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La Gomera

From a distance La Gomera appears as an impenetrable fortress ringed with soaring rock walls. Noodle-thin roads wiggle along cliff faces and up ravines, and the white specks that turn out to be houses seem impossibly placed on inaccessible crags. Up-close, however, that rough landscape translates into lush valleys, awe-inspiring cliffs, glittering black-pebble beaches and bold rock formations sculpted by volcanic activity and erosion.

Without the standard tourist-resort trappings of golden sands and animated nightlife, La Gomera has a tangible bohemian air; many foreign residents arrived here in the 1960s flower-power days. Pastel-painted capital San Sebastián is the low-key hub, while the laid-back southern beach towns draw sunseekers. The island is relatively laborious to reach, and, apart from those day-tripping from Tenerife, most visitors tend to be walkers heading for the hiking trails that weave across this spectacular land, which unravels around the ancient laurisilva (laurel) forests of Garajonay.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout La Gomera.

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Just back from: La Gomera, Canary Islands