I fell in love with La Gomera, a small round island in the Canary archipelago, so much so that I booked several stays there! However, if you only have one day, it’s best to discover the place from Tenerife. What to do in La Gomera on a day trip? I propose some ideas in this article, including indicative timings. It’s a very busy itinerary, but you can adjust it to suit your preferences.
If you prefer not to manage logistics, I also recommend quality tours you can book to explore the island.
La Gomera in 1 Day: rent a car or book a tour!
From Tenerife, the ferry offers three destinations, all located in the south of La Gomera: the city of San Sebastian de La Gomera, the largest on the island, as well as Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey (for these last two cities, the connection is indirect and is made via San Sebastian, it is sometimes suspended if the circumstances do not allow to ensure a minimum number of passengers).
However, if you only have one day, you probably won’t have time to wait for the long boat ride to these small coastal towns.
The easiest way is to arrive in San Sebastian de La Gomera. However, if you only stay in this city, you’ll miss the steep landscapes, the Garajonay National Park with its fascinating primary rainforest sometimes concealed by a dense mist, small villages with colorful facades, landscapes with red soil like Mars, and other secrets.
Therefore, it is essential to have a car to explore the island. You can rent one on the spot, a few steps from the port where the ferry will drop you off, at GomeraCar or Cicar. If you rent a car in Tenerife, make sure beforehand that the rental company allows you to cross with the car to another island as it’s not always allowed.
Passengers who bring a car on the ferry should arrive an hour earlier, which means they also have to return to the port earlier than those on foot. This may influence your decision.
If you don’t have a car, there are day trips to La Gomera from Tenerife, such as this one. You’ll visit San Sebastian de La Gomera, Garajonay National Park, the Mirador de Abrante, where you’ll see a demonstration of “Silbo Gomero,” the whistled language used on the island and recognized as part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. You’ll also pass through the villages of Chipude and El Cercado, known for its pottery.
You can also go on a jeep excursion, such as this one from Arona near Los Cristianos.
What to do in La Gomera in one Day: itinerary!
You board the ferry at the Los Cristianos port in Tenerife shortly before 9 am. You can check prices and routes on DirectFerries to get the best offer. After a 50-minute crossing on a comfortable boat, enjoying a hot drink and the Atlantic breeze, you’ll arrive in La Gomera at the small port of San Sebastian at 9:45 am.
In my opinion, San Sebastian de La Gomera is not a city worth visiting. So, I suggest you start exploring the rest of the island right away. If you have some time left at the end of the day, spend it in San Sebastian. If you don’t have time, you won’t miss anything “memorable.” This is just my personal opinion, of course!
Following this principle, we’ll pick up our rental car and hit the road to Hermigua!
The village of Hermigua
It will take about 30 minutes to reach Hermigua via the GM-1 road.
Along the road, you’ll see stair-like crops on the mountainside. They are a testament to a time when La Gomera depended mainly on agriculture, particularly banana cultivation.
Today, due to the difficult nature of the job and the steep terrain, many young people do not want to practice this kind of work anymore. Not to mention it’s impossible to use any machine on such steep hillsides, it means exhausting manual labor. La Gomera relies more on tourism, and offers plenty of rural tourism, especially in the north, for nature lovers.
Hermigua is nestled in a valley and has two volcanic chimneys, the Roques de San Pedro, as its emblem.
The town has a beach, but it’s not recommended for swimming due to strong currents. Locals prefer nearby Playa de Caleta, which is a little more protected.
When you visit La Gomera on a day trip from Tenerife, there’s not much time to stop at the beach, but I recommend making photo stops in Hermigua.
On the beach, you’ll see El Pescante, four pillars that are remnants of an old loading structure for boats. The sea is so rough that boats couldn’t dock, so they stayed a little far from the shore, and cranes loaded the shipments of bananas and other commodities exported from the island.
Hermigua also features a small church, an old Dominican convent, and banana plantations.
Indicative time to leave Hermigua: 10:45 am.
The red Martian landscape near Mirador de Abrante
Driving on the GM-1 road, you will pass through the beautiful village of Agulo before ascending towards Mirador de Abrante, a stunning viewpoint. It takes around 25 minutes to get there without stopping.
You can stroll through the charming streets of Agulo along the way. Mirador de Abrante is interesting because:
- The area around it is covered with red sand, resembling the planet Mars (not that I have ever been to Mars!).
- It offers breathtaking views of the Teide volcano of Tenerife and you can walk on a glass footbridge if you feel brave.
- It offers a beautiful view of Agulo, the village of La Gomera I find the most charming.
The restaurant at the Mirador de Abrante is also noteworthy as its menu offers local Gomeran specialties such as the delicious almogrote, a preparation containing goat’s cheese and garlic.
I usually don’t recommend restaurants that are purely designed for tourists, but I’ll make a small exception for La Gomera.
During your meal, there is often a demo of the silbo gomero. This is a way of communication using whistling, which allowed farmers to “talk” to each other from one valley to another. The sound of the whistle carried far, much further than the voice.
Today, the silbo is a compulsory subject taught in all the schools of La Gomera to preserve it and pass it on to the children. It is quite amazing to see how much can be conveyed with a whistle.
At the Mirador de Abrante, you will also find restrooms for “technical” needs of daily life ;)
I suggest that you book the restaurant in advance (phone: +34 922 14 60 00).
Estimated departure time from Mirador de Abrante: 12:45.
From Epina to El Cercado
After our refreshing break, we will hit the road again towards Epina, passing through the charming town of Vallehermoso, which used to be a real economic center for the island of La Gomera.
Vallehermoso exudes the sweetness of life, with plenty of orchards in the area where you can buy excellent fruits. Some locals even provide baskets for tourists passing by, allowing them to help themselves and leave a tip in the piggy bank provided for this purpose. This spirit of trust and authenticity is emblematic of this island, where crime is almost non-existent, and where the values of respect for others are paramount.
We will arrive at Epina in about 45 minutes, still via the GM-1 road (there is no risk of getting lost on this route!), then CV-16.
A point of interest in Epina is the small village’s traditional architecture and Los Chorros de Epina – water springs that are said to have therapeutic and magical properties. It is believed that drinking their water can help you find love and wealth (well, you may as well try!).
It’s a small detour to make on the way, but if you’re not interested, head straight to El Cercado, which is about 25 minutes away by the CV-18 (be mindful, for once we changed roads!).
El Cercado is a village of potters who pass on their technique from generation to generation. This technique is unique since it does not use any potter’s wheel. You can watch the artisans work and buy pottery, which many inhabitants of the island use to store gofio, a kind of flour used in many local recipes.
If you want to take a gourmet break, the Victoria bar-restaurant is a good address in El Cercado!
Estimated time to leave El Cercado: 3:00 pm.
Views of Tenerife and La Gomera’s landscapes
It’s time to make your way back to San Sebastian de La Gomera via the CV-18, CV-17, CV-13, and GM-2 roads. If you don’t make any stops, it will take you about 50 minutes to reach the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera, which is good to know if you’re catching an evening ferry.
The road will take you through the beautiful Natural Park of Garajonay, with its magnificent forest. There are some incredible hikes to be done here, but obviously, visiting La Gomera on a day trip from Tenerife doesn’t allow enough time to explore this part of the island thoroughly.
This is a surprising park, full of contrasts: the road is sometimes sunny, and then, suddenly, it sinks into the mist, while in the heart of the forest, the atmosphere is humid and much cooler than on the south coast of La Gomera.
I recommend making a few stops, if you have time, to see this beautiful forest up close. If this is a priority for you, you could spend less time in Hermigua, remove Epina and Vallehermoso from your itinerary, and give more time to Garajonay.
Several viewpoints, or “miradors”, where you can park and take some pictures, are located along the route.
In 25 minutes from El Cercado, you can reach the Mirador Del Morro De Agando.
This mirador offers views of one of the symbols of the island, the “Roque Agando”, which is part of a group of volcanic chimneys. It reminds us that La Gomera was formed from multiple volcanic eruptions that occurred about 12 million years ago. But don’t worry, the last eruption here occurred about 2 million years ago! This is quite different from Tenerife, which had more recent volcanic activity (the latest eruption was in 1909).
Estimated departure time from Mirador Del Morro De Agando: 3:40 pm.
Ten minutes’ drive away is the Mirador del Sombrero, which offers views of the unique relief of La Gomera in the “Barranco del Cabrito” (Goat’s Gorge). A stop here is optional.
Around 4:00 pm, you reach the Mirador Lomada del Camello, which offers a beautiful view of San Sebastian, with the summit of the Teide volcano of Tenerife visible in the background, often shrouded in clouds.
It’s a perfect place for a photo stop!
Afterwards, it will take about 10 minutes to drive to the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera and return the rental car.
Estimated time of arrival in San Sebastian: 4:15 pm.
If you have time, take a quick walk in the city center to see La Iglesia de la Asunción, which dates back to the time when Hernán Peraza, a conquistador from Seville, colonized the Canary Islands… It is the biggest church on the island and the locals are quite pious, organizing big processions dedicated to the Virgin.
Admire also the Torre del Conde, built around the same time (15th century). It is the only tower from this period of conquest that has survived to the present day and it was home to Christopher Columbus, who stayed in San Sebastian de La Gomera before leaving for America.
In fact, the city is particularly well placed for those who wish to embark on a crossing of the Atlantic! A statue of Christopher Columbus was recently inaugurated at the beginning of Calle Real, a street in the city center.
The ferry usually departs around 5:30 pm, arriving in Tenerife at around 6:20 pm (Fred Olsen company). If you don’t have a car, it’s recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before the ferry departs. However, if you have a rental car from Tenerife, it’s recommended to arrive 1 hour before departure to avoid rushing and potentially having to shorten or skip some stops on the itinerary.
A busy itinerary for a day trip in La Gomera
Although La Gomera is a small island, one day is hardly enough to see each place, as you can tell from reading this itinerary. If you find it too busy, you can choose to stay one night on the island instead. Spend one day exploring the north of the island (Hermigua, Agulo, Vallehermoso) and another day at the Garajonay National Park and El Cercado, perhaps extending the trip to Valle Gran Rey!
I highly recommend staying at the Parador Hotel in La Gomera. I stayed in a real princess room with a balcony overlooking the Teide volcano, a cozy atmosphere, and the sound of waves in the background. The hotel’s pool overlooks the Atlantic and the gardens provide a beautiful view of San Sebastian.
If you are on a smaller budget, consider staying at the Torre Del Conde Hotel. It’s not the best place to stay, but it is affordable and close to the port. This is a good option to keep in mind if you miss your ferry at night.
One can never be safe from an unforeseen event on the small and winding roads of La Gomera (as I learned when I got stuck behind a concrete mixer truck for 30 minutes on the road, admiring the locals’ calmness as not one person honked!).
Lastly, if you tend to experience motion sickness, I advise you to bring your usual medication, as the roads of La Gomera have many turns and can be quite winding.
I hope you enjoy your time on the island!
Hello! I am on maternity leave until summer 2023. I take this time to focus on my family so the comments are temporarily closed on the site :)