Vega de San Mateo is often just known as San Mateo. The highest point of the island is found in Vega de San Mateo and that’s nearly 2000 metres up. Because of this, the area has fluctuating temperatures. It can be baking hot in the summer or snowing in the winter.
It’s a lovely quiet alternative to the busier resorts in the south and this area provides a good base for walking and hiking in Gran Canaria. This is a good walk: http://hubpages.com/hub/Walking-on-Gran-Canaria-Cruz-de-Tejeda-to-San-mateo
San Mateo Market
This agricultural town is set in a fertile, green valley and it is famed for its weekend agricultural markets and cattle markets. A lot of people living in Las Palmas do their weekly grocery shopping at these markets. You can get everything from vegetables and fruit to cheese, cakes, herbs and other local specialities there.
The Sunday market in San Mateo is popular with tourists and you can get arts and craft items there, as well as food and drink. This town gives you a good idea of how Canarians live outside of the resorts and it’s definitely an interesting place to visit.
Other Things to See
If you visit Vega de San Mateo, go to the Museo Etnologico La Cantonera. There is a three hundred year old farmhouse there and it’s been turned into a museum, documenting how the Canarians used to live. There are all kinds of things to look at, including farming equipment, furniture, agricultural artefacts and ceramics. It’s open from 9.30am until 1pm, every day except Sunday.
There is also a nice restaurant at the museum which is packed at the weekend but less busy during the week. There’s a church in San Mateo too featuring a statue of St Matthew who is the patron saint of the town. The stateu dates back to the 1600s.
There are bi-lingual restaurants in San Mateo and “Feliz Dia” (the local Chinese restaurant) is nice. If you’re in San Mateo around breakfast time you can get chocolate and churros. Churros are like long, thin doughnuts and you dunk them in your chocolate (or in your coffee if you prefer). There is a big Spar supermarket where you can stock up on essentials (it’s cheaper than the Spars in Playa del Ingles or Puerto Rico) as well.
How to Get There