Canary Island La Palma is called ‘the fair isle' because of its fabulous landscape and you will see why. Santa Cruz is one of the prettiest harbors among the islands and is easily explored on foot. A short stroll, 5 min from the cruise terminal, along the Avenida Maritime promenade will take you to the lovely old quarter around Plaza de Espana.
Most ships offer free shuttle buses from the small cruise terminal to the main port gates
La Palma Airport is just 8kms from Santa Cruz.
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Plaza de Espana, in the oldest and most beautiful quarter, has a 16th century fountain and town hall, a magnificent Renaissance church and a handicrafts market where you can pick up distinctive pottery and snack on local delicacies.
Lovingly known as La Isla Verde (the Green Island), La Palma is famous for its flora and fauna, which covers the island in a carpet of varying shades of green. Although one of the smallest Canary Islands, mile for mile it is more mountainous than Tibet! In the north you'll find pretty villages and the fabulous Botanical Gardens. Whilst in the south, pine forests sweep down hillsides to pretty roadside hamlets, with superb coastal views opening out ahead.
The best way to get around the island is to take a tour, but just exploring Santa Cruz and having a lazy lunch is also an excellent way to spend your time.
The island's most spectacular volcanic crater, Caldera de Taburiente, is crammed with rare animal and plant life and has been designated a national park, while its night skies are so clear that a major astrophysical observatory has been built at Roque de los Muchachos.
Mountains and volcanoes, beaches and forests, a tropical rain forest, tiny villages and breathtaking views. On La Palma there is much to see in a small area. La Palma is, according to many people, the most beautiful Canary island, unspoilt by tourism and ideal for rest, peace and quiet, walking and hiking. The island has many surprisingly different areas of natural beauty and enjoys a stable climate: pleasant temperatures in all seasons, warm in the winter, not too hot in the summer.
For some of the best specialist clothing shopping on the Canaries you'll be hard pushed to find better than Santa Cruz de la Palma.
What's more, it's a pleasure to stroll around this historical gem of a capital. Wander down Cally O'Daly, so named after an Irish merchant based here and find delectable shops in old Canarian balconied buildings.
Pause at the various plazas, some with ancient churches, and others with mammoth ship recreations housing a military museum. Santa Cruz de la Palma is most certainly one of the most prettiest and aesthetically pleasing capitals to be found on the Canary Islands.
The fruit and vegetables found in most shops, cafes and restaurants are grown locally using 'normal' cultivation methods which often means that they have more flavor than visitors from Northern Europe would normally expect. When buying fruit and veg in the supermarket it is usually easy to tell the difference between the local and imported produce. The imported stuff looks 'perfect' - identical shape, identical colour, no marks or blemishes, and is often labelled 'import'. The local produce comes in cardboard or wooden boxes, is delivered directly to the shops and markets by local farmers. The fruit is often mis-shapen. It usually tastes wonderful so don't turn your nose up, try it!
Spanish is the official language in the entire national territory. However, other languages coexist with Spanish in certain regions of Spain. These are: Catalan in Catalonia, Galician in Galicia, Euskera/Basque in the Basque Country, Valencian in the Valencia Region and a particular variety of Catalan spoken on the Balearic Islands.
Emergency number: Dial 112 free of charge (valid throughout Spain). Service is given in Spanish, and also in English, French and German in some tourist areas.
The most common business for shops and businesses hours are Monday through Saturday, from 9.30 h to 13.30 h, and from 16.30 to 20.00 h.
Big shopping centers and department stores open from 10.00 h to 21.00 or 22.00 h uninterruptedly. These big stores open sometimes on Sunday.
In coastal cities, in high season, shops are usually open passed 22.00 h.
Pharmacies open from 9.30 to 13.30 h, and from 16.30 to 20.00 h. In all major cities you can find pharmacies that open 24 hours. Pharmacies follow a rolling late-hour schedule, which is published in the newspapers, and is posted at all pharmacies.
Museums are in general closed on Mondays.
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