Garajonay National Park, La Gomera in Spain
Day hikes in La Gomera
We had heard a lot about how beautiful the Canary island of La Gomera is but felt it was a bit troublesome to get there. The most common way is to fly to Tenerife South, rent a car and then take the boat from Los Christianos to San Sebastian de La Gomera. Lots of people staying in Los Christianos or nearby villages in Tenerife also go there on arranged one-day tours. Finally we went there and realized that La Gomera really is something of a kind. It is simply a great place to spend a few days in.
Arriving in San Sebastian, the capital of La Gomera, after leaving buzzing Los Christianos in Tenerife was like coming to a carribean heaven. San Sebastian is a sleepy village with a charming city center, a few restaurants and a small beach. Right on top of a hill above the village is the Parador de La Gomera with stunning views of Tenerife and a beautiful garden.
La Gomera is a paradise for hiking and trail running with a very varied landscape, sensational views and charming Spanish villages. The cloud forest in Garajonay National Park is famous for its low hanging clouds and ecosystem.
There are several hiking routes to choose between. The longest one runs all the way around the island and the most famous hikes are in the national park of Garajonay right in the middle of the island. There you find the Gran Ruta Circular Garajonay, 16 kilometres easy walk. Lots of people arrive from Tenerife to La Gomera on day trips and then Garajonay usually is a given stop.
You can also hike along the southern coast from San Sebastian de La Gomera with beautiful unbroken views of the ocean and nearby island of Tenerife. The stony decorated with palm trees is totally different from Garajonay.
Starting from San Sebastian you can also walk straight inland passing by cactuses and rocks to for example Roque Jaragán. Check out more about the hikes, where to stay and eat below.
How to get to La Gomera?
The capital of La Gomera is San Sebastian and most people take the Fred Olsen Express ferry from Los Christianos in Tenerife to get here. The price for the ferry is more or less the same with or without car. A roundtrip for 2 people is about 150 Euros. Same price with car.
There are several departures every day. The boat journey takes a little less than an hour, just enough time to have a coffée in one of the ferry´s restaurants.
The harbour in Los Christianos is right in the middle of the city and it is well signed along the way. In La Gomera the harbour is in San Sebastian just by the city center.
Where to stay in La Gomera?
Most people stay in either San Sebastian or Valle Gran Rey. We chose the former and even though we went all the way around the island by car we decided to save Valle Gran Rey for our next trip.
The main reason we finally decided to stay in San Sebastian was that we found a really nice and genuine hotel there, Parador de La Gomera. We were not disappointed. This place gives you almost a Caribbean feeling. The buildings and gardens are so beautiful.
It is also one of our favourite boutique hotels.
What is a parador?
We are totally into those paradores in Spain since the setting of paradores and the decorations often are simply amazing. You find Paradores all over Spain. They are 4- or 5-star hotels that usually are located in some converted historic building like a monastery, palace or castle in a beautiful environment.
Paradores are owned by the government. One purpose with paradores is to make the wonder´s of the Spanish landscape accessible to tourism. Today there are more than 90 Paradores spread all over Spain.
We have also stayed in a Parador in Gran Canaria in the little village of Tejeda with a stunning setting on the ridge Cruz de la Tejeda. The views of the valley and Teide in Tenerife are amazing! And we have had lunch in the beautiful gardens of the Parador in Alhambra, Granada. Highly recommended!
Where to eat in La Gomera?
The restaurant in the Parador de La Gomera is really good. It´s a bit expensive though and the menu is for some reason difficult to understand. It is not obvious what is a starter and a main dish.
We had lunch two days in a row in a small and personal restaurant in San Sebastian called Pensión Victor. This place is totally different from the other restaurants along the street. We chose several small dishes and enjoyed the personal and friendly environment a lot. The food was great! Just across the street from Pensión Victor is a small café selling homemade icecream.
Car rental on La Gomera
It is possible to go by bus to all the main spots on La Gomera inlcuding the villages and Garajonay National Park. If you prefer more flexibility on when and where to go renting a car is an option.
As for car rentals it is a bit unclear if you are allowed to bring a rental car from Tenerife to La Gomera. Nevertheless, if something happens with the car on La Gomera you have to arrange with transport to Tenerife by yourself.
Probably the best option is to rent a car from Cicar that has offices on Tenerife as well as on La Gomera. According to their rental conditions you are allowed to bring the car to La Gomera.
When to go to La Gomera?
La Gomera is an all year destination. It is a little warmer during summer (July-September). We were there in the beginning of January, the coldest month and it was a bit chilly in the mornings and evenings. During daytime it was some +20 degrees Celsius. Great weather for hiking!