Routes by Car around La Palma
15 April 2019
If you are planning to travel to the "Isla Bonita" (Pretty island), you should know that there are numerous car routes around La Palma that offer unique experiences that you will surely want to repeat. Driving around this island of barely 700 square kilometres, which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve, is synonymous with bathing in nature.
This is why a good alternative is to discover it by car via its excellent road network, which includes secondary and tertiary roads (the word "motorway" is unknown on the island).
However, it is not as simple as driving around La Palma in a car. The distances can take a little longer than expected due to the island's orography.
This place, also listed as a Starlight Destination and Reserve, is full of wild and rugged landscapes, so that at every step you take you will come across the pure, untouched and well-preserved nature of its 14 municipalities, an absolute display of beauty.
Its incredible landscapes, imposing volcanoes, deep forests, welcoming beaches and star-filled skies are more than enough reasons to visit the "Isla Bonita".
However, be warned that the beauty of La Palma is such that you will lose track of time.
Driving around La Palma
Before arriving on the island, the best thing to do is to plan a complete travel itinerary that includes all the places you can't miss on La Palma. If you still don't know how many magical places are waiting for you, we provide you with our excellent guide of places to see in La Palma.
Without a doubt, to enjoy every corner of the island, the ideal way to do so is to hire a car in La Palma. Having your own vehicle is the best option for getting around and having the freedom to move around as and when you want.
Driving around La Palma also allows you to admire the diverse landscape of the "Isla Bonita" in all its splendour and at your own pace. But above all, and most importantly, it allows you to get everywhere.
If you are all set, you just need to get ready to travel and get to know the best routes by car on the island of La Palma. Let's get started!
Route through the North of La Palma
To complete this first route around La Palma by car, we recommend using a whole day to explore each village at your leisure and enjoy each stop to the fullest.
The starting point for all the routes is the island's capital: Santa Cruz de La Palma. This small city, declared a Historic-Artistic Site, has a great architectural heritage with an unmistakable colonial style among cobbled streets, where traditions and modernity go hand in hand.
Leaving the capital, we will head towards Puntallana, where there is an easily accessible viewpoint that will delight everyone: San Bartolo. Visitors will be able to discover the legend of the Salto del enamorado (Lover's Leap) thanks to a beautiful monument.
After this obligatory visit, we will continue our route through the northern part of La Palma towards San Andrés y Sauces, which is home to the marvellous Bosque de los Tilos, an explosion of biodiversity and greenery that is enchanting at first sight.
In this spectacular, quiet and silent "forest", moss and the smell of freshness predominate. After exploring the heart of the forest through some hiking trails, you can discover beautiful places such as:
- El Charco Azul, the most complete natural pool on the island.
- Puerto Espíndola, one of the most famous fishing villages of La Palma.
- Barlovento and the attractive pools of La Fajana
- Mirador de La Tosca, to enjoy a panoramic view of the north coast and its beautiful drago trees.
You will also discover a myriad of stunning sights to see in the North of La Palma as you drive around the island. Take the time to explore between stops and you'll discover areas of lush vegetation and spectacular coastal scenery.
Route through the South of La Palma
After discovering the North, it's time to explore the southern treasures of La Palma. We recommend dedicating another day to fully experience this route and to not miss any of its hidden gems.
Departing again from Santa Cruz de La Palma, we head for Los Cancajos, a small fishermen's neighbourhood which, although very much adapted to tourism, still maintains its quiet, family atmosphere. It is particularly popular with diving enthusiasts.
The route continues to Villa de Mazo, the island's premier craft village, where you can learn about the last vestiges of the ancient inhabitants of La Palma, the Benahoaritas.
Our next destination will be Fuencaliente, a municipality known for its wines and volcanoes. We recommend visiting the "Volcán de San Antonio" Visitor Center, where you can take a walk around the gigantic crater, and then visit the impressive volcano Teneguía. If you have time and enjoy trekking, you can take the opportunity to walk the Volcano Route and see some endemic species such as the kestrel up close.
We will end the second of our driving tours around La Palma in Los Llanos de Aridane, the true economic capital of the island due to its well-known prominence in areas such as agriculture and tourism. You can stroll through its beautiful old town or fall in love with its coastline by going to the Charco Verde beach.
Visiting the Roque de los Muchachos
Located at the summit of the island, 2,396 metres above sea level, the Roque de los Muchachos is undoubtedly one of the best "balconies" in the world for admiring the stars. Its easy access by car will allow you to visit its astrophysical observatory, subject to prior reservation.
La Palma's location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and its peculiar climate mean that clouds form between 1,000 and 2,000 metres above sea level.
Thus, these natural factors cause the clouds to act as a natural mirror and prevent light pollution from hindering the observation of the stars at night.
Discovering the Caldera de Taburiente
We leave for last the best hidden secret of the island's nature, the real treasure of La Palma, the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, which will delight lovers of biology and geology.
The spectacular nature of its cleft, eight kilometres in diameter and up to one and a half kilometres deep, furrowed by deep ravines and covered with lush Canary Island pine forests, cannot be appreciated in pictures and photos, making it a must-see to enjoy it in person.
The best thing to do is to put on your boots and start walking along its steep paths among monumental pine trees to discover all its secrets. The Caldera de Taburiente Visitor Centre, next to the La Cumbrecita viewpoint, awaits all those curious about the volcanic nature of the island to provide information about the excursions that can be made in the National Park, considered to be some of the best hiking routes of La Palma.
Discover the best car routes around La Palma with TopCar
The more you get to know this island, the more you will understand why they call it the "Isla Bonita". We hope that these car routes around La Palma will help you to complete your travel itinerary so that your holiday is "simply" perfect.
Remember that TopCar has two car rental offices in La Palma, one at the airport and the other at the dock of the port of Santa Cruz de La Palma. If you need a rental car to get around the island, TopCar is your ally so that you can keep adding miles of experiences.