Hotel Tamahuche in Vallehermoso for three nights.
You have a choice from three walks for your days here, though you may simply prefer to relax on one of them. The first walk is a great introduction to the landscapes of La Gomera, taking you up through a terraced, palm-clad barranco (ravine) to a hermitage. From here you can see the coast and even the island of Tenerife in the distance in clear weather. You then follow the ridge to another hermitage, from where you zigzag downhill towards the coast, returning to Vallehermoso along a quiet country lane (11km, 3.5hrs). This walk can be extended to 13km if desired.
For the second, take a taxi (pay locally) to Igualero, from where you embark upon a lovely, varied walk starting above the deepest and most remote canyon on the island, Barranco de Erque. You pass through a number of hamlets, each with its own watering hole to help you on your way, followed by ancient laurel forest, the laurisilva, and finally a cultivated, flowery valley, before dropping back down into Vallerhermoso (21km, 7.5hrs). You can shorten the walk by starting at one of the intervening villages.
The third takes you up to the encantadora ('enchantress') lake and ascends the crest of Lomo Pelado before a long, leisurely descent into Vallehermoso. (12km, 5hrs)
The walk to your next hotel ascends above the valley, with views that grow ever more impressive as you gain height, to the base of iconic Roque El Cano. From a tranquil lake in a beautiful valley setting, the route descends via the Juego de Bolas visitor centre with its handicrafts and botanical garden to the village of Agulo and down to the glistening ocean, from where a coastal path takes you into Hermigua. Arriving in the town, you spend the next two nights at the Casa los Herrera. (16km, 6hrs)
Our optional circular walk from Hermigua leads you along the rugged north coast above the lush and verdant valley of the same name, the blue of the sea and the green of the banana plantations below contrasting with the volcanic cliff tops. Before returning to your hotel, enjoy a deserved swim in a secluded sandy cove. (13-16km, 6hrs)
After a taxi transfer (included), you set off along old cobbled paths, gradually descending down a broad ridge dotted with cacti towards the peak of Tagamiche, around which the path skirts. You enjoy constant views ahead towards majestic El Teide, crowning the distant island of Tenerife, as you continue down to the coast at San Sebastián. Your final two nights are spent at the Parador here. (10km, 3.5hrs)
If you can tear yourselves away from the hotel pool, this final walk ascends out of San Sebastián and rounds the headland before descending into a barranco. As you emerge once more from the ravine, your efforts are rewarded by panoramic views over the remote Playa de la Guancha, your destination. Relax awhile on its pebbly beach before retracing your steps back to the parador. (10km, 4hrs)
Since we recommend that you fly via Tenerife, why not enjoy a couple of incredible walks on this equally dramatic island, home to Spain's highest mountain, El Teide, by adding on three nights at the Parador in Tenerife's National Park? (See price panel for details.)
On Tenerife you collect your included hire car and drive into the centre of the island, and the volcanic, desert-like scenery of the Teide National Park. It is a striking landscape, made all the more special by the silence, the views and the astonishing colours, of which tones of yellow, red, brown and ochre dominate. Although it is very dry, the Park is home to a wide variety of plants, 50 of which are endemic to the Canary Islands, including the Teide violet. High above, Egyptian vultures, sparrow hawks and red kites patrol the blue skies, watching for reptiles such as the tizon lizard. You will probably have time for an unforgettable walk past the various weird and wonderful rock formations of the Roques de García. Many of these striking natural monuments resemble fingers pointing into the sky, and another looks like a cathedral, with several tower-like formations. (7km, 2hrs)
For your first day at the Parador, we suggest an easy circular route that leads across the volcanic landscape once more and incorporates a ride on the cable car (pay locally) to just below El Teide's summit. From here, it is well worth walking to the Mirador de la Fortaleza for views not only of the ironically named Montaña Blanca ('White Mountain', which is actually coated in black lava) but also, in clear weather, the entire north side of the island, all the way to the north-eastern tip. A second viewpoint overlooks the southern part of the island as well as giving a wonderful overview of El Teide's cauldron-shaped crater. (13.5km, 4.5hrs plus detours to viewpoints)
If you wish to reach the very summit of El Teide, you will need to obtain a permit, available online in advance of your trip. The ascent to the peak takes an additional hour due to the altitude, which makes progress slow. (NB: permits cover a two hour 'window' within which the peak must be visited and places book up quickly. Apply here to book a slot. In the event of heavy snowfall, which is not uncommon between November and February, the summit path will be closed, although the cable car may continue to run. The latter, however, does not operate in high winds, in which case it is impossible to access the peak.)
Your final walk explores a veritable lunar landscape, revealing more of the extraordinary petrified lava formations so typical of the Teide National Park, and affording yet more memorable views as it leads to the peak of Monte Guajara (2,718 metres) before returning along the same route. (14km, 6hrs)