Join us for a La Palma astrophotography tour where we’ll photograph some of Europe’s most impressive night skies over seascapes, volcanoes, lush vegetation and rugged peaks.
We are running this tour in May and June of 2024, during the best time of year to photograph the Milky Way on the Isla Bonita!
On this La Palma photo tour, we’ll focus on Milky Way and landscape photography over Europe’s darkest skies. La Palma is a Starlight Reserve and a UNESCO biosphere reserve, making it one of the best places in the world for stargazing and Milky Way photography.
During this La Palma photography workshop, we’ll dive right into the vast variety of landscapes on this beautiful island. We’ll watch the Milky Way rise above the sea of clouds in Roque de los Muchachos, stand on the edge of an ancient volcano in Pico de la Cruz, stargaze right next to massive telescopes used by space agencies around the world, and explore the dense laurisilva forests with their lush green trees and waterfalls.
We’ll personally help you capture the best possible images. We’ll show you the best techniques to shoot the Milky Way, from the basics to more advanced skills like using star-trackers, and we’ll do post-processing sessions so you can bring your images to life!
While this photo tour is primarily focused on astro shooting at night, we will also have time to capture sunrise, sunset, and daytime images, schedule and conditions permitting.
Our La Palma astrophotography tour itinerary can be flexible, and we’ll adjust the plan according to weather conditions. We’ll always keep you updated with any changes to the itinerary.
Our tour takes place during the best time of the year to capture the Milky Way arch over the volcanic landscapes of La Palma, when our galaxy is visible from around 11:00 PM to sunrise. If there are clear skies, we will spend as much time as possible shooting the night sky.
We will sleep in the morning, focus either on post-processing or scouting in the afternoon and evening, and shoot some fiery sunsets when conditions allow.
Our La Palma astrophotography tour begins at La Palma Airport where we’ll pick you up before noon and head over to the hotel for a quick meet and greet.
We’ll do our welcome speech and orientation, followed by a general night photography talk and an individual gear review to make sure that everything is ready for the first night session.
We’ll shoot our first sunset of this photo tour at Fuencaliente, where we’ll make good use of the time to also scout compositions for the night shoot.
Fuencaliente is the southernmost point in La Palma, and it’s famous for its Salinas (salt extraction facility) and the Fuencaliente Lighthouse. This is a perfect spot to spend our first sunset on this beautiful island. While we are here, we’ll also scout for compositions to shoot the Milky Way later in the night.
On the second day of our La Palma photography tour, we’ll wake up early to do a sunrise session at one of the most well-preserved secrets on the island. After parking our vans, and taking a short walk, we’ll be standing on lava stone, waiting for the sun to rise behind our main subject while enjoying the cool morning breeze.
After breakfast, we’ll head over to the depths of the laurel forest in Las Nieves National Park, where we’ll be surrounded by tall walls covered in trees, moss, and waterfalls. After a short hike, we’ll find ourselves standing under one of the tallest waterfalls in La Palma.
Laurel forests (also called laurisilva) are very typical in the Canary Islands, where the high humidity and stable, mild temperatures make it easy for the evergreen trees to thrive. Being in a laurel forest feels like being in a magical rainforest because of the humidity and dense foliage.
At the end of the day, we’ll visit Pico de la Cruz, which we’ll reach after about an hour’s drive. Pico de la Cruz is one of the most impressive locations in La Palma. It’s a small peak that stands tall over the whole island, giving an unparalleled view of Caldera de Taburiente National Park and the whole south side of the island. Here, we’ll be at a height of around 7,700 feet (2.350 meters), which is enough to be above the low clouds which usually sit around an altitude of 3,300 feet (1.000 meters). Seeing the sea of clouds move and form waves can be mesmerizing.
We’ll scout during sunset and then end the day shooting the Milky Way in this breathtaking location.
On the third day of our La Palma astrophotography tour, we’ll visit the colorful town of San Andres y Los Sauces for some sightseeing after breakfast.
San Andres is a small town on the northeast coast of La Palma. It stands out as one of the most picturesque towns on the island, with its palm trees and brightly-colored buildings.
Following our visit to San Andres y Los Sauces, we’ll drive about an hour to our next location, Mirador de Santo Domingo de Garafía, located on the northwest end of La Palma. Here, we’ll be greeted by the cold breeze of the Atlantic Ocean and two beautiful sea stacks.
Finally, to end our day, we’ll drive up the mountain, this time to the highest point in La Palma: Roque de los Muchachos.
Roque de los Muchachos stands at the top of La Palma at an impressive altitude of 8,000 feet (2.426 meters). This, and the incredibly clear skies, have made Roque de los Muchachos the chosen spot for multiple deep-sky telescopes used by space agencies from all around the world.
We’ll scout different compositions around Roque de los Muchachos, trying to frame the Milky Way and the telescopes in our composition. We’ll go back to this location later during the night to photograph and enjoy the night sky.
On the next morning of our La Palma astrophotography tour, we’ll start the day with an editing session. During this session, we’ll take the chance to edit some of the night photos we’ve taken during the trip. We’ll show you how to stitch your panoramas and how to extract all the detail from your Milky Way shots. The class will be recorded for you to rewatch in the Capture the Atlas Academy.
In the afternoon, we’ll drive up to the Roque de los Muchachos area, to find fields of tajinastes for the sunset session. Tajinastes are beautiful and tall plants that can only be found in the Canary Islands. In La Palma, the blue tajinaste is an endemic species, making for stunning foregrounds for landscape and night photos. This is also the season when these gorgeous plants bloom, so we’ll try to look for flowering tajinastes for our compositions.
We’ll scout the area during sunset and blue hour to find the best tajinastes and framings for the Milky Way session later that night.
On the fifth day of the La Palma photo tour, we’ll drive to a nearby location for our morning photography session.
We’ll visit Mirador de la Cumbrecita, one of the most spectacular viewpoints in La Palma. Here, we’ll see the Caldera de Taburiente National Park from a vantage point and the tall volcanic walls surrounding the park. We can even get a glimpse of the night location.
For the night shoot, we’ll drive up to the top of La Palma again. This time, we’ll use the MAGIC telescopes as a foreground for our Milky Way images. The MAGIC telescopes are a beautiful array of mirrors that, captured from the right angle, can mirror the stars in the sky.
Continuing with our La Palma photo tour, on the next morning we’ll drive to one of the most unique places in the Canary Islands: Porís de Candelaria.
Porís de Candelaria is an old fishing town embedded inside a cliffside cave in the Northwestern region of La Palma. In this dreamlike village, we’ll see the white houses that were once inhabited by fishermen and take in the breathtaking view of the cave opening, which serves as a natural harbor. The opening of this cave resembles the shape of the island.
Our next stop to enjoy the sunset will be Mirador de los Andenes, where we’ll drive after dinner. This viewpoint is close to the Roque de los Muchachos area, and there, we’ll enjoy the sea of clouds while scouting for compositions to photograph the Milky Way at night.
On the next morning of our La Palma photo tour, we’ll enjoy one last editing session in the morning. During this session, we’ll reinforce the concepts we’ve learned in the previous class and your tour guides will provide you with more tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your Milky Way images.
In the afternoon, after lunch, we’ll head to the top of La Palma one last time to another stunning location called Pared de Roberto. We’ll scout the area before nightfall to find the best compositions.
This will be the last Milky Way session of our La Palma astrophotography tour and the perfect farewell to Europe’s darkest skies!
On the last morning of this La Palma astrophotography tour, we’ll check out of our hotel and do a final stop at Mirador de la Concepción. Here, we’ll see the town of Santa Cruz de la Palma from an impressive vantage point.
After that, we’ll drive you to the airport and we’ll say our farewells to Isla Bonita.
PRICE: $3,690 USD
Deposit: $1,500 USD
A $1,500 deposit is required to reserve your spot for this photo tour. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due 120 days before the start date of the tour. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.
What you learn during the photo tour will vary according to your goals and skills. Your instructors are professional photographers with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level:
Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with our included tutorials are:
Your instructors on this La Palma Astrophoto tour
Prince Berkoh will be the tour leader and he’ll make sure that you capture the best possible images during this trip.
Prince is a landscape and night photographer based in the North of Spain, with extensive experience both as a photographer and photo tour leader. His passion for photography has taken him to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, and he is a real expert on Spain, including La Palma.
He loves teaching others about photography, having led numerous tours in multiple destinations and given presentations on night photography over the years. He also leads other photo tours in Europe and South America, to such locations as Patagonia, Iceland, the Dolomites, the Faroe Islands, etc.
Prince will show you how to best capture the landscapes of La Palma, from the basics to advanced techniques like star-tracking, stacking, star reduction, focus stacking, panoramas, and other landscape and night photography tips.
Francesco Dall’Olmo will be the co-leader on this La Palma astrophotography tour, and he’ll assist you with all your photography needs.
Francesco is a landscape and night photographer. Additionally, he is a professional time-lapse photographer. He’s been honing his photography skills over the years in his backyard: the Italian Dolomites, which he knows like no other. He is also an expert in La Palma, where he has photographed the best spots both during the day and especially at night.
He has traveled all over the world to photograph the night skies, capturing breathtaking images in Atacama, Patagonia, and all over Europe. He has also helped multiple photographers improve their skills in various photography workshops.
With Francesco, you’ll learn everything you need to take your night photography to the next level!
We will send you a complete list of everything we recommend bringing on this tour before the trip. Below is a summary of things you might need:
You may be interested in this guide, where you can dive deeper into photography equipment for traveling.
Some optional items, if you are focused on advanced MW photography, are:
*While zoom lenses are acceptable for this workshop, prime lenses are recommended for Milky Way photography. Some of the best lenses in this range are:
You can get them either from your camera brand or from third-party manufacturers like Rokinon or Sigma.
*This astrophotography workshop focuses on Milky Way nightscapes and not on deep-sky imaging. However, you can bring a telephoto/telescope and take your own deep-sky photos if you like.
Temperatures are mild and pleasant in the Canary Islands, so there won’t be extreme heat conditions.
However, during this photo tour, we will experience many drastically different environments. We’ll go from sea level to the highest point on the island in a matter of a couple of hours. We also have to consider that temperatures can drop at night, especially at higher altitudes.
For this reason, we recommend bringing the following clothing:
Some optional items that are highly recommended are:
You will find more items and details on the official list of recommendations that we provide upon registration.
The currency in Spain is the Euro. We highly recommend getting euros in your home country, although, if that is not possible, you can always purchase some at the airport in Santa Cruz. Credit and debit cards are accepted in most places in La Palma, but there are still many businesses that only take cash, especially when it comes to small amounts.
As part of Spain, La Palma follows the visa regulations of the Schengen Area. Depending on your nationality and duration of stay, a visa may be necessary. We are here to assist you with the visa application process and provide guidance. It’s essential to verify the specific visa requirements for your country of residence prior to your trip.
Visitors from most countries (such as the United States and Canada) don’t need a visa to visit Spain for less than 90 days. Remember to consult the official embassy or consulate of Spain for the most up-to-date and accurate visa information based on your nationality and circumstances.
During this La Palma photo tour, we will be staying in a hotel in La Palma’s capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma, in private rooms with private bathrooms. Santa Cruz de la Palma is close to most of the photography locations on this trip and its location will give us the flexibility to move around the island according to the weather patterns.
This is not a hiking photo tour, and most of the locations will be a short walk away from the parking lot. However, we’ll sometimes be walking on flat to moderately uphill paths to find the best compositions. These paths are mainly gravel and rocks. We will also be driving multiple hours a day to get to and from locations.
For this reason, we recommend being in good physical shape in order to enjoy this tour to the fullest.
You should book your flight to/from Aeropuerto de la Palma (SPC).
The price of round-trip flights to La Palma from Europe is around $100-300 USD and flights from the US cost approximately $400-700 USD.
The main direct flights to La Palma are from Madrid and Barcelona with Iberia Express and Vueling airlines. These flights sometimes are not available until 6-7 months before the start of our tours.
You might also find direct flights to La Palma from European cities such as Frankfurt, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Munich, Brussels, London, Zürich or Amsterdam, with companies such as Lufthansa, FlyEdelweiss, TUI, Cóndor, Easyjet and Eurowings.
Airline ticket prices will depend on the airport you are flying from. We recommend this article to help you find the best flights to La Palma Airport from your current location.
*If you don’t find flight options now, it might be because the local flights from Madrid & Barcelona are not available yet. We recommend waiting until 6 months before the tour to check and book these flights.
Meals are not included in the price of this tour.
Every day, we will have breakfast at our hotel or a nearby café. Then, we’ll have a big meal at lunch or dinner in one of the local Spanish restaurants. Spanish food is delicious, and you’ll love the local dishes from the Canary Islands, so this will also be one of the highlights of this La Palma photo tour.
During the day, we will eat snacks/picnic to maximize our time for photography.
We recommend preparing to spend about $30-$50 USD on food per day.
All transportation and fuel are included during the tour. We’ll be travelling in two 9-seat passenger vans, with 6 people per car. This will give us plenty of space to travel comfortably with the luggage and camera backpacks.
Whether you are experienced or just starting out in photography, you are welcome, and I am convinced that you will progress quickly. Together, we will send you home with a thorough knowledge of many photography areas from the basics to multiple advanced techniques.
Most shooting locations in La Palma will require walking between 15-20 minutes from the parking lot, sometimes on uneven terrain like rocks or gravel, and at night when we shoot the Milky Way.
We’ll often scout the locations before nightfall so we can be well acquainted with them before it gets dark, so we recommend being in good physical shape to be able to enjoy this experience.
There is no age limit. This trip is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to photograph the Canary Islands landscapes with us.
Non-photographer companions are welcome to join the tour, and they need to book a spot under the same price and conditions as any other participant. (We don’t allow non-participant companions tagging along with the group). We have had plenty of non-photographer companions over the years and all of them enjoyed an amazing experience. As long as they enjoy nature, beautiful landscapes, and are a bit patient with the schedules of a photo tour, joining the trip can be a great experience regardless of the shooting.
Capture the Atlas is drone friendly. However, drones are not allowed in most of the locations we’ll visit. We do not recommend bringing a drone on this photo tour. However, if you decide to bring it, you’ll be flying your drone at your own risk. Prince is an experienced drone pilot and can help you with your drone photography.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last years:
All astrophotographers in Europe and a big part of the world travel yearly to La Palma as part of their night photography pilgrimage to capture the beauty of the night skies.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can go from sea level to above the clouds in a relatively short drive, enjoying one of the most mesmerizing views on this planet when our galaxy rises above the clouds.
Pair this with stunning seascapes, endemic forests and flowers, and, of course, the yummy Spanish food, and you have the perfect recipe for a memorable trip!