La Gomera is a short hop from Tenerife, but its other worldly qualities make it a stand out destination. The island's treasured rainforest, the Garajonay National Park, is eery and atmospheric. From a kid's point of view, it's like entering a fairy kingdom, a world of Harry Potter, or a scene straight out of a Tim Burton movie.
The Garajonay rainforest is a unique example of prehistoric flora from the Tertiary period (google it!). Recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site it’s hugely popular with walkers of all nationalities, and guided tours are commonplace: you can trek for a few hours, or for entire days. As our kids were 4 and 2 when we travelled, and not the world’s most renowned hikers, we headed to a very short section of the Garajonay trail on the El Cedro route. We drove deep into the rainforest, then undertook a short half hour walk. We took the buggy with us but abandoned it half way through, 99% certain it wouldn’t disappear! Our walk took us to a clearing with picnic tables, and drinking water spouting out of a tree that’s affectionately known locally as the ‘Peeing Tree’ (you’ll see why in the picture below).
Next to this clearing was a small, white church that was built by an Englishwoman. Florence Stephen Parry lost her fiancé in World War I. Shortly afterwards she was given the opportunity to move to La Gomera and work as a Governess. With nothing to lose she embarked on a new life and made the island her permanent home.
We were assured that if you continued along this trail, beyond the church, you’d come to a small village where a café served excellent watercress soup (a local speciality), but we returned the way we’d come, picked up our abandoned buggy, and headed to the hire car with our adventurous wee ones.
Even though we only undertook a tiny snippet of the walking trails available it was an eye-opener. The light filtering through the trees was mystical. It reminded me of some crazy film set rather than real life as it looked so ethereal. Due to the elevation, the cloud coverage and tree canopy, this was a cooler day out, and a break from the hot Canaries’ sun. It’s a unique and beautiful part of the world so I’ve posted these pictures to inspire ideas and show you what’s out there. If you enjoy forest walks or munro bagging in Scotland, this place will tick every box. Just be sure not to leave the clearly marked paths or you may well get lost!
Contact lagomera.travel to request information about hiking on the island, independently or on a guided tour.
OUR STORY – We flew from Edinburgh to Tenerife South, before catching the Fred Olsen Express ferry from Tenerife’s Los Cristianos to San Sebastian in La Gomera. We stayed at Hotel Gran Rey in Valle Gran Rey on the south west coast of La Gomera.
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