Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canarias, Spain
The old town is a treasury of 16th and 17th century buildings, and not just churches. Do go inside the fortified-looking Iglesia del Salvador, however, to see its ornate, Islamic-style Mudejar ceiling, one of the best in the islands. A short way outside town is the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Snows, one of the most important sites on the island. The waterfront is a good place to find ancient houses with elaborate iron balconies, many now converted to restaurants and shops. Many visitors tour the island’s dormant volcanoes, or the odd, erosion caldera called La Cumbrecita, a UNESCO Biosphere Site. An excursion to the village of Mazo rewards with a fine island museum containing examples of local handicrafts and especially the fabulous indigenous embroidery. Just beyond the museum is a handicrafts school, an excellent place to acquire a handcrafted souvenir of your Canary Islands adventure.