Hotel Tamahuche in Vallehermoso for three nights.
You have a choice from four walks for your time here, though you may simply prefer to relax on one of the days.
• CHORROS DE EPINA: 17km, 5.5hrs
The first walk is a great introduction to the landscapes of La Gomera, taking you up through a terraced, palm-clad barranco (ravine) with views back over the valley to Roque Cano, the monolithic rock that presides over Vallehermoso. From here, you continue climbing to the Chorros de Epina, a legendary spot where seven springs meet, before returning via a gentle descent through forest and along an old camino with views over the Encantadora Lake and the valley, reaching Vallehermoso along a quiet country lane.
• AROUND VALLEHERMOSO: 14km, 5.5hrs; shorter option 11km, 4,5hrs
This challenging walk climbs steeply above the Barranco del Valle with splendid views back across neatly terraced fields of bananas, avocados, lavender, vines, potatoes and other exotic plants, before crossing another barranco to reach the ridge at Santa Clara. You have a choice of return routes, either a steep descent to a beach, or a gentler descent into the valley with great views over the Barranco de la Era Nueva and Roque Cano.
•THE ENCHANTRESS LAKE: 6km, 2.5hrs
A gentler routes leads up to the Encantadora ('Enchantress') Lake and ascends the crest of Lomo Pelado before a long, leisurely descent into Vallehermoso.
• IGUALERO & THE BARRANCO DE ERQUE: 21km, 7.5hrs
This is a challenging yet hugely rewarding walk that begins after a taxi ride (pay locally) to Igualero. From here 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. You can shorten the walk by starting at one of the intervening villages.
Vallehermoso to Hermigua: 18km, 6.5hrs
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 ascends again to the Juego de Bolas visitor centre with its handicrafts and botanical garden before dropping down to the villages of Agulo and Lepe and down to the glistening ocean, from where you walk along the coast into Hermigua. Arriving in the town, you spend the next two nights at the Casa los Herrera.
Circular walk via La Caleta: 14km, 5hrs
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 the secluded sandy cove of La Caleta, where there is a small restaurant.
Hermigua to San Sebastián: 11km, 4hrs
After a taxi transfer (included), you set off along well-waymarked paths, steadily climbing to reach the broad, undulating ridge of Lomo de las Nieves, dotted with cacti, which you follow towards the sea. You will be rewarded with fine views of the south-east of La Gomera, initially, and then across to 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.
Linear walk via Playa de la Guancha: 10km, 4hrs
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.
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.)
Circular walk via Roques de García 7km, 2hrs
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.
Circular walk to El Teide via cable car: 13.5km, 4.5hrs (plus detours to viewpoints)
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.
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.)
Linear walk to Monte Guajara: 14km, 6hrs
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)