One of the most amazing things about the Canary Islands is the fact that each of the seven main islands has their own, distinct personality and yet, they are all in such easy reach of one another. If you’re a regular to Tenerife and her sunny shores, why not expand your horizons just that little bit further with a couple of nights on the lesser known island of La Palma for a taste of a different Canary Island?
Despite being the third most populated of the islands, La Palma receives only a paltry 2% of the visitors who annually flock to the Canary Islands. More akin to north Tenerife in its lush, sub-tropical scenery, La Palma is justifiably known as La Isla Bonita (the beautiful island) and a short stay in its wonderful capital city would add a very different experience to a Tenerife winter sun holiday.
What to see and do
Once the third most important port in Spain, La Palma’s capital city of Santa Cruz resembles a mini Havana and is a complete contrast to the purpose built resorts of Tenerife.
Along the promenade from where, on a clear day, Mount Teide beckons on the horizon, you can’t miss the flower laden balconies of Casa de los Balcones which defy you not to take a stunning photograph. One of the prettiest, La Placeta, is also an excellent restaurant with outside dining on the picturesque plaza of Placetta Borrero.
Wander down the main street of Calle O’Daly and you’ll find beautiful carved balconies, stone porticos and cloistered courtyards all dating back to the 16th and 17th century. Most of these fabulous buildings are shops packed with designer label fashion, hand rolled cigars which are a speciality of the island; arts, crafts and souvenirs. Don’t miss out on the wonderful La Recova market on Avenida El Puente which opens every day until 2pm where you’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables along with La Palma’s cheeses, home made breads, sauces, honey, cigars and wines to take a taste of the island back to Tenerife with you.
In between the shops you’ll find friendly bars, restaurants and cafes spilling their furniture out onto the pavement and serving tasty specialities such as arepas – Venezuelan stuffed corn cakes – which typify La Palma’s South American connections.
And make sure you head along to Plaza de la Alameda where you’ll be stopped in your tracks by a life sized replica of Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, berthed at the end of the street, which is the city’s naval museum and a whole load of fun to explore.
Staying on La Palma
Stay in the heart of the city at Apartamentos La Fuente (ask for a room in the old house) or in the wonderfully traditional Pension Cubana. Both are on a room only basis leaving you free to sample the city’s great restaurants.
Getting to La Palma
Ferries depart from Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz de La Palma every day from Monday to Friday at 7pm and take 2½ hours, calling at La Gomera en route. From the ferry terminal it’s an easy walk into the city. There’s a current promotion of €18 per person each way. Fares are normally around €50 per person each way.
Avoid weekends as the city effectively closes from Saturday lunchtime to Monday morning.
Category : canary islands
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