La Gomera is the second smallest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean after El Hierro. It lies about one thousand kilometres from the Spanish mainland and about 370 kilometres from
the African mainland (approximately at the height of Agaduir).
La Gomera belongs with about 12 million years to the elders of the Canary Islands. The volcanic origin is still very visible. In the middle of the island grows the largest still connected laurel forest of the earth. It belongs to the Garajonay National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its closely connected volcanic chimneys. The highest elevation of the island is the Garajonay of the same name with a height of 1.487 metres.
La Gomera has several vegetation zones. Due to their altitude and their microclimate, these are very different. In the north of the island there are laurel forests and evergreen ferns from a height of 500 meters. Above an altitude of 1000 metres they flow into the mixed heathland forest, which consists mainly of gale bush and tree heath. In the south of the island, with little rainfall, Phoenician junipers, thick-leaved plants and Canarian date palms dominate in addition to a variety of barren shrubs. Near the coast there are mainly plants that depend on the salty breeze of the sea, for example beach lilac, various spurge plants, agaves and prickly pears.
In the middle of La Gomera lies the Garajonay National Park, which covers about 10% of the island. Its ecosystem has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. The forests in the park are laurel forests, which still exist here due to the lack of ice age. The heart of the national park consists of evergreen cloud forest with ferns up to two meters high, long beard lichen hanging from the trees, mossy gnarled branches and streams with a few waterfalls.
For hikers, there is an extensive network of hiking trails that connect all parts of the island, sometimes with considerable differences in altitude.
Due to the subtropical climate the bathing season is all year round.
Valle Gran Rey
The Valle Gran Rey, a symphony of palm trees, is the most impressive of the island's valleys, whose slopes have been transformed by humans into countless green terraces. The harbour, the most beautiful lava sandy beaches of the island and huge cliffs border the valley by the sea.
A well-developed mountain road meanders windingly down into the Valle Gran Rey. It goes past impressive rocky slopes and through the idyllic places of the valley. Because of the good climate, many tropical plants thrive in Valle Gran Rey - including tropical fruit trees, palm trees and bananas.
Fotos: Ayuntamiento Valle Gran Rey, Cabildo Insular La Gomera, Elke Jahnke, Elke u. Dieter Lange