10 Best things to do in Santa Cruz de La Palma
Santa Cruz de La Palma is the capital of La Palma, also known as Isla Bonita, one of the smaller islands in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain. Santa Cruz de La Palma is also the largest city on the island, with around 15,000 inhabitants.
- What to do in Santa Cruz de La Palma & places of interest
- 1. Plaza de España
- 2. Church of El Salvador
- 3. The balconies of Avenida Maritima
- 4. Naval Museum of Santa Cruz de La Palma - Ship of the Virgin
- 5. Insular Museum of Fine Arts, Natural Sciences and Ethnography
- 6. Contemporary Art Museum
- 7. Casa principial de Salazar
- 8. La Alameda kiosk
- 9. Real Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Las Nieves
- 10. Playa de Santa Cruz de La Palma
If you're visiting La Palma and you are staying in the capital, or you want to visit the city for a day, we have prepared a list of the top points of interest in Santa Cruz de La Palma, so you can explore it without missing the most important places.
What to do in Santa Cruz de La Palma & places of interest
From a tourist's point of view, Santa Cruz de La Palma is a good place to stay in La Palma if you want to have an active holiday and explore lots of corners around the island. Being the capital, the city is well connected with most other places in La Palma and it's easy to get around, either by using public transport or by renting a car, which we absolutely recommend.
1. Plaza de España
Considered by critics as the best Renaissance-style complex in the Canary Islands, Plaza de España has functioned throughout history in its dual use as the main square, intended for the celebration of civil acts, and as a square of the Church of El Salvador.
If you're interested in Canarian architecture, then in this main square of Santa Cruz de La Palma you can see several buildings of interest: the house Monteverde (Plaza España, 1), built by Pablo Monteverde after 1618; the Lorenzo house (Plaza de España, 2), with a classicist façade; the public fountain, built in 1588; the church and bell tower of El Salvador (Plaza de España, 3), whose construction dates from the early 16th century; the Massieu house (Plaza de España, 4), with an 18th-century façade, the Pereyra house (Plaza de España, 5), built in its current state by Miguel Pereyra Pérez in 1864; and the Town Hall. The center of the square is dominated by the Monument to Father Manuel Díaz Palmeras, a key figure in politics, education, culture and charity in La Palma during the first half of the 19th century.
2. Church of El Salvador
Founded around 1500, the parish of El Salvador is situated in Plaza de Espana and it's one of the top places to see when visiting Santa Cruz de La Palma. The church of El Salvador has many interesting architectural features, like stonework from La Gomera, as well as gothic elements.
3. The balconies of Avenida Maritima
These typical wooden Canarian balconies are the main thing that you see in photos depicting Santa Cruz de La Palma. These balconies on Avenida Maritima in the capital of La Palma are the best-preserved wooden balconies in the Canary Islands. You can also admire the so-called double balconies of Lusitanian influence, reminiscent of Portuguese architecture. I
4. Naval Museum of Santa Cruz de La Palma - Ship of the Virgin
The ship houses inside the Naval Museum of Santa Cruz de La Palma made up of materials of various kinds that portray local maritime life. For the construction of the ship, its promoters - descendants of sailors, shipbuilders and collectors of maritime objects - took as a reference the Nao Santa María, aboard which Columbus starred in the discovery of America.
5. Insular Museum of Fine Arts, Natural Sciences and Ethnography
The house where the museum is located used to belong to the Convent of San Francisco de Santa Cruz de La Palma and today it is home to the General Archive of La Palma, the Insular Library and the Insular Museum of Fine Arts, Natural Sciences and Ethnography.
The Fine Arts section exhibits a collection donated for this purpose by Senator Pedro Poggio Álvarez, a fan of painting and the first general director of Fine Arts. Arts of Spain. It also has other funds acquired by the Island Council, highlighting, among the local authors, the realist Manuel González Méndez, trained in Madrid and Paris, the academic painter Gregorio Toledo and the avant-garde Carmen Arozena (to whose name the island institution has dedicated an international printmaking prize) and, among foreigners, the Berlin expressionist Bruno Brandt.
The Ethnography section contains pieces related to housing, agriculture, gastronomy or artisan textile production. The Natural Sciences part of the museum originally made up of the Natural History Museum of the Royal Cosmological Society has been enriched with new minerals and zoological exhibits.
6. Contemporary Art Museum
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Santa Cruz de La Palma is located on the site of the house built around 1616 by Captain Juan Vandewalle de Aguiar. After being affected by a fire in the twentieth century, the building was demolished, the house was acquired by the Santa Cruz de La Palma City Council and it was turned into a museum.
The building houses on its upper floor the Interpretation Center of the Bajada de la Virgen, which proposes a sensory journey through the most emblematic festival of La Palma.
7. Casa principial de Salazar
Known under the name of Casa Principal de Salazar, this is the most important home that the Salazar family, originally from the Burgos valley, would come to own on La Palma is known.
Nowadays, the Main House of Salazar is owned by the Cabildo Insular de La Palma, which has rehabilitated the property and has converted it into a cultural center.
8. La Alameda kiosk
The Alameda kiosk is the center of attention of La Alameda square, which is a place dedicated to public recreation and leisure. Located next to the Naval Museum, this typical kiosk is the perfect place to stop for churros and chocolate for an authentic Canary Islands experience.
9. Real Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Las Nieves
The Plaza de Las Nieves is a charming place in Santa Cruz de La Palma, paved with pebbles and featuring a stone fountain. If you've climbed all the way here on foot you can stay and rest under the shadow of the jacarandas, the magnolias and the araucarias.
The Royal Sanctuary of Our Lady of Las Nieves is a place that you absolutely must visit when in Santa Cruz de La Palma, first of all for the architecture and treasures it hides inside, and then for the moments of tranquility that you will get to enjoy in the plaza in front of the church.
10. Playa de Santa Cruz de La Palma
The capital of La Palma has a city beach, with black volcanic sand, located close to the port and with lifeguards on site. It has facilities like showers and changing rooms.
Be careful when going for a swim here on the beach in Santa Cruz de La Palma because the currents are strong and sometimes the waves are big as well, so it's not exactly the best beach for swimming or snorkelling.
- Best Villas and Apartments: we always use Airbnb for private rentals in the Canary Islands.
- Looking for a hotel? Booking.com is our top choice for hotel reservations.
- For tours and excursions, we recommend using Get Your Guide, since they offer free cancellation up to 24 h before the activity starts.