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Holidays in La Palma, Canary Islands | Princess Hotels & Resorts

Holidays in La Palma

Alpine mountain peaks, jagged cliffs, pristine nature, the stars in the night sky almost close enough to touch – the fascinating island of La Palma evokes strong emotions.

Visitors choose „la Isla Bonita“, the beautiful island, to immerse themselves in unspoilt nature, to hike or to take a peek into the universe through one of the world's largest telescopes.

The green island is not only a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve but also the world's first „Starlight Reserve“. La Palma’s dark and clear night skies provide ideal conditions for astronomers and passionate stargazers alike.

La Palma is also a paradise for athletes and has ideal conditions for a wide range of sports from hiking, mountain biking and diving to paragliding and riding a motorcycle.


General Information

The most densely wooded of the Canary Islands lies in the very north-west of the archipelago. Its closest neighbour is Tenerife, located some 80 km away.

The highest peak of the island, the Roque de Los Muchachos (at 2.426 metres), is within the Caldera de Taburiente National Park.

Just like Gran Canaria, La Palma is also divided into two climatic zones. In the autumn and winter months, it can be raining in the east while the sun shines brightly in the west.


Must see places

Caldera de Taburiente National Park
Indisputably one of the highlights of La Palma, this is the place where the highest mountain resides, on its plateau a gigantic observatory, equipped with the largest telescope in the world.

For La Palma is considered to be one of the best locations in the world to explore the starry sky.

In order to protect the island against light pollution, a law called the Declaration in Defence of the Night Sky was passed in 1988 and in 2012 La Palma became UNESCO’s first Starlight Reserve.

When holidaying in La Palma, a hiking trip through the Caldera de Taburiente should definitely be on the list. Hikers will be rewarded with a spectacular mountain landscape, glimpses of rare birds, stunning panoramic views and a multicoloured waterfall, the Cascada de Colores.


Los Tilos

The mystical Los Tilos laurel forest is a must-see spot in La Palma. The evergreen trees can reach a height of up to 30 metres. Their branches and leaves form a natural roof, blocking out nearly all the sunshine and bathing everything in an unreal light.

There are only a handful of similar tropical laurel forests left in the world, namely in El Hierro, La Gomera, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Madeira and the Azores.

Low trade wind clouds provide the forest with a constant soft mist, which is why the Los Tilos laurel forest is also known as a cloud forest.

The special weather conditions are perfect for the unique flora; Several species of laurel tree such Azores laurel, tilo, Canary Islands juniper, tree heath, wax myrtle trees and tree ferns.


Ruta de los Volcanes

The Volcano Route (official number GR 13) is the most popular walk in La Palma. It starts off at the El Pilar rest area and leads down to Los Canarios village.

Hiking experience and a good fitness level are required for this 18 km long trail. The trail takes about 6,5 hours to complete and is definitely worth the effort; Along the way you see hundreds of volcanoes and get unparalleled views out over the neighbouring islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and Tenerife.


Transvulcania

The 73.3 km Transvulcania ultramarathon is an important event for elite extreme athletes as its 8.525 metre total ascent and descent challenges the world's best runners.

The starting point is the Fuencaliente lighthouse in the south of the island. From there the trail climbs into La Palma’s fascinating mountain region and continue onwards to Los Llanos de Aridane.


Santa Cruz de La Palma

La Palma's quiet capital city, Santa Cruz de La Palma, oozes colonial charm. Founded in 1493 it's old core is largely unchanged from colonial Spanish times.

Take a stroll through the cobbled alleys, shop for souvenirs in craft shops or stop for a bite at one of the many cosy tapas bars.

In the 16th century Santa Cruz was – along with Seville and Antwerp - the only place in the Spanish empire allowed to trade with the American colonies.

The wealth this trade generated is still visible in the historic palaces, renaissance buildings, monasteries and churches in old town Santa Cruz.

Also worth seeing are the pastel-coloured houses on the promenade with their elaborately decorated wooden balconies; The 16th-century town hall; the Plaza de España with the Matriz de El Salvador church featuring a mudéjar-style timber roof truss; and the Castillo de Santa Catalina fort.

Those wanting to learn more about La Palma’s fascinating history should visit the „Museo Naval“ maritime museum as well as the „Museo Insular“; The island’s main museum, located in the Franciscan convent, displays an exciting mix of art and history.


Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves

The Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves (“Descent of the Virgin of the Snow”) is La Palma’s major religious event. Started in 1680 it is celebrated every 5 years.

From the last Sunday in June until the concerts on the 5th August, performances, contests and, of course, religious festivities take place in Santa Cruz de La Palma.

The events started in 1676 when the people of the mountain village of Las Nieves carried the Madonna down to Santa Cruz de La Palma because they feared that a drought would lead to a poor harvest.

When the bishop of the Canaries saw the Palmero’s strong faith in the Virgin of the Snow he decided to hold the procession every 5 years.

The highlight of the festivities is the Danza de los Enanos (Dance of the Dwarves), performed in costumes that are even older than the Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves. They are thought to date to 1558 when the bishop Diego de Deza y Tello decided that a play should be performed at the portal of the church Matriz de El Salvador on Corpus Christi day.

Since the 17th century islanders dressed up as midgets with giant cardboard heads satirically portray important people of the era.


Cueva Bonita

The famous artist César Manrique once dubbed the grotto on the coast of Tijarafe „the Sistine Chapel of modern art“. Boat tours to the Cueva Bonita leave from the port of Tazacorte. A sunset visit to the cave is a truly unforgettable experience.


Cueva de Las Palomas

Once called Cueva de Todoque, this 600 metre lava tube is the most visited cave in La Palma and dates back to the eruption of the San Juan volcano in 1949.


Parque Arqueológico de Belmaco – Belmaco Archaeological Park

This Archaeological Park centres around the Cueva de Belmaco cave, in which the aboriginal people once lived. A heritage trail and an exhibition room with artefacts inform you about the life of the Benahoare, the aboriginal inhabitants of La Palma.


Beaches and natural swimming pools

Beaches

Playa de Tazacorte
Puerto de Tazacorte boasts colourful houses and a wide choice of bars and restaurants. Its beach is one of the largest on the island.

The Playa de Tazacorte is accessible to persons with reduced mobility and also offers showers and toilets.

Close to the Puerto de Tazacorte harbour (where boat trips are offered) there is a special area for nudists.


Playa Nueva

Not far from Playa de El Faro lies the natural Playa Nueva beach, also known as Playa de los Guirres.

Due to the favorable wind and wave conditions this beach also attracts surfers. Furthermore a special section of the Playa Nueva is dog-friendly.

A coastal path leads to the Faro de Fuencaliente lighthouse.


Playa de El Faro

The scenic bay and natural black-sand beach is located beneath the Fuencaliente lighthouse and is part of the Cumbre Vieja nature park.


Playa de Puerto Naos

Puerto Naos beach is probably La Palma’s most popular beach. What makes it so special is the contrast between black lava sand, green palm fronds and the blue of the Atlantic.

Puerto Naos beach recently got a „blue flag“ certificate; An international acknowledged certificate of quality. Water sports enthusiasts have a dive centre and canoe rental spot.


Playa de La Zamora y Playa Chica (Fuencaliente)

These two natural beaches are accessed by a stone staircase and are a nice place for surfing and sunbathing. The La Palma & Teneguia Princes is only 1,5 km away from the Playa de la Zamora.


Playa de Charco Verde

The Charco Verde (Green Pool) natural beach, situated 2 km away from Puerto Naos, is very popular with the locals. The beach also received a Blue Flag eco-label.

Natural swimming pools

Charco Azul
The “blue pool”: The Charco Azul seawater pool is located between Villa de San Andrés y Sauces and Puerto Espíndola in the north of La Palma. Next to the natural pool there is a small kid's pool. In 2013 and 2014 the Charco Azul received an “Ecoplayas” certificate.


Piscinas de la Fajana

In the small town La Fajana in the northeast of La Palma there is a huge natural swimming pool, divided by small walls into three areas. Facilities include a shower and changing rooms.


Sports & Leisure

Hiking
La Palma is paradise for hikers thanks to a well-developed road network, amazing landscapes and mild temperatures all-year round.

With a total of 1.000 km of trails, hikers are spoilt for choice; Winding trails lead through stunning gorges and valleys, up high mountains, along the rugged coast, through pine forests and past waterfalls.


Riding

Discover the beauty of La Palma on horse back. The Isla Bonita offers a choice of riding stables and schools.


Mountain biking

Untouched nature, exciting trails and diverse landscapes make La Palma the perfect MTB location.

Many of the former Camino Reales ( „royal paths“ that were historic official roads) are perfect for mountain biking and discovering the unknown parts of this beautiful volcanic island.


Paragliding

La Palma is one of the top-paragliding destinations in the world, offering perfect wind and visibility conditions. In winter the Canaries are pretty much the only paragliding site in Europe.


Diving

La Palma is not only fascinating ashore but also under water. Visibility of up to 50 metres and water temperatures around 18 degrees in winter and a maximum of 25 degrees in summer are perfect for diving or snorkelling all year round.

With a bit of luck, scuba divers get a close-up view of the following underwater inhabitants: sea turtles, barracudas, ornate wrasse, amberjacks, groupers, sea urchins, scorpion fish, trigger fish, lizard fishes, white seabream, streaked gurnards, herring smelts, salemas, puffer fish, octopus, moray eels, damsel fish, clown fish, black corals, parrotfish, whiptail stingrays and trumpet fish.

Various dive shops offer guided dives or rent out the necessary equipment.

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