La Palma is one of the best locations in the world for a walking or hiking holiday, with walking enthusiasts from all over the world heading to La Palma every year. Nature lovers, keen walkers, nordic walkers and even casual strollers will find plenty to do on La Palma. The centrepieces of the island, the Caldera de Taburiente National Park and the enchanting misty forests of Los Tilos boast enough walking routes to keep even the most dedicated walkers happy.
The Caldera de Taburiente, one of the world’s largest erosion craters, almost 2500m in height and with an 8km diameter is found in the north of La Palma, while the south offers the Cumbre Vieja, a younger volcanic mountain range, which also is almost 2000m high. Along the ridge of this volcanic range there is a beautiful hiking trail, perhaps the best known of all, the Ruta de los Volcanes, leading walkers through black ash fields, extinct craters, lava streams and stunning rock formations, all the time offering fantastic view out across the Atlantic.
La Palma’s foot paths and trails are extremely well sign-posted, marked and classified in accordance with the “European Rambler’s Association” (ERA) conventions. If you're looking for short walks, you can choose from 36 S.L. trails (sendero local) on La Palma, which are walks under 10km in length. If these aren't enough for you, there are 42 P.R. 'short distance' trails (sendero de pequeno recorrido), and these are trails that can be completed in 1 day. There are also 2 long distance G.R. trails. (sendero de gran recorrido) which take more than 1 day to complete.
There are plenty of companies offering guided walking tours on La Palma. Most will collect you from your accommodation, take you to the walk start point, provide you with an experienced guide and then drop you off at your accommodation at the end of the walk. In general, these are an excellent choice and your guides will ensure you don't miss anything of interest along the way.
Of course, experienced hikers and those planning longer walks will prefer to travel unaccompanied, and in that case you need to be sure you pick up one of the walkers maps, complete with trail routes and details of the markings and signposts you'll be passing. These hikers maps are published by the La Palma tourist authority, and are available at the tourist information offices at the airport in Santa Cruz and in Los Llanos.
Whether you're an experienced or casual walker, be sure to take adequate water and food with you on any walks, along with a good pair of walking shoes or boots. Carrying a hat to protect from the sun, warm clothing and light waterproofs is also a very good idea, even on short walks. The weather (and with it, visibility) can change dramatically in a matter of minutes, so if you don't want to get lost, don't venture off the marked trails. If possible, be sure to take your mobile phone with you, fully charged. You're unlikely to need it for more than taking photos, but it's always better to be safe than sorry!
This is an 8km walk, not at all difficult, with both uphill and downhill sections that takes you through the enchanting Los Tilos forest, and well worth adding to your 'to do' list. Depending on your speed and how often you want to stop, the walk should take between 2-3 hours.
This is a 24km walk and will take about 7 hours each way. The path takes you through several tunnels, so take a torch. The walk is open all year-round but should not be attempted when raining. You don't have to do the whole walk and many people use a taxi to start out at Casa del Monte and then descend to the Visitor Centre. If you want to do the entire walk, you can start out either from Los Sauces, or from the Visitor Centre.
Usually taking 3 days to complete, the GR 131 walking trail runs between Tazacorte on the west coast of La Palma, skirts around the peak of the Caldera de Taburiente and then runs down the volcanic spine of the island to Fuencaliente at the southern tip of the island. Stage 1 runs from Puerto de Tazacorte to Roque de Los Muchachos and is 17km long. The second stage goes from Roque de Los Muchachos to Refugio del Pilar and is 26km long, while the final third stage goes from Refugio de El Pilar and ends in Fuencaliente. A spectacular, unforgettable walk.