The third smallest of the seven main Canary Islands, and known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ (The Beautiful or Pretty Island), La Palma has plenty going for it. Firstly, it is home to one of favourite sights in all of the Spanish territory – the Caldera de Taburiente. Designated a national park, this ‘cauldron’ is a huge deeply eroded space near the centre of the island, once thought to be a crater. This volcanic area dominates most of the island, the centre of which is reached via the ‘Barranco de las Angustias’ (something like ‘Canyon of Anxiety’ – La Palma gets all the best names!) and can only be got to on foot. The island also has the most diverse plant life of all of the Canaries, with banana plantations a staple feature. Tobacco is also grown on La Palma and is the source for the capital Santa Cruz de la Palma’s famous cigars.
La Palma is a volcanic ocean island which rises to about 4 miles above the ocean floor. The summit is defined by a group of rocks called Los Muchachos (a common Canarian way of saying ‘The Boys’). It is here that the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is found, one of the world’s most important, benefitting from the clear mountain air to give the best view out into the universe.
The capital has plenty of elegant 17th-18th century buildings and the bigger town of El Llano de Aridane is also well worth exploring for its historic centre, shops, bars and restaurants. Tazacorte is a popular sunning spot for its black sand beach, freshly-caught fish in the restaurants and boat and submarine excursions.