La Palma is a paradise for hikers. Many tourists come to La Palma mainly for hiking. The beauty and untouched nature of La Palma can be experienced directly and intensively. In addition, the infrastructure for hikers has been considerably expanded in recent years through the development of hiking trails and visitor information centers. The range of guided hiking tours has also become more extensive.
The well-signposted network of hiking trails, with a total length of more than 1,000 kilometers, offers numerous hiking tours ranging from short walks to trekking lasting several days in all parts of the island. Some of today's hiking trails date back to ancient paths (caminos reales) still used by the Guanches. Together with the municipalities, the island government has awarded almost 1,000 kilometers of these old hiking trails on La Palma according to international standards in recent years.
Distinct labeling of hiking trails
The initials G.R. (sendero de gran recorrido, marked red and white) refer to a route that takes longer than one day. P.R. (sendero de pequeño recorrido, marked yellow and white) refers to a route that can be travelled in one day, and S.L. (sendero local, marked green and white) refers to a routes that are less than 10 kilometers long. At prominent points and crossroads, signposts with the route number indicate the direction. At the beginning and at the end of each path, there are signs giving an overview of the course. Along the two multi-day routes GR130 and GR131, the island government has created overnight accommodations for hikers.
It is advisable to wear good shoes during all hikes, especially those in the Caldera de Taburiente, and not to leave the paths - not only for nature conservation reasons - because the needles of the Canary pines form a dense carpet in many places, which can be extremely slippery.
The Tourist Office has published a special hiking map, which is available at the official tourist information booths at the airport, Santa Cruz and Los Llanos, and which makes orientation much easier. In addition to the hiking tours recommended by us, we would also like to refer to the rich hiking literature on La Palma.
Guided hikes are offered by many organizers. Here you can also book the transfer to the start or end point of the hike because comparatively few hikes on La Palma can be carried out as a round tour. For this, you can turn to one of the local hiking guides, who offer a variety of well-prepared tours. Detailed information and contact details can be found at Natour Trekking or Graja-Tours (German language).
Hiking boots that reach up to the ankles are highly recommended. They support the ankle and increase safety, which is important even for short hikes. As it gets cool quickly at higher altitudes, especially in the evening, but also in the shade, a warm, rainproof jacket should be as much a part of your luggage as food and drink supplies (at least 1 liter of water per person). Don't forget sun protection and, especially for longer descents, hiking poles. If you have reception, a mobile phone is helpful in case of an emergency. The possibility of hiking with GPS is still a matter of opinion in the hiking forums. Modern smartphones seem to offer the most reliable technical prerequisites for this. A flashlight doesn't weigh much, but it can be very useful in tunnels and caves, at nightfall or to draw attention to yourself.
Golden rules for hiking on La Palma
As a general rule, you should never set off alone and without informing someone about the hiking route. Sudden thunderstorms, the departure from the trail or the overestimation of one's own possibilities can lead to unpleasant surprises. Caution, the times are given in many hiking descriptions refer to experienced hikers. In the beginning, it is better to interpret them a little more generously and to take into account times for photography and breaks.