In contrast to the bustling capitals of the larger Canary Islands, San Sebastian de La Gomera radiates a serene and untouched charm. This quaint town is a treasure trove of stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and intriguing historical sites. It invites you to wander along its streets, lined with traditional architecture, and enjoy the tranquil beauty of colorful boats bobbing in the harbor. As you explore deeper into the city, also uncover hidden gems that reveal why an increasing number of tourists find themselves enchanted by this jewel of the Atlantic Ocean.

A Brief History

San Sebastian La Gomera
A Stunning View of the City of San Sebastian in La Gomera – ©rh2010

San Sebastian de La Gomera is a peaceful city and municipality steeped in history. Before the arrival of the Spanish, the island was inhabited by the Guanches, the indigenous people of the Canary Islands. These early inhabitants lived in various settlements across the island, including the area around present-day San Sebastián. The Guanches had a unique culture and way of life that was significantly altered with the arrival of the Europeans.

The conquest of La Gomera began in earnest in the 15th century, spearheaded by Hernán Peraza the Elder and completed under the rule of his descendants. San Sebastián de La Gomera quickly became a crucial port of call for Spanish expeditions to the New World. In fact, Christopher Columbus famously stopped here in 1492, before his first voyage across the Atlantic, to resupply and make final preparations. This historical event has since imbued the town with a sense of historical significance and has made it a point of interest for those looking to trace the steps of the famous explorer. Besides being the island’s cultural hub, San Sebastián de La Gomera also serves as its administrative center and the gateway to the natural wonders it offers.

Things to Do in San Sebastian

History enthusiasts will find themselves thoroughly enchanted by San Sebastian. Despite its continuous evolution and changes over the years, the city has preserved fascinating remnants of its vibrant past. These monuments serve as gateways, transporting visitors back in time and connecting them more deeply with the experiences of those who once walked these streets.

Church of the Assumption (Iglesia de la Virgen de la Asunción)

This church, where Columbus and his crew prayed before embarking on their voyage to the New World, holds significant religious and historical importance. Sadly, a fire destroyed the original chapel, constructed in 1450. Now, in the heart of San Sebastian de La Gomera’s Old Town, a rustic 18th-century church stands, showcasing a perfect blend of Mudejar, Gothic, and Baroque styles. The interior is also worth exploring, which features an impressive carved wooden entrance lobby and a variety of religious images.

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion San Sebastian La Gomera
Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion in San Sebastian de La Gomera – ©tamara1k

Museo Arqueológico de La Gomera

The Museo Arqueológico de La Gomera is an essential destination for anyone keen to dive deep into La Gomera’s fascinating history. It provides a thorough journey through the island’s timeline, from the era of the Guanches to modern times. Set in a traditional townhouse, it showcases the island’s ancient Guanche heritage alongside aspects of its current culture. Its displays reveal insights into the Guanches’ daily lives, including their social, political, and religious frameworks. For travelers who have already seen much of La Gomera, the museum offers additional context and understanding, enriching their experience of the island’s rich past and vibrant present.

Casa de Colón

Exuding distinctive Canarian charm, the Casa de Colon’s architecture perfectly balances simplicity and elegance, making it a visual delight. This is the place where Columbus is believed to have stayed during his time on the island. Inside, visitors can explore a small museum with an impressive pottery collection from the Chimú tribes, dating back to the 11th to 15th centuries. What’s more, guests can enjoy temporary exhibitions, usually showcasing art and photography, without spending a single dime on entrance fees.

Torre del Conde

Torre del Conde is one of the Canary Islands’ most important examples of military architecture, primarily symbolizing the capital’s majestic power in the 1400s. Nestled within a lush subtropical park, the fort’s white and brown facade creates a striking contrast against the surrounding greenery. Inside, the structure houses a small museum that offers a fascinating collection of old photos and maps of the city, inviting visitors to delve into its storied past.

Torre del Conde San Sebastian La Gomera
Torre del Conde in San Sebastian de La Gomera – ©gadzius

Playa de San Sebastián

Just a short walk from the city center, the public beach, with its distinctive volcanic sand, is an oasis of tranquility. It’s clean and usually not crowded, making it an ideal spot for unwinding and absorbing the beautiful surroundings. What sets Playa de San Sebastian apart from many other beaches in La Gomera is its family-friendly atmosphere and the calm, soothing waters. Following a refreshing dip, you can meander to the nearby bars, cafes, and restaurants to enjoy some delicious snacks and refreshments.

Playa de la Cueva

Less frequented than the city’s main beach, Playa de la Cueva is a remote paradise past the harbor. This charming small beach, with its black sands and pebbles, is caressed by the gentle waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It is accessible by a tunnel located left of the port and features a lovely promenade perfect for a stroll in the sunshine. Framed by imposing rocky crags, visitors get lovely ocean views and Tenerife’s mighty Teide here.

Mercado Municipal

One simply can’t go to San Sebastian and not experience this vibrant market. A compact place full of gastronomical treasures, this market has some of the best delicacies on the island. Sample some of the finest honey in Spain and purchase fresh Gomeran goat’s cheese to take home. The market also provides all the necessary ingredients for making mojo, the renowned Canarian spicy sauce that comes in two delicious varieties: one made with chilies and paprika and the other with coriander and garlic.

Where to Stay

Being the main entry point to the rest of the island, San Sebastian guarantees the best accommodation for each of its visitors. Families, couples, and single travelers are sure to find their home away from home with the city’s long list of holiday rentals.

Parador Conde de La Gomera

It’s hard to imagine guests ever growing weary of the ocean views at Parador Conde de La Gomera. Atop a high hill overlooking San Sebastian Harbour, breathtaking views of the vast Atlantic Ocean greet you from nearly every angle. This manor house, transformed into a hotel, showcases traditional Canarian-style architecture. Enhancing the charm, the cozy rooms are arranged around inner courtyards adorned with palm trees and elegant fountains, creating a serene and picturesque setting for your stay. Book Now!

Hotel Apartamentos Villa Gomera

The family-run Hotel Apartamentos Villa Gomera is a charming and convenient base for travelers exploring the town. Just a five-minute stroll from the lovely beach and marina, this welcoming accommodation provides a range of options, from cozy rooms to fully-equipped studios and apartments catering to different needs and preferences. Additionally, it’s ideal for ferry travelers, being a short walk from the terminal, and serves as a perfect gateway for trips to El Hierro and Tenerife. Book Now!

Hotel Torre del Conde

Just steps from the iconic Torre del Conde, Hotel Torre del Conde presents a blend of simplicity and elegance. This hotel is merely 200 meters from the bustling marina and encased in lovely gardens. Standing out not only for its serene ambience, it also offers spacious, bright rooms, along with a solarium perfect for basking in the island’s sunshine and a sauna and jacuzzi for those looking to unwind. In addition, it features a restaurant that serves a variety of buffet cuisines to satisfy diverse palates, complemented by a café-bar for refreshing drinks and snacks. Book Now!

Where to Eat

In San Sebastián de La Gomera, you’re in for a treat with loads of places to eat. From cozy spots serving local favorites like papas arrugadas and fresh fish to cool hangouts where you can try something new, there’s a taste for every palate. Plus, the local wines are a must-try. Get ready to dig into some mouthwatering eats!

El Pajar la Gomera

Located right in the heart of San Sebastian, El Pajar La Gomera is a cozy spot loved by both locals and tourists alike. Here, you can dig into some of the island’s best dishes, like their famous fish soup and mouthwatering Solomillo de Cerdo a la brass (Roasted Pork Steak). Don’t miss out on their signature honey rum or the giant prawns in garlic sauce! And for a taste of authentic local flavors, be sure to try their Gomerian Goats Cheese Spread ‘Almogrote’ with palm honey. If you’re a seafood lover, their grilled seafood platter is a must-try. With a mix of local, Mediterranean, and Spanish cuisine, El Pajar La Gomera is the perfect spot to experience the island’s flavors.

Pizzeria Agando

Pizzeria Agando is your go-to spot for a hearty meal that promises both flavors and generous portions. Renowned for their stone-baked pizzas, like the classic four seasons and a delectable seafood option, they’ve mastered the art of satisfying cravings. Their Chicken Fillet in a creamy sauce, served with salad and fries, is a crowd-pleaser, perfectly balancing comfort and taste. If you’re a fan of authentic Italian, their Caprese salad has been called the best outside of Italy, a testament to their quality and freshness. And don’t skip on their garlic prawns, a savory delight that seafood lovers will cherish.

Restaurante Parador de La Gomera

Offering an exceptional dining experience in San Sebastian, Restaurante Parador combines the allure of traditional local cuisine with the sophistication of more conventional fare. It is set in a lovely idyllic hotel with stunning grounds, presenting an ambiance as delightful as its menu. While the prices reflect the quality and portion sizes, guests find great value in every dish served. Among its best-sellers are the Banuelos de calamari (squid fritters), offering a crispy delight; the arroz Cardoso, a savory, broth-rich rice dish; and the mousse de miel, a honey mousse that perfectly caps off a meal with its sweet, airy texture.

Getting to the Capital from Other Canary Islands

San Sebastián de La Gomera is the main entry point to the island for travelers coming in by ferry. Note that if it’s by flight, San Sebastián is a 50-minute drive away upon landing.

From Tenerife Island to San Sebastian de La Gomera

Ferry: The most popular and scenic route to La Gomera is by ferry from Tenerife. Ferries depart from Los Cristianos port south of Tenerife and arrive at San Sebastián de La Gomera. The ferry journey lasts about 50 minutes to an hour. Companies like Fred Olsen Express and Naviera Armas operate this route, offering several departures daily.

Flight: Binter Canarias operates flights from Tenerife North Airport to La Gomera Airport. The flight is quick, takes around 30 minutes, and offers a unique aerial view of the Canary Islands. This option is less frequent than the ferry and is typically more expensive, but it is a convenient choice if you’re coming from the north of Tenerife or prefer to fly.

From Gran Canaria to San Sebastian de La Gomera

Flight: Direct flights from Gran Canaria to La Gomera are uncommon, so travelers usually head to Tenerife and then connect to La Gomera by a subsequent flight to La Gomera Airport or by taking a ferry from Los Cristianos.

Ferry (via Tenerife): Another option is to take a ferry from Gran Canaria to Tenerife, departing from Las Palmas to Santa Cruz, and then transfer to another ferry from Los Cristianos to San Sebastián de La Gomera. This option is more time-consuming but allows for an enjoyable journey through the Canary Islands.

From Other Canary Islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, etc.)

Ferry (via Tenerife): Depending on the island you’re starting from, you may first need to take a ferry to Tenerife. From there, you can catch one of the regular ferries from Los Cristianos to La Gomera.

Flight (via Tenerife or Gran Canaria): To reach San Sebastián de La Gomera by air, book a flight to either Tenerife North Airport (TFN) or Gran Canaria Airport (LPA). From there, connect with a regional airline, such as Binter Canarias, for a short flight to La Gomera Airport (GMZ).

Getting to the Capital from The Airport or Other Major La Gomera Towns

From La Gomera Airport to San Sebastián de La Gomera

Driving: Start by heading out from the airport on the GM-3 road. Continue on GM-3 until you reach the intersection with the GM-2 road. At this point, you will turn onto GM-2, leading you directly towards San Sebastián de La Gomera. The journey typically takes around 50 minutes, depending on traffic and road conditions.

Public Transportation: From the airport, you can take bus line 7 directly to San Sebastián de La Gomera. Make sure to check the current bus schedule and stops for the most accurate information.

From Valle Gran Rey to San Sebastián de La Gomera

Driving: Start on the GM-1 road in Valle Gran Rey, heading northeast. Upon reaching the junction with GM-2, follow the signs to San Sebastián de La Gomera, turning onto GM-2. Continue on GM-2 all the way to San Sebastián de La Gomera. The total journey typically takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes, depending on road conditions and traffic.

Public Transportation: Bus line 1 provides direct service from Valle Gran Rey to San Sebastián. Verify the current bus schedule and stops for accurate information.

From Hermigua to San Sebastián de La Gomera

Driving: Take the GM-1 road south from Hermigua. The route is straightforward, with signs leading you directly to San Sebastián de La Gomera. The drive should take around 30 minutes, offering views of the lush valleys and rugged coastline.

Public Transportation: Utilize bus line 2 for a direct connection from Hermigua to San Sebastián de La Gomera. Always check the latest bus schedules and stops to ensure a smooth trip.

From Agulo to San Sebastián de La Gomera

Driving: Take on GM-1 following the signs to San Sebastián de La Gomera, with the drive taking about 40 minutes.

Public Transportation: A bus service (line 2) connects Agulo with San Sebastián de La Gomera. Remember to verify the bus schedule and stops for the most up-to-date information.

San Sebastian de La Gomera: A Gateway and a Canary Gem

San Sebastian, with its main port, is often seen merely as a gateway to La Gomera, but this city holds hidden gems for those willing to explore. Dive into its rich history with a visit to ancient buildings, and wander the cobblestone streets, absorbing the blend of history, arts, and enduring traditions. Indulge in delicious local dishes complemented by wine from the volcanic soil, or enjoy a leisurely beach walk before retiring to world-class accommodation. Discover for yourself why this Atlantic Ocean gem is considered one of the best capitals in the Canary Islands.