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.
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.
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.
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.