La Palma is recognised on an international level for the exceptional conditions in which to observe the stars. The quality of the sky is such that it is protected by the law for the Astronomical Quality of the IAC Observatories and has the privilege of having three Starlight Reserves, a hallmark that confirms the low level of light pollution in the area.
The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) is situated on the edge of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, 2.396 m. above sea level in the municipality of Garafía. It is home to one of the most extensive fleets of telescopes to be found anywhere in the world.
On a cloud free night you can observe a large number of constellations and from our garden the Milky Way is clearly visible amid the many constellations that fill the sky.
There are a number of different star gazing tours that you can do as well as guided tours of the observatories. You can find more information here: http://www.iac.es/eno.php?op1=2&op2=420&op3=56&lang=en
This amazing walk is one of the most breath taking on the island. Starting at Refugio del Pilar, which is a short drive from Hotel Olio, the walk is around 18km long and traverses the ridge of the island ending at Los Canarios in the South. The walk allows you to see several volcanoes, along with spectacular views of both the east and west coast of the island. Depending upon fitness, the walk will take around 5-6 hours. It begins in the shade of the pines of El Pilar and gradually climbing uphill to La Deseada at 1945m. The terrain changes to volcanic soil along the ridge of the island. It’s important to take enough water. food and to bring warm clothing as there can be strong winds and clouds on the higher parts of the walk.
The Virgin de los Pinos is a beautiful church nestled amoungst the pine trees. It is also the start of many great walks. A fantastic half day hike from this starting point is a circular route which begins at the church, takes you through El Pilar and then descends through the spectacular volcanic terrain.
The walk beings with a steep assent up the ‘camino real’ cobbled pathway. This route was one of the original roads on the island and climbs through the pine trees to the ridge of the island. From there the walk continues along the relatively flat ridge track, giving wonderful views of both East and West of the island. Once the walk reaches the El Pilar campsite, it is then all downhill through the volcanic landscape.
La Palma has a number of beautiful beaches which are only a short drive from Hotel Olio. Puerto Tazacorte is a wonderful family friendly beach with colourful houses and many restaurants and shops lining the sea front. Also, close by are Puerto Naos and Charco Verde which are also easy to access and have lifeguards on duty.
For the more adventurous there are some remote and rugged beaches in the North of the island. Playa de la Veta is a stunning secluded cove but to enjoy this beauty you have to hike some 30 minutes down a steep pathway and drive down an ‘interesting’ road which tests the nerves and driving skills. However, this special place is well worth the effort to reach.
Santa Cruz de La Palma is a lovely town to explore. It is only 30 minutes drive from Olio and makes a great day out.
Santa Cruz de La Palma has many old buildings and beautiful cobbled streets – including its famous balcony houses with line the sea front. It was once the sea faring gateway to the Americas and the wealth of that time can be seen in the stunning architecture. There are many street cafes to enjoy a bite to eat and lots of lovely boutique shops.
A new beach was recently opened in May 2017 so you can now also enjoy swimming and sun bathing in the capital.