Valle Gran Rey is one of the six municipalities of La Gomera, and one of the island’s main tourist areas.
This part of the Columbian island is one of the most sought-after destinations for people who choose the Canary Islands as a place in which to spend a month, or two, or three, in search of refuge from the extreme climate of the rest of Europe. And of these people, the presence of German visitors is particularly remarkable. In Valle Gran Rey, they have discovered a place where they can spend time surrounded by peace and quiet and the beauty of this enclave, without forfeiting the familiar commodity of the resident population, comprised largely of people of German origin.
What are the attractions of La Gomera as a long-stay destination for hundreds of Germans?
According to news magazine Der Spiegel, the island’s good climate, excellent connectivity and the broad range of gastronomy served up in its bars and restaurants.
Why do Germans fall in love with Valle Gran Rey?
Valle Gran Rey enjoys the excellent climate of the Canary Islands, with mild temperatures throughout the year, and scant rainfall. Without a doubt, this is one of the main reasons why some German citizens who visit the island then decide to make it their vacation destination for longer stays.
Valle Gran Rey has some of the best beaches of La Gomera. The following stand out from among those the German population know and love the best:
- La Calera, the largest of them all and with numerous services, a place where you can enjoy a day under the sun of the Canary Islands with the full range of commodities.
- Playa del Inglés, a little more isolated but still close to inhabited areas, and with spectacular volcanic surroundings. Wild scenery and inspiring surroundings beckon one to stop and contemplate its beauty, while enjoying its characteristic silence.
- Playa de Vueltas, an easy-access option you can enjoy with the whole family.
The municipality of Valle Gran Rey stretches from around 1000 metres above sea level down to the coast, a surface that encompasses a wide variety of natural attractions to delight anyone who loves open-air activities, whether in the sea or in the mountains.
Valle Gran Rey Rural Park. This park represents an extremely beautiful, harmonious landscape, where erosion has modelled a peculiar terrain with strong contrasts between inclines and fertile valleys. This place is the last refuge of one of the most endangered vertebrates on the planet: the La Gomera giant lizard, rediscovered in 1999 and currently the subject of a recovery plan.
Garajonay National Park. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1986 due to the singularity and biological diversity of its laurissilva forest, one of the last remaining vestiges of the subtropical jungles that disappeared on nearly all the planet after the glaciations. To visit this place is to go back in time and enter a new dimension, where the beauty of the flora and fauna make one's senses overflow.
Santiago-Valle Gran Rey Marine Strip. This enclave is considered the one with the widest diversity of cetaceans in the European Union, in relation to its surface area, with 22 of the 28 species of cetaceans that are present in the Canary Islands. Sailing around these waters is a unique opportunity to connect with some of the most important marine species and natural habitats of Europe.
In spite of being La Gomera’s main tourist resort, Valle Gran Rey retains the idealism of a bygone age, removed from mass tourism, but prepared to receive anyone hoping to recharge themselves with energy. The main accommodation alternatives one can find include:
- Hotels: even though they may be coming for longer trips to the island, many people prefer to continue enjoying the convenience and services offered by this kind of accommodation. Visitors will find a wide range of hotels here.
- Hotels and guesthouses: for more active visitors, there are also numerous options in this category, both on the coast, near the main beaches, or in mountainous areas.
- Rural hotels: located mainly in the higher areas of the municipality, surrounded by nature for those looking to enjoy pleasant temperatures near the coast and greater privacy.
- Apartments: situated above all in the coastal areas, although they can be found in practically the entire municipality.
- Holiday homes: ideal for longer-than-usual stays; as with the previous category, they are located both on the coast and in the mountains.
Visitors should not miss the chance to try some of La Gomera’s excellent traditional dishes, held in high esteem by locals and tourists alike, and which form part of the island’s cultural heritage.
One of the most famous dishes is almogrote, a pâté made from aged cheese, oil, pepper and garlic, perfect as an aperitif or a starter before trying other dishes.
Some other traditional dishes from La Gomera are cress stew, escaldón de gofio and some famous sweet treats and biscuits, to the delight of people with a sweet tooth.
And we should by no means forget the wines of La Gomera, which have their own designation of origin, and the different varieties of cheese produced on the island, which can be acquired and tasted at the different wineries and cheese factories visitors will come across during their stay.
Angela Merkel, an example of a German enamoured of Valle Gran Rey
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor from 2005 to 2021, has been familiar with La Gomera since her early childhood, as her parents spent their summers on the island in the 1970s. Over the years, it once again became one of the former leader’s favourite destinations.
For several years at Easter, Valle Gran Rey - and one of its most renowned hotels, Jardín Tecina - was the place on La Gomera Ms. Merkel chose to rest in for a few days. A hiking enthusiast, the ex-chancellor walks around the Garajonay National Park and samples the local gastronomy. Cress stew is one of her favourite dishes.
Casa Efigenia, a vegetarian restaurant located in the upper part of Valle Gran Rey, has also been visited by Ms. Merkel. This eatery, which is often frequented by Germans, as well as tourists of other nationalities, serves typical dishes and has also offered accommodation for some years now.
German businesses in Valle Gran Rey
It can be no surprise that over the years some Germans have opened up their own businesses in Valle Gran Rey. Some of the more notable German-run restaurants or cafés are Restaurante Esperanto La Gomera, Oso Café Valle Gran Rey, la Heladería La Crema or the Bistro - Cafe der anderen Art.
In these establishments, German visitors can feel right at home, sampling dishes from their homeland or - why not? - striking up a lively conversation with some of their compatriots.
Valle Gran Rey has become a perfect haven for visitors wishing to take a break from life, enjoying nature, a mild climate and the delights of an island where time seems to stop.