The first day begins with a 23 km bus ride to the center of the island (get off after about 40 minutes at the "Pajarito" roundabout). The first bus of line 1 leaves (as of January 2015) daily at 10:30 am from the bus station in San Sebastián de la Gomera. If you arrive directly from Tenerife with the first ferry in the morning, you can usually reach this bus. If that doesn't work, there is (except Sundays) a second bus at 12:00 p.m. However, we recommend a shortened variant of the hike so that you don't arrive at the destination in the dark: get off two stations further in the village of "Chipude" instead of "Pajarito". From there you can use the normal route from waypoint 4.
The bus station is housed in the same building as the market hall, which also houses an underground supermarket - ideal for getting provisions for the first day of hiking.
Facts about stage 1
Altitude: 180m ascent / 1450m descent
Duration: 5:30h (without breaks)
Route download for stage 1 (GPX file)
All other downloads can be found at maps.
The ascent to the highest point of the island, the "Alto de Garajonay", begins from the "Pajarito" roundabout. A signposted circular route leads from here to the summit and back again. We follow this circular route on the narrow and shorter path to the summit, which can be reached after about 900m from the roundabout.
We leave the viewing platform at the summit (waypoint 1) in a westerly direction and descend towards Chipude. We follow the circular path back to "Pajarito" for a short time, leaving it soon to the right (Chipude is signposted, waypoint 2). In the further course of the path there are a few junctions with signs in the direction of Chipude until we reach the small group of houses "Los Manantiales" (waypoint 3). Here we cross the courtyard in front of us and descend the steps between the houses in an S-curve over further stairs into terraced and beautifully green terrain. We follow the path, which rises a little in between in a large left turn over a hilltop and already see Chipude lying in front of us (waypoint 4).
There is an opportunity to take a break on the main square in front of the church. A small supermarket and a bar invite you to take a break.
From Chipude down to Valle Gran Rey
From the main square there is a small steep road downhill (signposted "Valle Gran Rey, 8.9 km). After a few meters we meet the main road again, which we follow briefly to the left uphill and turn right at the next opportunity (waypoint 5). Attention: at the time of our inspection there were no signposts. After a few meters we turn right again (waypoint 6). The fact that the path actually continues here between the houses is only apparent in retrospect, when the path narrows again and becomes an idyllic hiking route.
After some time we cross an unpaved road and follow the sign for "La Matanza" straight ahead and steadily downhill. In a small depression with a watercourse, our path joins another hiking trail, which also leads down into the "Valle Gran Rey" from the opposite side of the slope "El Cercado". So we follow the signpost in the direction of "Valle Gran Rey". The path runs parallel to a former water canal for long stretches and leads above a canyon-like gorge. When the valley then widens a bit, we meet the "real" circular hiking trail GR-132 (waypoint 7) for the first time at a crossroads. So far we have only been on a feeder route.
We follow the GR-132 down to the right towards "Valle Gran Rey", cross the small valley and climb up again on the opposite side. At the top of the saddle point, a phenomenal view of the "Valle Gran Rey" (waypoint 8) awaits us. At the same time, we sense that there is still a long descent ahead of us. We turn right into the path that runs along the slope, which gradually becomes steeper. At this point, hiking poles and good shoes really pay off for the first time.
Almost at the bottom of the valley we turn at a small house onto a path running parallel to the valley, which leads us to the small church "Iglesia de los Santos Reyes". Behind the church we descend stairs into the river bed, which we follow more or less directly downstream on a wider path. Soon after, we reach the destination of the first stage with "La Calera".