Starstruck in La Palma


La Palma & Teneguía Princess Hotel in La Palma

PERFECT POSITION: The well-appointed La Palma & Teneguía Princess Lodge in La Palma (Picture: NC)

It’s simply one of many pleasant surprises of this diamond-shaped island, probably the most northwesterly of the Canary archipelago.

Stretching 10 miles broad and 18 miles lengthy, La Palma is affected by volcanoes, lush banana plantations and clusters of ochre, cerulean and custard-hued homes, giving it a relaxed, Caribbean vibe.

Final yr, easyJet launched direct flights to the island twice per week, providing a price range various to constitution flights and package deal excursions.

Not like its bigger and extra well-known siblings, La Palma is blissfully un-touristy.

Designated a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 2002, it’s famend for stargazing, seafood and spectacular festivals.

It’s additionally a well-liked mountaineering vacation spot, with greater than 600 miles of routes.

Fuencaliente

UNIVERSAL APPEAL: Fuencaliente (Picture:
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La Palma was the primary place on the planet to be designated a Starlight Reserve and there are astral viewing factors scattered throughout the island.

Topographically talking, the island is cut up into two halves; the verdant rainforests of the north and the volcanic ridges and black-sand seashores of the south.

I’m staying on the La Palma & Teneguía Princess, a sprawling all-inclusive resort in Fuencaliente on the southwestern coast.

Set amongst acres of banana groves, the resort boasts 11 swimming swimming pools, eating places, youngsters’ golf equipment et al, and largely attracts a fly-and-flop crowd.

Nonetheless, for these seeking to discover greater than the island’s soot-coloured seashores, it’s additionally nicely positioned for each northern and southern reaches.

The lodge is a 10-minute drive from the San Antonio volcano, which has a guests’ centre with a projection room, seismographs and aerial pictures of the island.

Though it’s solely 7pm, the darkening sky is starting to shimmer with starlight.

La Palma was the primary place on the planet to be designated a Starlight Reserve and there are astral viewing factors scattered throughout the island.

Placeta de Borrero in Santa Cruz de La Palma

IDYLLIC: Previous City in Santa Cruz de La Palma (Picture:
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After dinner at close by Casa del Volcan, I meet up with Antonio, a neighborhood astrologer from Cielo de La Palma.

Shining his laser skywards, Antonio factors out the completely different constellations, stars punching out of the coal-black sky like backlit crystals.

“There you’ll be able to see the bear, Ursa Main, Orion’s Belt, and the North Star, which isn’t the brightest within the sky, as you’ll be able to see,” chuckles Antonio, as he guides me by the galaxy.

The following morning, en path to the nationwide park, I cease briefly at Mercadillo de Argual, a bustling weekend market in Los Llanos de Argual.

The shady, tree-lined sq. is awash with incense-infused stalls, reside Cuban music, rum shacks and tie-dye retailers, and feels extra Caribbean than European.

The Caldera de Taburiente Nationwide Park is without doubt one of the highlights of the island.

A five-mile-wide volcanic crater surrounded by jagged, granite figers and aromatic Canarian pine timber.

Though dominated by the intense mountaineering set there are many shorter routes for fairweather walkers like me, all providing magnificent views.

San Andres La Palma

UNSPOILT: The charming previous city of San Andres is within the north of La Palma (Picture:
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Lunch is a brief drive away at Duende del Fuego in Los Llanos de Aridane.

Acclaimed chef Pedro Hernandez woos me along with his hyper-local dishes, together with a creamy, puce-hued prickly pear and goat’s cheese risotto.

The following morning I cease off for a breakfast barraquito, a Canarian speciality made with espresso, condensed milk and Licor 43.

It’s gas for embarking on a stretch of Ruta de los Volcanes, an 11-mile mountaineering route which runs alongside the southern backbone of the island.

Tramping down the volcano’s rippling, iron-grey flanks, dotted with inexperienced tufts like teenage bumfluff, this facet of La Palma feels stark and uncooked.

Gazing out over the Atlantic’s rippling navy blanket, I contemplate the actual fact the earth beneath my ft didn’t even exist once I was born.

In 1971 the Teneguia Volcano erupted and lava flowed all the way down to the ocean, creating a number of sq. kilometres of recent land – that means I’m standing on the youngest a part of Europe.

From century-old traditions to new, uncharted lands, La Palma has been a starry-eyed shock.

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THE KNOWLEDGE

La Palma & Teneguía Princess Lodge (0203 499 5042/princesshotels.com) gives doubles from £83, B&B.

easyJet (0330 365 5000/ easyJet.com) flights from Gatwick to La Palma from £46.

La Palma tourism: visitlapalma.es



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