Things to know and ideas for your own excursion on la Isla Bonita
- Regular berth: Estacion Maritima Dique del Este
- Regular berth: Cargo port
- Port shuttle: available free of charge
- Taxis: usually available at the Cruise Terminal
- Buses: There is a well-developed bus network throughout the island.
- Rental car*: TopCar, at the Cruise Terminal
- Rental car*: Hertz, at the airport
- Rental car*: Avis, at the airport
- Rental car*: Europcar, at the airport
- Post office: Plaza de la Constitución, 2
- Tourist information: at the harbour exit on the Plaza de la Constitución
- Banks and ATMs: scattered throughout the old town
- Cruise Ship Berths
Due to its natural beauty, the western Canary Island of La Palma is not without reason called La Isla Verde (green island) and La Isla Bonita (beautiful island). Cruise ships head for the harbour of the island's capital Santa Cruz de la Palma and usually moor at the long harbour pier, which offers space for at least two ships. Alternatively, if required, further berths are available on the opposite side at the container terminal. This means that the berths are quite close to the town, which can be easily reached on foot. In most cases, free shuttle buses are operated by the port authority, which, after a short transfer, drive to the port exit, near which there is a pavilion of the local tourist information office. A few metres further on, you are already in the middle of the old town of Santa Cruz de la Palma. On the way back, the shuttle buses stop at the Cruise Terminal Estacion Maritima, where car rental companies offer their services. Due to the high popularity, however, the vehicles are sold out very quickly and it is therefore advisable to reserve the rental car* in advance.
- Public Transport
The operator Transportes Insular La Palma (TILP) maintains a fairly well-branched bus network on La Palma with modern vehicles. As is usual on the Canary Islands, the buses here on the island are also called "guaguas", with which you can comfortably reach almost every corner of the island. The required tickets are available from the bus driver and the fares are clearly arranged according to distance. Journeys of up to 10 kilometres cost 1.50 euros each, up to 20 kilometres 2.40 euros each and over 20 kilometres 2.60 euros per person. You can save 20 percent by using the rechargeable Bonobus discount card. This costs one euro and can be topped up with 10, 20 or 30 euros. A new ticket must be purchased or the bonus card used for each journey, even after changing buses.
- Small Train
The most important sights of Santa Cruz de la Palma can be easily reached by the tourist train Tren Turistico. The starting point of the popular tourist train is in front of the town hall at Plaza de España, from where it makes its daily rounds between 09:30-18:40. On the circular route, you pass the local market, the port, the auditorium and the planetarium, among other places. If you are 14 or older, you have to pay a fee of 22 euros. With the purchase of the ticket, admission to various museums and attractions is reduced and in some cases free of charge.
- Centre of Santa Cruz de la Palma
The centre of the island's capital is very easy to reach from the port. The shuttle buses from the rear berths stop almost directly at the old town near the Plaza de la Constitución square, and those travelling on foot can expect a short walk of around 10 minutes from the Cruise Terminal, simply following the blue line drawn on the ground as a guide. The pedestrian zone and main shopping street Calle O'Daly, which runs in a north-easterly direction, begins at the square. A wide variety of boutiques, shops, cafés and restaurants are located here. If you follow the street further, it becomes Calle Anselmo Pérez de Brito and finally Calle Dr. Pérez Camacho, at the end of which you can see an original replica of Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria in the Plaza de la Alameda.
- Market Hall
Close to the pedestrian zone, the local market hall is located at Avenida el Puente 14-16. The market takes place in the not too large and covered inner courtyard of the surrounding building complex from the 16th century. Originally used as a hospital, the hospital was abandoned after a large fire in 1827. Later, the area was renovated and in 1884 the first traders offered their wares here. Another extensive renovation of the Plaza de Mercado took place in 2001. Today, the main products sold here are local and fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and cheese. You can also sample coffee, sugar cane juice and tapas, among other things. It is open daily except Sundays from 07:00-14:00 and closes one hour later on Saturday, at 15:00.
- Church at Plaza de España
The central square of Santa Cruz de la Palma is located directly on the shopping street Calle O'Daly. At the Plaza de España, important buildings of the city are hidden behind old façades. Among other things, the local town hall Ayuntamiento de Santa Cruz and the 16th century Church Iglesia Matriz de el Salvador can be found there. Shortly after it was constructed, the building, which is now well worth seeing, was largely destroyed by invading invaders. Reconstruction took place over quite a long period and produced a very massive and striking bell tower.
The entrance portal, the Mudéjar-style wooden ceiling and the cross vault from the vestibule to the sacristy are also impressive. The most important sacred building in the Canary Islands has an organ from Hamburg dating from 1823 and is open to visitors daily from 10:00-20:00. On the west side of the small square there has been a fountain since 1588, which originally served to supply the population with water, and in 1897 a bronze statue of Manuel Díaz Hernández was added to the centre of the Plaza de España.
- Santa Maria
The copy of Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria (Barco de la Virgen), which is well worth seeing, can be visited not only from the outside. Via the entrance in the base, you can reach it inside the massive ship and thus gain access to the Museo Naval Maritime Museum since 1975. The exhibition extends over three levels and is divided into six thematic areas: Age of Discovery, Golden Age of European Trade, Trade Route to Cuba, 20th Century, Shipbuilding on La Palma and History to the Ship. The explanations of the individual exhibits are written in Spanish, English and German. In addition to the compact and interesting exhibition, there is also a small souvenir shop in the ship's hold. It is open Monday to Friday from 10:00-18:00 and on weekends from 10:00-14:00. Admission is 4.50 euros per person from the age of 12. The museum is about 1.5 kilometres from the Cruise Terminal, which takes about 20 minutes on foot.
- Castillo de la Virgen
Only a few hundred metres north of the Santa Maria replica are the remains of the Castillo de la Virgen (Castle of the Virgin). The rather small fortress stands on a hill, was constructed in the 16th century to defend against pirate raids and is today accessible free of charge at all times. In a small room, visitors are told about the history of the bulwark. On the top level there are 21 historic cannons facing the sea and from here there is a good view over the city, with some beautiful photo motifs.
- Castillo de Santa Catalina
To the southeast of the Maritime Museum is another bastion that also served to defend against the attacks of hostile groups, which were quite frequent at the time. The Castillo de Santa Catalina was constructed between 1683 and 1692, was the centrepiece of the city's originally extensive defences and was used for military purposes until 1808. Several private individuals acquired the site in 1950, which until then had been owned by the army and was declared a cultural monument a short time later, on 22 June 1951. If you would like to take a look at it, you can do so from Monday to Friday from 09:00-14:00, on Saturday from 10:00-14:00 and additionally from 16:00-18:00 when cruise ships are in the harbour. The building offers a beautiful view of the beach and the cruise port. Access is free of charge during opening hours.
- Wooden Balconies
On the side of the Castillo de Santa Catalina facing the sea, runs the coastal road Avenida Maritima, with a large number of historic balcony houses (Casas de Los Balcones), which have also made Santa Cruz de la Palma somewhat famous. Particularly noteworthy is the large number of houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries with their elaborately designed extensions, which are well worth seeing. Facing the sea, the balconies were more practical in earlier times, used for storing food, as warehouses and also for going to the toilet. Today, most of them shine in new splendour and, decorated with flowers, convey a very well-kept and attractive impression.
- Playa de Santa Cruz de la Palma
On the other side of the shore road Avenida Maritima runs an extensive section of beach, which was opened to the public for the first time in April 2017 after about 6 years of construction. Access is possible from the street via a total of five wide entrances to the approximately 7000 square metre city beach Playa de Santa Cruz de la Palma, which have also been designed to be barrier-free. Showers and public toilets are available and the heaped up black, very fine lava sand leads in part somewhat steeper into the cooling water. The southern end of the beach borders almost directly on the town's harbour and is thus easily and quickly accessible on foot from the cruise ship berths.
- Island Museum
Founded in 1915, the island's largest museum moved into the former Franciscan monastery in Plaza de San Francisco in 1986. The exhibition of the Museo Insular features a wide variety of exhibits from the fields of folklore and local history, archaeology, natural sciences and art. In addition, regularly changing special exhibitions are presented in the rooms. The entrance is in the bell tower and is open Monday to Friday from 09:30-20:00 and Saturday from 10:00-14:00. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays. Admission is 4 euros per person. In addition to the island museum, the historic walls from the 16th century also house the island library and the general archives of La Palma.
- Playa de Bajamar
To the south of Santa Cruz de la Palma and within sight of the cruise ships is another beautiful beach, with fine black sand. Playa de Bajamar was the most important beach in Santa Cruz de la Palma before the completion of Playa de Santa Cruz de la Palma and is still popular today in the best weather. It is about 250 metres long and about 55 metres wide at the top. The slope towards the sea is shallow and a few palm trees provide some shade when needed. Showers and toilets are available. There is a small restaurant in the form of a kiosk. Two other small restaurants are located in the adjacent marina. Playa de Bajamar offers a great view of the harbour facilities opposite with the berths of the cruise ships and can be reached on foot in about 25 minutes. It takes about 1.7 kilometres to get there from the cruise terminal. If you arrive by rental car*, you will find several free parking spaces on the road leading into the city.
- Viewpoint over Santa Cruz de la Palma
The crater of the volcano La Caldereta, which is half-open towards the city, offers a great vantage point with the Mirador de La Concepción. Not only because of the altitude of around 400 metres, the best panoramic views over parts of the island, the island capital and the associated cruise port can be enjoyed in good weather. To get there by rental car*, you can plan about 15 minutes driving time for the 9.5 kilometres from the berth and in each direction. It is also possible to travel by public bus. For example, the buses of lines 12 and 300 take about 5 to 10 minutes longer and stop near the roundabout where the roads LP-101 and LP-202 meet. After getting off the bus, follow the street Subida al Mirador de la Concepción, which starts at the school grounds, and you will reach the Mirador de La Concepción after a leisurely 10 minutes. It is still a bit of an uphill walk. Halfway up, you will pass the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de La Concepción pilgrimage church, which dates back to 1556.
- Seawater Pool with an Alternative
In the north of Santa Cruz, you will find a seawater swimming pool located directly on the sea and created by nature. The beautifully designed complex is skilfully embedded in the rock and invites you to relax and sunbathe in its open spaces. Unfortunately, sun loungers are not available here. The pool itself is fed with fresh seawater by the surf and/or pumps. The so-called Charco Azul (Blue Puddle) is joined in the middle of the area by a man-made shallow pool, which is also suitable for children. Toilets, changing rooms and showers are available on site. For the latter, a fee of 50 cents is charged for use, but the entire facility is accessible free of charge. If you have an appetite in between, you can use the bistro/restaurant, where fish specialities, snacks and drinks are available. Charco Azul is very busy on weekends and holidays and is about 25 kilometres from the cruise terminal. To get there by rental car*, allow a good 40 minutes' drive in each direction. Parking spaces are available on the Camino el Melonar road above. If everything is already occupied there, you can assume that the pool area is also already full. A few 100 metres further on, the small black sand beach Playa de Puerto Espíndola is available as an alternative.
- Los Cancajos Beach
A few kilometres south of Santa Cruz are the small villages of El Fuerte and Los Cancajos. The latter is located quite centrally between Santa Cruz de la Palma and the island's airport. Here you will find Playa de los Cancajos, a very beautiful three-part beach with fine black sand. Breakwaters in front of the beach calm the bay all year round, allowing for relaxed diving and snorkelling. The diverse underwater world has been able to develop ideally here due to the relatively calm water. Toilets and showers can be found here, as well as sunbeds and umbrellas for hire. Los Cancajos Beach is about 5.1 kilometres from the moorings, which can be covered in a good 10 minutes by taxi or rental car*. Alternatively, you can take a bus on the airport line 500 to get to Los Cancajos. The high-capacity vehicles hardly take longer than a car and usually run every 30 minutes in both directions.
- Caldera de Taburiente National Park
In the middle of the beautiful Canary Island rise the mighty walls of a volcanic cone open to the southwest with a circumference of about 28 kilometres and a diameter of about 8 kilometres. The Caldera de Taburiente has been designated as a national park (Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente) since 1954. It covers a total area of 4690 hectares and was also declared a European bird sanctuary in 1981. There are various hiking trails that lead to the Barranco de Las Angustias (Gorge of Fears), the Cascada de Los Colores (Waterfall of Colours), which is coloured by minerals, and the 100-metre-high Roque Idafe, a rock needle made of basalt. Along the crater rim there are several well-placed viewpoints such as the Mirador de la Cumbrecita, the Mirador de Los Brecitos, the Torre del Time (the tower cannot be climbed), the Mirador de Los Andenes and the Mirador Lomo de las Chozas with the best views of the magnificent landscape.
- Mirador de la Cumbrecita and Visitor Centre
One of the most popular viewing platforms over the caldera is the Mirador de la Cumbrecita at an altitude of 1312 metres, from which several hiking trails start and which can also be easily reached by car. However, there are only a very limited number of parking spaces available there, so in this case you must have a valid permit with you in order to be able to pass through the access barrier. This, or the reservation for the car park, can be obtained on site at the Visitor Centre La Caldera de Taburiente, located to the south, or online in advance. The reservation is free of charge and can be booked at least 30 days in advance. The minimum parking time is 30 minutes and you have to commit to a certain period of time/parking time. In order not to lose your validity, you should arrive at the access barrier at least 10 minutes before the booked time and up to 20 minutes afterwards. If you are late, you will not be allowed to continue your journey, you can start your return journey immediately and you will be banned for 12 months.
The Cumbrecita viewpoint is about 7 kilometres from the visitor centre, where there are plenty of free parking spaces. If you want to leave the car at the bottom and walk, you can expect a challenging, uphill tour lasting a good two hours. In most cases, taxis are also available for this transfer. If you use one, you can expect to pay 10 euros each way. The visitor centre provides information daily from 09:00-18:00 on the origins of the National Park and its beautiful hiking routes. Explanations and descriptions in the exhibition are presented in Spanish, English and German. The cruise port in Santa Cruz is about 24 kilometres away, which takes about 30 minutes each way in a motorised vehicle*.
- Viewpoint Roque de los Muchachos
The highest elevation of La Palma can be found on the north-western rim of the crater. The so-called Roque de los Muchachos measures 2426 metres above sea level at its highest point and lies on the crater rim to the mighty Caldera de Taburiente. From here, there is a fantastic view over large parts of the island and the crater depression, which extends to around 8 kilometres in diameter. In good weather, the view reaches as far as the neighbouring islands of El Hierro, La Gomera and Tenerife with the impressive Pico del Teide. The Mirador del Roque de los Muchachos is about 43 kilometres from the cruise port in Santa Cruz, which takes a good 80 minutes by car in each direction. There is only a small car park directly on site with a capacity of around 20 vehicles, which is usually already quickly overcrowded in the early morning hours. Last but not least, on the way to the viewpoint, you cross the area of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM - Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos), which is worth seeing in itself. In connection with the Teide Observatory on Tenerife, it belongs to the European Northern Observatory.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees in Santa Cruz de La Palma, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small pre-selection of shipping company independent excursion offers
for, in and around Santa Cruz de La Palma, we have put together for you here.
- Cruises and Special Offers
If you haven't booked a Canary Islands cruise yet, but would like to get to know La Palma personally and go on excursions on your own, you'll find great offers from the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Opening hours of the churches: Monday to Sunday from 10:00-20:30
- Post office opening hours: Monday to Friday from 09:00-14:00, Saturday from 09:00-13:00
- Bank opening hours: Monday to Friday from 09:00-14:00, Saturday from 09:00-13:00
- Tourist information opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00-18:30
- Shop opening hours: Monday to Friday from 09:00-20:00. Saturday from 09:00-13:30
- Country code: +34
- Taxi Santa Cruz de La Palma: Tel. +34 922 181 396 (Radio Taxi)
- Taxi Santa Cruz de La Palma: Tel. +34 620 260 447 (Radio Taxi)
- Taxi Santa Cruz de La Palma: Tel. +34 922 416 070 (Radio Taxi San Miguel)
- Taxi Santa Cruz de La Palma: Tel. +34 606 547 954 (Radio Taxi San Miguel)
- General emergency call: Tel. 112
- Police: Tel. 091/092
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 061
- Fire brigade: Tel. 080
- Vaccination recommendation: Tropical Institute Spain
- German Embassy: Honorary Consul, Avenida Marítima, n°66, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma
- Safety advice: German Foreign Office Spain
- Buses: TILP
- Routes Information: Hiking and cycling routes
- Maps: La Palma Map
- Climate table: La Palma climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in Santa Cruz de la Palma
- Port occupancy: Registered berths
- Official language: Spanish
- National currency: Euro, 1 EUR = 100 cents
More port information of popular cruise destinations in the Canary Islands