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La Gomera – Enjoy exquisite Wines under the Stars

La Gomera, the second smallest of the Canary Islands, offers many attractions. Two of the , as yet, lesser known, are its exquisite wines and stargazing. Due to having one of the world’s clearest night skies you can observe the Milky Way like nowhere else. Can you imagine anything more romantic that sipping a glass or two of the finest wines and looking at the stars.

Here is what La Gomera’s wine is all about:

The best things in life are meant to be savoured, like a fine, full-bodied wine. And when it comes to fine wine, Spain remains one of the most fascinating countries in the world, with many wine producing regions and styles to explore. Often, connoisseurs and sommeliers are quick to highlight Spain’s famous winemaking regions, such as La Rioja and the Basque Country. But to discover the delights of Spain’s most exclusive wines, you’ll have to travel far beyond the mainland to La Gomera.

Boasting a spectacular volcanic terrain, the second smallest Canary is home to some of Europe’s oldest vines. In fact, thanks to the island’s secluded location, vines can be hundreds of years old, resulting in vintages that ooze with complexity, history and tradition. And when you taste them, you’ll also be drinking the island’s rich culture.

Winemaking in La Gomera

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Due to La Gomera’s rugged landscape, the cultivation of wine is an arduous task. Growers must overcome steep gullies and dizzying heights before they can harvest the island’s highly prized grapes. As a result, many terraced vineyards surround the island’s medianías (areas between 600 and 1,500 m above sea level), such as Hermigua to the north and Vallehermoso to the west. The steeper the slopes, the smaller the terraces, and many of these crop-growing areas are propped up by solid stone walls.

In these small vineyards, most of the work is still done by hand. Traditionally, the vines were left to grow along the ground but are now trained along trellises. Imbued with this industrious spirit, La Gomera’s unique grapes then come to our tables in the form of wine.

The Wines of La Gomera

Since 2003, La Gomera’s wines are protected by the Guarantee of Origin, “Denominación de Origen La Gomera.” These wines are smooth, aromatic and balanced in the mouth, and their exclusive characteristics owe to a combination of the island’s distinctive features, including its mountain topography, volcanic soil, micro-climates and human factor.

La Gomera’s mountain elevations and mineral-rich soil provide exceptional conditions for the production of dry, acidic whites. These flagship whites are made from Forastera Gomera grapes, which account for 90% of the island’s vines but aren’t grown anywhere else in the world. Forastera grapes have grown here for more than four hundred years, and from a winemaking point of view, it is the most valued variety on the island due to its notably acidic nature, which gives it a fresh, balanced taste.

La Gomera’s red wines, on the other hand, are made from Listan Negro grapes typical of the Canary Islands or blended with Tintilla, Tempranillo, Negro Molle and other varieties. These wines burst with fruity aromas and berry flavours before finishing dry and balanced.

Today, the La Gomera wine region consists of 13 vineyards (bodegas), which produce 30,000 l of wine every year.  For a magical experience, enjoy a glass of La Gomera wine on a restaurant terrace while taking in the views of the island’s vineyards.

For more information, please visit lagomera.travel/en.

How to get there

La Gomera has a very small airport which only serves national flight.

You best take a ferry from the island of Gran Canaria.

Where to stay

La Gomera may be small but there is a great variety of hotels in various parts of the island. A great one which adheres to the character of La Gomera is Casa Florida in Valle Gran Rey.

I’m sure that you now seriously consider adding La Gomera to your bucket list.

 

 

Star gazing in La Gomera/Canary Islands

The recent solar eclipse is a rare event, but in La Gomera you can gaze at the stars every night. The second smallest of Spain’s Canary islands is of volcanic origin and has several very different zones of vegetation. Small the island may be, but it is a paradise for nature lovers and star gazers. See where the best points are to do so.

Who among us hasn’t looked up to the skies on a clear night in wonder? Contemplating the universe while observing the heavens is only a natural reaction. But what if you could see the stars shine brighter than you ever thought possible?

In the Canary Islands, you can enjoy the cleanest, clearest skies in Europe for stargazing. In fact, two of the widest range observatories on the planet are located in Tenerife. Thanks to the region’s low level of light pollution, this desirable characteristic extends to La Gomera, widely regarded as the most authentic and visual of the Canary Islands.

An Evening with the Stars

As soon as you arrive, La Gomera welcomes you with the best viewpoints around. Then, as the sun sets over the horizon, the night begins its hypnotising dance, dazzling onlookers with stellar displays.

Planets, constellations, galaxies and shooting stars sparkle for any traveller who keeps their eyes to the sky. With a little attention, you can learn to see them easily.

Foto credit: Juan Jose Barrera

Where to start?

To experience this star-studded spectacle in all its glory, you should start by downloading virtual observatory apps. Popular options include Star Walk 2, Sky Map orSkyView, all of which provide detailed information by facing your smartphone at whatever you want to learn about.

César Manrique Viewpoint

Once you’ve downloaded your app, kick off your stargazing journey in La Gomera at the César Manrique viewpoint on the road to Valle Gran Rey.

This viewpoint is perfect for observing one of the most recognisable groups of stars in the galaxy, the Orion constellation. In February and March, the mythological giant beams across the winter sky. You can even notice the contrast in colours at the edges of the stars: the reddish Betelgeuse in the shoulder of the giant and the blue Rigel in his foot.

From here, it’s easy to see Orion’s Belt, the iconic asterism formed by three massive stars. Hanging below Orion’s belt, three more small stars form part of the Great Orion Nebula, the most brilliant nebulae visible to the naked eye.

Mirador de Santo Viewpoint

Continue your journey at the Mirador de Santo viewpoint in the hamlet of Arure. On moonless nights, the complete absence of light transforms this viewpoint into a front row seat to the Milky Way galaxy. If you use a telescope or binoculars, you can even notice concentrations of recently formed stars tied together in space by gravity.

To the north, in the early evenings of February and March, you’ll find Gemini, one of the 48 constellations of the zodiac.

Mirador de Alojera Viewpoint

The Mirador de Alojera viewpoint is the next stop on your stargazing journey in La Gomera. Accessed by a small dirt track, this viewpoint reveals two mythical and easily recognisable constellations: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, also known as the Big Dipper and Little Dipper.

From the Big Dipper, you can trace a direct line to Polaris, the North Star. The easiest way to get there is by using the pointer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper, Dubhe and Merak. Draw a line between these two stars and extend it out about 5 times to arrive in the vicinity of Polaris, which actually marks the tip of the handle of the Little Dipper.

Garajonay Summit

For your last stop, you’ll arrive in the heart of the island at the Garajonay summit. Thrusting its peak 1,487 metres high, this natural platform is no doubt one of the best places to catch panoramic views of space.

On August nights, if you look towards the south, you can spot two constellations that float over the densest part of the Milky Way, Sagittarius and Scorpius. In the Scorpius constellation, the red supergiant star Antares blazes with the size and intensity of 700 suns.

Close to Antares, with the help of binoculars, you can see a ball of stars resembling a wisp of smoke. This is Messier 4, a large globular cluster of old stars located 7,200 light years away.

As you will have discovered by now, the natural treasures of La Gomera span far beyond the earth and sea. All you have to do is look up.

For more information, please visit La Gomera’s official website.

Image courtesy of media room pr.mediaco

What are you waiting for? Catch a flight to Tenerife, hop on a ferry to La Gomera and lose yourself in the magic of the nightly universe.

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The delights of the Canary’s La Gomera

Spain’s Canary Islands are a fine travel destination. Whilst everybody rushes off to Gran Canaria, Tenerife or Lanzarote, just look what the ‘little sister’ La Gomera has to offer and you’ll immediately pack your bags.

La Gomera: The Canary Island Hotspot
for Dolphin and Whale Watching

There are few sights in the world as impressive and joyful as a school of dolphins playing for an eager audience or a pod of whales breaching the water’s surface. And while the rest of Europe only offers such opportunities in the summer, you can have the chance to go dolphin and whale watching in La Gomera throughout the year.

 

You can see them smile

The second smallest Canary Island is one of the world’s hotspots for whale and dolphin watching with sightings of 30 different species. As there are only 87 species worldwide, you can see almost one-third of the existing species in one area!

Set sail on the open seas to spot dolphins jumping through the waves, whales blowing their spouts and both enjoying their freedom. Clear waters, warm temperatures and an abundance of food have made La Gomera the place these marine mammals call their regular home.

What will you see?

Six species of dolphins are residents of La Gomera, and the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin can be spotted the most frequently. These dolphins are approximately 3–4 metres long and have a deep gray or grayish blue colouring on the upper sides of their body and a lighter-toned belly. Eager to please, these intelligent mammals often swim alongside boats for hours at a time.

As well as dolphins, pilot and beaked whales can often be spotted near the coast. Even sperm, finback, minke and sei whales can be seen at times. One exceptional highlight is the large group of long-finned pilot whales living in the waters between Tenerife and La Gomera. This shy herd is estimated to consist of around 300 whales. The 6–7 metre long dwellers of the sea can be identified by their round dorsal fin, and of course, their spout, which erupts like a high-pressure fountain of water.

How can you see them?

La Gomera has several companies that provide whale and dolphin watching tours. Most of the excursions start out from the port of Vueltas (Valle Gran Rey), but there are also possibilities to depart from Playa Santiago and San Sebastián de La Gomera.

Usually, ships don’t need to travel far from the coast for a successful sighting, making this activity perfect for a family day out. To fully enjoy this unique experience, you should always wear comfortable clothing, a swimsuit, sunglasses and sunscreen. And don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera!

But that’s not all…

Dolphin and whale watching is a “must-do” experience that will become one of your best holiday memories, but that’s just the start. Average annual temperatures range between 22 and 27 degrees in La Gomera, so you can enjoy the water all year-round. What’s more, the island provides an abundance of opportunities to enjoy its coastline and the Atlantic Ocean in all its glory:

  • Boat excursions
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing trips
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Spotless beaches
  • Stand-up paddle boarding

Visit La Gomera’s official website for more information

Now you understand why La Gomera has caught my attention and, I hope, your’s too.

 

Discover new horizons with an Ocean Cruise

What would Christopher Columbus have done if he lived today? Instead of entrusting his life and that of his men to the fragile nutshells that were his caravels, he would have boarded a cruise liner and gone on an Ocean Cruise. He wouldn’t have lost his way either!

Cruise ship in St. Thomas

Cruise ship in St. Thomas

Experience the same spirit of adventure and discovery by joining an Ocean cruise, gliding from one exciting port to another in style and comfort and enjoying the shore excursions which are on offer. Not to mention the fabulous food and entertainment on board. Whether you travel on your own, as a couple or as a group of family and friends, there is a suitable voyage for every taste, need or budget.

Let’s look at some of the latest destinations to open your appetite.

Lisbon, Casablanca, CanaryIslands, Cap Verde

If you are new to cruises, this trip may be the right beginner experience. Visit Lisbon and marvel at the fabulous buildings, hop on the legendary street car and in the evening, enjoy fados, the typical melancholic ballades in candle lit bars. Next stop is Casablanca, where you can breathe the magic of Morocco, walk along the Corniche, admire the Portuguese fortress and, if you stop for a drink at the Hilton Hotel, you will be served by waiters in trilby and trench coat. Bogart is well alive. Not to forget a foray into the bazaar where you can practise your haggling skills.

Casablance Hassan II Mosque credit: Alfred Molon

Casablance Hassan II Mosque credit: Alfred Molon

Enjoy the luxury of your cruise ship and be enticed by the Canary Islands. The harsh volcanic landscape of the Teide in Tenerife and the black beaches in Lanzarote, alternate with the white sand dunes of Las Palomas in Grand Canaria or the lush vegetation of the Orotava  valley in Tenerife.

Teide National Park Tenerife

Teide National Park Tenerife

Cap Verde islands are a world of their own with Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese influences and pristine beaches.

Norway and the Northern Lights

Why not look for a winter cruise with a chance to experience the unique wonders of the Northern lights?  If this appeals to you then embark on a cruise within the Arctic Circle and enjoy a winter wonderland in Norway. Fjords and steep cliffs beckon as well as land excursions with a chance of dog sledding and a visit to an ice hotel and the Arctic Cathedral. And finally, the magic curtains of the Northern Lights in Tromso or Alta. You’ll never forget that sight.

Northen Lights Norway

Northen Lights Norway

Hawaiian Islands and San Francisco

It doesn’t get much more exotic than this trip. The Hawaiian islands, all eight of them of a volcanic nature and all different ,await your visit. Maui and Kauai beckon with tropical vegetation, stunning beaches, sky high waves and the incomparable hospitality and friendliness of the locals. Coffee lovers will be thrilled by the taste of Kona coffee and you might even try to play the ukulele.

Hawaii

Hawaii

Thrown in are two days In San Francisco. Yet another cable car experience and a crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge are a must as is a visit to America’s biggest and oldest China Town.

From Hong Kong to Singapore, discover the Orient

Talking about China town: experience the ‘real thing’ with this cruise, starting in Hong Kong. Climb the Peak for  an impressive overview of this city which has no choice but to grow vertically, visit the world famous horse races and venture into the night markets of Kowloon. Then continue on to Vietnam and Thailand and end up in Singapore. An incredible mix of cultures will assail all your senses. From Victorian to Chinese and the most breathtaking samples of futuristic architecture, Singapore , the Lion City, has it all on a surface of only 278 sq miles.

Singapore

Singapore

There are many more destinations available to the discerning modern day ‘crusader’. One cruise and I was hooked. Maybe the same will happen to you.