San Sebastián de la Gomera
History fans will love sailing into San Sebastián de la Gomera, following in the footsteps of the great explorer Christopher Columbus who famously stopped off here in 1492 before embarking to the Americas. The laid-back capital city is the perfect port of call if you wish to soak up the famous year-round sunshine of the Canary Islands on one of the many beaches, or to sample its world-famous cheese at a charming local restaurant. Alternatively for the more adventurous, you can always choose to take to the mountains on an intrepid hiking excursion. Cruise visitors with a thirst for knowledge will also find a smattering of historic sites in the city.
Why cruise San Sebastián de la Gomera
La Gomera may be one of the smaller, lesser-known islands in the Canaries, but its vibrant capital city San Sebastián still makes for a great port of call on a Canary Islands cruise, offering pristine beaches, historic buildings and beautiful natural parks. The island is also known as 'Isla Colombina' because of its historic links to the great explorer Christopher Columbus who called here on his way to America. Many of San Sebastián’s buildings and monuments are linked to him, including the Casa de la Agunada and the Casa de Colón. Other must-see sites in the city include the 15th-century Torre del Conde military tower, Ermita de Ermita de San Sebastián church, which dates back to the 16th century, along with the Church of the Assumption, which features a mural depicting an 18th-century battle, and La Gomera Archaeological Museum.
What to see and do in San Sebastian de la Gomera
Torre Del Conde
Follow in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, for whom La Gomera was the last port of call before he set sail to discover the Americas in 1492, with a visit to Torre Del Conde. The 15th-century stone tower is considered to be the Canary Islands’ most important example of military architecture, not to mention one of the oldest surviving fortresses anywhere in Macaronesia. It was here that Beatriz de Bobadilla, wife of the cruel and ill-fated Hernán Peraza, had to barricade herself in 1488 until she was rescued. The fortress is surrounded by a leafy park, making for the perfect spot to sit, relax and take in the scenic setting and ocean views.
Casa de Colón
This colonial-style mansion, which belonged to the first governors of Gran Canaria, is where Columbus is supposed to have stayed during his stops in the Canary Islands before setting off on his search of the New World. Visitors can wander through the three rooms, which today feature exhibits about the history of the Canary Islands and their relationship with the Americas, as well as the islands’ pre-Hispanic culture.
Garajonay National Park
This green paradise is home to many rare laurel forests and subtropical plant species. Rent a car and head up to the island’s highest point, the Alto de Garajonay peak, which features archaeological sites along with sweeping views of neighbouring isles of El Hierro, Tenerife and La Palma. To the east, Mirador El Bailadero lookout has views of the Los Roques rock formations as well as the Hermigua ravine. For those who like to hike, luxury cruise line Seabourn offers a ‘Hike Through Garajonay National Park’ excursion.
Archaeological Museum of La Gomera
Based in an 18th-century manor house, the Casa Echeverría, the Archaeological Museum of La Gomera is centred on the culture of the Gomeros, the ancient people of the island. The museum encompasses four rooms and a central patio with 68 original pieces and five recreations, as well as a large number of information panels. A great option for those who are not in the mood to mooch on the beach or go hiking.
Head to the beach
San Sebastián de la Gomera’s is blessed with beautiful beaches. The main beach, the 600-metre Playa de San Sebastián, is situated right in front of the Torre del Conde and is dotted with thatched parasols, perfect for sunbathing. Head there in the late afternoon in time for the sunset and take a stroll along the promenade. You can even stop for a coffee or a meal at one of the cafés or restaurants in the main plaza. The other beach is Playa de la Cueva, which has darker sand and offers great views of the famous Teide volcano and Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, across the sea. Cueva is also a great diving spot, with lots of exotic species like trumpetfish, grunts, damselfish and moray eels. Meanwhile, Playa de Ávalo is a more secluded beach with black sand and a notable palm tree grove.
What to expect when travelling to San Sebastian de la Gomera
Getting around in San Sebastian de la Gomera
San Sebastián de la Gomera’s port is located near the centre of the city. The city centre is situated a 10-minute walk away around the waterfront. Once there, you can easily explore San Sebastián de la Gomera on foot, but there are taxis and car hire available in the ferry terminal should you wish to explore the rest of the island under your own steam.
When to go to San Sebastian de la Gomera
Being the land of eternal spring, there is no bad time to visit when to comes to the weather and climate. For extra buzz and excitement, visit in February when La Gomera’s annual Carnival takes place.
San Sebastián de la Gomera uses the euro.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don't need a visa to enter the Spanish archipelago unless you're planning a stay of longer than three months.