Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Some Winter Sunshine: Walking on La Palma

Well I'm not sure if AW would have approved, but to make up for 2012's cancelled Summer holidays, my wife Claire and I had a fantastic break at the start of February. The challenge was to find somewhere with sun, sea and walking to be done. We considered, and discounted loads of places, as we wanted to find a place where sunshine was more or less guaranteed and we found the perfect place on this Holiday La Palma website. So some research, when we saw La Palma referred to as "the world's steepest island" then that was it! Armed with Paddy Dillon's Cicerone guide to La Palma and a map we were set to go.

We stayed in the resort village of Puerto Naos and it was fairly quiet - the beach wasn't too busy and the restaurants and cafes were open for business but not rammed. There were lots of cyclists based in Puerto Naos, but we didn't see too many other walker types.

La Palma is an amazing place and an interesting one to drive on - the roads all basically consist of hairpin bends with short straight passages in between. In particular when you are in the national parks it gets pretty hairy. The scenery is fantastic and very varied at that - you can be in lush forest one minute and on an arid volcano the next, whilst being a short drive away from a nice volcanic sandy beach. Walkers on La Palma cannot fail to be impressed by the fantastic footpath network, waymarking and great condition of the paths.
We managed a number of walks so I'll be sharing these with you over the next few weeks as well as some other resources.

For the first walk we did a part of the "volcano route" which is goes from the heart of the island, heading southwards towards Los Canarios.
Setting off from the Refugio del Pilar, we headed upwards through lush forest, gradually climbing the slopes of Pico Birigoyo.

We were accompanied by a steady drizzle, as we were well in the cloud. Occasionally we came to viewing points which should have offered expansive views, but we had a sheet of white instead. From time to time the sun looked like it was going to penetrate the cloud, but no such luck.

Higher up we left most of the vegetation behind and it was our first exposure to the eerie upper volcanic slopes. As I previously mentioned, the footpaths and signposting was absolutely spot on.

Unfortunately the weather did not let up and so we didn't get any of the big views we were hoping for, at least the landscape itself was very spectacular though. After a while we left the GR131 path, and headed down towards Montana Marcos. This part of the walk was a bit tougher and we felt extremely remote - this is definitely not the place to stray from the paths! Here we met a couple from Wales who were headed back in the same direction as us so we had a good chat with them on the way back.

We were absolutely drenched and frozen when we reached the car, and so it was quite surreal when we headed back down, out of the cloud, and over to the coast where a blazing sun and bright blue sky meant we replaced the planned cup of tea and a hot bath with a lie on the beach and a dip in the ocean!


  1. Hey TC, in 06 my wife and I were in puerto naos, too! Enjoy your stay. Cheers, pillovski.

  2. Seems like a great holiday trip there.
    So since you went back to the UK-island you even spend holidays on islands.
    Hope you two had a great time.

  3. Thanks Pille, that's cool that you were in Puerto Naos too! We will definitely go back...