Sleepy European island has its own rainforest and jungle-like National Park

A paradise island with its own rainforest, black sand beaches and a huge jungle-esque park sounds like somewhere far-flung – but it's actually just a few hours from the UK.

Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria are the most popular islands thanks to their famous nightlife, busy hotels with huge pools and all-inclusive bars, and of course gorgeous beaches and attractions like water parks to keep the whole family happy.

However, for those who want to enjoy the balmy weather but escape the busy crowds, there's one lesser-known Canary Island that's well worth adding to your radar; La Gomera.

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This is definitely one for Brits who like a bit of adventure; although there are plenty of hotels and gorgeous beaches for relaxing, the island tends to be a hit with those after an active holiday due to the sheer amount of hiking trails and activities to be found amongst the volcanic landscapes, huge sprawling green valleys, and the black sand beaches.

It's even been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of the amazing landscapes. For example, the Garajonay National Park looks like it belongs on a tropical island with its dense green scenery; the Laurisilva forest is a particular highlight with its rainforest climate. It's over 66 million years old, and you'll find plenty of fascinating creatures and plants – keep an eye out for the giant lizards of La Gomera that can be found across the island too!

Speaking of wildlife, tourists are always awed by La Gomera's impressive array of residents, especially in the waters. You can expect blowfish, lobsters, parrotfish and even sea turtles – and throughout the year there's ample opportunity to see dolphins and whales too.

Back on land, the island's beaches are a firm favourite on warmer days, with plenty of quiet coves where you can lay out. It's worth noting that most of the beaches are made up of black volcanic sands but you can find some golden shores, and there are heaps of spots with crystalline waters if you fancy a swim. Playa del Inglés is one of the more famous ones and where you'll find the most hustle and bustle during peak season, while San Sebastián Beach is close to restaurants and bars.

La Gomera doesn't get quite as hot as some of its sister islands, but generally enjoys balmy weather year-round, so it's ideal if you do want to do some exploring.

Although you can't fly direct to the island from the UK, it's still fairly easy to reach. One of the simplest routes is to fly to Tenerife (a flight that's approximately four hours) and then catch a ferry to La Gomera, that takes less than an hour. Once there, there are plenty of hotels and resorts on the island depending on your budget.

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