A Guide to Lanzarote – Canary Islands, Spain
Lanzarote is quite different, not only compared to the other islands in the archipelago, but to virtually everything else on this planet.
This extraordinary landscape seems to be of another world, and the inhabitants of the islands use to say that God forgot about Lanzarote on the Seventh Day of the Creation.
Lanzarote is of volcanic origin, as are the other islands, but here the volcanoes have been active even in the 18th and 19th century. Great parts of its surface are covered with ashes and lava, making you feel as though you were standing on the moon. This island, which has been destroyed many times by the volcanoes only to be reborn again, proudly displays some of the weirdest and most contrasting landscapes you may ever witness; opulent vegetation sits next to bizarre forms of petrified lava.
Lanzarote’s inhabitants have made a great effort to cultivate this land, and today you find large plantations of fruits and vegetables. Most surprising is perhaps the region of Geria, with vineyards that stand between volcanic craters.
It is on Lanzarote where you will also find the works of great Canarian architect and artist Cesar Manrique.
Places of interest in Lanzarote
Formerly having been just the port of Teguise it has grown to become the island’s actual capital. Above its port, there are two great fortresses, San Gabriel and San Jose, which in the past defended the town against frequent attacks from pirates.
Another fortress, the Castillo de San Gabriel of the 15th century, is located at a small island in front of the port and connected with Arrecife by a draw-bridge.
The town’s Museum of Contemporary Art, inside another castle, the Castillo de San Juan (also known as Castillo del Hambre), display several outstanding works from Cesar Manrique and is among Arrecife’s major attractions.
The former capital carries the name of the last Guanche-King’s daughter. It is one of the oldest settlements on the archipelago, but little is left of its original monumental abundance, as it was virtually destroyed by pirates.
Teguise has still managed to conserve much of the ambience of a manorial town, with nice houses and a dominating castle, Castillo de Santa Barbara.
‘Timples’ – traditional instruments similar to guitars are manufactured here and are highly sought after souvenirs.
Puerto del Carmen
A thermal spa in tropical surroundings with a wide welcoming beach.
Playa de Los Pocillos
Impressive volcanic landscape and a small settlement in typical style.
A small island with tropical vegetation and great possibilities for any kind of water-sports in particular diving and fishing.
La Isla Graciosa
A lonely paradise with quiet empty beaches – ideal for those who prefer to avoid mass-tourism.
Coast of Teguise
The most “authentic” part of Lanzarote. This part of the coast which is closest to the island’s capital, with its unusual volcanic landscapes, offers outstanding beaches such as San Jose, Reducto and Guacimeta. Here you will find some of Lanzarote’s best hotels and holiday apartments.
The National Park of Timanfaya
This National Park, with an area of 200 km2, seems to confront us with an apocalyptical vision: the land here seems born of hundreds of fire-spitting volcanos.
Timanfaya is quite easy to get to by car, it seems that all roads in Lanzarote lead here. Through the park itself you either move by bus (runs each quarter of an hour, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m in Summer and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Winter) or you can choose to be more adventurous and rent a camel.
In or on your preferred form of transport you will cross a sea of petrified lava and volcanic ashes. Some of the craters of the volcano Montana de Fuego (“Mountain of Fire”) are still active, and just centimetres from the surface the temperature gets as high as some 400ºC.
The last great volcanic eruption on Lanzarote was in 1732 when large parts of the island were destroyed. In 1824 some smaller craters provided further eruptions. In some of the Restaurants in Timanfaya you even can have your steak grilled on a volcanic crater.
Wide extensions of black ashes sit at the foot of a uniquely bizarre mountain with picturesque white houses that make an outstanding contrast. Close to Taiche, you will find the Casas Honda, volcanic caves that have been habited by the Guanches, the original inhabitants from these islands
Here you will find enormous seas of Cactuses that were planted here especially because of a species of insects that lived in them and produced a vibrant red pigment that was highly valued in the past.
La Cueva de Los Verdes
An incredible system of caves, of up to 7 kilometres in length, which connects the volcano Corona with the sea. Inside these caves, you can experience unique optical illusions, created by the reflections.
In the past, the island’s inhabitants used to hide here from the pirates and for the invaders, the Cueva de Los Verdes frequently represented a deadly trap.
Of particular interest for Biologists will be a species of animal that exists exclusively here: the Langostino Blanco, a white coloured lobster perfectly adapted to the conditions of life in these caves.
Los Jameos del Agua
This is a very special part of Cueva de los Verdes. Canarian artist Cesar Manrique created a complex here that combines the miracle of nature with architecture.
El Mirador del Rio
A bizarre rock of 600 meters in height, opposite the island of Graciosa – an outstanding viewpoint to take in the scenery.
Valle de Haria
A beautiful valley consisting of volcanic canyons and palm-forests in an area of 150 km2 with a small and very picturesque village.
In this spectacular landscape with thousands of small volcanic craters, you can see some of the world’s most unusual vineyards: in small pits filled with volcanic ashes and surrounded by stonewalls grow the grapes of Canary Islands’ most famous wine, Malvasia.
Picturesque forms of petrified lava.
A volcanic crater that has been flooded by the sea with emerald green water that contrasts against the black sand.