The sun rises over a small village called Agulo, and the first lights stain a landscape where the night is dark—and not full of terrors, but stars. The orange tiles stand out against the white houses, which grow on the green gardens surrounding this beautiful sight in La Gomera. In the background, the Atlantic blue melts with the sky, which feels slightly clouded today. As the morning goes on, the silhouette of a mountain rises on the horizon. Teide is like a lighthouse illuminating the municipality, the smallest one in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It might be landscape that blankets it, or the magnificent panoramic view of the sleeping volcano; either way, The Times chose Agulo as the prettiest village in Spain.
Agulo’s history, just like the history of the rest of the Canary Islands, is connected to the natives of said land. Back then, this territory belonged to the canton of Mulagua, next to the municipality of Hermigua. In the 15th century, colonization and slavery arrived at La Gomera after reaching the other islands. In fact, they established a sugar plantation in Agulo, which ended due to their South American competitors.
It was not until 1607 that a populating policy was put into effect. Consequently, Agulo was officially founded the 27 September 1607. Nonetheless, we will have to go forward in time to the early 20th century to witness the birth of its first banana plantation, a business that made Agulo grow from 1522 to 2573 inhabitants in only 40 years. Currently, Agulo, the municipality with the lowest population rate of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, exports its precious fruit as its main source of income.
“Such is the might of the surrounding topography, and the colonial beauty of its cobbled lower town, that you can feel at times that you’re in Peru”, wrote The Times about Agulo, which they recently classified as the prettiest village in Spain. However, there is no need for comparing it to any other place in the world, since the beauty of Agulo speaks for itself.
Resting to the north-east of La Gomera, between the valleys and municipalities of Hermigua and Vallehermoso, this village is divided into two sections: upper and lower Agulo. The latter hosts the old town, whose main attraction is walking through its beautiful cobbled streets. When the sky is clear, one can see the top of the Teide from there, just as if the village were a lookout or a window to the mountain.
The heritage of Agulo is also worth mentioning. We might want to visit the church of San Marcos, with its neo-Gothic style, the square of Leoncio Bento, and Casa José Aguiar. The latter used to belong to the renowned Spanish painter José Aguiar. Nowadays, we will find there a museum displaying his own artworks, as well as an exhibition of the traditions of La Gomera.
Past the old town, the visitor shall make a historical stop: that of Pescante de Agulo. Only a few ruins of the old wooden suspension bridge remain, but Pescante de Agulo played an important role in the village during the 20th century. Indeed, the bridge communicated the municipality with the sea, granting Angulo access to a wider market to export its products.
Agulo is so small that one can perfectly explore the whole of it in one or two hours. But there is no need to worry, since the visit can be lengthened for eternity. Agulo might be like a lookout, a room with a view to the Teide, but there is an actual lookout there: that of Abrante. This is a glass platform hanging at a hight of 600 metres, and one can see the village, the Teide and the Atlantic Ocean from there.
Another stop we cannot miss in the area is the visitor centre of Garajonay, the gate to the national park with the same name, where trails are infinite and there are spectacular sights like the natural monument of Roque Blanco. There is also a route known as the path of Caserío de Serpa which links Agulo with Garajonay. This way passes by the dam of La Palmita and the already mentioned lookout of Abrante.
We should not forget about the beaches either. In Agulo, the most important beach is probably the beach of San Marcos, which shares its name with its neighbour shrine. The beach of San Marcos is a rocky cove guarded by a cliff. However, it would be advisable to think it twice before jumping into the water here, since the Atlantic Ocean can sometimes be a little grumpy.
Considering Agulo is an agricultural land, it makes sense that the traditional dishes of the village revolve around its own regional products. Papas, yam and cress are some of the key ingredients in the area, making up dishes like cress of yam stews. The papas, normally seasoned with mojo picón, are served with dishes of goat meat or pork. The famous almogrote, a type of soft paste made of cheese, is also very present in the cuisine of the Canary Islands.
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You can read part II of this list here.