There are many wonderful things to do in La Palma, the most beautiful of the Canary Islands. La Palma is also one of the quietest since, despite having lots of tourist attractions and spectacular landscapes, it’s not as visited as other islands.
That said, this is the best Canary Island if you enjoy hiking, natural scenery, and stargazing, as La Palma has some of the darkest night skies in the world. Without a doubt, there is no better place to go for tranquility, relaxation, and disconnection from the busy world. If you’re looking for nightlife and parties, I’d recommend another island. Of course, there are many activities in La Palma, so I’m sure you won’t get bored here.
The best way to see all the points of interest in La Palma is by renting a car. We always go through Rentalcars since they guarantee the best prices.
In this guide, I’ll explain the different places to visit in La Palma, as well as where to stay, where to eat, and how to get here. I’ll also leave you a map at the end, so you can easily locate all my recommended attractions, restaurants, and accommodations.
1. Caldera de Taburiente National Park
Caldera de Taburiente National Park is a must-see in La Palma. This national park encompasses nearly 12,000 acres and has become one of the most popular natural areas in La Palma and all of the Canary Islands.
Here, you’ll find the park’s namesake, the famous Caldera de Taburiente, a 5-mile-wide crater that has been the site of several volcanic eruptions. Water also plays a crucial role in this volcanic area, and there are several streams and waterfalls, like the beautiful Cascada de los Colores that have eroded and shaped this park’s landscape.
Also, in this national park, you can do one of the most popular activities in La Palma, hiking! There are lots of trails, although I recommend the one that goes to Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point in the park. The route through Barranco de las Angustias, which goes to the waterfall, and the path to the Mirador de la Cumbrecita, which leads to a lovely panorama, are also popular.
If you want to take advantage of your time in the park, I suggest taking this guided tour, which goes to all the most interesting areas. This excursion, which goes to the park’s highest points, is also a great option for hikers. You can also camp in the park and, although it requires you to apply for a permit, it’s an experience I highly recommend.
2. Roque de los Muchachos, the most stunning lookout in La Palma, Spain
Roque de los Muchachos is in Caldera de Taburiente National Park, and it’s the highest point in La Palma, at 7,960 feet. There is an astrophysical observatory here, and it’s considered one of the top places in the world to stargaze. I definitely recommend doing this tour if you want to enjoy the starry sky!
La Palma, along with the other Canary Islands, has the optimal conditions for astronomical observation, which is why it’s a designated Starlight Tourist Destination. I suggest taking a look at our guide on how to photograph the Milky Way so you can take full advantage of your time here. You can also visit other astronomical viewpoints on the island, like the Mirador del Molino in Barlovento, the Salto del Enamorado in Puntallana, or the Molino de Buracas in Garfafía. There are many others too, which you can research here.
Roque de los Muchachos is also a fantastic place to visit in La Palma during the day since it has lots of hiking trails on which you can see the beautiful flora and fauna.
3. Visit La Cumbrecita, the best thing to do in La Palma, Canary Islands
La Cumbrecita is another top attraction in La Palma. It’s also in Caldera de Taburiente National Park and offers stunning views of the natural area. If you’re going to drive here, be aware that you must apply for a permit here.
There are various hiking trails in this area, although the one that goes to Lomo de las Chozas is the most popular since it’s short, simple, and has beautiful lookout points.
From La Cumbrecita, you can go to the shrine of the Virgin of El Pino, although this route is a bit more difficult and takes about 3 hours to complete. You could also make the ascent to Pico Bejenado, which is 6,080 feet above sea level and boasts amazing panoramic views. It’s a more challenging route and can take up to 5 hours to complete. If you’re doing either of these two routes, make sure your parking permit is valid for several hours.
As you can see, visiting La Cumbrecita is one of the best things to do in La Palma if you want to enjoy some time walking in nature.
4. Fuencaliente de La Palma, something you can’t miss in La Palma, Spain
Fuencaliente de La Palma is one of the places you must see in La Palma. It’s an area with great volcanic activity, and you can find both the San Antonio and the Teneguía volcanoes here, the latter of which is the youngest volcano in the Canary Islands.
Another top attraction in La Palma that you can find here is the Fuencaliente salt fields. Located at the foot of the lighthouse, the salt pans cover over 9 acres and were declared a place of scientific interest.
I also suggest visiting the La Palma Marine Interpretation Center, which has exhibits showing the current state of the seabed, as well as conservation efforts that the island is undergoing to protect it.
Fuencaliente is also popular for having some of the best beaches in La Palma, such as Playa del Faro. Without a doubt, it’s one of the top places to visit in La Palma, thanks to its many attractions.
If you don’t have much time to explore the south of La Palma, I recommend this excursion, which will take you to the key points of interest. Moreover, I think this winery tour is perfect for couples, as it visits the vineyards of Teneguía and includes insights into the island’s wine tradition, as well as a tasting.
5. Whale-watching from Tazacorte, the best thing to do in La Palma for families
Whale watching is definitely one of La Palma’s top 10 activities, and any time of year is good to see dolphins and whales off the coast of this island. Many species live permanently in the waters around La Palma and the Canary Islands in general, so don’t miss out!
While there is a high chance that you’ll see dolphins and whales, remember that they’re wild animals living in their natural habitat, so their movements can be unpredictable. This means that each whale-watching tour will be different, but I’m sure you’ll have a blast.
Best of all, this activity is one of the best things to do in La Palma with kids. I recommend this tour in particular, which starts from Puerto de Tazacorte and goes through some lovely areas like Cueva Bonita. I also suggest taking a look at our guide on where to see dolphins in La Palma if you want to know more about this exciting experience.
6. Bosque de los Tilos, a spectacular place to go in La Palma
Hiking through Bosque de los Tilos is one of the best La Palma activities if you love being in nature. This area is considered one of the most important laurel forests in the Canary Islands, and it was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2002.
The forest has become one of the top attractions in La Palma, thanks to its dense, green vegetation, which makes you feel like you’re walking into a fairytale. Here, you’ll find laurels, strawberry trees, fayas, heather, ferns, and other plant species, as well as various bird species and invertebrates. The forest also has a pretty waterfall, a few tunnels, and other natural wonders.
To make the most of your time here, I suggest visiting the Interpretation Center, where you can learn all about this place. Then, you can choose to take one of the many trails that start here. I promise that this is one of the best things to do in La Palma, and there are trails for all fitness levels.
7. Charco Azul, the most beautiful natural pool in La Palma, Canary Islands
Another must-see in La Palma is Charco Azul. This natural pool originates from the Atlantic Ocean, but its waters are calm so it’s an ideal place for the whole family to swim. Plus, it has a ladder leading into the water, and there are showers and changing rooms. Thanks to its natural beauty and convenient amenities, Charco Azul has been internationally recognized.
While I recommend including Charco Azul in your itinerary, there are other natural pools in La Palma that you should visit. One of these is La Fajana, which consists of three separate pools where you can enjoy a swim.
El Charco Azul is on the coast of San Andrés, while La Fajana is in Barlovento. If you’re looking for things to do in La Palma, you should definitely consider these two swimming holes!
8. Volcano Route, one of the best hikes in La Palma, Spain
The Ruta de los Volcanes, or Volcano Route, is one of the most well-known hikes to do in La Palma. The trail is about 12.5 miles long, although the length depends on where you start.
Most hikers start at El Refugio del Pilar and end at Los Canarios, and this route travels from the center of the island to the south. If you’re starting at El Refugio del Pilar, check out the Interpretation Center where you can learn more about the route. That said, you can do the route in reverse if you want.
Along the way, you’ll see a dozen volcanic cones, among which are the Birigoyo, Duraznero, Deseadas, Martín, and San Antonio volcanoes. You’ll also see the Fire Mountains and the Hoyo Negro crater, from which you can get a view of the islands of El Hierro, La Gomera, and Tenerife.
For sure, this is one of the most demanding hikes in La Palma, but it’s also one of the most stunning and interesting. You’ll pass through the municipalities of El Paso, Mazo, and Fuencaliente, which is in Cumbre Vieja Natural Park, another attraction in La Palma.
You can do this hike on your own or by taking this guided tour, but either way, make sure you pack enough food and water.
9. Cubo de la Galga, another hike to do in La Palma
If you’re looking for a nice, simple hike to do in La Palma, Cubo de la Galga is the best option. This circular route is about 7 miles, so you’ll need about 3 hours to complete it.
The trail is in the northwest part of the island, so it’s a great way to see the famous Canarian laurel forests. These dense forests are one of the most striking points of interest in La Palma.
Although this is a circular route, there are a few ways to do it. You can first go to the Interpretation Center to learn more about the area, then walk to the trailhead and start there. You could also do the hike on your own or take this guided tour through the forest.
There’s no doubt that this is one of La Palma’s top 10 hikes, and its fairytale-like scenery makes it even better. Along your route, you’ll be able to stop at the Somada Alta viewpoint, from which you can see the island of Tenerife and La Gomera if the weather is clear.
10. San Antonio volcano, an incredible attraction in La Palma
The San Antonio volcano is another La Palma sight that you should witness. Besides, it’s along the Volcano Route, and it’s part of the Volcanes of Teneguía Natural Monument.
Before going to the volcano, I suggest visiting the San Antonio Volcano Interpretation Center in Los Canarios to learn more about it. You can park your park there and begin the ascent, which isn’t complicated, on foot.
When you get to the lookout point, which is about 1,970 feet above seas level, you can take in the incredible views of the crater and surrounding area. That said, my recommendation is to go at sunset and wait for it to get dark so you can enjoy the spectacular night sky and photograph the Milky Way. It’s one of those things to do in La Palma that will leave you breathless.
11. Las Palomas lava tube, one of the best attractions to visit in La Palma
The Palomas lava tube is a cave-like volcanic structure formed in 1949 after the eruption of the San Juan volcano. Today, the lava tube, which is over half a mile long, is one of the top places to visit in La Palma.
I recommend taking this tour, which explores the inside of the tube and includes all the necessary safety equipment. You’ll also have a guide who can explain how the animals in the area have adapted to the conditions of the lava tube, and the tunnel’s geological importance.
Before you enter the lava tube, check out Caños de Fuego Interpretation Center, where you’ll find all the information you need about the volcanic tunnel. From there, you’ll find some walkways leading to Las Palomas, the only area that can be visited.
12. Playa de Nogales and other beaches in La Palma, Canary Islands
Another must-see in La Palma is the beautiful beaches on the island. Of all the beaches, Playa de Nogales is among the most popular. It’s in the northern part of the island and is known for being between mountainous cliffs and having black volcanic sand. Playa de Nogales is ideal for surfing, although when the waters are calm, it’s the perfect swimming spot, too.
Another awesome beach with clean and serene waters is Puerto Naos which, despite being in a touristy part of the island, isn’t very crowded. I also recommend visiting La Veta Beach, as it’s located right at the foot of a cliff. It’s one of the quietest places to visit in La Palma, particularly because you have to walk a bit down the cliff to get there.
Some other beaches worth visiting are Tazacorte Beach, which is the longest on the island, and Nueva Beach, where you can see lovely sunsets.
13. Santa Cruz de La Palma, a must-visit in La Palma
As the island’s capital city, Santa Cruz de La Palma must be on this list of La Palma points of interest.
While there are many attractions in this city, there are a few that you can’t miss, such as Plaza de España, which is considered the heart of the city and an area with a rich history.
Some other attractions in La Palma that are in the capital are the Barco de la Virgen Naval Museum and La Recova Market. The former exhibits historical naval objects from the city’s days as an essential European port in the 16th century. At the market, you can witness daily local life on the island, and find the freshest products. Another cool place to go is the Cigar Factory since cigars are an indigenous product in La Palma and are considered to be of the highest quality.
The best way to explore Santa Cruz de La Palma is to walk through its streets and neighborhoods. In my opinion, you should end your day at the Mirador de la Concepción, which overlooks the entire city.
14. Walk along the cliffs of La Palma’s northern coast
As I’ve already mentioned, hiking is one of the best activities in La Palma for all ages, and there are tons of options here. If you’re going to be in the north, you should definitely take a hike along the coastal cliffs.
Ideally, you’d start in Barlovento and hike the coastal area through the cliffs and ravines that characterize this island. Along the way, you can enjoy the laurel forest, which is a must-see in La Palma and all the Canary Islands.
However, of all the attractions you’ll see on this route, the La Tosca viewpoint is one of the most beautiful, as it offers a wondrous panorama of the northern part of the island. The ravines are also impressive, particularly those of La Vica and Gallegos.
As with the other hikes in La Palma, you can do this route on your own or take this guided tour through the area.
15. Proís de Candelaria and Cueva Bonita, two more places to see in La Palma
One of the most impressive points of interest in La Palma is Proís de Candelaria. It’s a town hidden between rocks that faces the Atlantic Ocean. The homes, which are small and appear to be perfectly embedded in the stone, are mostly inhabited by vacationers, although some people live here permanently.
This secret place is one of the most stunning attractions in La Palma, and since it’s near Tirajafe, you can take advantage of your visit by also seeing Cueva Bonita. This cave, which has two entrances, was used by fishermen in the 17th century to flee from pirate attacks. These days, you can journey into the cave by booking a kayak tour.
Where to stay in La Palma
The capital city of Santa Cruz de La Palma is a good place to stay since it’s located near the airport and has many points of interest in La Palma. We stayed at the Quinta Los Naranjos rental home, which is just a few minutes from the capital by car. This accommodation offers a peaceful ambiance and is ideal if you want to go hiking during your stay.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel in La Palma, one of the best places is the H10 Taburiente Playa, located between Santa Cruz de La Palma and the airport, to the east of the island. If you want to stay on the western end of the island, near the whale-watching areas of Puerto Naos or Tazacorte Beach, I recommend the Sol La Palma.
Moreover, it’s easy to find cheap accommodations in La Palma, so if you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to compromise on location, Pensión La Cubana, in the capital, is the best choice.
La Palma visitor information
Now that you know all the points of interest in La Palma and the best accommodations, here is some extra info to help you organize your itinerary.
How to get to La Palma
If you’re traveling from Spain, the best way to get to La Palma is by plane. La Palma Airport is about a 10-minute drive from Santa Cruz de La Palma, the island’s capital. Also, you can find the best offers on the Kiwi and Skyscanner websites. There are direct connections from Barcelona, Madrid, and the other Canary Islands.
In case you’re visiting another Canary Island and you want to go to La Palma, you can take a plane or the ferry. Getting there by boat is one of the best ways to get to La Palma from the other islands since there are more frequent departures. You can take the ferry to La Palma from Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and La Gomera. We use the Direct Ferries website to find the best times and prices.
How to get around La Palma
The optimal way to get around the island is by rental car, as it gives you total freedom. We always book through Rentalcars without any problems, and the website guarantees the best rates.
If you don’t want to drive around the island, La Palma has a good bus system, so it’s still possible to get around. That said, I recommend checking schedules and prices on the official website so you can better plan your itinerary.
Where to eat in La Palma
Don’t worry; you’ll have no problem finding good restaurants in La Palma, particularly those with authentic Canarian food.
One of the top restaurants is El Jardín de la Sal, which is located on the salt flats of Fuencaliente. In addition to delicious dishes made with local products, you’ll get fabulous sunset views while you dine.
Another interesting place to eat is Enriclai in Santa Cruz de La Palma. It’s the smallest restaurant on the island, but the food is delectable. I also recommend Casa Osmunda, where they serve simple dishes with amazing flavors. It’s in Breña Alta, which is very close to the capital city.
Finally, another place that won’t disappoint your taste buds is El Asador del Campesino in Barlovento. Here, they serve traditional Canarian dishes at fairly affordable prices, so you’ll get a good meal for your money.
Map of La Palma
Now that you have all the info you need about what to do in La Palma, here is a map of the island so you can find all my recommended tourist attractions, accommodations, and restaurants.
I hope you have fun organizing your trip to La Palma, Spain. If you have any questions, leave me a comment below so I can help you out. I’m sure you’ll love this island, and I wish you a happy trip!