For anyone who loves walking, the beautiful island of La Palma packs the cleanest and greenest punch in the Canaries! From verdant lush forests in the north to dramatic volcanic craters further south, and from mountainous national park to the crashing Atlantic coast, La Palma has natural beauty in abundance - the entire island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve - yet because of the lack of any mass tourism development, it retains a calm and relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of a bygone era. Unlike its larger neighbouring Archipelago islands, La Palma (706km2) is not a big beach destination, and the majority of people who visit come to hike - there are more than 1,000 kilometres of scenic well-signed walking trails linking wild valleys, shimmering woods, vast craters and tiny white villages perched precariously above steep terraces of avocado, almond and mango.
This twin-centre guided walking holiday starts first with three nights in the Parador overlooking Santa Cruz and the Atlantic on the eastern part of the island, from here we visit the 'top of the island' and the lush green north east. The next four nights are spent on the sun-soaked western coast where you'll explore the region's lush banana plantations, ragged lava fields and rich vineyards - the sweet Malmsey wines from here are even mentioned in works of Shakespeare! You'll venture inland to visit the beautiful Caldera de Taburiente National Park with its thick Canary Pine forests, freshwater streams and impressive Guanche rock formations.
We've hand-picked hotels that we feel reflect and enhance the diverse nature of this trip. On the west, just outside Tazacorte, you'll stay in a secluded C17 mansion where luxurious antiques and ancient artefacts contrast with the Shaker-style decor in the rooms; and, in Santa Cruz, your base is the **** Parador de La Palma, boasting extensive landscaped gardens and a swimming pool.
Walks on this holiday are on village streets, country lanes, farm tracks and rural paths. Walking boots are essential. Walking poles are recommended.
Arrive at the beautiful Parador de la Palma, just a 10 minute drive from the airport. The Parador is located in the area known as El Zumacal. It is a comfortable building featuring traditional Canary Islands architecture. Before dinner maybe stroll around the vast garden filled with fruit trees and native plants and enjoy spectacular views of the infinite Atlantic Ocean.
We start the week with a jaw-droppingly scenic road journey (50 mins) to the observatory at El Roque de los Muchachos which, at 2,426m is the highest point on La Palma, and is the ridge framing the northern edge of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park. The altitude, dryness of climate and clear skies give rise to excellent observing conditions so little wonder that some of the world's largest telescopes are kept here - the dozen or so lined along the ridge look like something from another planet! We then continue on foot, gently following well maintained hiking trails up to the summit of El Roque where we are rewarded with the most spectacular 360° views over the whole of La Palma as well as the neighbouring islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and Tenerife.
In the lush north-east of the island are the huge shimmering laurisilva rainforests of Cubo de la Galga - an area of incredibly rich vegetation where walking (often above the misty clouds) in the vast emerald valleys is like being inside a colossal living and breathing green cathedral! We'll follow a shaded mossy path up through wax myrtle, laurel, foxgloves and citronella as far as the stunning Mirador viewpoint - incredible views right across the eastern coast and as far as Tenerife on a clear day. On the way back stop in historic Santa Cruz, time to explore and visit the market where we taste the local refreshing sugar cane juice.
We drive south today stopping at the Mazo farmers market before following the volcanoes. The Ruta de los Volcanes is a long-distance hiking trail that runs down the steep central spine of La Palma, linking the famous Caldera de Taburiente crater in the north with the lighthouses and lava flows further south. Our section begins in the pretty village of Los Canarios (35 mins drive) with dramatic views over the ranks of tangled vines that flourish in the region's rich black soil. There's time to taste Shakespeare's renowned Malvasia wine in the village bodega before heading off through lava fields and vineyards bordered by rocks depicting original Aboriginal carvings. Our final descent takes us past sheet-white salt pans and on to the candy-striped lighthouse at Fuencaliente where we enjoy a chilled drink on the panoramic terrace watching the waves of the ocean crashing below. We then head to the charming Hacienda de Abajo, your hotel for the next 4 nights.
Spend the day as active or as relaxing as you want, your hotel here is a former sugar estate, with lovely pool and spa, set in acres of tropical banana plantations. From here, it's just a short stroll to the sunny village of Tazacorte (reputed to have the best climate anywhere in Europe!). You can visit the local Banana Museum, which shows the history of this fruit in the Canaries. Or enjoy a walk through the Banana Plantations, for those wanting a longer walk head down to the beachside town of El Puerto de Tazacorte, with its many bars and restaurants and lovely strip of golden sand.
A circular walk today takes us down from the sleepy village of Las Tricias (35 mins drive) and through one of the most beautiful hiking areas on the island. It's a totally idyllic and peaceful landscape of lush green fields, fragrant orange and almond orchards, and mythical 1000-year-old dragon trees. Red-billed choughs, kestrels and buzzards sweep overhead as we pass Buracas and its indigenous Benahoritas cave dwellings. A final ascent takes us back to Las Tricias - enjoy the breathtaking views from the village windmill (one of the few remaining on the island) out across the north-west coast where richly coloured rocks contrast beautifully with the deep blue Atlantic Sea. On the way back to the hotel you stop at a local winery to taste the local wines made from some of the oldest grapes in Europe.
Our final walk explores the heart of the National Park containing the enormous expanse of the 1500m-deep Caldera de Taburiente, one of the largest craters in the world, rivalling the Grand Canyon with its 28km perimeter and 10km width. After an informative stop at the Visitor Centre, we head up through thick Canary Pine forest, following a stunning hiking trail past volcanic tubes, rock paintings and gullies until the summit of Picos Brecitos. There are fabulous views of the huge volcanic crater, the surrounding towering peaks (up to 2,500m) and soaring rock walls with remote villages clinging vertiginously to the western flank above steep, stepped terraces. Then back to the hotel and perhaps a final aperitivo on one of the sea facing bar terraces in Tazacorte.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.
NEARBY:The Parador de La Palma is a beautiful hotel set on the hillside high above the capital Santa Cruz. It is built to resemble the old style architecture of a grand Canarian mansion, with internal patios full of flowering plants, lots of outdoor spaces and 44,000 square metres of landscaped gardens that stretch down the hillside - ideal for a stroll before or after dinner.
Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.
Please contact us for extra night prices.
NEARBY:Within the banana plantations just a 5 minute walk from the pretty village of Tazacorte, you will find a tranquil oasis. The manor house of a former sugar estate now holds a suite and premium rooms. The newly built part has been done tastefully and fits in with the manor house to create an atmospheric luxury hotel.
|Dates||Premium Room||Deluxe Room||Suite|
|01/10/2016 - 30/04/2018||£24||£50||£204|
All prices shown above are valid from 03/02/2017. Prices are per person per night. The premium rooms are larger than the standard rooms.
Please contact us for extra night prices.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email email@example.com to arrange flights and connecting transfers to your hotel.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Javier and coach driver were excellent, very pleasant individuals. Javier was extremely knowledgeable on the history of Las Palmas, flora and fauna. His command of English was top class and we had the feeling if any problems had arisen he would have solved them very quickly. The picnic lunches arranged by Javier were very good and the four visits to local restaurants were enjoyable experiences. I have no doubt both he and Pepe (our driver) contributed a great deal to the success of the holiday.
Mostly very enjoyable. Disappointed by room in first hotel not having ocean view. Group was too big for everyone to hear the guide easily and possibly dangerous on top of the mountain when picnicking with a large number. Also one day we left hotel at 9am and returned at 7.30 as walk took longer than planned and lunch was started at 3pm so after tour of vineyard which we felt should have been curtailed we arrived back exhausted to shower and have Kate dinner. Most of group disappointed with this though walk had been lovely.
Great holiday, great walks, great island. Javier was fantastic and a wonderful guide.
This was the second Headwater holiday I have been on which was guided by Javier. He is a fantastic guide and so knowledgeable. As well as walking he showed us lots of flora and fauna and lots of other interesting things.
All the walks were very interesting and the views were great It was good that we stayed at two hotels, both very interesting.
The hotels, our guide Javier and the fellow-travellers were all excellent - unfortunately the weather wasn't as good as I'd hoped but nothing can be done about that. I think Javier realised when he had to re-arrange our final walk (due to snow) that the alternative was a bit difficult for me - but I got there! I have to say everyone else thought it was wonderful!
Another great guided walking holiday, despite unseasonable weather, Very varied and interesting walks, good hotels, and good food and wine. Javier dealt very well with the challenges presented by an unwell fellow traveller, and the changes forced on us by the weather. He judged our capabilities well in arranging a substitute walk which we felt was the best of the holiday.
Another excellent holiday with Headwater
Superb leader - sociable, knowledgeable, charming, considerate. Excellent hotels, especially the Hacienda, where the staff were charming and the quality of the accommodation and surroundings excellent.
A good holiday in a beautiful island, with good weather and a helpful and obliging guide.
NB ; Picnic lunches during the walks were a little excessive . It might be better for each person /couple to choose what they want for lunch before purchasing
it to avoid leftovers / carrying excess loads.
An excellent holiday with an exceptional guide (Javier) who was passionate about the geology, geography, and natural history of the island of La Palma.
The walks were well chosen and we saw different aspects of the island. He was adaptable - when the temperature dropped to 5C with a wind speed of 34kph he decided to forego the high altitude ridge walk for one further down the mountain. He took us to an interesting selection of restaurants so that we could experience local cuisine. And he was a good and careful driver and had a fine sense of humour.
Hacienda de Abajo is a fabulous hotel - best staff ever, wonderful food, beautiful accommodation and stunning tropical gardens. Hotel San Telmo is charming, tucked away in the side streets and perfectly located for walking in Santa Cruz. Our guide - Javier - was an outstanding source of knowledge on the history, geology, flora and fauna of the islands. I recommend this holiday.
The prices quoted below for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and are shown for guide purposes only. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.
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Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 6 people (in total) are required for each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
Selected Thursdays from 26th Jan 2017 to 19th Apr 2018, for 7 nights.
All buffet breakfasts, 5 lunches and all evening meals included
Transfers included from La Palma airport at 14:20, 20:00 Oct 26 departure and back to La Palma airport at 12:30.
If you choose to book your own flights please check with us first that your chosen departure date is definitely operating as our guided holidays are subject to minimum group sizes.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Walking on La Palma. Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.