La Gomera is one of the Canary Islands, just a short hop by ferry from Tenerife. It's a very cool option, unspoiled, slightly off grid, with a slightly hippy alternative scene.
From a parent’s point of view, it still promises the beaches and year round sun of Tenerife and Lanzarote, but it also offers incredible outdoor experiences, a friendly vibe and excellent food for all the family. For more info check out lagomera.travel, and here’s a round up of the top activities we discovered for tots.
1 JAW DROPPING VIEWPOINTS
One of the most memorable experiences was the staggering Viewpoint Mirador de Abrante. La Gomera is so blessed, it’s riddled with viewpoints, but Abrante intrigues, terrifies and amazes children as well as adults. A seven metre glass runway juts out from a clifftop, taking in 360 degree views. On a clear day, Mount Teide (over on Tenerife) looks beautiful.
The viewpoint has a respected café so it’s a good lunch stop, but equally you can stop for an ice-cream as a child friendly treat.
2 HIKING IN GARAJONAY NATIONAL PARK
Garajonay is an atmospheric, magical destination. It’s unique, and protected as a Unesco World Heritage Site. For kids, it’s a place to trigger the imagination, reminiscent of a mystical fairyland, Harry Potter novels, Tim Burton movies and definitely the habitation for elves and goblins. It’s a dream for hikers or anyone who enjoys forest walks. As our kids are preschoolers we drove through much of the area, but we did embark on a short walk on the El Cedro route, reaching a small clearing featuring a church built by an English Governess who made La Gomera her home. Here, there are picnic tables and drinking water gushing from a tree, so a great wee spot for lunch al fresco.
It’s a lot cooler in the rainforest than down on the shoreline, so Garajonay is a good escape for a more chilled day out but do dress accordingly.
3 Whale Watching with Yani Cruises
Sailing out of Valle Gran Rey for a half day Whale Watching is another recommendation. We spent forty minutes cruising alongside a playful pod of pilot whales, which was ideal entertainment and education for the tots. Lunch is served on the return leg of the journey with soft drinks, beer or wine. Again, bring a fleece or long-sleeved top for the crisp sea air.
4 Hit the Beach
Family holidays in the sun usually involve some serious beach action. We based ourselves at Valle Gran Rey on the west of La Gomera. Valle Gran Rey has a long sweep of black, sandy beach, a harbour beach, and a sheltered baby beach, so take your pick and chill out.
The extensive beach at Valle Gran Rey boasts a long walkway. Taking a stroll into town, at any time of day, is a popular activity, and a relatively calming way to spend an hour, even if you are chasing children from time to time. Excellent buggy territory.
6 Hit the Pool
Hotel Gran Rey has a serene rooftop pool. The views out to sea are lush, although the pool isn’t heated so this is perhaps one for older children, or for use in high summer.
7 Eat Local
Some of the local delicacies are strangely appealing to children. Palm Syrup is a sweet treat, harvested from protected palm trees. It works well on icecream, or in any desserts, gorgeous on toast, and for adults it’s tempting in cocktails. Naturally the syrup is tantalisingly sweet so generally kids love it.
La Gomerans are also proud of their salted potatoes. Junior could live on potatoes, or any carbohydrate, and these wee tatties are served with practically every dish.
I loved the La Gomera red and green mojo sauces pictured above. The former is rich with hot chilli, the latter is a more mellow coriander option. Almogrote was another favourite – a cheese paté with a distinctive kick to it.
8 Eat the Food and Follow the Diet you Wish
La Gomera has such a cool array of cafés and restaurants. The vegan and vegetarian offering is so strong that most menus seem to include vegan and vegetarian options as a norm. Meat eaters are also well catered for, including several goat dishes.
9 Feel the Beat
Due to the hippy, alternative vibe, groups of drummer gather on the beach at Valle Gran Rey to play and dance as the sun goes down. Our kids loved this- adults making noise rather than telling them to be quiet. Dance on the beach all you want wee ones.
10 Watch the Sun Set
Valle Gran Rey boasts one of the best sunsets in Europe. A tranquil way to end the day whatever your circumstances.
Don’t forget that reaching La Gomera by ferry is an adventure itself. We caught the Fred Olsen Express from Los Cristianos in Tenerife to San Sebastian in La Gomera. It was only a 45 minute sailing, with food and drink available to purchase onboard, so an easy gig all in all.
OUR STORY – We flew from Edinburgh to Tenerife with Norwegian.com. We spent 3 nights in Tenerife before sailing to La Gomera with Fred Olsen Express. Picking up a hire car in the port, from Rent a Car La Rueda, we drove 1.5 hours to the resort of Valle Gran Rey. We stayed for 3 nights at Hotel Van Rey – read our review here.
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