The circular island of La Gomera has long been considered the hiking paradise of the Canary Islands. With its many ravines and microclimates, the island always presents something new, possessing an incredibly diverse array of vegetation in a surprisingly small area. And one mighty hiking trail will let you see it all: The GR 132. Circling the island clockwise, this path takes you along the rugged coastline of La Gomera and guarantees one seriously varied adventure. At some stages, you’ll fight spectacularly steep inclines, push through dense jungles of juniper—and be left with the belief that you’ve made it to Mars.
While hiking, the GR 132 will take you past at least one settlement everyday. As the island is famously sparsely populated, however, you should be careful when planning your overnight stays. As with people, the supply of food—and more importantly water—should also be taken into account. Keep an emergency reserve in your backpack should you need a little longer to complete a certain stage, and remember that not all wells contain drinkable water. What’s more, the sun is always going to be a factor here—even in deep winter. So, feel free to ask any restaurants you pass for a refill as they’ll normally be glad to help you out.
Officially, wild camping is not allowed on the island, although it’s most often tolerated when it seems to be the only option—just be sure to leave your spot exactly as you found it. And if you want to check out the famous cloud forest to the center of the island, consider hopping on the GR 131 hiking trail when it crosses your path, which will take you across the island.
To get to La Gomera, your best option is the ferry from Tenerife, where you’ll find two international airports. The ferries run between Los Cristianos and San Sebastian de la Gomera, and of the two companies that offer the service, Las Armas is cheaper. If it’s speed your after, consider taking one of the Fred Olsen ferries, just bear in mind it’s the more expensive option.
The first stage of your tour of La Gomera begins in San Sebastián, the capital of the island. Here, the ferries to the neighboring islands on and off, the city is the economic center of the island. In the streets you will find cozy bars and all sorts of shops if you have forgotten something.If it is mostly flat in the center, it is partly steep in the outer parts of the city, a taste for the next days.From the city leads you a steadily rising tarred road, which is getting smaller and smaller and soon becomes a small Weglein. Up below the Jaragán it goes uphill. Now you have reached the Natural Park of Majona, through which you will walk on the next few kilometers. The natural park is known for its steep gorges and cliffs. The trail bypasses this fortunately.At the foot of the Enereda the path winds on a kind of high plateau. There are many shady pines, palms and heather. On your way you have always great views of the neighboring island of Tenerife including Teide.Arriving at Playa de Caleta you have almost reached your destination. You can choose whether you want to jump into the water here or whether you want to reward yourself on the beach of Hermigua with a cool down.
From Hermigua it goes on today's stage to the beach of Vallehermoso. You walk through heathland, past cultivated terraces and on paths that are densely grown by juniper trees.From the beach you follow the coastal road. If you look up the mountain, you will see many terraces on which all sorts of plane trees are grown. Plane trees are the Canary version of bananas.In the town of Agulo, whose streets are lined with colorful houses, you can take an early break to fortify yourself for the upcoming climb to the visitor center of the Garajonay National Park. Here you will be informed about the unique flora and fauna of the national park.Now you have reached the climax of today's stage and it goes down to Vallehermoso mostly downhill. At Las Rosas you reach a reservoir that distributes the water of the mountains to the surrounding terraced fields. At least from here, the edge of the path is overgrown with wild-growing juniper trees.On the beach of Vallehermoso you will find a large swimming pool, you can decide whether you prefer to take your well-deserved hiking day spa here or in the sea.
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At the beginning of your day of hiking, a steep but beautiful climb from the beach to the Mirador Montana de Alcala awaits you. If you have reached this and you enjoy the wonderful view, the path runs more leisurely on a ridge uphill. This is the geologically oldest part of the island and offers unusual sights. In any case, the path will always give you wonderful views of the north coast of the island.Do you move on the ridge mostly on relatively level terrain, so it is just before the magical sources "Chorros de Epina" again steeply uphill. But here is waiting for a nice place to rest. Down to the beach, it is now only down the hill.
Today's stage is the shortest of your trip, yet a unique landscape awaits you again.Two of the central attractions of the island are on the program. The steeply sloping basaltic cliffs of the Lomo del Carretón, which separates the central plateau from the coast, and the famous Valle Gran Rey.Once a haven for dropouts, today it has become the tourist magnet of the island, but that does not change its beauty. Over millions of years, the Barranco de Arure has eaten into the rock and formed an impressive ravine.The Camino de La Merica leads you to a ridge on the flank of the valley. On your right side, the mountain slopes down to the sea, on your left side the demolished edge of the valley.Finally arrived at the Riscos de La Merica, you can see your daily destination, the beach about 600 meters below you. A steep, narrow winding path leads you down.
Yesterday you looked at it from high above, today you look at the bottom of the valley. Until the small town of El Guro you follow the riverbed of the Barranco de Arure. After the church, where you can fill up your drinking water, it goes up again steeply the valley flank.At Degollada del Cerrillal, you have reached the edge of the valley and look down to the next valley, the Barranco de Argaga. Take a short break, breathe and enjoy the panoramic view, as it is once again steep on the way to the Eremita Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. The chapel is also the highest point of the day and you have a breathtaking view from there. From here it is constantly downhill to the Playa de Iguala. From there it is only a stone's throw to the day's destination, the small settlement of La Dama. Here is the largest banana plantation of the island.
Your stage today will take you from La Dama via Alajeró to Playa de Santiago. Basically, it goes up the mountain once, until Alajero and then down again. But not without visiting some gorges again, as is typical for La Gomera. Up the hill you are on the run of Barranco de la Negra. This belongs to the protected landscape "Orone", here nest some rare birds, such as the osprey.On your way up, you will always encounter smaller settlements. Once in Alajeró, you can recover from the ascent and stop halfway through the day. The second part of the walk is only downhill, but is quite sparse due to long agricultural management and offers little shade. But the view on the downhill winding way, especially over to the Teide, wonderful.Arriving at Playa de Santiago, some bars are waiting to provide you with a cool drink.
The last stage does not take you as high up in the mountains as the previous ones. But it runs through largely uninhabited area, so you can, before you return to the hustle and bustle of the island capital, still a lot of rest.There are four, sometimes really lonely, beaches waiting for you. One is more beautiful than the other. The most notable is probably the Playa de El Cabrito, classified as a natural monument. On your way, you will encounter the remnants of agricultural use time and time again and you will ask yourself, one time or another, who has moved all the stones on the steep slopes of the island without any big machines.Due to the almost non-existent forest cover of the coastal strip, you will hardly find any shade, but great views of the mostly out of the clouds Teide.Arriving in San Sebastian, you can either hop on one of the ferries leaving for Tenerife or stay for a few days to explore the interior of the island.