La Gomera in the Canary Islands is still relatively unspoiled by tourism. Most visitors arrive by ferry from Tenerife or La Palma. The mountainous middle of the island has a cloudy and foggy climate with forest trees hung with moss. We were based in the Valle Gran Rey in the sunny south of the island. From there we visited the main tourist attractions including San Sebastian, Mirador del Palmarejo, Chipude, Garajonay National Park, La Laguna Grande, Mirador de Roque de Ojila, La Montaneta and Vallehermosa.
The Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory is at the top of a volcano above a sea of clouds. We explore the craggy and precipitous footpath that runs around the volcano rim. On the way we glimpse some of the fourteen telescopes from various countries. Roque de Los Muchachos was chosen as an observatory site because it has one of the clearest skies on the planet. The location of the island and its climate makes the cloud act as a natural mirror, blocking light pollution from the towns beneath.
The drive to the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory is not for the faint of heart and travellers should expect a few bends and hairpin turns on the way. Even so, the stunning landscape views from the road are compensation enough. Lucky for us we had an excellent coach driver to get us there safely.
This excursion take us to breathtaking scenery above the clouds. At the Teide National Park visitor’s centre we see information about the volcanos and local wildlife. Then we go on to explore the volcanic landscape. If the Mount Teide volcano is measured from the ocean floor, it is at 7,500 meters (24,600 ft) the highest volcano in the world base-to-peak outside of the Hawaiian Islands, and is described by UNESCO and NASA as Earth’s third-tallest volcanic structure. Teide is the most visited national park in Europe. In 2016 it had 4,079,823 visitors and tourists reaching a historical record.