Santa Cruz de la Palma is the charming capital of the Canary Island of La Palma. What are the best things to do? You can read all about it in this article.
About Santa Cruz de la Palma
Santa Cruz de la Palma is located in the east of the Canary Island of La Palma and is also the island’s capital. Santa Cruz is the main port of the island and has good ferry connections with Cádiz, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria.
The city was founded in 1493 and many beautiful colonial buildings can be found. Therefore, it has a very nice historic city center.
I myself visited Santa Cruz de la Palma during a sailing trip in the Canary Islands and I was pleasantly surprised. It is an interesting town with beautiful sights.
Fun things to do in Santa Cruz de la Palma
What are the best things to do in Santa Cruz de la Palma? And what are the most beautiful places to visit? 12 tips.
Balcones de la Avenida Marítima
The Balcones de la Avenida Marítima are wooden balconies on colored houses and a must see when you are in Santa Cruz de la Palma. It’s so photogenic! The balconies are on the back of the houses and were formerly used for ventilation. And in this way, the sewage water could easily flow into the sea via the street (fortunately not anymore).
Museo Naval – Barco de la Virgen
In the middle of the town is a replica of one of Christopher Columbus’ ships. This ship also serves as the maritime museum of La Palma. You can learn more about the history of the conquest of La Palma and the current state of seafaring on the island.
Next to the museum is the funny Monumento a El Enano, with a statue of a little Napoleon.
Castillo de La Virgen
A few minutes away you will find the bright white Castillo de La Virgin from the seventeenth century. A long time ago, it was used to stop pirates from coming close to the shore, but now it is a nice viewpoint. Walk along the castle wall with cannons for a nice view of the city and the sea. You can visit it for free.
Real Castillo de Santa Catalina
In Santa Cruz, you can see another castle: the Real Castillo de Santa Catalina. It is a former royal castle and long ago the main gateway to the city. This has existed since the sixteenth century, was destroyed and rebuilt in the seventeenth century, and a historic monument since 1951. You can visit the castle for free. Please note: opening hours are limited.
Plaza de España
The Plaza de España is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful squares in the city. On the north side is the impressive church Parroquia Matriz de El Salvador. On the other side of the square are several historic buildings from the sixteenth century. It’s an impressive sight and there are many special details to discover.
Nuestra Senora de las Nieves
Just outside the city, you will find the most beautiful church: Real Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Las Nieves. It takes a while to get there (20 minutes by bus or 50 minutes on foot), but it is definitely worth it. This church belongs to the patron saint of La Palma, the Madonna of the Snow. It is a pilgrim church and very beautifully decorated with lots of gold, silver, and paintings.
It is beautifully situated between the palm trees and from here you have a great view of the island.
Playa de Bajamar
Fancy taking a dip? Then the small Playa de Bajamar is a great beach to visit. It is a black sand beach and from here you have a nice view of the harbor, where a huge cruise ship regularly moors.
Playa de Santa Cruz de la Palma
Do you need more space and do you want to be closer to the city? Playa de Santa Cruz de la Palma is also a black sand beach and follows almost the entire Avenida Maritima (where you can see the beautiful balconies). There are some beautiful artworks on the beach, such as this whale.
Calle O’Daly is a shopping street that you should visit even if you don’t like shopping. It’s filled with beautiful historic buildings! With many different colors and beautiful wood carvings. The beautiful Plaza de España is also located on this street.
Mirador de La Concepción
Are you looking for the most beautiful view of La Palma? Then you have to go to Mirador de La Concepción. This is also slightly out of town (it’s an hour by foot or 25 minutes by bus via many winding roads), but it’s absolutely worth it. You look out over a volcano crater, the city, and the sea, a gorgeous view!
Plaza San Francisco
One of the largest plazas in the city is Plaza San Francisco. This used to be a monastery and now it is a museum; Museo Insular de La Palma. The museum is unfortunately temporarily closed, but the square is still worth a visit. There are several benches for you to relax on while enjoying all the beautiful buildings you see here.
La Palma is a perfect island for hiking enthusiasts and there are many trails to be found around the capital. You will regularly come across signs with destinations where you can hike to (with the number of kilometers), so follow them and be surprised! Do you prefer hiking with a plan? Then it is useful to bring this La Palma hiking guide with you.
Where to stay in Santa Cruz de la Palma
Would you like to visit Santa Cruz de la Palma and are you looking for a place to stay? That’s a good idea because it’s also a lovely town to visit in the evening. There are many cute tapas bars.
Here are some great places to stay in Santa Cruz de la Palma:
- € HosteLit, Capsule Hostel – Yes, for the budget traveler there is a capsule hotel in Santa Cruz! A tiny room with everything you need.
- €€ El Hotelito 27 – Nicely decorated and cozy hotel in the center of the city.
- €€€ Aparthotel El Galeón – Do you need a little more space? Then this is a good option. The apartments have a seating area and a fully equipped kitchen.
Check Booking.com for options and availability.
Book a trip to La Palma
Feel like traveling to the island of La Palma? These websites are useful for booking your trip:
- You can fly to La Palma from several European countries. Check Skyscanner for the cheapest flights. However, it can also be convenient to fly to Tenerife and take a ferry from there to La Palma. Check Direct Ferries for ferry tickets.
- There are buses in La Palma, but you won’t get everywhere and it can take very long. It is therefore very convenient to have a rental car. Find the best deals on rental cars through Discover Cars or Rental Cars.
- Would you like to do an excursion? Check Get Your Guide for all the options.
- It’s always smart to have good travel insurance. Check Insubuy for possibilities and prices.
Read more about Spain and the Canary Islands
Do you fancy a trip to La Palma and do you want to know more about the Canary Islands? These are a few great travel guides:
In addition, you can also find more information about a trip to Spain and the Canary Islands on this website. Check them out:
- 17 fun things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
- 13 great things to do in La Gomera
- What are the best things to do in Seville?
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