A quick visit to Santa Cruz

The famous balconies in Santa Cruz de La Palma
November 4, 2014

  Cruise ships regularly call into Santa Cruz de La Palma, and I thought people might like suggestions on what to see while they’re here. Of course it might be useful to people staying elsewhere on the island, too. The Tourist Information Office is a distinctive glass building, right outside the entrance to the port, and the staff are very good. But it does tend to attract longish queues when…


Flags Galore

Garafía's flag
June 11, 2014

  You see a lot of flags on La Palma. Most English visitors will recognise the flags of Spain and the European Union. But the Canary Islands are an autonomous region within Spain, and they have their own flag too. You see it a lot, especially around May 30th, which is Canary Day. And then each island has its own flag. Here’s the flag of La Palma: And as if…


Las Nieves

Las Nieves is a pretty hamlet, in the municipality of Santa Cruz, but about 2 km outside it as the crow flies. If you’re fairly fit, there’s a pretty (but rough and steep) footpath between the two. More importantly, Las Nieves has the most gorgeous church on the island. It’s also one of the oldest, dating from at least 1423 (they had missionaries here before the conquest in 1493). The…

May 16, 2014

The Famous Balconies

The famous sea-front balconies in Santa Cruz de la Palma
December 2, 2013

  These are the famous sea-front balconies in Santa Cruz de la Palma. Actually these are the backs of the houses: the fronts look onto the Calle Real. When I first came to the island in 1990, the woodwork was all green and the plaster all white. For the town’s 500th anniversay, in 1993, the whole lot disappeared behind acres of black plastic sheeting for weeks while they were repainted…


Astrophotography talk

  On Wednesday night in Santa Cruz there will be a talk on astrophotography by Babak Tafreshi and Christoph Malin (two of the most prestigious astrophotographers in the world). They’re on La Palma to teach at Astromaster LA PALMA 2013, an advanced course on image processing and landscape photography timelapse and night which will be held in Los Cancajos this week, between July 26 and September 30. The talk will…

September 24, 2013

St. Catherine’s Fort (Castillo de Santa Catalina)

In 1553 French pirates attacked Santa Cruz de La Palma, so they built a small fort to defend the town from future attacks. This was just a platform with a tower, and it was destroyed by flooding during a storm in 1671. In 1676 work started on the current fort, and it was finished in 1701. It’s nothing like the tower of London, but then it didn’t need to be….

January 29, 2013