If La Palma were a colour, it would be green, in all its shades. It’s the green of the Canary Island pine trees, and the green of the distinctive laurisilva species that have taken refuge on the ‘Isla Bonita’. Forests that cover the sides of steep ravines that we can venture into following a complete network of trails.
The latest eruptions, during the past century, increased the surface area of the island, creating new volcanic landscapes that gifted us with even more beauty. Volcanic cones, layers of small rock fragments, lava fields, blacks, ochres and reds, the silence… They all create an awe-inspiring atmosphere that connects us to the powerful energy of this indomitable nature.
What if we look to the sky? It’s indescribable. La Palma, which is certified as a Starlight Reserve, is one of the best places in the world to observe the heavens. And if we dive into the water? Breathtaking. The island has one of the three marine reserves in the Canary Islands: an underwater volcanic landscape that is astoundingly beautiful and full of caves, arches and walls, as well as being home to many species, some of which are unique to this area.
On our way back up to the surface, but without yet leaving the clear blue waters that surround La Palma’s abrupt coastline, we can relax in one of the marvellous natural pools that are protected from the waves by lava flows that reached all the way down to the sea.
Best of all? You can enjoy this incredible island, which is a biosphere reserve, any day of the year. That’s the advantage of being one of the Canary Islands and being blessed with the best climate in the world.
Visiting La Caldera de Taburiente National Park
La Caldera de Taburiente is one of the most spectacular natural spaces in the Canary Islands and, without a doubt, La Palma’s greatest treasure. Looking out over this immense area from one of its scenic viewpoints and seeing its imposing walls rising up to a height of more than 2,000 metres is an unforgettable experience.
But the park isn’t just for looking at, it’s also for experiencing. And the best way to experience it is to venture in along one of its trails. As we walk through the dense Canary Island pine forest, all of our senses are activated, enjoying the peculiar smell of this species that is endemic to the archipelago, or the lovely sound of birds singing in the trees. Getting to the inside of the caldera on foot takes some effort, but the rewards along the way are incredible, as we discover wonderful spots and, at the end, we get to cool down in its permanent streams of cool, crystal-clear water in a virgin environment. To get an idea of how enormous this space is, you have to visit the park’s peaks—where the world-renowned Roque de los Muchachos Astrophysical Observatory is—and look out over the great caldera and get the feeling that you’re floating on thin air.
Follow trails through volcanoes, pine forests and laurisilva
One of the main attractions of this Canary Island is hiking along the large network of trails that cross a surprising variety of landscapes, all equally beautiful: from the sobriety of the volcanic areas to the lush pine and laurel forests, as well as the crests, deep embedded ravines, abrupt coastal cliffs… There’s so much to choose from!
The Ruta de los Volcanes (volcano route) is one of the most famous trails on La Palma.
The trails that go into the Caldera de Taburiente National Park aside, the Ruta de los Volcanes (volcano route) is one of the most famous trails on La Palma. It’s considered one of the most beautiful on the planet because of the endless delights that we discover as we go along this hard but rewarding path from the peaks of the island to the coast, through incredible scenery that undeniably makes it worth the effort.
As well as volcanic landscapes and pine forests, the Isla Bonita’s hidden secret can be found in the lush laurel forests, such as Los Tilos. The species that make up this plant formation are from the Tertiary era and disappeared millions of years ago from most places they used to grow but have found a haven here. A hike along the trails of this ancient, humid forest, which looks like something out of a fairy tale, will take us back to a time before humans even existed.
Close to the stars
When the sun sets over La Palma, the magic begins. The stars invade the heavens and entrance anyone who raises their gaze to the clean, transparent sky, one of the best in the world for observing the universe. Proof of this is that scientists from all around the world come to this island to study our solar system and beyond, thanks to the powerful telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos Astrophysical Observatory.
But you don’t have to be a scientist to enjoy the show provided by this sky protected by a specific law. The island was the first Starlight Reserve in the world and has also been certified as a Starlight Tourist Destination. So you have to put aside at least one night during your stay for stargazing on a guided tour or at a session at one of the viewpoints. Don’t forget to make a wish!
Diving into the clear ocean waters
It’s not just the sky in La Palma that’s transparent. The waters that bathe the island’s coastline are too, making them exceptional for diving. Along the coast, we find beautiful beaches with volcanic sand where we can enjoy a relaxing day of sea and sunshine at any time of year. There are beaches with calm, safe sea that are perfect for the entire family, like Puerto Naos or Los Cancajos, but there are also wild, solitary beaches, like Nogales, where you have to be extra careful because of the strong currents.
Another magnificent option are the fantastic natural pools and ponds, protected from the waves thanks to the volcanic rocks formed by lava flowing down to the sea after eruptions. The best-known are the Charco Azul and La Fajana pools, with nearby facilities like restaurants and bathrooms for a perfect day, especially if you’re travelling with children.
Don’t leave without trying…
‘Almendrados’ and ‘Príncipe Albertos’ are La Palma’s most famous desserts – something sweet at the end of a meal.