Vega de San Mateo, Gran Canaria's Way to St Matthew

The municipality of Vega de San Mateo's an ideal day out wherever you're based on the island. Or how about combining it with a visit to nearby Santa Brigida? Or making it into even more of a road trip by continuing on to the further-afield Tejeda?

An A-Z of Vega de San Mateo

Vega de San Mateo street map

If you hadn't read this article first, you might well have bypassed the centre of Vega de San Mateo by continuing along the GC-15 on your way south-west or north-east, depending on whether you're travelling in the direction of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria or Tejeda. But with a guide like us to lead the way, you won't be making that mistake. Will you?

In the village proper, the GC-15's known as the Avenida Tinamar. Of more interest, especially on an architectural front, is the heritage network made up of the likes of Calles Prinicipal and Placetilla de la Caldereta which offer a throwback to Vega de San Mateo's roots. For once, this village consisted of a mere four streets.

Downtown Vega de San Mateo

Central Vega de San Mateo

Pedestrianized Vega de San Mateo makes for ideal strolling terrain. Although the natives are known to get even more active of a weekend. When they dance in pairs, as the bands play on in front of the Quisoco de la Música which bears the name Tinamar.

Tinamar was the name the canarii, the Berber-descending people who occupied the island before the 15th-century Spanish conquest, gave to the area. And heading to the back of the 20th-century town hall, to look out at the Balcón de La Caldereta viewing point, you can well imagine a Gran Canaria before it was Spanish. A land of deep forest and sweet mountain.

Out and about in Vega de San Mateo

Hoya del Gamonal

Vega de San Mateo's more than the village itself. It's one of the island's 21 municipalities. And one which is ideal for hiking. Just under half of the Paisaje Protegido de Las Cumbres is made up of Vega de San Mateo territory, including some stunning pine forests and Roque Saucillo.

One of the beauty spots you'll encounter on a ramble will be the pictured Hoya del Gamonal. Look out for the golden-apricot blossom of the Canary Island Foxglove (isoplexis isabelliana) which blooms spring through to autumn. There's also the rare flor de mayo leñosa (pericallis hadrosoma), a purple flowering plant which grows to over two metres in height.

Market days in Vega de San Mateo

Mercado Agrícola de Vega de San Mateo

The indoor Saturday and Sunday market's a great place to ensure you hit your five a day with a fantastic selection of fresh fruit and veg. There are also stalls selling cheese, wine, bread, and honey. Traders are friendly and encourage you to try before you buy.

The Vega de San Mateo parish

Iglesia de San Mateo

The concept of the sabbath doesn't exist in Spain. For every day is a holy day in this resolutely catholic country. So, whilst there's a Sunday service in Vega de San Mateo's parish church, there are also ones on Monday through to Saturday.

The church itself dates back to 1800. Its neoclassical design is simple yet stylish. And the very building of it meant that Vega de San Mateo separated from neighbouring Santa Brigida because the Bishop of the time, Verdugo, claimed that there existed enough people living locally to form an independent parish.