04:10:12 Monday, 6th February 2023

Santa María de Guía was formerly part of Gáldar but has since developed into a charming little town on its own. It was here where the famous and most productive of Canarian architects and sculptors, José Luján Pérez (1756 – 1815) grew up.

This pretty old town with cobbled streets and traditional houses is dominated by the triple-nave parochial church Iglesia de Santa María de Guía which was built in 1607. It has a neoclassical façade and houses in its interior many important works from the popular sculptor. It gives the impression of being more of a museum dedicated to the sculptor rather than of a church.

Guía is however best known for its Queso de Flor (Flower Cheese), made of milk mixed with the juice of the thistle-like flowers of the artichoke, giving this cheese its unusual, distinctive flavour. It tastes surprisingly good and has already won many prizes. And every year, from the last week of April to the first days of May, Guía holds the very popular Fiestas del Queso (Cheese Festivals).

About 5 km (approx. 3 miles) east of Guía, you’ll find the pre-Hispanic Cenobio de Valerón, a group of about 300 caves, hollowed out of the soft rock on different levels. These caves were used for grain storage and religious rituals and were easy to defend because of their unique position.