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The black sand beaches of La Palma

Not everybody wants to spend their entire holiday racing round an island at 100kph, even if it's fun! Once in a while it's nice to sit down on a beach and just relax, take a dip in the sea and watch the rest of the world whiz past. Having just returned from a winter holiday in Thailand I have to admit that a few days laid out on the beach recharging batteries is an excellent idea, and if that's what you want to do, La Palma has some loveley beaches waiting for you.

Although La Palma hasn't been ruined by endless beach resorts, the island still has some lovely beaches. Being a volcanic island, the beaches are the black sand sort. The main beaches are at Puerto Tazacorte and Puerto Naos on the island's west coast, Charco Verde in the south west, Nogales Beach in the north and Los Cancajos on the east coast.

The beaches at Puerto Tazacorte and Puerto Naos, being on the west coast, offer the highest number of sunshine hours and the best sunsets. Tazacorte is usually the quieter beach of the two, and Puerto Naos, a blue flag beach, is the largest on the west coast.

The black sand beaches of La Palma

The Charco Verde beach is just two kilometres away from Puerto Naos, just 150 metres long and set in a small cove surrounded by cliffs. The cove provides a clam sea, making it great for kids. The Los Cancajos beach is just 2km north of the airport and 2km south of Santa Cruz de La Palma. The beach is in a bay, protected by volcanic rock breakwaters which provide calm waters throughout the year.

If you're prepared to go a little bit out of your way, Nogales Beach is in my opinion the most beautiful. Located in the northern town of Puntallana, its black volcanic sand and spectacular cliffs make it unique. The waters are changeable, sometimes great for surfers, others great for swimming, but the views are always beautiful. The beach is easily found, not far from Puntallana. You need to park your car nearby and then follow a 500-metre metre path down to the beach. It's well worth the trip, trust me.

And don't forget that because these are the quiet beaches of La Palma we're talking about, mo matter which beach you choose, you won’t need to get up at the crack of dawn to secure a place for your towel!