LA GOMERA - ISLA MAGICA
ISLAND OF NEVER ENDING SPRING
La Gomera, one of the seven Canary Islands, is in a class of its own! With a diameter of only 22 – 25 km it astounds visitors with its incredible natural beauty, rare vegetation and abrupt terrain: deep ravines, splendid views, impressive volcanic vents, uncountable palm trees perched on steep green valleys, small villages and hamlets, black fine sanded bays for swimming, the famous ancient laurel forest (UNESCO world heritage) and an abundant vegetation from bananas to dragon trees (Dracaena) to juniper, a green north and a dryer, sunny south and a lot to se(a)e! Clear starry nights, flamboyant sunsets and the view far over the surrounding Atlantic Ocean turn La Gomera easily into “La Isla Mágica” – the Magic Island.
La Gomera is, like the other Canary Islands, of volcanic origin. The tourism still has a manageable size and consists mainly of nature loving hikers and a colourful mixture of individualists.
What sets La Gomera apart is also its mild climate, already declared by scientists as the world’s best. With temperatures that never drop below 18°C by the sea and rise to a maximum of 30°C this climate is very pleasant all year round and the Canary Islands are justifiably called the Islands of the Never Ending Spring.
Even so, every season is different and with its own charms, making the island worth a trip anytime of the year!
Already in 800 BC they were described as being like paradise by Homer, the famous Greek poet. This paradise can still be found on La Gomera, although the influences of civilization and tourism are part of a natural development. Natural gems, tranquil spots and moments of timelessness can easily be found here in and amongst the nature.
The highlights of La Gomera
Let’s start at the island’s highest point – the Garajonay at 1487mtrs. If you hike up to its peak on a clear day you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the whole western Canaries archipelago – El Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
Close by, the landscape is dominated by the impressive volcanic vent Roque Agando, situated just off the main road from the island’s capital San Sebastian to Valle Gran Rey, and its siblings Roque Zarcita and Roque Ojila, some of the island’s most photographed landmarks. Roque Agando is a good starting point for a beautiful walk down the valley of Benchijigua to Playa Santiago.
Another amazing destination for a beautiful hiking tour is the Fortaleza, La Gomera’s table mountain (1214 m), deeply involved in legends and an important part of the island’s history.
La Gomera’s main attraction is of course the National Park, a Laurel Forest declared UNESCO world heritage in 1996, stretching out over approx. 4000ha.
Walking through this true virgin forest, a living fossil from the Tertiary, you can not only enjoy the lush vegetation and clean, crisp air, but also experience what Central Europe looked like before the ice ages. The old, gnarled trees are draped in moss and lichen, and wrapped in the misty clouds brought by the trade winds, called “God’s Breath” by the elderly. In this magical atmosphere, who would be surprised to see the fairies and goblins dancing around, as legend foretold.
One lovely hiking trail leads you off the main road to the hamlet El Cedro. It guides you past a small chapel with a great picnic spot inviting you to rest, listening to the constant whisper of the only stream in La Gomera bearing water throughout the year.
You can find out about the island’s history and geology as well as its flora and fauna with its numerous endemisms at the National Park Visitors’ Centre in the north of the island. From here you can discover the green north: Vallehermoso – the old arts and crafts centre, Agulo – the picturesque village with small cobblestone alleys and Hermigua - the fruit and vegetable basket of La Gomera, where you can swim in the tidal pool and enjoy a seafood meal, fresh from the day.
Not to be missed while in La Gomera is a visit to Doña Efigenia’s restaurant in Las Hayas. For decades already it has been the place to eat after a day’s excursion. Sit back and enjoy Doña Efigenia’s warm welcome, the homely atmosphere of the place and her simple, yet incredibly tasty typical Gomerian food.
THE Valle Gran Rey
Valle Gran Rey – the Valley of the Great King, beautifully stretching out from the sea right up to an altitude of 800m, is the starting point for our OCEANO Whale Watching Tours.
You will be accommodated here if you have booked one of OCEANO Whale Watching Worldwide’s programmes on La Gomera.
Valle Gran Rey is highly appealing as it has so much to offer: various small black-sanded beaches surrounded by 600m of cliffs, exotic lush gardens full of sweet smelling, colourful flowers, banana plantations directly by the sea as well as everything you might need during your holidays: a variety of restaurants offering dishes from all over the world, nice little cafés with sea view, lots of small supermarkets and shops, internet cafés and photo shops, as well as a medical centre of international standard.
Everything is easily accessible by foot but you can also rent a bicycle, scooter or car.
The activities on offer include guided mountain bike or hiking tours, scuba diving or a visit to the modern, well equipped gym. You can also enjoy a wellness and relaxation programme, with massages by a physiotherapist or meditation and a wide range of yoga programmes.
Visit the interesting exotic fruit garden, the local Sunday handcraft market or the Bar Casa Maria – the legendary meeting point to watch the sunset and talk with other holidaymakers about the day’s adventures. And finally don’t miss the charming little harbour district of Vueltas, where we have our OCEANO office and information centre with the permanent exhibition “Dolphins and Whales of La Gomera – species diversity in a changing world” by MEER. e.V.