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The hidden Canary Island: La Gomera

The hidden Canary Island: La Gomera
Did you know that there’s an unsung Canary Island? The second smallest of the eight Canary Islands, La Gomera is relatively forgotten about, making it a haven for nature lovers, and boasting old-world Canarian charm and traditions.
With mild yet warm temperatures throughout the year, La Gomera lives in what the locals call an eternal spring. It has a more demure and tranquil vibe than other islands in the archipelago - in fact La Gomera only gained mains electricity and water after 1975.
It's surprisingly easy to reach La Gomera - just a 40-minute ferry ride from Tenerife’s Los Cristianos Harbour, which takes you into the island’s picturesque capital of San Sebastián, where pretty pastel cliffside houses seem to almost spill into the sea.
Incidentally, the island was Christopher Columbus's last stop before he sailed to the Americas in 1492. La Gomera’s most recent global claim to fame is that it was the location of the 2015 film, In the Heart of the Sea, which was set in the mid-19th century.
La Gomera was a former hippie hangout too: in the 1960s and 1970s the island attracted Americans who would hide in its caves to avoid military conscription during the Vietnam War.
One of La Gomera’s most unusual customs is Silbo Gomero, a whistled language that shepherds and other inhabitants of the island have used for many centuries to help communicate to one another across the rugged volcanic landscapes of deep ravines and narrow valleys. It’s believed that this whistling can convey messages over three miles. Even today, school children still learn the language.
If you enjoy hiking then you’re in luck, as there’s over 400 miles of zigzagging walking trails that take you into incredible landscapes, including up to the island’s highest peak, the Alto de Garajonay. The now-dormant volcanoes really shaped La Gomera, creating natural treasures of black sand beaches, palm-filled valleys, and almost ethereal mountainous slopes.
In the heart of the island, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage site of Garajonay National Park, which is mostly made up of a vast, fairytale-esque and foggy laurel forest that you can easily venture through and discover gnarled trees, horizontal rain, and unique animals, including a giant lizard species.
Image of a sunset on La Gomera island
Like the other Canary Islands, La Gomera also boasts a homegrown winemaking culture, producing a whopping 30,000 litres every year with its own designation of origin. You can visit vineyards and bodegas in Vallehermoso and Hermigua.
Spend your time unwinding on the island's many unspoilt beaches, including the three Blue Flag beaches - Playa de Santiago in Alajeró, and both Playa de La Cueva and Playa de San Sebastián de La Gomera in San Sebastián. Tapahuga Beach is easily reached by a direct walkway from Hotel Jardín Tecina. Go whale watching off the Atlantic Coast, or on guided walks, such as a historical stroll, a wander under the stars, or a walk through banana plantations.
You’ll also find unusual rock formations, such as Los Organos, which resembles a set of church organ pipes. There are many villages to discover, such as the hilltop village of Agulo, which is ensconced by the ‘yellow gold’ of banana plantations, and the hamlet of Chipude, which is bursting with history.
Driving around you’ll find people in straw hats tending to the land, low-key settlements, and terraces sprawling with prickly pears, aloe, and palms. La Gomera really does feel like the place that time forgot - but you’ll be so glad you’ve found it.

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