The airport on La Palma is called Santa Cruz de La Palma (IATA code SPC). There are currently no daily direct flights between the UK and La Palma. An intermediate stop will be necessary in either Tenerife or Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) to change to an inter-island flight (see Figure ). There are several airlines which operate charter flights directly from UK airports (e.g. Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Bristol and Manchester) to Tenerife or Las Palmas. Charter flights are usually the most convenient way of travelling to and from the Canary Islands, because they are direct (hence fast), cheap and available from many northern European locations.
Iberia operates a number of scheduled flights every day to Spanish mainland destinations from where it is possible to connect onto an internal flight to the Canaries. Most charter flights between Gatwick and the Canaries take just over four hours; the Iberia flights (from Heathrow) take six or seven hours because of the change of plane on the Spanish mainland. There are a few direct flights each week between Madrid and La Palma.
Flights between Tenerife and La Palma take half an hour; between Las Palmas and La Palma about three quarters of an hour. There are several flights a day between the islands. Even so, there may not be sufficient connection time in Tenerife or Las Palmas to complete the journey between the UK and La Palma in one day. In this case it will be necessary to stay overnight in a hotel on Tenerife or in Las Palmas.
Tenerife has two airports linked by taxi (about 1 hour) and bus services (about 2 hours). All international flights arrive and depart from the southern airport (TFS); a few inter-island flights use TFS but most use the northern airport (TFN). There are hotels in the towns of Los Cristianos and El Medano which are close to the international airport (15 minutes by taxi), or in La Laguna, a similar distance from the northern airport. There are a large number of hotels in the main city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, about 30 minutes from the north airport and an hour from the south.
There are several hotels in the city of Las Palmas, which is about half an hour away from the airport by taxi. A good bus service operates between the city and the airport. There is a hotel (Bahia Mar) between the airport and the city of Las Palmas, and many hotels in the resort towns to the south.
An inter-island ferry operates between Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Santa Cruz de La Palma three times per week. The direct crossing takes eight hours, but some journeys operate via other islands.
When you arrive on La Palma, you may have arranged to be met by the observatory official taxi for transport to site (see section ). Alternatively, go directly by taxi from the airport to your hotel in Santa Cruz de La Palma and follow the arrangements that have been made for you.
Travel and accommodation can be difficult at certain times of the year, for example at Christmas and carnival (February). Inter-island travel is also heavily booked at the start and end of school and university vacations.