Although the stretch of water that separates La Gomera from Tenerife spans less than 30km, its forests and terraced hillsides are a world away from its boisterous neighbour. The island’s tiny airport receives just 32,000 passengers per year, with the majority of visitors arriving by ferry.
This was Christopher Columbus’ final stop to provision his ships with food and water before his transatlantic voyage of discovery in 1492. Columbus stopped here again on his later voyages in 1493 and 1498.
The island is home to the Garajonay National Park – a mist shrouded relic of ancient laurasilva cloud forest. This type of forest was widespread in the Mediterranean millions of years ago, with just small isolated fragments left today. A walk through the ferns and verdant moss-encrusted laurel trees is a must for any visitor to the island.
La Gomera is also home to El Silbo – a unique whistling language that allows the Gomeros (as the locals are known) to communicate across wide ravines and valleys (the island is criss-crossed by large barrancos). Those steep Valley walls have been back-breakingly converted into terraces where bananas, tomatoes and vines are cultivated, creating a landscape rivalling the terraced paddy fields of South-east Asia.