The exotic Spanish islands of Gomera and Tenerife are a year round walking destination. In Tenerife, the highest island in the Atlantic, you'll explore Mount Teide the third tallest volcano in the world. From the ancient university town of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the elegant resort of Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast, this self guided walk offers varied walks through the island's tiny villages, black sandy beaches and dry cactus strewn valleys. Travelling on to the volcanic island of Gomera you'll experience more dramatic scenery with its mountainous terrain unlike anywhere else in Europe. You will be walking virtually round the island, experiencing a variety of landscapes from rocky to cultivated terraces and banana plantations and into the rare laurisilva cloud forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So rugged is the island that pre telephones, Gomerans developed a language of whistling to communicate from valley to valley.
We grade the tour as 'Moderate to Challenging'. However the walk should present no difficulties for anyone in reasonable condition and accustomed to walking in hilly areas. Stretches of a few metres only may be considered vertiginous by some. On Day 7 there is a longer vertiginous stretch but this section is optional. On La Gomera short sections of some walks may be vertiginous but if you are worried, consult out local reps for advice. It may be possible to get a lift part of the way.
Day Stages: 10 - 20 km per day with ascents/descents of up to 1000 metres.
San Cristobel de La Laguna was founded in 1497 by Alonso Fernandez de Lugo. The last town to be established in the Canary Islands takes its name from a shallow lake or marshy area (La Laguna), which was not drained until 1837. It is claimed to be the first example of an unfortified town laid out and built according to a complete plan based on navigation, the science of the time, and as the organized space of a new peaceful social order inspired by religious concepts of the year 1500. As the first non-fortified Spanish colonial town, its layout was the model for many colonial towns in the Americas. We would thoroughly recommend that either today or tomorrow after your walk you visit some of the historical sites in the town.
Accommodation: For two nights we use Aparthotel Nivaria, in the centre of this old university town, a World Heritage Site. Rooms are ensuite with heating/air conditioning, TV and a small kitchen bay. There is a bar cafeteria and breakfast room.
After breakfast, prepare a picnic and head to the bus station to catch the bus to Cruz del Carmen. A significantly downhill walk starting at 920m and descending practically to sea level. The walk is varied and interesting, starting in the often misty and damp 'laurisilva', the ancient indigenous laurel forest which covered a lot of southern Europe and North Africa before being destroyed by the Ice Age which never quite reached the Canary Islands. You emerge from the forest to stroll past cultivated lands to arrive at the village of Chinamada. Then down again, this time steeper; the landscape becomes rocky and dry, dotted with cactus. Wonderful views and some amazing shaped rocks punctuate the walk until you arrive at Punta de Hidalgo from where there are numerous buses back to La Laguna.
Prepare a picnic before being picked up for the short drive to start today's walk. A beautiful and quiet walk, you begin walking through more laurisilva and introduced eucalyptus, this time uphill and starting at 804m. On a well-defined forest track you climb mostly gently up to 1500m over 3 hours probably rising above the cloud base and the laurisilva into brilliant sunshine and giant Canarias pines. Fabulous glimpses at Mount Teide through the pines accompany you on your way down to the pretty hamlet of La Caldera at 1160m where there is a simple bar / restaurant. From here catch the bus to Puerto de la Cruz.
Accommodation: Two nights at 4 Dreams Hotel is a 3 star hotel is located in the pedestrian centre of Puerto de la Cruz, an attractive coastal town. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms, TV and many have balconies. This hotel has been run by the same family for over 75 years.
This is a bus-free day if you do the optional walk to Bollullo Beach, which starts and returns to your hotel taking you up and out of the town with lovely coastal views. Banana plantations take over from residential areas with fabulous views up to you right to the Orotava valley. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to get to Bollullo beach. In good weather it could be nice to go for a swim. There is a bar restaurant above the beach where you could have lunch before returning on the same route.
This morning pack what you need for an overnight stay for your El Teide Adventure! You catch a morning bus and need to arrive early as many walkers take on the challenge of El Teide. The walk starts at 2000m above the tree line and takes you along the length of a huge crater. A unique experience and a geologist's dream, where the history of the island's formation is in full view. Reward yourselves with a swim and a sauna on arrival at the Parador.
Accommodation: Parador de Las Cañadas del Teide. This famous 4 star hotel has very comfortable rooms, satellite TV, minibar, etc. There is also an indoor pool, sauna and gym. On Friday nights, there is star gazing under the guidance of a local astronomer. Dinner is included in the hotel's elegant dining room. Next door, the hotel also runs a cafeteria.
Check the cable car is running which can take you up to 3550m, only 200m short of the summit where you can walk in both directions for amazing views of the other islands. The alternative is to take the fascinating Roques de Garcia circular walk from the Parador passing famous landmarks like "El Dedo de Dios" (God's finger) and "Catedral" discovering lava caves along the way. Take the after bus from the Parador back to Puerto de la Cruz where you return to you overnight accommodation for a further two nights.
After a short bus ride, a mostly gradual ascent and descent makes this a very enjoyable walk. Starting with the ponds of Erjos and rolling countryside you ascend through laurisilva and giant heathers to reach your first ridgetop to then skirt around Montana Jala to reach another great viewpoint, the Cumbre del Bolico. After descending into the abandoned hamlet of Bolico the walk takes you through dense woodland to eventually climb to the top of Montana Jala for the best views of all. You then descend to meet up with the earlier part of the walk on the first ridgetop to retrace your steps back to Restaurante Fleytas. We recommend the short extension to Erjos where there is a small village to look round and a couple of bars to take a break before catching the bus back to Puerto de la Cruz where you overnight.
Check out of your hotel and make your own way to Los Cristianos port for the ferry to San Sebastian on the island of La Gomera. Your hotel is located approx 15 minutes by foot or a short taxi journey (approx Euros 5).
Accommodation: We use a 3 star hotel situated in the centre of San Sebastian on a bed & breakfast basis. Dinner can be taken in one of the many restaurants in town. There are two beaches within easy reach on foot. The ferry port is a fifteen-minute walk away. Or upgrade and stay in the Parador hotel.
After breakfast you will be picked up and transferred to the exquisitely situated village of Agulo (250m), which looks out to sea cut off from the rest of the island by the shear basalt cliffs rising behind. The walk begins with a steep ascent to bring you after 2 hours to the Visitor’s Centre of Garajonay National Park, (800m) where you can learn about the park and the island in general. Then down to the lunchtime stop at Bar Amalahuigue in Las Rosas or at Roque Blanco. You then continue on to Vallehermoso, for the last two hours downhill with expansive and stunning views over the north west of the island. Ascent 814m / Descent 846m.
Accommodation: Your accommodation tonight is in a restored manor house built in 1896.
Into the cloud forest. With plenty of water to drink and in winter long trousers and waterproof jackets, you head south from Vallehermoso (300m) up hill towards the centre of the island through lush, terraced farming country, past reservoirs, ever upwards until you enter the forest and the National Park. After lunch, an easy walk with occasional glimpses down to the magnificent Valle Gran Rey. From here you can take the path to El Cercado, home to Gomera’s tiny potteries and onto Chipude and Hotel Sonia at 1100m. Ascent: 871m / Descent 334m.
Accommodation: You will be staying two nights at family run Bar/Pension Sonia.
Relax on the west coast. Optional walk with some steep downhill parts to see the biggest and often considered the most beautiful valley in Gomera, Valle Gran Rey, via Gerian for swimming and sunbathing. Try lunch in a fish restaurant at the port of Vueltas. Bus or taxi back to Chipude. The super energetic can of course walk back! Ascent 72m / Descent 1114m
To the summit and down to the warm south. The fairly gentle uphill walk to the summit of the island, El Alto de Garajonay (1486 m) is completed in 2 hours. Beautiful views on a clear day down into the cloud forest and across to see the islands of Tenerife, E1 Hierro and La Palma and occasionally Gran Canaria; then steeply down into the hidden valley of Imada (800m.) where there is a shop/bar normally open. It is then down into a garden of Eden of palms and canes until you reach Play de Santiago and the south coast (3 hours from Imada). Ascent 570m / Descent 1500m
Accommodation: You will be staying two nights in Apartamentos Bellavista situated on a pedestrian lane in Laguna de Santiago. It is a short walk through a banana plantation to the beach, restaurants and shops in the main part of the village. Here you will have your own apartment equipped with food and drink essentials to greet you on arrival. Breakfast is taken in your apartment, ingredients supplied. Choose one of the many local fish restaurants at the beach for dinner in the evening. Don't forget to check out the restaurante La Cuevita towards the harbour. It is built into a cave. We have chosen to have two nights here as it is the sunniest warmest part of the island.
Lounge around Santiago and the beach or explore the hidden beaches to the east of the village. For the restless, take the bus past Alajero and walk to the only dragon tree on the island. Then back down to Santiago via the villages of Alajero and Targa. There is plenty to do and see and our local representatives are on hand with suggestions to suit.
After breakfast at your apartment, you will be taken to the start of this final days walk at Pastrana. Another wonderful day with a gentle start but becoming steep uphill until you reach the amazing Roque de Agando (1250m) - Gomera’s biggest basalt volcanic chimney. You arrive at the main road with wonderful panoramic views. Crossing over the road, the walk descends through pinewoods to La Laja and then on asphalt for the transfer to San Sebastian where you return for your last nights accommodation. Ascent 1215m / Descent 1050m.
Trip concludes after breakfast. Make your own way to the ferry port for your onward journey.
What a remarkable island. This trip surpassed every expectation and the variety of landscapes were something to truly behold. The hotels were very appropriate, the luggage transfers were seamless and the walking, while testing at times, was fantastic. Thank you to your team for providing my wife and I with a truly memorable experience
K. Cameron., St Albans, VIC. Australia
Per Person, Twin Share