Caldera de Taburiente in La PalmaThe Roque de Los Muchachos is part of the National Park Caldera de Taburiente and has an international astronomical observatory: the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory. It is located on the island of La Palma and is its highest point. It is undoubtedly one of the island’s attractions. It is definately well worth a visit. A must.
Astronomy and mountain nature go hand in hand in this beautiful place with views of the north of the island and the Caldera de Taburiente.
The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory:
The Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma is home to one of the most complete telescope arrays in the world. Thanks to the skies of La Palma, this observatory has the best conditions for astronomical research and is therefore attracting some of the giant telescopes of the future as well as the new generation of Cherenkov telescopes to study the universe in very high energy gamma rays.
An up-to-date overview of the telescopes and experiments carried out at the La Palma Observatory can be found on the following page: Telescopes and Experiments
If you would like to find out more or have a specialised guide to intepret and explain the observatory to you, you can book one of the daytime visits to the observatory by clicking on the link: La Palma observatory visits.
What to do on the Roque de los Muchachos?
From the Roque de Los Muchachos you can access several paths and trails in the surroundings of the National Park. You can also simply enjoy the views or visit the Observatory of La Palma or the Roque de Los Muchachos Visitor Centre, which is very close by.
- For hiking in this area: Roque Muchachos trails.
- For visits to the La Palma Observatory: programmed visits.
- For visits to the visitor centre, interpretation centre of the La Palma Observatory, astronomy and the site: Visits to the visitor`s centre.
At night, the La Palma Observatory comes to life as the astronomical observations begin. For the optimal functioning of the observatory, the gates of the observatory are closed and the general public is not allowed to enter the perimeter of the observatory. However, if you want to stargaze or simply look at the stars, there are many other options:
- Access to astronomical viewpoints scattered around the island to observe the sky without a guide: link here. Please note that rarely all viewpoints will be clear. It depends on local weather conditions at the time of your visit.
- Book with a company that organises astronomical or stargazing tours to locate the best astronomical viewpoint that night, to interpret the sky and to observe with telescopes: astronomy tours.
How long does it take to climb the Roque de los Muchachos?
From Santa Cruz de La Palma, it takes about an hour to get to the Roque and the Observatory. A little longer if you are not familiar with the road, as it is a very steep and winding road. It is a mountain road. You should be prepared with warm clothes, water and some food. There are no restaurants or petrol stations in the area of Roque de Los Muchachos, the observatory or the visitor centre. The closest ones (more than half an hour’s drive away) are in Garafía or Santa Cruz.
If the ascent is from Los Llanos de Aridane, it takes a little longer.
In winter it is advisable to ask if there are any problems with the road or pay attention to the signs at the beginning of the road (LP4). Occasionally you may encounter snow or ice or the road may be closed for this reason.
You will find up to uptodate information on weather and webcams at the following link, but if in doubt it is best to ask before you get a surprise: weather and webcams.
Things to bear in mind at Roque de Los Muchachos:
- The area can be visited during the day but has significant restrictions for visiting it at night.
- It is at an altitude of 2400 m. There can be big differences in temperature and conditions with respect to sea level and they can change quickly. It is recommended to be prepared for mountain conditions and to get information before climbing Roque de Los Muchachos.