Walk on the Wild Side in La Gomera
La Gomera is perfect to escape the hustle and bustle of city life to explore the great outdoors.
You’ll find the perfect terrain to tread upon, with a pristine coastline, lush forests, colourful villages, towering peaks and spectacular sights to behold around every corner. But before you lace up your hiking boots, find out all you need to know about walking in the Canary Islands’ unspoilt wonderland.
La Gomera enjoys a subtropical climate with mild winters, long and dry summers and an average temperature of 22 °C all year round. The island’s mountainous terrain also allows for several microclimates. In the north, you will find wetter weather, which condenses into a cool silver fog that blankets La Gomera’s thick laurel forests. Meanwhile, in the south, the weather is much warmer and sunnier. Wherever your feet may roam, however, the best time for visiting is from September to May when the climate is at its most pleasant.
La Gomera is known as the best Canary Island for hiking due to its myriad landscapes, most of which are reachable on foot. Banana trees pepper quaint villages and charming towns while rugged mountains and volcanic peaks stretch into the horizon. An extensive web of walking trails maps out the countryside, providing picture perfect sights in every direction. La Gomera is also unique in that it offers a choice of walks for all ages and abilities. Here are several suggestions to get started:
Garajonay National Park
A great place to start your walking adventure in La Gomera is at Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to over 2,000 native plant species, including Indian bay, evergreen laurel and linden trees as well as huge viñátigos and tiles, which can reach heights of 35 metres. Additionally, the park is rich and diverse in fauna, and many amphibians, reptiles and birds are endemic to the region, such as the “Rabiche” and “Turque” pigeons.
Garajonay National Park features an excellent infrastructure of facilities and services, including a visitor centre, an information centre, numerous viewpoints, recreational areas and a network of signposted trails.
Suggested Trail: Las Creces
Length of the trail: 4.5 km.
Total estimated: 1h 50m.
Cumulative ascent slope: 90 m.
This circular trail is one of the most popular in the Garajonay National Park area since it can be enjoyed by the whole family. It combines various eco-systems such as fayal-brezal with a slope laurisilva scenery. It provides a recreational area and different starting points and combinations with other surrounding paths.
Valle Gran Rey
To the west lies Valle Gran Rey, where colourful gardens and terraced topography provide an old-world ambience. Well-maintained roads wind their way into the valley, passing impressive cliff faces and idyllic settlements along the way. About halfway down the valley is the Virgen de Los Reyes church, a top spot to stop and savour the view. When the valley opens up at the delta to the sea, be sure to make a pit stop at La Playa, which offers a black sandy beach plus a multitude of boutique shops, restaurants and bars. Guided walking tours are also available from a small range of companies.
Suggested Trail: La Calera – La Mérica – Arure
Length of the trail: 7.0 km.
Total estimated: 3h.
Cumulative ascent slope: 852 m.
Cumulative descent slope: 100 m.
This linear trail is one of the most popular in Valle Gran Rey. Depending on your level of fitness or physical conditions. You can either start ascending from La Calera to Arure along La Mérica mountain or start in Arure and descend. In Arure, the path starts by the Mirador del Santo. From the top of La Merica (658 m.) you can enjoy an amazing view of the valley. There is a steeper descent to La Calera, so this trail is not recommended if you are afraid of heights.
In western La Gomera at Vallehermoso, the hikes can be more demanding, but they are definitely worth the effort. There are plenty of roads that connect any area of the municipality with another, and a great number of circular routes provide multiple areas to visit. Less travelled paths provide a worthy challenge for even the hardiest of hikers, with passageways split over steep valleys and gorges. Must-visits in the area include Tazo, Arguamul and Alojera, a virtually untouched beach and the main producer of palm honey on the island.
Suggested Trail: Vallehermoso – Camino La Era Nueva – Santa Clara – Camino Los Guanches – San Pedro – Vallehermoso
Length of the trail: 10.7 km.
Total time estimated: 4 hours
Ascent: 642 m.
Descent: 630 m.
This circular trail starts in Vallehermoso town centre. As soon you leave the town, take the path to the chapel of Santa Clara toward the right passing the cemetery. During the ascent, you will enjoy spectacular views of the Roque Cano. Then, taking the Camino La Era Nueva will lead to the Cumbre de Teselinde. There is a beautiful, leafy fayatree-heather grove next to Teselinde Mountain, and the forest also shelters species such as juniper, pennyroyal, ivy, laurel, holly and yew. In the olden days, this path was used by local men and women who would take potatoes, lentils, peas, limpets and cheese to Vallehermoso to sell and come back laden with basic necessities, such as sugar, coffee, oil or soap.