A trip to La Palma in the Canary Islands: SPC airport and the astronomical observatory

La Palma island Observatory and airport

Even though it is not one of the main islands in the Canarian archipelago of Spain, La Palma Island in the Atlantic Ocean has its own unique allure: its volcanic origin turns out to be perfectly compatible with exuberant vegetation featuring local species and astounding landscapes. Furthermore, the “isla bonita” -as it is commonly referred to- is home to the Observatory of Roque de los Muchachos, which accommodates one of the most technologically advanced telescopes in the world. For these reasons, La Palma is not only a destination for those who enjoy hiking and sunbathing, but also for astronomy lovers who want to fulfil their life-long dreams.

For disambiguation purposes, it must first be clarified that La Palma Island neither is nor belongs to Las Palmas province, as many tend to mistake one term for the other or believe they are the same place. La Palma belongs to the Santa Cruz de Tenerife province, and is located in the western half of the archipelago, while Las Palmas is the eastern province of the Canary Islands, comprising Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. It has nothing to do with Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands either.

Flying to La Palma airport in Spain: terminals and airlines

The airport in La Palma island has only one terminal and its assigned IATA code is SPC. You may fly to La Palma from other airports in the archipelago by booking your flight with regional airlines, yet there are also domestic and international connections available from many European cities, namely Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin (Schönefeld and Tegel), Brussels, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Stockholm (Arlanda), Frankfurt, Hamburg, Helsinki, London (Gatwick), Madrid, Munich, Oslo, Stuttgart and Zurich.

Some of the airlines flying to La Palma in the Canary Islands from cities across Europe include Germania, Tui, Condor, Easyjet and Vueling. Eurowings and Transavia have codeshare agreements with the aforementioned companies to cover such routes.

How to get from La Palma airport to the Astronomical Observatory in Roque de los Muchachos

The Astronomical Observatory in La Palma is situated on the highest point of the island, right next to Caldera de Taburiente National Park. If you travel to La Palma, chances are that you will be staying in the capital city (Santa Cruz de La Palma), less than 30 minutes away by bus, or in Tazacorte or Los Llanos de Aridane, both municipalities about 40 minutes away by car. However, should you need to go straight from the airport to Roque de los Muchachos, you will need to rent a car or else take a taxi for this journey, which costs around 50 euros and lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Passenger services in La Palma airport

You must always arrive in time for check-in and boarding, but take into account that this one is a small terminal building and so you are advised not to arrive too early (that is, four hours earlier than your departure time). There are cafeterias with snacks, take-away food and drinks both in the public and restricted zones, a duty free shop and a local-products store for your last-minute souvenirs in the boarding area. Passengers may use the free WiFi connection provided by Aena, the business centre and a kids playground. The car rental offices are located in the arrivals hall.

Accommodation in the island of La Palma in Spain

Travellers who are looking for a different sort of paradise can also enjoy the perks of booking their hotel in a less-crowded sunny destination. Check out our recommended hotels in La Palma: a beach resort in the Canary Islands, the “Sol La Palma” in Puerto Naos, and a 4-star hotel in the municipality of Breña Baja (H10 Taburiente Playa).

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