Guided Walking on La Palma, Canary Islands
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Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Discover one of the lesser known Canary Islands, La Palma. This spectacular western island is relatively untouched by mass tourism and offers an incredible winter walking escape. The landscape is varied, from pine forests, coastal walking and agricultural terrain to a volcanic caldera forming part of a larger stunningly beautiful national park.
- Discover ‘La Isla Bonita’ – a green paradise which feels a world away from mass tourism
- A walker’s paradise home to almost 1,000km of paths and the spectacular Caldera de Taburiente
- Lush green vegetation and incredible volcanic geology create amazing views at every turn
- Visit the capital of Santa Cruz de la Palma and uncover the island’s colonial history
- Stay at the landmark Parador de la Palma with its extensive gardens and Atlantic views
- A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day
- All transport to and from the walks
- The services of experienced HF Holidays’ leaders
- ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
- 7 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms
- Half Board – extensive breakfast and evening meal
The Parador de la Palma is located in an area of great scenic beauty, close to the capital of the island. The Parador building is newly-constructed with traditional Canary Island architecture. It has an extensive garden of 44 hectares, home to native plants and fruit trees allowing pleasant walks along several paths where the plants are identified by their scientific names. There are stupendous views over the Atlantic Ocean at this very special location.
HF Holidays Europe Partner Hotel Awards 2016
Silver Award for Overall Hotel.
|The Parador has 78 comfortable en-suite rooms, all with sea views from their balconies as well as air conditioning and satellite television.
|Inside, the reception leads to a central courtyard garden with shaded seating all around. A large bar area leads to an elegant dining room serving traditional Canary Island produce. At the reception there is a small shop selling essentials.
As well as offering a high standard of comfort, the hotel has an outdoor swimming pool (seasonal) and seating, a sauna and gym.
The Parador is set within 44 hectares of tropical gardens, with avacado trees and native plants. This makes a delightful walk in the evening with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
There is a comfortable sitting room and large bar area with seating. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel and bedrooms.
Our holidays at La Palma are on a Half Board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.
The buffet breakfast consists of wide selection of breads, jams, fresh and stewed fruit, cereals, fruit juices, cheese and cold meats, tea and coffee. There are also hot breakfast options available.
Lunch (payable locally)
You may prefer to buy ingredients for your picnic lunch locally in nearby Breña Baja. On some days it may be possible to visit shops on the walk, or eat in a local café; your leaders will advise you of the options.
The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits
The restaurant specialises in preparing local dishes but does have international dishes on the menu (there is also a special gluten free menu). Recommended dishes include watercress or chickpea broth made with varied meats. Also recommended are the fresh, grilled or parboiled fishes, served with a good ”mojo” (typical Canary Island sauce).
Dinner is a 3-course meal served at your table.
Each evening your walking leaders will tell you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. During the evening you may like to join in an optional organised evening activity; one evening we take our guests into Santa Cruz after the evening meal.
We have organised a local guide to speak to our guests about the local geology and history of this interesting island. On a warm evening, it is nice to just stroll in the gardens below the Parador or perhaps take part in a short quiz.
- Our experienced leaders offer the choice of two different walks each day
- Choose the option which best suits your interests and fitness
- We provide flexible holidays. Choose easier walking one day and harder the next or just explore independently or relax around the resort
- Our leaders are friendly and welcoming making your holiday fun and sociable
Enjoy exploring the ‘world’s steepest island’ and its contrasting landscapes of emerald vegetation and stark volcanic ash which really shows off La Palma’s wild natural beauty. A highlight of the week is the magnificent panoramic views from the Caldera de Taburiente with its glistening observatories and views to the coast and beyond.
Easier Walks: 5 to 8 miles (8-13km) on a mix of rocky and cobbled paths, with some steep ascents and descents. Up to 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent in a day.
Harder walks: 7 to 11 miles (11-17.5km) with some steep ascents and descents. There are also some rocky sections. Up to 3,200 feet (900m) of ascent in a day.
Day 1: Arrival day
For those arriving on the HF Holidays’ flights to La Palma, the onward journey to Breña Baja is by coach. Depending on your arrival time you may have the opportunity to settle into your room and perhaps see a little of the resort before the evening meal. On the first evening your leaders will explain more about the walks.
Day 2: Springs of Breña Baja
The east and west sides of La Palma differ dramatically because of the influence of the moisture laden trade winds. Today’s walks explore the springs high on the hillside behind the hotel in the Breña Alta district.
Easier Walk: The easier walk uses a coach to ascend to the spring line, and then follows the well used path, mostly contouring the east-facing slopes of the Cumbre Nueva before descending through the community of San Miguel back to the hotel. The route weaves in and out of magnificent chestnut tree groves and offers expansive views of the coast. 5 miles (8km) with 1,100 feet (330m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: The harder walk starts from the hotel and uses a section of an ancient cobbled track that was part of the major east–west route across the island before passing several crosses to reach the Breña springs and so returning to the hotel by the same route as the easier walk. 8 miles (13km) with 2,200 feet (660m) of ascent.
Day 3: Southern volcanoes
In stark contrast to the lush vegetation explored previously, today's walks explore the south of the island, the source of the most recent volcanic activity.
Easier Walk: The easier walk starts from the southern town of Los Canarios to ascend Volcan San Antonio complemented by a visit to the Visitor Centre. The route descends through the lava fields seeking evidence of early inhabitants, before emerging at sea level in Faro de Fuencaliente. Here there is time to explore the only commercial salt pans on La Palma and seek refreshments. 6 miles (9.5km) with 700 feet (210m) of ascent and 3,000 feet (900m) of descent.
Harder Walk: The harder walk starts at the aptly named village of Montes de Luna, ascending both through the sparse forests of Canary pine and the clouds to emerge into the volcanic ‘Luna’ landscape. The summit of Volcan Martin should offer the iconic views looking down onto the clouds, with perhaps a view of Tenerife, before following the Ruta de Los Volcanes to Los Canarios and its selection of cafés and bars. 9 miles (14.5km) with 3,000 feet (900m) of ascent.
Day 4: Caldera de Taburiente rim
These walks take us to the highest point on the island, and at times wind chill can mean temperatures near freezing, so come prepared with sufficient clothing to enjoy the day to its full, including full waterproofs, hat and gloves.
Easier Walk: The walk starts below the summit of Pico de La Cruz, and quickly joins the GR131 rim trail. The path offers picture postcard views down into the caldera, with the possibility of the iconic panoramas looking down on the clouds, pierced by the distant peaks of Tenerife. The route allows us to view the Monumento al Infinito, sculpted by the renowned César Manrique, within its majestic context. We then reach the summit of Pico de La Cruz and continue to the mirador Degollada de Franceses. Here we re-board the bus that takes us to the highest point on the island, Roque de los Muchachas, with time to take a short path to a mirador for views not seen previously down into the caldera. 7 miles (11km) with 1,500 feet (450m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: The harder walk starts amongst the pines of the eastern approaches ascending through them to summit Pico de la Nieve. Then we traverse the caldera rim finishing on the highest point of the island, Roque de los Muchachos (2,426m). The stunning views should come as no surprise since they appear on many postcards. The dramatic geology is ever present and gives rise to more than one legend. The silver domes of the many telescopes, built on La Palma due to its reliable visibility, provide an incongruous backdrop for the final ascent. 6 miles (9.5km) with 3,100 feet (930m) of ascent.
Day 5: Free day
Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest.
Day 6: The northeast coast
Today both groups will explore the northeast coast, with spectacular views from Mirador de la Somada Alta.
Easier Walk: The easier walk explores the deep lush ravine behind La Galga. It is the sister of the Los Tilos area further north and off the tourist track. The route ascends to the Mirador de la Somada Alta before beginning the descent into the depths of the laurel forest. The sides of the ravine are now high above, restricting the light to the valley floor creating a magical walk through the lush ferns and mosses. The path, protected by handrails, ascends the sides of the ravine to emerge close to our starting point continuing to the miradors of San Bartolome and La Galga offering views of the northeast coast. 6 miles (9.5km) with 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: The harder walk explores the northeast coast south from the Ermita de San Juan, through banana plantations and citrus groves with views to rugged cliffs below. It then ascends to the Mirador de la Somada Alta before exploring the laurel forests of Cubo de la Galga. 8 miles (13km) with 2,400 feet (720m) of ascent.
Day 7: Lava fields of Taburiente National Park
Today, we travel to the centre of this beautiful island where we can appreciate its volcanic geology.
Easier Walk: The easier walk ascends on tracks used for centuries to cross from east to west on the island to the significant north-south intersection at Refugio de El Pilar, a popular camping and recreational spot. It then descends through the drier western slopes and lava fields of Montana Quemada to the National Park Visitor Centre. There is an option to extend the walk to the old silk industry town of El Paso, a fitting end to the week, with its old church, courtyards and bars. 5 miles (8km) with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: The harder walk follows the same route as the easier walk initially to Refugio de El Pilar. The route then ascends Pico Birigoyo (1,807m), an old volcano with 360° views of the island, descending to follow the easier route through the western slopes and lava fields of Montana Quemada to the National Park Visitor Centre and on to El Paso. 10 miles (16km) with 2,600ft (780m) of ascent.
Day 8: Departure day
Please note that the itinerary outlined is provisional and could be subject to change. A finalised itinerary will be available at the resort and every evening your leaders will talk to you about the next day’s walks.
The last Canarian island to the west, La Palma, nicknamed La Isla Bonita (the beautiful island), has a unique landscape. Although volcanic like its neighbouring islands, it is also greener, with large agricultural areas to the west as well as pine forests over the mountainous areas and laurel forests to the north. It is also designated as a “dark skies” island hosting international observatories located on the high caldera ridge. The volcanic landscape and mountains form part of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park which is included in our walking programme. Whatever time of year you visit the island, colourful flowers can be observed and La Palma is the only home of the La Palma Chaffinch. As you drive or walk around the island you will notice the main agricultural crop, bananas, grown in large plantations and one of the main sources of income as well as tourism.
Santa Cruz de la Palma, the capital, reflects the distinctive traditional architecture of the Canaries. Older houses with wooden colourful balconies line the harbour front and behind them are cobbled pedestrian areas with shops displaying craft items. Santa Cruz is a short bus ride from our hotel or approximately 6km walk along the coastal path accessed from the nearby resort of Los Cancajos. Many of the restaurants serve local specialities, such as fish or grilled meat served with “mojo”, a colourful hot sauce, which can be green or red, or “wrinkled” potatoes cooked in salty water.
Tazacorte – Located on the west coast, this town is split into two parts; an upper town and a lower town with black volcanic sandy beach. Between the two are large plantations of bananas and a small museum dedicated to the banana.
We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.
‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle-free option
Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick and Manchester flights to La Palma airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.
If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 15 minutes to the Parador de la Palma.
‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option
Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.
If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However our hotel is just a short hop from the airport, only 5 km! Below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:
Transfers must be pre-booked. Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details
* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Double room for sole occupancy: £21 per night
- All transport to walks is included in the price of the holiday
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person