Santa Cruz de La Palma

A city inside an ancient volcano
El Salvador Church Caldera de Taburiente
National Park

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Santa Cruz de la Palma

Baroque and Renaissance in a sea frame

Arriving to the Port of Santa Cruz de la Palma in the Canary Islands on an MSC cruise ship is an incredible feeling. The city was founded inside the Calderata, an ancient volcanic crater that rises to a height of 1800 metres, protecting the sailing vessels of the past, and the cruise ships of today, from the wind.
 The history of Santa Cruz de la Palma, once an important stop on the trading route to the East Indies, has enriched it with fortifications, such as Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de Santa Cruz del Barrio, constructed in the second half of the 16th century to defend Santa Cruz de la Palma from attacks by pirates.

However, the historical heritage of the city centre, which is encountered at practically every corner, dates back to the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods. It will be worth your while to loose yourselves among the streets, if for nothing else, than to simply admire their unique balconies, such as the one in Avenida Maritima.

Plaza España, where the most representative building dating to the Renaissance make for a beautiful show, is the centre of the city. Here, you can see the El Salvador Church. Began in 1497, it has a gate reminiscent of a Roman triumphal arc that was built in honour of Christ’s victory over death.

Its severe bell tower is also interesting. Allow yourself an excursion to the Sanctuary of Madonna of the Snow, worshipped since the first arrival of the Spanish to the islands. The sanctuary is constructed in a flourishing natural setting; and today, it is the most important of a series of monuments of great historical, cultural and artistic value, which also include the Casa de los Romeros, (House of the Pilgrims, 17th century) and the Casa Parroquial (18th century).

If you are a lover of nature, take an excursion to the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, a wide basin left after the collapse of an ancient volcano. The park also contains springs and streams with orange and emerald green-tinted waters.

Must see places in Santa Cruz de La Palma

  • Caldera de Taburiente National Park

    Caldera de Taburiente National Park

  • Santuario de la Virgen de las Nieves

    Santuario de la Virgen de las Nieves

  • Historic Santa Cruz

    Historic Santa Cruz

Discover our excursions

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    From views of rugged volcanic landscapes to tasting delicious wine – this tour gives you both in a winning combination that begins with a drive to the south of the island, passing through vineyards, craggy lava fields and pine trees on the way. Your first stop will be at Fuencaliente, an area that not only boasts the largest number of volcanic eruptions on the island, but is equally famed for its wine production. Have your camera ready for the next part of the tour to capture views of the astonishing lava landscape and the Teneguía volcano in the distance as you spend about 30 minutes walking around the rim of the San Antonio volcanic crater. Your encounter with nature will be followed by a much more relaxing pursuit: a visit to a local wine cellar for a light snack and a chance to taste – and purchase if you feel so inclined – some of the more unusually flavoured local wines. The final stop on this varied itinerary will be at an old windmill in the village of Mazo, which is home to El Molino pottery centre. After some time to browse through the unique reproductions of traditional Benahoarita – the name given to La Palma’s indigenous people – pottery, you will head back to the port and your ship. Please note: the tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. In the interest of safety, the walk along the rim of the crater will only take place if weather conditions permit on the day of the call.;;;;;;
    • Shopping

    • Tasting included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
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    On this entertaining tour, half a day off the ship translates into half a day of exploring the wonderful island of La Palma – and in total comfort while seated in a coach. The outing kicks off with a short drive to the island’s scenically set spiritual centre, the 14th-century church of Santuario de la Virgen de las Nieves, the patron saint of La Palma. Going by the simple façade of the church, the inside is likely to surprise since it reveals a plethora of breathtaking decorations. The Cumbrecita viewpoint is next, a spot where you can soak up amazing vistas of the Caldera de la Taburiente National Park, the pride and joy of La Palma and created in 1954. Do bring your camera to take some photos of the crater, a fabulous sight you will want to remember forever. A vast circumference of 28,000 m, a diameter of 9,000 m and a depth of 700 m make the caldera one of the largest in the world. A local guide will take you on a walk around the rim for about 60 minutes – a truly unique experience with views of pine trees, petrified lava flows and cool streams to enjoy as you go. Moving on, a short stop will also be made at Breña Alta, where you will have some time to shop at a market selling locally made handicrafts, before the coach returns to you the port and your ship. Please note: we recommend wearing conservative attire for visiting places of religious importance. The tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair.;;;;;;
    • Shopping

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      00 m

The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.


Love at first sight
Love at first sight

If you’re visiting Spain for the first time, be warned: this is a country that fast becomes an addiction. You might intend to come just for a cruise holiday, a walking tour or a city break, but before you know it you’ll find yourself hooked by something quite different – the celebration of some local fiesta, perhaps, or the otherworldly architecture of Barcelona.

Even in the most over-touristic Mediterranean resorts of the Costa del Sol, you’ll be able to find an authentic bar or restaurant where the locals eat, and a village not far away where an age-old bullfighting tradition owes nothing to tourism. 

A holiday to Spain can also show you the large cities of the north like Barcelona, which have reinvented themselves as essential cultural destinations (and don’t all close down for hours for a kip every afternoon). 

And when the world now looks to Spain for culinary inspiration – the country has some of the most acclaimed chefs and innovative restaurants in the world – it’s clear that things have changed. Spain, despite the current economic uncertainty, sees itself very differently from a generation ago. 

So should you – prepare to be surprised.