La Palma

  • © Copyright William Mackesy
  • Route of the Volcanoes - © Copyright William Mackesy
  • Route of the Volcanoes - © Copyright William Mackesy
  • Route of the Volcanoes - © Copyright William Mackesy
  • © Copyright William Mackesy
  • Route of the Volcanoes - © Copyright William Mackesy
  • © Copyright William Mackesy
  • Route of the Volcanoes - © Copyright William Mackesy
  • Route of the Volcanoes - © Copyright William Mackesy
  • © Copyright William Mackesy

Key information: La Palma

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating88
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest19
  • Human interest3
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating88

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,426m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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Route of the Volcanoes - © Copyright William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

Amazing La Palma: a youthful tear-shaped mountain-island, with a superb spine of craters and rocky outcrops and a stupendous horseshoe of cliffs around the Caldera de Taburiente, where a cataclysmic collapse of an enormous volcano has produced a stunning horseshoe of cliffs, thousands of metres above sea level - and above the caldera bottom.

A series of smaller volcanoes lines the island's southern spine, erupting through verdant forest to create shattered or peculiarly rounded volcanic beauty, with the sea an ever-present backdrop, thousands of feet below.

Due to their being part of the same volcanic ridge, the central spine of mountainous La Palma, we have grouped our Caldeira de Tuburiente and Route of Volcanoes walks together for the purpose of our Top 100.

This green place is said to be one of the world's most mountainous islands, the tip of a huge volcanic mass rising from the junction of tectonic plates deep under the ocean floor. La Palma contains fine examples of the Canary Islands' unique vegetation, the remains of the old Mediterranean flora before that area got drier. Pines and shrubs abound, but there is little grass.

Ruta de la Cresteria: This famous trail follows the sharp ridge, with precipitous drops into the gigantic caldera inside, and steep slopes right down to the sea without, around the astonishing horseshoe of cliffs of the Caldeira de TaburienteRead our detailed page, here.

Route of the Volcanoes: One crater to the next; over broken, rocky terrain. Weird formations, an array of blazing colours, sinisterly beautiful craters, stunted pines and other specialised vegetation: all with a backdrop of the sea, nearly 2,000m below. Read our detailed page, here.

The weather here can be difficult. The prevailing winds bring cloud and rain from the north-east: the cloud can wrap itself around the summit, killing any chance of seeing the astounding views.

Other fabulous walks

La Palma offers a huge selection of other great walks, easily worth a week.

  • Los Tilos: this UNESCO biosphere reserve in the north-east envelops the archipelago's most extraordinary barranco - Barranco del Agua, a deep, sheer-sided ravine cloaked with fine, lush rainforest, a fabulous example of the Canary Islands' unique vegetation. There are numerous good walks in this area, but the jewel is the outstanding circuit above the Barranco del Agua known as the Camino de la Reserva de la Biosfera, a long, tough climb to high springs and sensational viewpoints above the head of the ravine and round back the other side. The walk follows irrigation channels (similar to Madiera's levadas) fed by the springs, winding giddily above some horrid drops and through some narrow, wet and low tunnels. Absolutely thrilling, but not for the faint-hearted.
  • Volcan de San Antonio and the Southern Cape
  • Poris de Candelaria: This is a steep path (down and back) through pine forest, which then winds down cliffs to a remarkable cove in the dry west which was reputedly once a pirates' hide-away. 
  • Tijarafe to Tinizana: This route crosses the more cultivated, drier western plain of La Palma, along old trails (cobbled in parts), which alternate between gardens, groves, and deep, wild ravines. 

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist. Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.

Books and Maps

Suggest books and maps

Books on this walk           

Walking on La Palma – Cicerone: essential

La Palma and El Hierro – Sunflower Guides

Walk! La Palma – Charles Davis

Rother Walking Guide

Other books

Canary Islands – Lonely Planet

Palma Pocket Guides

Canary Islands – Eyewitness Travel Guide

Maps

La Palma: Tour and Trail Maps – David Brawn

Good walking maps can be bought from the tourist office in Santa Cruz.

Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk.  A good online specialist source of worldwide maps and guides.

 

Best times to walk/weather

Best times to walk

Most of the year is excellent for walking – subject to island weather variations. The entirety of May to September is warm and usually has little rain, although July and August can be too hot for comfort. November to March is wetter and can be stormy – usually relatively briefly. The high trails can be closed through Winter due to snow, but usually only for a few days.

Weather

The weather at any particular time depends on the wind direction. It is good most of the time, but the north-east can often be wet and the high ground can be in (or above) a blanket of cloud.

For detailed weather information, have a look at: www.worldweather.org or www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/country-guides.

 

Getting there/transport/permits/fees

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See www.transporteslapalma.com/transportes/index for information on getting around the island: or, hire a car.

Getting to the island is another matter. Tenerife offers direct flights and passenger ferry services to La Palma; otherwise getting there could mean flights from any one of Madrid, Barcelona, Paris or Milan.

No permits are needed to do this walk, although you are not allowed near the El Roque de los Muchachos observatories (2,4026m!) at night.

 

Route(s)

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See Walk Summary above.

 

Possible problems, health, other warnings

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  • Variable / unreliable weather: rain and wind are possible at any time of year. Some of the steep rock can get very slippery when wet. Come prepared.
  • Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
  • Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
  • This is remote country: you will likely have to carry food and water, and help may be hard to get if things go wrong.
  • Falling rocks, in the caldera, can be dangerous. Stay aware.
  • 112 is the local emergency number.

See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, and does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Make sure you have appropriate insurance.

 

Guided or independent?

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Independent

Most people do these walks independently, but come prepared. 

Guided/supported

It is possible to form or join organised/supported expeditions. Travelling here with a knowledgeable guide can have real advantages. Expedition organisers include:

 

Accommodation

The guidebooks have a selection of possible accommodation: there is the standard range available in both Santa Cruz and Los Llanos, the two major cities.

For cottages, check www.islabonita.com (government run website). And www.islalapalma.com has holiday accommodation.

Free camping available at Centro de Naturaleza La Rosa at Puntagorda: otherwise campsites require permits (not always available on site). Refugio El Pilar is found right at the start of the Route of the Volcanoes.

Hostelbookers usually has a good selection of cheaper-end accommodation.

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Other information and tips

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Useful websites and information

There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.

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Other things to do in the area

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Other walks

Spain has a huge variety of great walks. There is likely to be a good walk within range wherever you may be. In the Canary Islands alone:

Other activities

 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS

Name: Administrator
Posted on: 24/07/2015
A member says:


"You can find the best organized independent walks on La Palma by http://www.natour.travel If you prefer a walking week from hotel to hotel, with organized baggage transport, don't hesitate to see details under http://natour.travel/Independent_Walkingweek_Hotel_to_Hotel"


Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

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Route of the Volcanoes - ©Copyright William Mackesy

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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© Copyright William Mackesy...
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