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.