I’d strongly recommend staying in Valle del Gran Rey for at least some of the time you’re in La Gomera because the views are simply incredible and it’s also a great base for walks in Garajonay National Park (see next post). Map here.
We lost count of the number of times we wowed on our drives up and down the steep winding road. The miradors are definitely worth stopping at. Videos here and here.
The terraces etched into the valley sides were originally for growing bananas although many of them are unused now as the industry has fallen into decline.
We stayed for three nights in La Calera, a small pretty village hugging the steep slopes at the bottom end of the valley.
Our AirBnB was modern and bright and reasonably priced at just £436 for three nights for the four of us. It had a big veranda with good views down to the sea where we could enjoy our breakfast every morning with staples from the small supermarket just over the road.
Valle del Gran Rey is famous for its hippy community which can trace its origins back to American draft dodgers avoiding the Vietnam war back in the 70s. Here’s an interesting article about the history. The alternative scene still seems pretty strong down at Playa de La Calera (pictured below) in the evenings.
Playa de La Calera has a few bars and restaurants but this one had the best rep…
Colorado (Intermediate B), 23A Calle La Noria, Playa de la Calera, www.restaurante-colorado.com
This is a popular spot, TripAdvisor #1 at the time of writing, so we had to wait a while before being seated. The terrace is the place to be but there’s not much chance of a table there without a reservation. I’m guessing it’s German owned but the menu features Mediterranean and International cuisine.
While we were waiting we sank a decent bottle of Yaiza, a dry white from nearby Lanzarote (B), although it was the most expensive on the list for some reason at €25.
Interestingly it was chilled with a metal stick inside the bottle, a cooling method none of us had come across before. Not sure if I’m a fan though to be honest as you have to pour out some of the wine.
Between us we had Hoya de Cadena, Queso de Cabra, Gambas al Ajillo, Datiles con Bacon, Tres Tipos de Atun (pictured) and the Carrillada y Panceta con Kimchi, all of which were fine (B/B-).
Although it’s currently in fashion, the kimchi matching seemed a little strange but the only thing we really didn’t like was the sauce on the Papas Bravas. They are the de facto national dish but I’ve never been a fan. Scrape the sauce off and they’re passable (C).
On another night we went into the town of Valle Gran Rey itself…
La Salsa (Intermediate C), 4D Calle Cuesta de Abisinia
This friendly place was TripAdvisor #2 when we were in town but unfortunately we weren’t particularly impressed by the food. My pork (pictured) was over-salted and I didn’t like the mash combo and Rich’s duck came with a gloopy, overly sweet sauce that wasn’t to his liking (C).
The best part of our experience was the Viñarda ‘Vijariego Negro’, an easy drinking red wine from the neighbouring La Palma DO (B).
So perhaps one to avoid although the staff are nice.
Conclusion? La Gomera is not a place for fine dining!
In the end the nearest restaurant to our AirBnB in La Calera was my favourite…
Restaurante El Mirador de La Calera (Intermediate B+), Lugar Las Palmitas, La Calera
There are two good reasons to come here; the great views and the simple but good food.
You can see right down to the sea from the spacious balcony.
And it’s a good spot to watch the sunset turn the mountains to gold.
We had some wonderful grilled local fish and Papas Arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes) with mojo (B+) which we devoured hungrily after our second walk.
The pièce de résistance however was the homemade Flan (caramel pudding) which was certainly one of the densest I’ve ever eaten (A).
Their white wine from Lanzarote is pretty decent too (A).
Noah´s Ark (Elementary B+), Calle El Molino, La Puntilla, www.facebook.com/NoahsArkgomera
This is a good spot for breakfast down by the sea.
The €11 ‘Noah’s Breakfast’ (homemade bread, croissant, eggs, three cheeses, fruit, ham, orange juice) will set you up for the day.
On the beach near the cafe is a statue dedicated to Hautacuperche, the indigenous chieftain who in 1488 lead the tragic Rebelión de los Gomeros against the Castilian colonialists.
After three nights we were very sad to leave chilled out Valle del Gran Rey. I definitely need to go back one day!
Walks in the national park next…