Long Weekend in La Palma
With the major holiday period in the year now behind us, we have to make do with what meagre morsels the calendar offers in the form of long weekends. As a destination, La Palma offers myriad possibilities but, if time is at a premium, you have to narrow your sights. To help you get your priorities right, we have drawn up a set of activities and experiences worth looking into on the “Beautiful Island”, as it is known. So, listen up!
Off to the Beach
La Palma boasts spectacular beaches of black sand – some of them awarded a blue flag – and countless natural pools. And, best of all, they are known for being uncrowded. The feeling of being alone on one of these beaches is invaluable. Tempting, isn’t it? Nogales, Los Cancajos, Bajamar, Echentive, Charco Azul and La Fajana are just some of them.
Venturing Along the Trails
The island features 708 kilometres of trails leading to unique enclaves of extraordinary beauty. And, luckily enough, there are routes for everyone, from cross-country pros to sporadic ramblers.
Enjoy the Night Sky
La Palma also has one of the best astrophysical observatories in the world. The fact it was built here comes as no surprise, as you will see for yourself when you come to the island and gaze up into the night sky. To view the wonderful starry sky, get away from built-up areas and look up. The rest of the experience is your own affair!
Adventures For the Picking
La Palma stands out for the broad array of open-air activities on offer. You can tour along cycle or quad routes, spend the day in a multi-adventure park, visit an organic banana plantation, venture down a volcanic tube, go on long canoe excursions, dive in crystal-clear waters, do hang-gliding or go on a pleasure boat ride. These are just a few options to bear in mind when you plan your next getaway to the Beautiful Island.
Indulge Your Appetite on La Palma Dishes
We recommend the following menu: for starters, chicharrones. As a first course, garbanzas. Main course, carne de cabra con papas arrugadas. And, for dessert, a bienmesabe. We won’t tell you what they’re made of so as not to spoil the mystery! To drink, a good, white albillo wine, a red or rosé, or the unique, grand Malvasia – make sure it’s from La Palma. Bon appetit!
Churches with Baroque altarpieces and Flemish art, the likes of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, in Tijarafe and Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, in Santa Cruz de La Palma. Mansions known ascasonas,with stunning patios and wooden balconies, stone country houses, some with cisterns, especially in the north of the island. La Palma’s architectural heritage is bountiful, featuring well preserved buildings redolent with history which will leave you speechless.
Get going and discover the island for yourself – check out our flights here.
Text and images by Turismo de La Palmamore info
Romantic Getaway to La Palma
Planning to give yourself and your partner a treat for Valentine’s Day? While Rome and Paris tend to be the favourites as far as romantic flings are concerned, why not flout the norm and opt for a place where natural beauty is the ideal setting for enjoying love? This time around, we recommend La Palma, an island situated in the north-west corner of the Canary Island archipelago and widely known as the “beautiful isle” for its lovely scenery. Here are some tips for getting the most out of this beautiful nature reserve where you can also enjoy the added value of a pleasant, mild climate at this time of year.
Journey to the Heart of the Island
The length and breadth of La Palma is made for sightseeing, redolent with spectacular landscapes of volcanic origin which boast the well-earned accolade of Biosphere Reserve, awarded by UNESCO. Covering 708 square kilometres, it is comparatively easy to tour by car, although you will come across a large number of slopes, so just take it easy. The reward is that you will encounter numerous vantage points on the way where you can soak up the spectacular views, like the Cumbrecita in El Paso, Los Andenes viewpoint, El Roque de Los Muchachos in Garafía – one of the most spectacular – and La Concepción viewpoint, with views over the city of Santa Cruz de La Palma.
If you happen to be a sports enthusiast, be sure to hire a mountain bike and ride along the myriad forest trails criss-crossing the island – you will not be disappointed. Another option is to secure some sturdy footwear and choose a route through this ramblers’ paradise, which has nearly one thousand kilometres of waymarked footpaths. They stretch across the whole island, from La Crestería or Route of the Volcanoes to the Camino de la Costa (Coastal Route) fringing the island, or the Ruta de los Puertos (Route of the Ports), which links Santa Cruz de La Palma to the Puerto de Tazacorte.
Sundown at the Seaside
Nothing like the seaside for being lulled by romantic charm, as well as taking in the marvellous scenery. While the beaches of La Palma are not that well known, the island actually boasts a number of secluded seaside spots where you can get away from it all and enjoy intimate moments with the immense Atlantic Ocean before you. Among our favourites is the beach of Los Nogales, accessed by going down some 300 steps, which you will have to climb back up when you leave! Then there is that of Bujarén, in Garafía – suitable only for those with no fear of heights – and La Zamora, where you can enjoy a picture postcard sunset with your loved one. What more could you ask for?
A Charming Hotel
No romantic escapade would be complete without a resting place with a charm of its own. The Hotel Hacienda de Abajo, located in the heart of the historic centre of Tazacorte, is a reconverted sugar mill and the perfect spot for chilling out after a lengthy sightseeing day on the Beautiful Isle. We recommend checking out their bath house, where you can enjoy a good massage, and make a point of refueling in their magnificent restaurant.
Book your Vueling to La Palma here and celebrate Valentine’s Day in style!
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Image by Ivan Borisov
La Palma – A Boundless Source of Vitality
La Palma is well known for its pure, pristine and well preserved natural heritage. But, it doesn’t stop there. Over and above leisure activities, the island offers endless possibilities, making it an alluring destination. One of its main claims to fame is the beauty of its landscapes and its wealth of secluded spots for roaming about and communing totally with the above-mentioned pristine nature. Legion are the visitors who come to this wonderful island to get away from the stressful rat race of urban life. We also did it and our experience was very rewarding.
Return to the Source
The biodiversity of La Palma is virtually endless. When you first visit the island – nicknamed the Beautiful Island – the first thing that hits you is the explosion of scents, ranging from salty coastal aromas to the smell of fresh pine. Wafting across its fields are a variety of balmy aromas carried on the breeze. In short, you can enjoy a whole gamut of different fragrances, the fruit of plant evolution in isolation from continental development.
This land is actually home to several microclimates supporting a lush variety of plant species. One activity that struck us most forcefully during our visit was trekking. At times we felt we were steeped in a prehistoric environment, while at others the scenery was reminiscent of the tropics. La Palma is a rambler’s paradise, that’s for sure. The island is covered in an extensive network of trails. They are very well marked with coloured waymarkers, information panels and vertical signposts.
Practically all corners of the island can be reached via these footpaths, from the Volcano Route to the Coastal Path, which follows the perimeter of the island, and the Port-to-Port Route, which connects Santa Cruz de La Palma to Puerto de Tazacorte. Further information on the trails here.
These stunning walks enabled us to discover some of the indigenous species. We found it interesting that birds, reptiles and invertebrates make up the bulk of indigenous species. One noteworthy fact is that the fauna on La Palma is particularly rich in invertebrates. The reason for this is related to its insularity, which has led animal populations to be genetically isolated, facilitating the preservation of archaic species or the emergence of new species due to local evolution.
It’s a thrilling experience to wander through the island’s forests along the numerous trails and to search for indigenous species. One of them is the laurel pigeon, which can be found mainly in La Palma’s laurel forests, and Bolle's pigeon. The Tenerife speckled lizard is the most widespread of the reptiles and amphibians.
Walking Among Volcanoes
La Palma clearly offers a vast array of water activities. It is an idyll for enthusiasts of canoeing, diving and so on. But, the island hinterland also has its charm. You can do anything, from quadding and mountain biking to star-gazing and trekking. In the centre and south of the island, you can take the aforementioned Volcano Route, endowed with natural hiking trails along what used to be an important communications route between districts. This age-old footpath traverses the municipalities of El Paso, Mazo and Fuencaliente within the Cumbre Vieja Nature Reserve, and is impressively well appointed and signposted. The hike is tough, particularly because vegetation is rather sparse throughout. Be warned, too, that slopes can be very steep. Make sure you have the right gear and enough food and water to last for the duration of the trek, which takes about six and half hours, if you end at Los Canarios, or eight and a half if you complete the full trail, finishing at Faro de Fuencaliente.
The Volcano Route is a 30.9 kilometre hike, with an accumulated slope of 1,207 metres. The natural trail ranges from the minimum altitude of 725 metres at Fuencaliente to 1,932 metres on the summit crestline. Surfaces vary between forest trails, footpaths and asphalt. This trekking route enables you to see both island slopes and, if you’re lucky, to catch sight of such indigenous species as the rook and kestrel.
Come and recharge your batteries in La Palma. Check out our flights here.
Text and photos by La Palma Tourist Board
Three Essential Hiking Trails on La Palma
La Palma is one of the most beautiful islands in the Atlantic. Unlike its sisters in the Canary Island archipelago, it is blessed with a highly fertile ecosystem endowed with outstanding natural traits, making this an idyllic island. Indigenous fauna and flora are an integral part of its spectacular scenery. Its well-kept natural environment is ideal for enjoying an alternative, exciting holiday, doing all kinds of sports and indulging in activities close to nature.
This authentic Eden for ramblers offers a host of options for hikers. Before setting out, you are advised to check the weather forecast and to avoid walking alone. Let someone know what route you are taking and the time you are due to return. You need to take a small back-pack with a warm jacket, a raincoat, food and plenty of water and don’t forget essentials such as a hat, sunblock and sunglasses, as well as a mobile phone with the battery charged, a map and, if possible, a compass. Observe the signposting along the route and keep to the track and, above all, make sure you wear proper hiking boots. You are also advised to check the gradient, walking distance and duration of the hike on the website, www.senderosdelapalma.com. Of all the various routes, we have made a selection of three, with different difficulty ratings, which will allow you to admire the aforementioned scenic diversity of "The Beautiful Island":
Puerto de Tazacorte – Roque de Los Muchachos
This itinerary has a high difficulty rating and is intended for experienced sportspeople. The main difficulty lies in the pronounced gradient. You are urged to avoid the hike in summer or on particularly hot days, while in winter, take into account that it rises to high altitudes and you may even encounter snow and ice on the Roque de los Muchachos. The route covers a distance of 17.16 kilometres, with an accumulated slope of 2,600 m. The route starts at Puerto de Tazacorte, at sea level. From there, it rises steadily for 3.8 kilometres as far as El Time. It then runs past Hoya Grande and Risco de las Pareditas, where it is wise to stop to regain your strength and take in the marvellous scenery at an altitude of 1,500 metres. There are still nearly 7 kilometres to go before reaching the end of the route, after passing through Hoya del Estrabito, Pinos Gachos and Degollada de Las Palomas, where the slope is gentler up to the finish. The high points of this route are the stunning views of the Barranco de las Angustias gorge and those of the Caldera de Taburiente from the Roque de los Muchachos.
Cubo de la Galga
This trail has a low difficulty rating and is therefore suitable for taking children along. Signposted as the GR 130, it starts and finishes at La Galga, Puntallana, at the intersection with the GR 130. The overall walking distance is 12.4 km, with an accumulated slope of 750 metres, and the estimated walking time is 3 hours 45 minutes. The route takes you through the Parque Natural de Las Nieves, a protected nature reserve so spectacular you are unlikely to switch off your camera. The trail is negotiated in two sections – one is a circular itinerary, which takes you through the most interesting area, the Cubo de la Galga temperate laurel forest, a warm, humid forest with some frost, featuring huge trees,guaco and lianas, with leaves similar to those of the laurel, hence the name. The other section connects this route to the main road orguagua, as well as to La Galga mountain, where you simply must stop off at the Somada Alta viewpoint, and the GR 130, with the option to continue on to Puntallana or Los Sauces. You can also continue down the PRLP5 footpath to the district of El Pósito, on the main road.
Valencia – Pico Bejenado – Valencia
This is ideal for visitors hiking with the family. The route is circular and, if you complete it, covers a total of 10 km, rising from 1,100 to 1,800 metres. The estimated walking time for the circuit is three hours and the whole trail is confined to the limits of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park. You can drive up to the end of the dirt road in the Valencia district. From there, you set out on foot along the PRLP 13.3 footpath as far as El Bejenado. The ascent to the summit of this mountain follows a winding trail through pine forest and takes an hour and a half. The route affords some superb views, both of the interior of La Caldera de Taburiente and towards the Route of the Volcanoes and the whole of the Aridane Valley. Also, don’t forget to sign the visitors’ book when you get there.
The above are but three of the multiple routes possible, each with a different difficulty rating, designed to take in a maximum of the island’s scenic diversity and lead us past the most emblematic spots – Pinar, Parque Nacional, Angustias, Laurisilva, Puerto Tazacorte, volcanoes, dragon trees, village where time stands still almond trees in blossom, coastal cliffs, etc. For further information, see the Patronato de Turismo de La Palma.
Don’t wait to discover La Palma – the Beautiful Island! Check out our flights here.
Text and photos by Patronato de Turismo de La Palmamore info