With holiday resorts playing second fiddle to a landscape of volcanoes, pine forests and vineyards, holidays to La Palma reveal a lesser-known side of the Canary Islands.
The quiet Canary
Of all the Canaries, La Palma sings the softest. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura shout about what they’ve got, which means purring La Palma often gets overshadowed. But that’s where its appeal lies. This quiet island is far from Spain's madding crowd, and you won’t find any of the tell-tale marks of mass tourism here.
Fuencaliente and Los Cancajos
La Palma’s main holiday resorts are low-rise numbers. In Fuencaliente, on the island’s south coast, you’ll find a splash of whitewashed houses, surrounded by pine forests and vineyards. Los Cancajos, on the east coast, is probably the island’s most built-up resort. It’s attracted the lion’s share of development because it’s fronted by a black sand beach. But, even here, hotels don’t get much taller than 3 storeys. And, just like in Fuencaliente, the manmade is quarantined by wide-open countryside.
National Parks and the Volcano Trail
La Palma’s trump card is its scenery. In 1983 the entire island was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente, in the centre of La Palma, is the island at its most unspoilt. This 46.9 square-kilometre nature reserve is a tapestry of pine forests, waterfalls, freshwater spring and walking trails. Elsewhere, the island is daubed with volcano-scapes. The volcano trail in the south will take you along volcanic rims and through gaping craters.