San Miguel de La Palma is the actual name of the most northwestern outpost of the Canary Islands. We are more familiar with the name “La Palma”. Like all the islands of the Canary Archipelago, La Palma is of volcanic origin. With an age of two to three million years it is one of the young Canary Islands. Impressive mountain landscapes and lush vegetation are the hallmarks of the island.
La Palma - in the Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente
La Palma seen geographically
With an area of 708 square kilometers, La Palma only takes fifth place in the ranking of the main Canary Islands. La Palma has a rugged coastline, deep valleys and mountains of alpine format. The highest point, the Roque de los Muchachos, is 2.426 meters high. Sea depths of 4.000 meters are measured around La Palma. Including its base, the island is approximately 6.500 meters high. In relation to the small land area, La Palma is one of the steepest islands in the world.
La Palma - view of the valley
La Palma - history
Archaeological finds show that people stayed on the island at the beginning of the first millennium BC. Permanent settlement did not take place until the third century BC. The settlers of that time had neither nautical knowledge nor were they able to build seaworthy ships. La Palma's inhabitants fell into oblivion due to the lack of contact with the outside world.
La Palma was rediscovered in the 14th century. At the beginning of the 15th century, the island came under the rule of the Castilian royal family. The last resistance of the indigenous people was not broken until 1493. Then Santa Cruz de La Palma was founded as the island capital. More than 14 people currently live in 80.000 communities.
La Palma - panorama
Old town of La Palma - Avenida Maritima
La Palma - climate
In the north, constant trade winds coming from the northeast ensure sufficient humidity. This is reflected on the volcanic massifs in the form of rain. The northern part of the island is green all year round. - In contrast, the south of the island is spared from precipitation. The number of hours of sunshine is significantly higher than in the north. Because of the geological and climatic conditions, UNESCO declared La Palma a biosphere reserve as the first of the Canary Islands in 2002.
La Palma's green north
La Palma's economy
La Palma's inhabitants live from agriculture and tourism. Farmers mainly produce Canarian dwarf bananas on an area of around 3.000 hectares. Other agricultural products are avocados, vegetables, wine and citrus fruits. Sophisticated water pipes and tunnel systems supply the cultivated areas with water from the high altitudes.
Compared to the large islands of the Canary Archipelago, the bed capacities are rather modest. La Palma has been spared from mass tourism. Instead, those responsible are relying on rural tourism, the "turismo rural". For this purpose, old, renovated farmhouses in the surrounding area are offered as tourist accommodation. La Palma is definitely an island for hikers. A network of marked hiking trails covers the island.
Marked hiking trails
La Palma - destination of the cruise ships
Although La Palma prevents mass tourism, cruise ships are still welcome. In 2019, cruise ships called the port of Santa Cruz de La Palma 120 times.
From there the tours to the island's attractions start. We describe what this is about under La Palma - sights.
Update July 2022