Types of Solos – Active Solo, Island Solo, Nature Solo
The Canary Islands are a chain of volcanic islands off the northwest coast of Africa. There are 7 islands in total which attract hikers, surfers and those looking to party. One of the furthest islands from Morocco is La Palma. Known as the beautiful island La Palma is the greenest of them all and has a UNESCO biosphere reserve. To escape the European winter, I opted for a week in La Palma, wanting to explore this lesser-known island. I share my recommended things to do in La Palma in this article.
Things To Do in La Palma
As you travel around the landscape changes from black and red volcanic soil to banana plantations. The island is full of incredible landscapes and has the largest crater in the world in the centre. Prehistoric forests and 1000 kms of marked paths make this a popular island for hikers and nature lovers. Caldera de Taburiente National Park dominates the north part of the island and is just stunning.
What makes this island even more appealing is its star gazing appeal. Clear skies light the way for seeing so many stars that it has even won an award. It’s not called the Beautiful Island for nothing. Discover things to do in La Palma below, including where to eat and where to stay for solos.
Solo's Tip – “Tazacorte is so pretty and just the right place to stay for beach and walking.”
Places To See in La Palma
Get a great view
From Volcan San Antonio where you get a great view of the island below. There is also a visitors centre which explains more about the volcanic activity throughout the Canary Islands.
Santa Cruz de La Palma old town where you can take a step back in time and meander around colonial buildings and manor houses. Walk down to Santa Catalina Castle which although is small, has cannons and a view of the black sand beach. Then stop for some shopping or a coffee in the plaza or along the beach boardwalk instead.
Get lost in nature
Depending on how active you’re feeling there are various walks along the volcano trail. The whole route which starts from El Pilar Refuge to the Fuencaliente lighthouse takes nearly 7 hours. You will pass other tourists here so don’t worry about being isolated for the whole time. If this sounds too much, opt for the shorter hike from Volcan San Antonio to Faro de Fuencaliente which takes apron 2 hours. You get to walk around a crater too.
In the evening
Take a guided night tour for a star gazing session at the Roque de los Muchachos observatories which sit nearly 2,500 metres above sea level.
See something different
Fuencaliente Salt Pans where black meets white. This place is such a contrast of volcanic soil versus white salt. It’s definitely worth seeing and is free. There’s also a cafe and restaurant to take in the view whilst having a bite to eat.
The black sand beach of Puerto Naos. This is the island’s most famous black sand beach and whether you choose to sunbathe on this volcanic sand or snorkel the reefs, it’s a unique spot to relax at.
Escape the crowds
The beauty of La Palma is that there aren’t really any crowds here but if you want to escape somewhere really quiet then the laurel forest of Los Tilos is one of the most magical places on the island.
Local's Tip – “Our climate changes depending on where you are on the island so take a warm jacket if you’re planning a hike.”
Accommodation in La Palma
Fuencaliente – La Palma Hostel
I stayed in this hostel which was more of a guest house than a hostel (called a pensione). This place is great if you are looking for peace and quiet within a lovely little village. The rooms come with their own private bathrooms and there is heating during the winter months. The terrace is lovely and has a view of the volcano.
Situated in Fuencaliente, it is in a perfect location to be able to explore the volcanic landscape and there is a tourist information centre there as well as a supermarket. Buses run from here to Santa Cruz. Marco, the owner was really helpful and organised a transfer from the airport for $20.
- Prices start from €45 for a single room per night
- To book, check prices or availability for La Palma Hostel
Brena Alta – Apartamentos Miranda
These apartments are only 1km from the city centre. Each studio has a large balcony and views of the sea or the mountains, as well as a kitchenette and a coffee machine. There is free WiFi in all areas and the staff are really helpful and offer a shuttle to and from the airport. The views from the swimming pool are gorgeous too. Prices start from €63 for a studio with a personal bathroom.
- Prices start from €63 for a studio with a private bathroom.
- To book, check prices or availability for Apartamentos Miranda
La Bodeguita de los Cancajos
You know a restaurant is going to be good when you see lots of locals frequenting it. Situated at the top part of the Cancajos Strip, this local restaurant has a great atmosphere and a choice of food from small tapas dishes to full meals. They serve a choice of Spanish, Mediterranean, and European food, and even the small bread rolls are good. Find at Calle de Los Cancajos, 38711 Brena Baja.
Pizzeria La Cantina Del Gladiatore
This cute Italian restaurant in Fuencaliente is ran by an Italian who serves traditional pizza just like you will find in Italy. There aren’t many seats which makes it easy to strike up a conversation with other diners but it’s a great stop for a pizza and a local wine. Find at Calle San Antonio, 1A, Fuencaliente.
As this island is known for its wine, visiting a winery to sample its best should be on the bucket list. Fuencaliente is the main wine producing area and there are several bodegas to choose from.
Coffee and Cake
Stop at Bar Arepera El Encuentro in the plaza of Santa Cruz for a coffee and cake for just €3. It’s a good spot to people watch and also just a short walk to the bus stop for the airport if you are flying out.
There is a good bus (called guaguas) system on the island but to reach places off the beaten track it’s easier to hire a car. Buses run from the capital via Los Cancajos every 30 minutes and also cross the centre of the island every half an hour too. There is a bus route around the north from Santa Cruz to Los Llanos. Buses cost approx €2. Check here for bus routes and times.
If you planning on hiking there are green taxis that take you to the start or end point of your hiking path.
From La Palma you can take the ferry to Los Cristianos in the southern part of Tenerife. Use Rome2Rio to plan your trips.
From The Airport
Bus route 500 runs from the capital (Santa Cruz), and Los Cancajos every half an hour. Buses take 20 minutes to Santa Cruz and cost approx €3. Check here for timetables.
Taxis from the airport are quicker and cost approx €10 or you can ask your accommodation is they arrange a transfer.
La Palma is part of Spain so you can get by with some basic Spanish. Staff within the tourist information offices speak English. I felt really comfortable as a woman travelling alone here and didn’t get any attention. The island is popular with German and English tourists. Is La Palma good for solos? Yes, if you are into hiking and solitude. I stayed for 5 days and left feeling completely rejuvenated. That's why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.