La Palma – Beautiful nature on La Isla Bonita
January 29, 2021
What options do you have when you’ve been on the Canary Islands for 3 months now? Of course… island hopping! But where to go? The Canary Islands not only offer dry volcanic landscape like on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Two islands are also ideal for hiking. One is La Gomera (which I will report on in a future article), the other is La Palma.
La Palma is the fifth largest island in the Canary Islands and is the furthest away from the African mainland. With about 40% forest cover, it is the most forested island and is therefore also called Isla Verde (“Green Island”) or Isla Bonita (“Beautiful Island”). As La Palma is more difficult to reach from the main islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, it has also been largely spared from mass tourism. La Palma and its mountains and volcanoes offer numerous wonderful hiking tours and the arrival and the view of the landscapes alone make the hiker’s heart beat faster.
The buses on La Palma tend to run every 1-2 hours. An exception is the connection from the capital Santa Cruz de La Palma to the second largest city Los Llanos, which runs every half hour during the week. On the east side, most bus connections go via Santa Cruz, on the west side via Los Llanos. If you don’t have a rental car, it’s a good idea to stay in one of the two towns. When I write about the two towns here, you can also keep in mind that Los Llanos has a population of 20,000 and also has more of a small town character (or big village character) with cute cafes and a cosy and clearly laid out town centre. I decided on a hostel in Los Llanos, which in retrospect was a perfect choice. The Vagamundo Hostel was the perfect starting point to make new contacts and to plan and approach the hiking routes for the coming days, alone or with others. Originally, I wanted to hike alone for a week. In the end, I spent one day hiking alone and 5 days with various new friends. And now a few pictures to get you in the mood!
Unfortunately, my SLR camera is still safely(?) in Malaga taking selfies in my car. My mobile phone camera still can’t convince me. Nevertheless, I hope that you can imagine the beauty of La Palma and that you will soon have the opportunity to discover one of the many hiking tours. There are hiking tours to numerous peaks, around the entire island, along the volcano routes, to lighthouses, to the hidden Smuggler’s Bay, through tunnels, along the volcano crater, through gorges and so on. In fact, I’ve been thinking about putting together a little guide here for the most beautiful tours. But there are already numerous websites and, above all, the excellent hiking app Komoot (which was incredibly helpful again this time), where you can get numerous wonderful hiking tours recommended. Last but not least, I must recommend the museum “Monumente Natural del Tubo Volcánico Cueva de Las Palomas”. All the information about the last volcanic eruption in 1949 is presented here in a very friendly and clear way. Entrance and guided tours are free of charge. The staff speak Spanish as well as incredibly good English and you also get a guided tour of one of the lava caves. You can actaully see how the lava made it way from the mountain through the valley to the sea. The dead earth without life can still be seen for kilometres.
For me, this week was incredibly beautiful. It was a mix of volcanic landscape and immaculate, partly untouched nature. Originally, I thought that 7 days would have to be enough for La Palma. As the sixth day came to an end, I was pretty sure that I should have stayed at least 10 days and struggled to get the plane back to Gran Canaria. There are so many hiking routes I haven’t seen yet or hiking routes that were still closed for safety reasons due to a thunderstorm that had occurred shortly before my arrival. If someone had asked me 20 years ago if I liked hiking… I would have said “no way”. It’s weird how everything changes and how beautiful everything around you can be when you look out from a peak over the cloud cover into the valley or at the surrounding volcanoes. With this in mind… look ahead and see you soon 🙂