After falling in love with the lesser-known Canary Island of La Palma last year, our Editor-in-Chief Michael returned again – this time with his wife, son and in-laws – for another dose of spring sunshine, volcanic views, fir forests and black-sand beaches…


This tiny island really does have (almost) everything I look for in a holiday destination: guaranteed sunshine, a laid-back vibe, lots of beaches (if we’re being picky I’d prefer blonde sand and smaller waves), superb value for money, and some spectacular mountain scenery…

P1070865 P1070914

Access is reasonably easy: we flew BA/Iberia via Madrid, but you can go no-frills via Tenerife (if you don’t mind changing airports on the island), or grab a direct charter flight if you are staying exactly 1 or 2 weeks. But my preference is scheduled – it’s hardly more expensive, and you get the most charming young pilots …


Our base for the week was – once again – the gorgeous Casa Los Geranios, where Lourdes welcomed us with the same warmth, quick-fire Spanish and delicious homemade cake and wine – trampled from the vines which grow just below the house. With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, it’s perfect for an extended family, and if you need more space there’s a separate annex for 2 (thankfully, relations with my in-laws remained cordial enough not to need it!).



It’s set on a sunny hillside below the volcano of San Antonio, in the far south of the island, with endless Atlantic views from the terrace which are particularly mind-blowing at sunset


A couple of miles up the hill is the pretty village of Fuencaliente (also called Los Canarios), with a few decent eateries (especially by Canarian standards), two wine co-operatives, a supermarket and a bar selling fantastic almond pastries


Our highlight of the week was a stunning 20km trek along the 2000-metre crest of the Ruta de los Volcanos


– icy cold at that altitude, but a magnificent roller-coaster of craters, pinnacles and forested paths carpeted with soft pine needles which re-energised us beyond measure


We also explored the lower volcanoes of San Antonio and Teneguia (which last erupted in 1971)


…and made a day trip to the far north of the island, where we unearthed some elusive Guantxo rock engravings…


… and picnicked on a spectacular ledge above the barranco (gorge) of Fagundo, surrounded by exotic cacti, euphorbia, flowering asphodels and lilac daisies


Our remaining days were spent on one of two beaches – either the sheltered sickle of Tazacorte, with its rainbow cafés fronting the waves…


…or the more open sands of Puerto Naos, which is the closest La Palma gets to a resort. A word of warning: don’t count on swimming, as the water is quite chilly in winter, and red flags fly once or twice a week on average.


In nearby Los Llanos, the island’s largest settlement, you can stroll through the pedestrianised, pastel-painted town centre, stopping for coffees, a spot of shopping, and a healthy al fresco lunch at La Vitamina


… before heading back home, through the clouds, for sunset


For more tips on La Palma, read our destination guide >>