La Gomera is the second smallest of the Canary Islands, little populated (around 20,000 people) but full of character. Misty forests, banana plantations, dramatic rock faces, secluded black sand beaches and a few small villages such as Valle Gran Rey contribute to its quiet appeal. Geologically it's one of the oldest of the Canary Islands, its ancient landscape slashed by deep ravines called barrancos.
The ravines are covered with laurel forests where rare white-tailed and dark-tailed laurel pigeons can sometimes be seen, and are prominent features in the Garajonay National Park in the centre of the island. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is criss-crossed with streams and pathways, and offers excellent opportunities for hiking.
La Gomera offers a much quieter holiday to the likes of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, and for some travellers, too quiet. However, it can also be visited as a side trip from its neighbours, meaning that it's possible to take in La Gomera even if you're spending most of your time on one of the bigger islands.