La Gomera is the second smallest island in the Canaries with a surface area of 370 km2. Roughly circular in shape, it has a population of approximately 23,000. The highest point is at 1487m at Alto de Garajonay. The Garajonay National Park covers 33.3% of the total area of the island. Don’t forget to check out our album of photos of La Gomera!
One of the curiosities of La Gomera is the language of whistling, the Silbo Gomera, an ancient way of communication and which is now being taught in schools. Sailing and walking on La Gomera are just two of the top pastimes – but there’s plenty more out there!
The north of La Gomera
Unlike the other Canary Islands of La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria the island of La Gomera has less of a north/south divide in terms of vegetation although at higher levels, the north can be humid.
Agulo in the north east of La Gomera was originally one of the most prosperous municipalities on the island as it was the first to have piped drinking water and electricity. It is also famous for its davit, the pier made of concrete. Hermigua in the north east lies in a valley with allegedly one of the best climates on the island and ends at the beach of Santa Catalina. The village of Vallehermoso is in the north of La Gomera although its municipality extends to both the north and south.
The south of La Gomera
The capital of La Gomera is San Sebastian which lies on the east coast, south of the midway point and this is also where the ferry terminal linking it to La Palma and Tenerife lies. The town of San Sebastian has the only preserved medieval building on the island, the Torre del Conde, which was was built in 1447. Important not just in military history but also in historic love-history when the beautiful Beatriz de Bobadilla barricaded herself in the tower around 1488, the tower still remains in tact to this day.
Also in the town of San Sebastian is the Casa de la Aguada, a traditional Canarian building which in its time was the customs offices (hence the name) and is now the La Gomera Tourist Office and exhibition of the fascinating history of La Gomera and the Discovery of America.
Valle Gran Rey, located in the south west, was once the capital of the island. Now however it has become the main (although still small) tourist resort with its choice of beaches in the surrounding area. Alajeró in the south, is home to the El Salvador 17th century church and at sea level is the beach Playa de Santiago, a fishing village and small tourist resort.
In the middle!
In the centre of La Gomera is the Garajonay National Park and laurislva forest which covers 4,000 hectares, 11% of the island. With 2000 species of plants in the Park along with a network of marked walking trails, viewpoints and recreation areas, this is one of the main attractions of La Gomera. Like the other forested islands, La Gomera is in danger of forest fires during the dry summer months and has suffered fire damage in past.
As one of the two smallest islands in the Canarian Archipelago, La Gomera is not a main stream holiday destination attracting mass tourism. Instead, it attracts those that value nature and rural tourism thanks to its traditional Canarian rural houses, nature and the walking that the island affords. However, there is also a whole range of accommodation on La Gomera ranging from the 4 Star hotels to apartments and hostels.
The leisure pursuits on La Gomera are accented on nature and walking although there are of course water-based activities such as SCUBA diving and whale watching boat trips. There is also the Tecnica Par 71 golf course, notable because it is built on a slope with a descent of 174m.
The fiesta of El Paso every September attracts thousands of locals and visitors. Other notable fiestas are the Fiesta de Santiago in July, the Tapahuga in August and the Fiesta of La Encarnación in September.
Whilst La Gomera is circular in shape, it does not have a circular road system due to the ravines which cut into the landscape, particularly along the coast. Instead the roads almost all ascend and descend to and from the centre of the island.
The bus service tends to be rather flexible with between four and seven lines running regularly.
There is one main hospital on La Gomera which is the Hospital of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in San Sebastian. In addition, there are medical centres, Centro de Salud, and pharmacies.