La Gomera is one of the lesser visited Canary isles, but still benefits from the legendary wonderful weather which has made this region a favourite with Brits. Blessed by warm weather between November-March when the temperature varies between 18C and 21C, thanks to its proximity to Africa, the island is a popular winter sun break.
Hotels range from typical Spanish paradores and off-beat, converted homes to villas and mainstream tourist accommodation. Activities include walking, hiking and watersports.
The island also has historical significance. This is where explorer Christopher Columbus stopped before heading across the Atlantic, earning Gomera the nickname of Columbus Island.
Getting there/around La Gomera
There are no direct international flights to La Gomera but there are connecting flights from Tenerife (35 minutes) and Gran Canaria (45 minutes) into Gomera’s Playa Santiago. Or you could fly into Tenerife on a charter or scheduled flight and then take one of the many frequent daily ferries to La Gomera from Los Cristianos. Crossings take between 40 and 90 minutes. There’s an alternative one hour crossing between San Sebastián and Valle Gran Rey, via Playa Santiago, if you’re holidaying here.
The best way to get around La Gomera is to hire a car. Its roads can be steep but driving offers a chance to catch stunning views including the rainforest and mountains. There are limited numbers of local buses connecting the main towns.
Beaches on La Gomera
Gomera like the other Canary islands has black volcanic beaches, such as Playa de Ingles, butits hotel pools rather than beaches are the favoured sunbathing and swimming locations. Compared to other islands, jit’sis calm and restful, and not over-developed.
During a visit, it’s well worth taking a trip to see dolphins or whales on a boat trip. Regular dolphin spotting trips leave from Vueltas in Valle Gran Reay, Sailing and diving enthusiasts can also find plenty to explore in the island’s waters. Divers can see octopus, stingrays, parrotfish and even seahorses.
Sightseeing in La Gomera
Dip into a bit of history by visiting the Church of the Assumption in San Sebastian, the capital of La Gomera, where Christopher Columbus was blessed before he set off to explore the New World.
Not to be missed is a day exploring the La Gomera’s national park of Garajonay, with its rainforest climate and banana trees and cacti. The best place to start from is the visitors’ centre at La Palmita, in the north of the island. It’s got excellent museums, displays and even the occassional demonstration of the historic whistling language of the island, which allowed people to communicate across the mountains.
Family attractions in La Gomera
Mountain bikes are available in most of the bigger towns, and can be a fun way for the family to get around towns, but don’t think of going out on the more hazardous mountain roads.
Alternatively take a drive up into the mountains to the highest point on the island: the top of the Garanjay is an easy 20 minute walk from the car park. You are likely to see some huge waterfalls during the trip too. Kids might be impressed by the wildlife such as the little lizards sunning themselves on the rocks.
Day trips from La Gomera
Take a day trip to Tenerife on the daily ferry from Gomera’s San Sebastian and get great views of the islands, and possibly get some dolphin spotting along the way, without having to splash out for a dedicated dolphin-spotting trip. Or take a day walking along the trails in the amazing Valle Gran Rey.
Eating out in La Gomera
Try the super sticky local speciality sweets made from local palm honey. Other local specialities are ‘almogrote’: a cheese paste made with oil, garlic, chilli pepper, salt and sometimes tomato, which is often spread on toast or potatoes. There are plenty of fish dishes to choose from.
The most touristy places on the island, and where you are most likely to find a British fry up, are the beach resorts of La Playa and La Playa de Ingles in the Valle Gran Rey.
Nightlife in La Gomera
This is not Tenerife so don’t expect tons of clubs and buzzy bars. Instead La Gomera has quieter bars and restaurants, so enjoy dining out in Valle Gran Rey, with the sound of the sea lapping yards from your table. Expect some good Latin music until late and excellent cocktails with a Spanish twist. The capital San Sebastian also has good island nightlife.
Shopping in La Gomera
If you love shopping then don’t expect too much from La Gomera. Perhaps the most fun shopping is to be had in the supermarkets picking out interesting and unusual food that could be gifts for the folks back home.
The island’s capital San Sebastian has the best shopping on the island, but it’s not extensive. It’s a pleasant place to wander though, and on a good day you get great views over to the island of Tenerife. Maybe pick up a bottle of local wine, made from Malavasía grapes.