of which use fresh Canary Island ingredients.
The desserts, based on typical Canary Island dishes made with "bienmesabe" (almond paste), or creme brulé and "frangollo", can be found in any local restaurant.
All this is washed down with the local wines.
Accommodation: Vega de San Mateo
Discover the skies of Gran Canaria from Roque Saucillo Astronomy Centre