Walking in La Palma
|Enchanted forests, black volcanic landscapes, steep mountain hikes and stunning coastal views all make for some great walking experiences in La Palma and offer a vast array of unspoilt and varied scenery across the whole of the island.
Whether you venture out on your own or use a knowledgeable tour guide, you'll find a good variety of routes with regards difficulty, length and scenery. If you are comfortable doing so, you can find your own way around with a good map or there are a number of local companies who offer organised walking tours.
Our experiences included two organised trips with Natour Trekking, plus venturing to the top of the Southern volcanoes and walking around towns, villages and coastlines under our own steam. Full details of our featured walks can be found by following the links on the right.
Despite research before arriving, we were unaware that it's not generally possible to stroll out of your hotel and find a trail just up the road due to the steepness of the island. However, after some investigation and a number of somewhat exciting bus rides, we had some great walks, saw some fantastic scenery and experienced the culture and beauty of the island of La Palma.
Walking with a Guide
Joining an organised walking tour is a great experience and provides all you need for a good day out without any worry. The coach picks you up from a convenient location, you visit the most interesting areas, the guides take care of you and you are then returned to your pick-up point again at the end of the trip.
The guide's knowledge of the flora, fauna and the island itself adds to the experience and they are generally happy to share what they know. Some areas of La Palma can be a bit hazardous, especially in the Caldera with falling rocks, so travelling with a guide ensures your safety and guides you along the correct paths and routes without any worry. You generally need to take a packed lunch on the tour and some areas can be steep so know what you are letting yourself in for.
We did find that the actual travelling times can be quite long if you are one of the first to be picked up but it's a great way to see the island and travel in comfort whilst you do so. Check when booking as you may not want to sit on a coach for half the day!
If you are hoping to do the Caldera tour which is the highlight of the island, book the trip as soon as you arrive and for the early part of your holiday. Despite two dates during two weeks in February, we were unable to go due to weather conditions which caused the Caldera to close. If your trip is cancelled for any reason, they should be able to put you on the next available trip but it is popular and rain can stop play so bear this in mind!
We used Natour Trekking for all three tours that we booked and found them to be very professional, knowledgeable and interesting and would highly recommend them.
Walking Under Your Own Steam
Much of La Palma can be explored on your own if you set out with adequate footwear, equipment and a good deal of energy for some of those steep hills!
We saw many people using walking poles and after experiencing the island, this is probably advisable but is not a necessity. As keen photographers, we discovered our monopod doubled as a useful pole in times of need!
Although we enjoyed the organised tours with Natours, we prefered the freedom of walking in our own time and setting our own pace so that we could stop to take photos and really relax and enjoy. We think you see a great deal more this way and there is always something just around the corner to explore.
It's always best to walk with someone rather than venture out on your own for obvious reasons and always carry plenty of water with you to avoid dehydration. Our Los Llanos & Tazacorte round trip was in February and it was absolutely sweltering that day!
Featured Walks Under Our Own Steam :
The walks below describe our personal experiences during February 2008 and the list offers just a small selection of the walking routes available. Our walks have been published for use by website visitors on the understanding that Outdoors Views are not held responsible for the safety or well-being of those following the routes that we describe. Routes and footpaths were correct at time of publication but may have changed since then.
The walks below from start to finish are LONG! However, we are not superfit so they should be achievable and you can do bits of them if you prefer.
Recommended Walking Equipment