La Palma, the greenest of the Canarian islands, offers the chance to experience real, unspoiled nature – from the verdant forests of the north, where lush vegetation drips from the rainforest canopy; to the desertscapes of the south, where volcanic craters and twisted rock formations define the views; to the serene pine forests of the Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente. No wonder the entire island has been declared a Unesco biosphere reserve.
The absence of golden beaches has diverted many travellers’ attention and tourism (aside from walkers and cruise liners) has yet to make a major mark on the island. The capital is also an architectural gem, its 16th-century centre is lined with beautiful balconied mansions and houses.
In fact it is hard to find an unattractive corner on La Isla Bonita (the Pretty Island) and, provided unchecked development stays at bay, it is likely to remain that way.