Walking on La Gomera and El Hierro

By Paddy Dillon

A walking guidebook for exploring La Gomera and El Hierro with 45 day walks and treks for all abilities from rugged mountain treks to coastal walks. This wide selection of walks cover long distance trails such as Camino de la Virgen, GR131 on La Gomera and some of GR132 across the Canary Islands. Plenty of variety for all to enjoy.

Seasons

Seasons

best between November and May, as the summer months are too hot, but it can sometimes be damp and misty on the higher parts; spring is especially colourful
Centres

Centres

on La Gomera - San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago, Chipude, Valle Gran Rey, Vallehermoso, Hermigua on El Hierro - Valverde, El Pinar, La Restinga, El Frontera
Difficulty

Difficulty

routes vary from short, level and easy to long, steep and strenuous; almost all routes are waymarked and signposted, and no special equipment is required
Must See

Must See

on La Gomera - Alto de Garajonay, Garajonay national park, laurisilva ‘cloud forest’, deep and rugged barrancos, GR131, GR132 on El Hierro - Malpaso, World Bisosphere Reserve, Camino de La Virgen, GR131, volcanic cones
ISBN
9781852846015
Availability
Published
Published
24 Dec 2010
Reprinted
27 Jul 2016
Edition
Second
Pages
240
Size
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
Weight
270g
  • Overview

    The two smallest of the Canary Islands are no less rugged than their volcanic neighbours, offering a wide variety of little-known walking terrain that includes steep-sided barrancos and dramatic cliffs as well as gentler slopes inland cloaked in laurasilva and pine forests.

    La Gomera and El Hierro come with their own introduction and the walks are spread roughly clockwise around them. Where the routes lie side-by-side, links between them are often possible. Both islands feature coast-to-coast trails, while La Gomera also features a circular trail taking up to a week to complete. Any day-long stretch can naturally also be followed as a walk in its own right, using bus services to join and leave it.

    Due to the volcanic history of the Canaries there is plenty of breathtaking scenery to be discovered by following these sensational routes that include easy strolls, hands-on scrambles, day walks and long distance routes covering the GR 131 and GR 132. This ensures that there is a trail for every one and every mood.

    • 45 routes described with clear contour mapping
    • full background information on both islands
    • illustrated with maps and colour photographs
    • a wide selection of routes for all abilities
    • the second in a five book series of guidebooks to the Canaries. Others in the series include Walking on Tenerife, Walking on Gran Canaria and Walking on La Palma
  • Contents

    Contents
    Introduction
    Location
    Geology
    Wildlife
    National Parks
    The Fortunate Isles
    Getting there
    When to go
    Accommodation
    Health and safety
    Food and drink
    Language
    Money
    Communications
    Walking on La Gomera and El Hierro
    What to take
    Waymarking and access
    Maps
    Emergencies
    Using this guide
    La Gomera
    Introduction
    Getting there
    Getting around
    Accommodation
    Food and drink
    Tourist information offices
    Walk 1 San Sebastián and Jaragán
    Walk 2 Los Roques and La Laja
    Walk 3 Risco de la Fortaleza
    Walk 4 Los Roques and Benchijigua
    Walk 5 Pajaritos to Playa de Santiago
    Walk 6 Chipude and Barranco de Argaga
    Walk 7 Chipude and La Matanza
    Walk 8 La Laguna Grande and Alto de Garajonay
    Walk 9 El Cercado and Valle Gran Rey
    Walk 10 Las Hayas, Arure and Valle Gran Rey
    Walk 11 Vallehermoso to Chorros de Epina
    Walk 12 Vallehermoso and Cumbre de Chijeré
    Walk 13 Vallehermoso and Los Loros
    Walk 14 Vallehermoso and El Tión
    Walk 15 Tamargada and Vallehermoso
    Walk 16 Hermigua and Aguló
    Walk 17 Alto de Garajonay to Hermigua
    Walk 18 Santa Catalina and La Caleta
    Walk 19 GR 132: San Sebastián to Playa de Santiago
    Walk 20 GR 132: Playa de Santiago to La Dama
    Walk 21 GR 132: La Dama to Arure
    Walk 22 GR 132: Arure to Vallehermoso
    Walk 23 GR 132: Vallehermoso to Hermigua
    Walk 24 GR 132: Hermigua to San Sebastián
    Walk 25 GR 132.1: Igualero to La Dama
    Walk 26 GR 131: Playa de Vallehermoso to Chipude
    Walk 27 GR 131: Chipude to San Sebastián
    El Hierro
    Introduction
    Getting there
    Getting around
    Accommodation
    Food and drink
    Tourist information offices
    Walk 28 Valverde and La Caleta
    Walk 29 Valverde and Puerto de la Estaca
    Walk 30 Valverde, Echedo and El Mocanal
    Walk 31 Valverde to La Peña
    Walk 32 La Peña, San Andrés and El Mocanal
    Walk 33 Puerto de la Estaca, La Cuesta and Tiñor
    Walk 34 Mirador de Isora and Las Playas
    Walk 35 El Pinar to Cala de Tacorón
    Walk 36 El Pinar to La Restinga
    Walk 37 Ermita de Los Reyes to El Pinar
    Walk 38 El Pinar to Sabinosa
    Walk 39 La Dehesa Circuit
    Walk 40 Sabinosa to El Frontera
    Walk 41 El Frontera and Los Llanillos
    Walk 42 Guinea and San Andrés
    Walk 43 Las Puntas and Guinea
    Walk 44 GR 131: Orchilla to Fuente de Llanía
    Walk 45 GR 131: Fuente de Llanía to Estaca/Tamaduste

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Topographical glossary
    Appendix C Useful contacts

  • Maps

    The Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), www.cnig.es, publishes maps of the Canary Islands at scales of 1:50,000 and 1:25,000. These are part of the Mapa Topográfico Nacional (MTN) series. To avoid disappointment, please check the style and quality of these maps before making a purchase, since they generally do not show the sort of details that walkers require.


    For La Gomera the best map of the island and its network of signposted trails is the one seen mounted on map-boards around the island. It is rather annoying that all this fine detail has been mapped, yet the map itself is not available for purchase. Hopefully, it will be available one day, and in the meantime walkers can refer to the information in this guidebook, and supplement the guide with another map. The 1:30,000 Kompass map of La Gomera is good, and this is available in Britain with an Automobile Association cover, as the AA Island Series 8 – La Gomera.


    On El Hierro the tourist information offices provide a free map of the trail network, which can be used with a topographical map. The 1:30,000 Kompass map of El Hierro is good, and this is available in Britain with an Automobile Association cover, as the AA Island Series 5 - El Hierro.


    Maps can be ordered in advance from British suppliers such as: Stanfords (12–14 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9BR, tel. 0207 8361321, www.stanfords.co.uk), The Map Shop (15 High Street, Upton-upon-Severn, WR8 0HJ, tel. 01684 593146, www.themapshop.co.uk) or Cordee (11 Jacknell Road, Dodwell Bridge Industrial Estate, Hinckley, LE10 3BS, tel. 01455 611185, www.cordee.co.uk).
     

  • Updates
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    April 2018



    Walks 19 to 27 - The GR132 and GR131 are now equipped with stout marker posts at 1 kilometre intervals.


    Walk 43 - Las Puntas and Guinea - Almost the whole of the rocky coastal path from Punta Grande to La Maceta has been transformed. A wooden boardwalk has been laid on top of the lava, equipped with several short detours to shelters and seating at a number of viewpoints. The rocky path was never particularly difficult, but this now makes it very easy to walk.
     

     

    November 2013

    La Gomera - Route Numbering Changes

    The network of waymarked trails on La Gomera was established using a numbering system and colour coding. ‘PR’ trails were flashed yellow/white and ‘GR’ trails were flashed red/white. Recently, the network has been overhauled and signposts are beginning to be replaced. Mostly, the signposting mentioned in the book remains current, but there are now other signposts blazed ‘Let’s Gomera’, with a new numbering system that will also be noticed. The following numbers will be seen on signposts, in the following order…

    Walk 1 - San Sebastián and Jaragán - 32, 31, 30
    Walk 2 - Los Roques and La Laja - 29, 2
    Walk 3 - Risco de la Fortaleza - 25, 27, 28
    Walk 4 - Los Roques and Benchijigua - 23, 24
    Walk 5 - Pajaritos to Playa de Santiago - 19, 20, 24
    Walk 6 - Chipude and Barranco de Argaga - 16
    Walk 7 - Chipude and La Matanza - 15
    Walk 8 - La Laguna Grande and Alto de Garajonay
    Walk 9 - El Cercado and Valle Gran Rey - 12, 13
    Walk 10 - Las Hayas, Arure and Valle Gran Rey - 11, 9
    Walk 11 - Vallehermoso to Chorros de Epina - 4, 7
    Walk 12 - Vallehermoso and Cumbre de Chijeré - 6, 7, 4
    Walk 13 - Vallehermoso and Los Loros - 3
    Walk 14 - Vallehermoso and El Tión - 3, 39
    Walk 15 - Tamargada and Vallehermoso - 6, 38
    Walk 16 - Hermigua and Aguló - 34, 35, 33
    Walk 17 - Alto de Garajonay to Hermigua - 37
    Walk 18 - Santa Catalina and La Caleta - 33
    Walk 19 GR 132 - San Sebastián to Playa de Santiago - 27, 28, 25
    Walk 20 GR 132 - Playa de Santiago to La Dama - 22, 21, 26, 17
    Walk 21 GR 132 - La Dama to Arure - 16, 15, 9
    Walk 22 GR 132 - Arure to Vallehermoso - 7, 10, 5
    Walk 23 GR 132 - Vallehermoso to Hermigua - 39, 40, 36, 35, 34, 33
    Walk 24 GR 132 - Hermigua to San Sebastián - 30
    Walk 25 GR 132.1 - Igualero to La Dama - 26, 17
    Walk 26 GR 131 - Playa de Vallehermoso to Chipude - 6, 3
    Walk 27 GR 131 - Chipude to San Sebastián - 2, 1
     
    Note that Walk 8 in the National Park - La Laguna Grande and Alto de Garajonay - suffered a forest fire and will take years to recover.

    New La Gomera Trail Map
     
    A new map of the trail network is available free of charge from Tourist Information Offices on La Gomera, but you have to ask for it by name - ‘Camina La Gomera’. It shows the new numbering system for the trails, and is more detailed than any map of the island that you could purchase. It is drawn at a scale close to 1:50,000 and can therefore be used easily alongside the maps in the guidebook. The use of this map is highly recommended.
     
    New La Gomera Bus Website

    www.guaguagomera.com 
     

    December 2010

    Owing to a production error, the map scale at the bottom of the map key on page 8 is incorrect, and also the statement in the introduction of the book (on page 24) about the scale of the maps. All maps in the book are in fact at roughly 1:50,000.

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Dillon

Paddy Dillon

Paddy Dillon is a prolific outdoor writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other publications. He has written for a variety of outdoor magazines, as well as many booklets and brochures for tourism organisations. Paddy lives near the Lake District and has walked in every county in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; writing about walks in every one of them. He enjoys simple day walks, challenging long-distance walks, and is a dedicated island-hopper. He has led guided walks and walked extensively in Europe, as well as in Nepal, Tibet, Korea, Africa and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the United States. Paddy is also a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and President of the Backpackers Club.​

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