La Gomera – hanging around in San Sebastián

In January 2020 I had a little walking holiday in La Gomera with my lovely friends Emma, Simon and Richard.

As it’s one of the smaller Canary Islands, La Gomera doesn’t have its own airport and you have to fly into Tenerife South and then catch a ferry from Los Cristianos over to San Sebastián de La Gomera, the largest town on the island.

Although San Seb is the island’s capital, it’s a bit drab and unexciting. We only spent a few hours here on the way there and back before moving on.

The place does have a bit of history though. It was the last port of call for Colombus on his intended trip to India, although famously he went the wrong way and discovered America instead.

Most of the sights are along Calle Real. San Seb map here, La Gomera map here.

The Iglesia de La Asunción is worth a visit…

… not least for its beautiful woodwork which is a typical feature of traditional Canarian buildings.

The architecture is a blend of Mudéjar, Gothic and Baroque styles.

It’s said that Colombus made his last confession in 1492 on this site before his voyage.

However the current building is more recent.

Similarly Casa Colon at 56 Calle Real is reputed to be the house he stayed in during his time here, but in reality it was built over one hundred years after his death. It’s now a small museum housing a collection of local ceramics.

The best place to stay in town is the Parador de Gomera on the top of the hill which has fantastic views over the town and sea.

The Mercado Municipal only has a handful of stalls but I stopped in on the way back for big bag of good Spanish garlic to take home.

I’m sure San Seb has other redeeming features but there are so many better places to be on the island that it’s not worth sticking around for too long.

We did have a very nice lunch here though, at El Tropico (High Elementary A) at 5 Calle República de Chile.

We chose it just because it looked nice and you could sit outside. Turns out the staff were Italian and are usually working on yachts (so might not be there if you go). The chef is from Trentino and definitely knows how to cook! His superlative Spaghetti al Scoglio drew some admiring looks…

In my experience Spaghetti al Scoglio is often a poorer version of Linguine ai Frutti di Mare, but this version was piled high with prawns, squid, clams, mussels and cherry tomatoes (A).

Also a good option is the grilled local fish (B). It’s hard to get a good bit of fresh fish where we’re from so this was often our first choice.

The desserts looked really good too but we didn’t have space sadly.

A nice place for a coffee, or breakfast, is Kiosco las Carabelas in Plaza de la Constitución. You can sit under the laurel trees and watch the world go by.

So with lunch in our bellies and Emma at the wheel of our hire car we headed for the hills, and our first AirBnB in Valle del Gran Rey…

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