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15-10-2017 / Guide

Top 10 places that you need to see on La Palma

Łukasz Rosa

Photo by MartinD

One of the most interesting and least commercialized places in the Canary Islands is La Palma. This relatively small island (42km long and 28km wide), due to its highest peak, Roque de los Muchachos (2426m), is the steepest island in the world.

Such terrain protects the island from mass tourism, and those who manage to get here, will feel the breathtaking views and closeness of nature. One of the best ways to spend your time here is hiking.

Excellently prepared and marked trails with varied levels of difficulty will satisfy even those who did not pass through this form of sightseeing earlier. The total length of the 1000 km hiking trails on such a small island makes an amazing impression. It is worth mentioning that in 2002 UNESCO established the whole area of the island of La Palma Biosphere Reserve.

However, this is not the only distinction of this island. Its unusual conditions for observing celestial bodies have earned it the distinction of STARLIGHT, which honors the sky with the best astronomical quality.

1. La Caldera de Taburiente National Park

The national park stands out for its unusually steep landscape caused by height differences. Caldera de Taburiente is a huge crater surrounded by the highest peaks on the island: El Roque de los Muchachos (2426 meters), Pico de la Cruz (2351 meters), Piedra Llana (2321 meters), Pico de la Nieve (2236 meters) Punta de los Roques (2085 meters). There are numerous streams and waterfalls, which, by the rocky and sharp landscape, look amazing. In this park we treat endemic plant species such as Canary pine. Good trekking boots, sticks, headgear and plenty of water are recommended. You can take the road: GR-131. You can also choose another option as: visit the visitor center in El Paso and follow him to the crater's edge with a great view of La Cumbrecita.

Photo of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park - Aglaya72

2. Roque de Los Muchachos

The highest point of view on the island (2423m), with excellent communication (asphalt road) and wonderful astronomical observatory. This is the second best astronomical observatory in the Northern Hemisphere for Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The Observatory can be visited with an English or Spanish speaking guide after prior appointment. The tour costs 9 Euro and starts at 09:30 or 11:30. Roque de Los Muchachos provides breathtaking panoramic views across La Palma. You can feel and see that you are above the couds.

Photo of Roque de Los Muchachos - Frank Vincentz

3. Salinas de Fuencaliente

This fully organic saline is a great example of perfect cooperation between human and mother nature. Extremely similar to those found on Lanzarote. Created in 1967. These are family ventures. The ecosystem of this place is a stop on the route of many migratory birds, which has gained scientific significance. Even flamingos can be found here in the fall. It is worth to buy here salt, which is characterized by high content of microelements.

Photo of Salinas de Fuencaliente - Bernhard Hecker

4. Faro de Fuencaliente

It is impossible not to notice the strange sight of two lighthouses near the salinas. The gray lighthouse dates back to 1903 and although it survived as many as three eruptions of volcanoes, the last of the 1971 Teneguia volcano has damaged its structure so much that it could no longer function. It has been restored and since then there has been an information center for the Marine Reserve and the Maritime Museum. Right next to it is a new lantern, which has taken over the functions of the old one.

Photo of Faro de Fuencaliente - MartinD

5. Casa Museo del Vino

For those who would like to try a typical local wine we strongly recommend the Wine Museum on La Palma. This restored building collects wines from all the vineyards in La Palma. We can taste them, buy them and then go upstairs to get to know the process of wine-growing, wine-making and see some wine history.

Photo of Casa Museo del Vino - Frank Vincentz

6. Ruta de los Volcanes

Ruta de Los Volcanes is one of the most interesting and yet most trekking trails in the Canary Islands. The route running along Cumbre Vieja, which is called the most attractive volcano in the world, provides unearthly views. We start our journey at Refugio del Pilar 1450m, and end at Los Canarios (Fuencaliente). The length of the trail is 17 km, the level of difficulty is very high, mainly due to the depth of the route. For the passage of this route should be booked about 8 hours including photos and meals. The trail leads through: Pico Birigoyo (1807 m), Hoyo Negro (1890 m), El Duraznero (1840 m), Las Deseadas and El Martin volcanoes. The whole journey ends at the Faro de Fuencaliente.

Photo of Ruta de los Volcanes - Jose.Madrid

7. Santa Cruz de La Palma

This tiny European capital, the capital of the island, has just one main street, a tiny market square and a tiny church. The atmosphere of the place are built by old but well-maintained buildings with richly decorated balconies. Santa Cruz de La Palma is home to only 16,000 people. You can definitely spend the day here. You can start your tour from the passage Av. Maritima (seaside promenade with double teak balconies), but it is also worth to enter the city and look for beautiful corners for yourself. Be sure to visit the Mercado and try freshly squeezed cane juice, local banana chips or goat's cheese. At local cafes or restaurants, you should try the bombón. Being in the capital is worth to look into such places as: Plaza plaza de Espana, Iglesia de El Salvador, Plaza de la Alameda. For coffee, visit Don Manuel, who according to The Guardian offers the best coffee in Spain (2017).

Photo of Santa Cruz de La Palma - Pwagenblast

8. Mirador El Time

A magnificent viewpoint from which you can admire the panorama of the Aridane Valley, covered with banana plantations and the narrow gorge of Las Angustias, ending at Tazacorte. With good visibility you can see El Hierro and La Gomera. Because of its interesting location, it is worthwhile to look here at night to admire the stars and skyline of the city on the other side.

Photo of Mirador El Time - Luc Viatour

9. Charco Azul

It is a bathing place completely different from all others. Where the forces of nature are connected with human action. It provides completely different impressions of the ocean. After the reconstruction, in 2013 it was awarded the Ecoplayas flag. The north connects harmoniously the sea, the sun, the volcanic rock and the green laurel forests.

Photo of Charco Azul - Tony Hisgett

10. Playa Puerto de Tazacorte

If you are looking for a quiet place, with the largest number of sunny days, not only on the Canary Islands but all over Spain, it's a great trip. Playa Puerto de Tazacorte in La Palma beside the sun, is sheltered from the wind. Due to the lack of large hotels you will not find many tourists there, and local restaurants offer fresh seafood at a reasonable price. Playa Puerto de Tazacorte has an interesting history, so it was here that on September 29, 1492, for the first time, the Castilian Conquistadas entered the land of La Palma. Today it is a beautiful, charming place without mass tourism, with a modern marina and a small harbor.

Photo of Playa Puerto de Tazacorte - Frank Vincentz

What else is worth seeing?

- Playa Nogales La Palma,
- Calle O'Daly La Palma,
- Balcones de la avenida Maritima La Palma,
- Museo Insular de la Palma,
- Mirador de la Cumbrecita La Palma,
- Mirador de la Concepcion La Palma,
- Carnival Santa Cruz de La Palma.

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