Nestled on the west of the gorgeous island of La Gomera, the municipality of Valle Gran Rey is a little slice of paradise that’s flown under the radar for way too long. It’s the kind of place where adventure meets chill vibes, where you can hike up a storm one minute and be lounging on a sun-kissed beach the next. Valle Gran Rey is all about kicking back, soaking in the scenery, and maybe discovering a few hidden gems along the way. With its laid-back atmosphere, stunning landscapes, and friendly locals, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.

Valle Gran Rey Landscape
Picturesque Landscape Surrounding Valle Gran Rey – ©rh2010

The Valley Through Time

In the days before Spanish settlers arrived in the 15th century, Valle Gran Rey was part of Orone, one of La Gomera’s four cantons. Legend has it that this valley was home to ‘kings’ and seers, hinting at its significance even then. It was here, in the shadows of the striking cliffs overlooking El Charco del Conde, that the Rebellion of Los Gomeros unfolded in 1488. A council of key figures gathered in La Baja de Secreto to plot the end of Peraza The Younger’s tyranny.

Following the Spanish conquest, Valle Gran Rey saw shifts in its economic heartbeats, from sugarcane and silk to grains, vineyards, and livestock. The area, historically fragmented in governance, unified under its own municipality in 1927, sparking a population growth tied to export crops and fishing. Yet, it wasn’t immune to the waves of emigration, especially post-Spanish Civil War, with many seeking new beginnings in Venezuela and Tenerife. The 1960s brought a new chapter with the arrival of tourists, initially from the U.S. but soon after, a surge from Central Europe, particularly Germany. Valle Gran Rey evolved into La Gomera’s prime tourism hub, celebrated today for its splendid weather, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture.

Things To Do

In Valle Gran Rey, you can kick back in quaint villages, catch some rays on beautiful beaches, dive into an underwater adventure, or hike through breathtaking trails. It’s the perfect playground for anyone looking to sprinkle their relaxation with a bit of exploration. If you’re a sun-seeker, a water baby, a trailblazer, or a bit of everything, Valle Gran Rey promises a lineup of experiences that are as diverse as they are unforgettable.

Soak in Sleepy Village Vibes

Ducking into Valle Gran Rey’s sleepy villages is like stepping into a laid-back island vibe you won’t want to shake off. Take La Calera and El Guro, for example – these spots are not your typical tourist destinations. They’re more like secret corners of the world where life moves at the pace of a leisurely stroll, not a sprint. Picture yourself wandering down quaint cobblestone streets, surrounded by houses that look like they’ve been dipped in a paint palette, with bougainvillea adding splashes of color everywhere. It’s where you can kick back with a local brew in one of the small cafes, chat with some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet, or just find a cozy spot to watch the orange sun dip below the horizon.

Visiting these villages is the chill pill your vacation needs. You’re not just passing through; you’re soaking up a vibe that’s all about enjoying the moment. Whether diving into the local scene, discovering some cool handcrafted treasures, or simply taking a moment to breathe in the ocean air, these spots add that special something to your getaway. It’s not just a visit; it’s a way to make your vacation feel more like a slice of the good life.

Find Your Beach Haven

Playa de Valle Gran Rey

This beach, being the longest shoreline along the beaches here, is well-loved by many locals and tourists. Playa de Valle Gran Rey attracts millions of visitors all year round and is an impeccable place to embrace beach life. With a perfect balance of flora and fauna, visitors can easily find any spot for sunbathing. Some also enjoy watching the sun kissing the Atlantic Ocean goodbye in all its glory. In the morning, guests can start energizing their day by playing beach sports such as volleyball.

Playa de Ingles

Steep rocks border Playa de Ingles and are the reason why it is popular among the nudists. They find privacy in the small streams of water found between the huge rocks. Tourists should be extra careful when diving deep because Playa de Ingles tends to have strong currents. Nevertheless, it’s a must try for visitors who love adrenaline-rushing water activities.

Charco del Conde or Baby-Beach

Charco del Conde is one of the most family-friendly beaches in Valle Gran Rey. Charco del Conde is a small lagoon protected from large waves and currents. Toddlers can paddle and swim here without the worry of deep waters especially during the afternoon when the sea is at its calmest. The fine black sand dotted with tiny seashells is also perfect for sand castle building.

It is believed that the Conde or Count of the island used to swim here with his entourage, hence the beach name. His wife, on the other hand, swam with her escorts in Charco de la Condesa, a nearby shoal.

Lava Sand Beach Valle Gran Rey
One of Many Volcanic Lava Beaches in Valle Gran Rey – ©cappelli

Playa de Vueltas

Playa de Vueltas is one of the largest in the municipality. This black sand beach is family-oriented since it is located inside the port’s dock and has no big waves or strong currents.

Playa de Argaga

Visitors who are searching for seclusion and some quiet time with nature will find refuge in Playa de Argaga. A meditation lounge is situated at the center of this peaceful beach. At night, the natural breeze of cold wind is a perfect company for stargazing and bonfire activity. Please note, however, that there have been instances of falling rocks in the area.

Explore Beneath the Waves

When you land in Valle Gran Rey, you’re not just stepping onto the sun-kissed shores of La Gomera; you’re diving headfirst into an underwater spectacle that’s as mesmerizing as the island’s landscapes. Diving or snorkeling here isn’t just an activity; it’s a doorway to an aquatic wonderland, thanks to the Special Conservation Area of the “Santiago-Valle Gran Rey” marine stretch. This protected slice of the ocean is a sanctuary where marine life flourishes, offering an unrivaled underwater experience.

The waters around Valle Gran Rey are not just beautiful; they’re globally recognized for their ecological significance, including being a part of the prestigious designation as a Whale Heritage Site. This accolade is a testament to the area’s commitment to preserving its marine inhabitants and offering sustainable tourism experiences. As you glide through these waters, either with a snorkel or a scuba tank, you’re in for a real treat. From playful dolphins and sleek turtles to a variety of rays and even the occasional majestic whale, the diversity is staggering. And let’s not forget the colorful tapestry of fish that call these waters home, making every dive or snorkel session an unforgettable encounter with nature.

Wander and Wonder in Its Trails

If you’re aching for adventure in Valle Gran Rey, strapping on your hiking boots or hopping on your bike is practically mandatory. And trust me, you won’t regret it. These trails are gateways to the heart of this breathtaking landscape. Take, for instance, the Baranco de Arure trail. It winds through lush greenery, following the course of a ravine, revealing hidden waterfalls and panoramic vistas along the way. Then there’s Riscos de La Mérica, where you can channel your inner mountain goat as you navigate rocky ridges and steep slopes. If you’re into hiking, biking, trail running, or just soaking up nature’s beauty, these trails are where the magic happens in Valle Gran Rey.

Where to Stay

Valle Gran Rey beaches have more than enough hotels and apartments to accommodate visitors and tourists all throughout the year. Most of them are conveniently located only a few meters from the seashore. From fancy and modern hotels to homey bed and breakfast places, Valle Gran Rey has it all.

Hotel Gran Rey

Hotel Gran Rey, a sleek 3-star oasis, places you perfectly near Valle Gran Rey’s sparkling beachfront, buzzing shopping spots, and the tastiest local eateries and cafes around. Here, every day starts with a stunning ocean view from your room’s balcony—a backdrop so dreamy you might just want to stay put. But there’s plenty more to tempt you outside: think dining under the stars in one of the two onsite restaurants, lounging by the choice of two pools, or soaking up the sun on the terrace. Feeling active? Hit the tennis court for a quick match. With its blend of comfort, convenience, and a dash of luxury, Hotel Gran Rey promises a stay that’s as relaxing as it is memorable. Book Now!

Apartamentos Charco del Conde

Picture yourself waking up to the soothing sound of sea waves lapping against the shore, stepping out onto your terrace to catch breathtaking views of the sea or the inviting pool below. With amenities like adult and children’s pools, a solarium, and even mini-golf, there’s no shortage of ways to unwind in the complex. Plus, with free Wi-Fi, staying connected is a breeze. Just keep in mind that while this haven is a paradise for most, it’s not accessible for wheelchairs or pets. Book Now!

Punta Marina Apartment

Slide into the laid-back lifestyle of Valle Gran Rey with a stay at Punta Marina Apartment, where each cozy abode comes with its own private terrace for that morning coffee or evening chill. Dive into relaxation mode with access to a shared pool, ensuring your swim fix is just steps away. Need to freshen up your vacation wardrobe? The on-site laundry service has you covered, and you can stay connected with complimentary Wi-Fi at reception. For the bookworms, there’s even a library to find your next beach read. Tucked away in a gorgeous, small complex, these apartments offer a slice of tranquility all to yourself. In addition, its prime location means you’re just a 5-minute stroll from the sandy shores of both Charco del Conde and La Puntilla beaches. Book Now!

Where to Eat

Valle Gran Rey boasts an eclectic mix of beachfront dining spots, offering an array of cuisines to suit every palate. Stroll along the scenic promenade, and you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with charming restaurants and cozy cafes, ideal for that post-beach feast or a refreshing drink. It’s the perfect setting to unwind and relish the island’s flavors while soaking up the vibrant, laid-back atmosphere.

La Salsa

Tucked away near the harbor, La Salsa is a cozy gem that’s big on flavor. This small restaurant is a paradise for foodies, offering an enticing menu that features fresh fish and seafood, succulent grilled meats, and a variety of other mouthwatering dishes. Highlights include the richly flavored duck in red wine and rosemary, the perfectly seared tuna tataki, and the innovative deep-fried prawns accompanied by pesto and ginger mayonnaise. For those craving something hearty, the ricotta pasta with mushrooms and the Iberian pork served with beetroot potato mash are must-tries. To complement your meal, La Salsa boasts a good selection of wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for every dish.

Colorado

Colorado is a culinary haven that blends Mediterranean flair with international favorites to create an unforgettable dining experience. From the crispy and light tuna tempura to the rich and savory sea bass with risotto, every dish is a masterpiece. Don’t miss the ‘Sea & Surf,’ a delightful medley of prawns, scallops, and tuna atop a spicy chorizo risotto, or the traditional Gyros accompanied by a refreshing shepherd’s salad. The filet of hake (merluza) in a tangy mustard sauce and the tender lamb filet drenched in a rich Madeira sauce are just some of the standout options.

Restaurante Charco del Conde – Casa Ciro

Affectionately known as Casa Ciro, Restaurante Charco Del Conde delights diners with its creative twist on traditional flavors. This charming eatery serves up a feast for the senses, featuring offerings like tropical salad, rich and creamy almogrote, and calamari drizzled in Roquefort sauce. Seafood lovers will revel in the fried octopus with onion and gazpacho, while the chicken breast in a delectable mango sauce offers a sweet and savory experience. The menu also boasts traditional delights such as boiled tuna with red mojo, rabbit in a rich gravy, and tangy pickled tuna. For a sweet finish, the lemon cream served on a cookie base is a must-try.

Getting to Valle Gran Rey Beaches

Whether you’re up for a solo drive with your favorite tunes or keen on hopping on public transport to mingle with the locals, getting to Valle Gran Rey. Here’s a quick guide on how to get your adventure rolling from some major towns to this gorgeous valley.

From San Sebastián de la Gomera

Driving: Start on GM-1, heading west towards Valle Gran Rey, then take GM-2 and GM-1. Continue following the signs for Valle Gran Rey, which is located at the end of GM-1.

Public Transportation: Bus line 1 offers direct service from San Sebastián to Valle Gran Rey. Check the local bus company’s website for the latest schedule and fare information.

From Hermigua

Driving: Start on GM-1, heading west towards Valle Gran Rey, then take GM-2 and GM-1. Continue following the signs for Valle Gran Rey, which is located at the end of GM-1.

Public Transportation: There isn’t a direct bus route from Hermigua to Valle Gran Rey. You would need to take bus line 2 to San Sebastián and then change to the line 1 bus heading to Valle Gran Rey.

From Vallehermoso

Driving: Access the GM-1 and head south towards Valle Gran Rey. Follow the signs directly to Valle Gran Rey.

Public Transportation: You can catch line 8 from Vallehermoso to Valle Gran Rey. While this comes with a longer travel time, it’s an excellent opportunity to see different parts of the island.

Traveler Tips

Visiting Valle Gran Rey is an unforgettable experience, thanks to its unique landscapes, relaxed atmosphere, and welcoming vibe. To make the most of your trip, here are some traveler tips:

Pack for the Microclimates: La Gomera has a variety of microclimates. Even if Valle Gran Rey is known for its sunny weather, it’s smart to bring layers, including a light jacket for cooler evenings.

Respect the Environment: Valle Gran Rey is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Always stick to marked trails, don’t litter, and respect wildlife habitats to help preserve the area’s pristine conditions.

Try the Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on sampling local dishes like almogrote, a spicy cheese paste, and fresh seafood. The local restaurants and cafes along the beachfront and in the villages offer delicious options.

Rent a Car for Flexibility: While public transport exists, having a car gives you the freedom to explore hidden gems and remote beaches at your own pace. Just be prepared for winding roads and breathtaking views.

Stay Hydrated and Sun-protected: The sun can be intense, especially if you’re hiking or spending the day at the beach. Drink plenty of water, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

Learn a Few Spanish Phrases: While you’ll find English speakers, knowing some basic Spanish phrases will enrich your interactions with the island locals and show respect for the culture.

Check the Festivities Calendar: Valle Gran Rey and La Gomera host various festivals and events throughout the year. Planning your visit around these can offer deeper insight into local traditions and celebrations.

Reserve Accommodations in Advance: Most especially during peak seasons, it’s wise to book your stay ahead of time. Valle Gran Rey offers a range of options, from charming apartments to cozy hotels.

FAQ

Travelers planning a trip to Valle Gran Rey often seek information to ensure a fulfilling experience. Here are some questions they might have:

What’s the best time to visit Valle Gran Rey?

The best time to visit Valle Gran Rey in La Gomera largely depends on your personal preferences, especially in terms of weather and the level of tourist activity you’re comfortable with. However, a general guideline is as follows:

Spring (March to May): This period is ideal for those looking to enjoy mild weather and fewer crowds. The temperatures are comfortable, making it a great time for hiking and exploring the area’s natural beauty. Spring also brings the landscape to life with blooming flowers.

Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season, characterized by warm temperatures and sunny days. It’s perfect for beachgoers, water sports enthusiasts, and anyone looking to soak up the sun. However, expect more crowds and higher prices during this time.

Autumn (September to November): Similar to spring, autumn offers a sweet spot with fewer tourists and pleasant weather. It’s an excellent time for outdoor pursuits like hiking and exploring the island’s trails. The sea remains warm enough for swimming, especially in early autumn.

Winter (December to February): Winters are mild in Valle Gran Rey compared to much of Europe, making it a convenient escape for those seeking warmer climates. While it’s cooler and there might be occasional rain, it’s still suitable for outdoor activities and enjoying the area’s natural beauty.

Are there any interesting cultural or historical sites to visit in Valle Gran Rey?

Valle Gran Rey also hosts a few cultural and historical sites that provide a glimpse into the island’s rich heritage and the way of life of its inhabitants. While the area might not be as densely packed with historical monuments as other locations, there are still interesting places to explore:

La Iglesia de los Santos Reyes (The Church of the Holy Kings): Located in La Calera, this church is a significant landmark in Valle Gran Rey. It’s a testament to the religious and architectural history of the area. The church’s structure and the art inside offer a peaceful retreat and insight into the local community’s spiritual life.

The Water Mills of Valle Gran Rey (Los Molinos de Agua): These ancient water mills, though mostly ruins now, tell the story of traditional agriculture and how the islanders harnessed natural resources. A visit here offers an unusual glimpse into the past agricultural practices of the region.

What are the shopping options in Valle Gran Rey?

Although not a sprawling shopping metropolis, Valle Gran Rey offers a charming selection of shopping options that reflect the island’s culture and the laid-back lifestyle of its inhabitants. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect when looking to indulge in some retail therapy in Valle Gran Rey:

Local Artisan Shops: Scattered throughout Valle Gran Rey are small artisan shops and studios that showcase the craftsmanship of local artists and artisans. These shops offer unique souvenirs, including handmade jewelry, pottery, and traditional Canarian textiles. These items make for meaningful gifts or mementos of your trip.

Craft Markets: Occasionally, Valle Gran Rey hosts craft markets where local artisans display and sell their work. These markets are a fantastic opportunity to purchase unique, locally-made products ranging from ceramics and leather goods to homemade jams and the island’s famous palm honey (miel de palma).

Boutiques and Clothing Stores: There are a few boutiques and clothing stores in Valle Gran Rey that sell beachwear, casual clothing, and accessories. While the selection may not be extensive, you can find some trendy and comfortable items perfect for the island’s climate.

Convenience Stores and Supermarkets: For everyday needs, Valle Gran Rey has several small supermarkets and convenience stores. Here, you can stock up on groceries, snacks, drinks, and other essentials. These stores also sometimes sell locally produced goods, such as wines, cheeses, and other Canarian specialties.

Art Galleries: Valle Gran Rey is home to a few art galleries where local and regional artists exhibit their work. These galleries are ideal for those looking to explore the island’s contemporary art scene and perhaps purchase a piece of original art as a lasting reminder of their visit.

Valle Gran Rey: The Perfect Backdrop for Unforgettable Moments

Visiting Valle Gran Rey is a truly remarkable experience that many are not fortunate to have. While tourists often flock to the larger and more bustling islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, the charm of La Gomera, and specifically Valle Gran Rey, lies in its secluded tranquility. Here, visitors find solace in the isolation and serenity of the coastline, offering a welcome escape from all the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether it’s basking in the warm glow of a breathtaking sunset or simply reveling in the carefree atmosphere, Valle Gran Rey provides the perfect backdrop for unforgettable moments and cherished memories.