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La Palma - La Isla Bonita

La Palma, the third smallest island of the Canaries, is a pearl of nature in the Atlantic Ocean. It fascinates with a volcanic landscape, its varied, green vegetation and steep rock formations and is rightly called "the beautiful island".

Trade winds on La Palma

Geography - Divided into west and east

La Palma is the third smallest Canary island. It lies about 60 kilometres away from Tenerife in the Atlantic Ocean and has an overall size of 728 km². La Palma is divided into two climatic zones from north to south by volcanic cones (Cumbre Nueva and Cumbre Vieja). The island's south-west is generally drier than the north-east. Its highest peak is the Roque de los Muchachos with a height of 2,426 metres.

La Palma's landscape

Nature - A biosphere reserve and an active volcano

Holidays on La Palma are definitely a natural experience. The volcanic landscape, dragon and almond trees, the jungle, waterfalls and a biodiverse flora and fauna characterise the landscape. The island is called "isla verde" ("green island") by its inhabitants. In autumn 2002, the whole island was declared a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO. Besides the oldest volcanic crater Caldera de Taburiente, which has a diameter of 9 kilometres, over 100 volcanic peaks protrude into the sky on La Palma. With harsh coasts, a few sandy beaches and steep elevations of the landscape, La Palma is one of the steepest islands on earth. There is one active volcano on the island - the Teneguia - which is being monitored by scientists. The constant trade winds above the island create a large cloud cover on the northern and eastern side, which often gets caught on the mountains. This causes a lot of rain and a lush, varied vegetation. La Palma displays almost all types of landscapes from the dry areas to the lush pine forests, which offer a special play of colours. Black and red lava rocks meet green vegetation and shimmering blue seawater. The Canary island is equipped with an excellent irrigation system. Through tunnels and water lines, which run through the mountains, even the most remote regions at the coast are supplied with water. La Palma's highest point is surrounded by clear and clean air, which caused scientists to build Europe's greatest and most modern reflecting space telescope here. You are especially close to the stars at this point.

Telescope on La Palma

Culture - Processions, traditional costumes and music on La Palma

La Palma was shaped by many waves of immigration and emigration of different peoples, customs and languages. These are expressed in art handicraft, traditions and folklore, culinary specialities as well as in some forms of sport such as the Canarian wrestling lucha canaria. A special festivity is the Carnival of Santa Cruz. Almost all bigger cities are known for a celebration, e.g. the Feast of Corpus Christi in Villa de Mazo or the Devil's Dance in Tijarafe, at which processions and parades in traditional costumes as well as dances (like the wheat dance) play a major role. The typical local music is played on instruments like the Canarian string instrument timple, guitars, flutes, drums and castanets. Worthwhile destinations are the capital Santa Cruz, Los llanos, Puntagorda, El Paso, Puerto Naos and Tazacorte. Tazacorte is the town with the most sunny hours on the Canary Islands and has a magical old town with typical Canarian architecture. Furthermore, there are many museums on La Palma which are worth a visit such as the Silk Museum with a workshop in El Paso, the Gofio Museum in Los Sauces, the Banana Museum in Villa de Tazacorte, the Maritime Museum in Santa Cruz or the Wine Museum (Casa Museo del Vino) in Las Manchas.

Colourful houses in Santa Cruz

Experience - Fish, please

Fish and seafood play a major role in La Palma's cuisine. Its inhabitants like eating parrotfish, hake, sole, gilt-head bream, tuna, calamari or mussels. The roasted grain flour gofio is added to many dishes. The popular Canarian papas arrugadas are also commonly served as a side. Since La Palma is a sugar cane island, many menus offer a great variety of desserts. Popular calorie bombs are bienmesabe, rapaduras de gofio, queso de almendras and caramel pudding. Agriculture is still an important industry on La Palma. The island traded products like honey, sugar, wine, tobacco and silk in the past. Nowadays the main agricultural source of income is banana cultivation. You can buy local products from farmers on the island's markets. Special farmers' markets such as the flea and farmers' market in Puntagorda or Los llanos offer art handicraft in addition to agricultural products. On the market in Los llanos' quarter Argual, for example, you can enjoy colonial architecture while you watch local glass-blowers create pieces from crystal glass and lava rocks from the island.

Agriculture on La Palma

Activities - A natural experience

La Palma is a great destination for hiking, horseback riding, cycling, diving, climbing, paragliding or canoeing. Leisure activities on La Palma always involve experiencing the spectacular nature and wonderful landscape. Whether you are on a horse, on a bike, in the air, under water or on the ground, there are many ways of discovering the island's beauty. Hiking tours through the Caldera de Taburiente National Park or the biosphere reserve Los Tilos as well as hang gliding above the island are popular activities.

Leisure activities on La Palma

Information

La Palma can be reached by direct flight from the European mainland. A number of airlines offer flights to the island, for example the Spanish airlines Iberia and Binter Canarias. You can also take a ship from the neighbouring island Tenerife. Travellers who want to take their own car on the island with them best depart from the Spanish coastal city Cádiz by ship.

La Palma is the perfect destination for holidaymakers who want to enjoy and explore nature. Numerous leisure activities provide the opportunity to experience the most beautiful island of the Canaries at first hand.

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