La Palma is one of the seven Canary Islands located in the Atlantic Ocean. This island attracts travellers mainly due to its natural beauty, volcanoes, black sand beaches and bright night sky. Its pleasant temperatures and a minimum number of tourists make it the ideal place to visit. Welcome to La Palma and check out the six best things to do there.

At first glance, it’s obvious that the Canary Islands were formed by volcanic activity. The whole island of La Palma is cone-shaped and resembles an enormous volcano. Its tallest peak, the Roque de Los Muchachos, is located 2426 meters above sea level. So it’s not surprising that there aren’t 100 meters of straight road on the island. La Palma is the most volcanic active island compared to the rest of the Canary Islands, but the last eruption was recorded in 1971.

Roque de Los Muchachos La Palma

Tom on top of Roque de Los Muchachos

The local infrastructure is in great condition, and we must to admire the builders of these roads. The best way to get around the island is to rent your own car (we recommend you rent a car at or, even though there are several bus lines in La Palma that connect to all the important places. Keep in mind that the roads are twisting in very sharp turns, and there is no escaping the sharp bends even in the towns.

The road on the island La Palma

The roads on La Palma are full of turns

The temperature in La Palma is pleasant throughout the year, which earned it the nickname “Island of eternal spring.” During the winter, the temperatures don’t drop below 15 °C and even during the hottest summer months, the thermometer shows a pleasant 28 °C. The differences in temperatures are mainly noticeable with increasing altitude. The seaside is wonderfully warm, while at the top of the volcano, you will be forced to put on a warm jacket.

Sunrise La Palma

Eve on the terrace – the best accommodation is in your own apartment

Each visitor to the island will find something they enjoy because there are many things to do in La Palma. Lovers of good food will enjoy exquisite cuisine, which includes fish, seafood, and other delicacies at very reasonable prices. Those who appreciate the beauty of nature will be delighted by the number of hiking treks that La Palma offers. There is also something for those of us interested in culture, as the island offers several interesting museums and also walks through lovely little towns with adorably colourful houses. You can sunbathe on the black sand beaches, only the temperature of the ocean is a bit cold. The biggest advantage of La Palma is, however, the magical isolation from the outside world and the minimum number of tourists. Every visitor forgets the problems of the outside world and fully enjoys the peace and tranquillity this island offers.

1. Astronomical Observatory – Stargazing on La Palma

La Palma is one of the best places on Earth for stargazing. Thanks to its distance from the European and African continents, light pollution is minimal. The island isn’t densely populated, so the sky is absolutely clear at night. The local climate is also ideal – it causes the clouds to form relatively low, about 1,000 – 2,000 meters above sea level. That is why in the highest parts of the island can offer a clear sky almost all year round. There are up to 13 telescopes at the top of the Roque de Los Muchachos, where scientists from around the world are working together. Here stands the largest astronomical observatory in the Northern Hemisphere. The sky in La Palma itself is actually protected by the astronomical quality law by the Observatory of the Astronomical Institute.

Observatories at the top of La Palma

There are the world’s observatories at the top of La Palma

Some companies in La Palma offer night sky observation tours using the telescope, together with professional commentary. Check out their websites and make sure you book a tour in advance. There are two companies doing these tours – Ad Astra La Palma and La Palma Stars. The interest in stargazing is quite high. The tours are dependent on the weather, so be aware that in the event of unfavourable weather conditions, the stargazing tours can be cancelled – which is what happened to us 🙁

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La Palma offers the best conditions for observing the night sky

2. Museums and Historic Colonial Style Towns

The island of La Palma also offers a unique atmosphere where you can enjoy walking through the colonial-style towns. Worth mentioning is the historical centre of the capital city, Santa Cruiz de La Palma, with its magical streets and corners. This city has historically been an important strategic point for commercial purposes by the Spaniards who colonized the Canary Islands. Considerable wealth had passed through Santa Cruiz from America straight to Europe. Today, you can admire a great number of monuments, colourful mansions and cobbled streets.

Beautiful houses on island La Palma

The cities are full of beautiful colonial houses

Several other towns are also worth mentioning. For example, Los Llanos de Aridane or Villa de Mazo both offer a wonderful walk around the picturesque town centre. Those interested in culture should check out the fascinating museums. The best ones are the Naval Museum, Cigar Museum, Silk Museum, or the Archaeological Museums.

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Walking around the city is a great experience

3. Dolphins and Whales Watching

The Canary Islands are the best place in Europe to watch dolphins and whales. Various companies in the small town of Tazacorte on the west side of La Palma organize trips to the open sea. There are several options to choose from, beginning with a short trip in a motorboat to a several hour-long cruise on a large ship. The coast of the island is permanently inhabited by several kinds of dolphins, and when the visitors are lucky, they may be able to see cetaceans as well.

Read our review of GetYourGuide, where you can book tour online.

tom_profilNot far from the harbour is a gorgeous black volcanic sand beach that offers a pleasant place to relax. The beach has changing rooms, showers and several restaurants. The only drawback is the water temperature, which isn’t very high. But those of us hardy enough may enjoy at refreshing swim.

A group of dolphins live near the coast

Groups of dolphins living near the coast

The selection of companies is quite varied, and the chance to see some animals is very high. If none of the dolphins or whales appear, the company usually offers some compensation. We chose a small group trip on a glass-bottomed motorboat from, and we can definitely recommend this company.

La Palma Harbour

There are several boats in the harbor that drive tourists for tours

4. Trekking in a Beautiful Landscape – the Best Things to Do in La Palma

The natural beauty of the Canary Islands is absolutely unique. Other things to do in La Palma are the spectacular pine forests, massive volcanos rising to tremendous heights, deep canyons or crystal clear waterfalls. The landscape changes every few kilometres, so you definitely won’t be bored as an observer. The first thing that every visitor notices are the vast plantations of banana trees. They are located mainly at lower altitudes and can be found almost anywhere. A drive between the rows of banana trees is one of the exciting experiences that every visitor takes home with them.

eva_profilBe prepared to meet the locals – black ravens. These very intelligent birds can be seen in several places, but they thrive in tourist destinations. They became used to people a long time ago – tourists often feed them. That’s why there is no need to be afraid of admiring them up close.

Ravens are used to tourists

Ravens are used to tourists

Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente is definitely worth visiting. The million-year-old stratovolcano that is part of this National park actually formed the entire shape of the park. This area offers a great number of hiking trails, and each one will show you a completely different face of La Palma. The most visited is, of course, the highest peak – Roque de Los Muchachos – that offers a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. The Cascada de Los Colores hike is also a popular part of the National Park. This 10 km hike through the deep canyon will take you to the rainbow waterfalls, the colour of which is caused by the minerals.

Cascada de Los Colores

Magical waterfall – Cascada de Los Colores

The local endemic pine trees create truly beautiful forests. Mirador de la Cumbrecita offers several different forest paths, as well as a couple of views of the entire island. The Los Tilos area is also worth mentioning, with its beautiful views of the local Mirador del Espigón Atravesado rainforest and a visit to the crystal clear waterfall Cascada De Los Tilos.

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Unique pine forests grow at La Palma

The most beautiful hike in La Palma is the 17 km walk along the ridge of the extinct volcanos at Cumbre Vieja National Park called the Volcano Route. This is an absolutely unique trail that takes you to the desolate crater of the Volcan San Antonio volcano, located in the very south of the island. There are truly many paths and trails to choose from at La Palma, and everyone will surely be able to find the one for them.

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A view into the crater of an extinct volcano Volcan San Antonio

5. Tasting Local Specialties – Fish and Seafood

Before the colonization of the Canary Islands, indigenous people had to eat what they could grow on the island. Luckily, the soil here is truly very fertile, as is evidenced by the great number of crops that thrive here. The main part of the local diet is fish and seafood. The inhabitants of La Palma are very fond of thick vegetable soups with either potatoes or fish. We definitely recommend trying it out, as it is a local speciality.
Tasty mussels with garlic

Chefs are skilled and seafood is tasty

Prawns with oil and garlic

Prawns with oil and garlic

You shouldn’t miss visiting some local restaurants, we recommend Restaurant El Jardín de la Sal at Faro de Fuencaliente (restaurant location map) with its magnificent view of the sea. The food is absolutely delicious, with a great price tag. The restaurant stands on the coast, where salt is actively extracted by the evaporation of seawater, so you can buy some sea salt right there as a souvenir to take home. There is also a very photogenic lighthouse not far away with a typical red colour.

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Salt fields in La Palma

6. Swimming and Diving in the Ocean Full of Life

The Canary Islands are a sought-after destination not only for swimming but also for diving. This area is internationally recognized for how transparent its seawaters are, which offer great visibility. The seabed is very rugged with many different caves that offer dwellings to a plethora of aquatic animals. This makes La Palma Island ideal for diving and exploration of the seafloor. Those who like to keep close to the water surface can enjoy a refreshing swim at local black snad beaches or natural pools.

tom_profilBefore we set out to the Canary Islands, we thought long and hard about where the curious name comes from. Although there are wild canaries living in the area, the islands aren’t named after them. The islands were named after dogs – the canary Great Dane – that have been living in the area since the 15th century. Great Danes were abundantly used as cattle herders or for dog and bear fights.

Beautiful beach on Tazacorte

Beautiful black sand beach in Tazacorte

Popular swimming destinations include natural lagoons on the northeast of the La Fajana Island. It is basically a tamed coastline. In places where the wild waves hit the rugged coast, artificial dams were built, which prevent waves from breaking on the bare rocks. This creates natural water tanks that are ideal for bathing.

Do you know other great things to do in La Palma? Let us know in comments.

Lagunas at Charco Azul are great for swimming

Lagunas at Charco Azul are great for swimming

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