Lanzarote is the fourth largest of the Canary Islands, a group of Spanish islands located just off the North-African coast. It has been given the status of ‘biosphere reserve protected site’ by UNESCO, and once you see for yourself the awe-inspiring landscapes and beaches you will agree that the title is well deserved. This beautiful island has many sights and activities to impress and entertain travelers – here is our list of the top things to do and see in Lanzarote.
Timanfaya National Park
Timanfaya National Park is also called Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) by the local people. The landscape as it is now formed in the 18th century during a period of eruptive volcanic activity which buried eleven villages and created 32 new volcanoes. You can take a tour of the park by bus thanks to a circuit built for General Franco’s visit in 1950. There’s a restaurant inside the park called El Diablo built by the famous artist César Manrique which offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, Lanzarote
Mirador del Rio
This magnificent viewpoint over the small island of La Graciosa was also designed by the island’s favorite artist and architect, César Manrique, and was completed in 1974. It is situated 475 meters above sea level and built in the architect’s unique style, in harmony with the surrounding natural environment of lava rock. There is a boutique shop and a café from which you can enjoy the views whilst sipping your coffee. A fun fact: the BBC television program Doctor Who had some of the scenes for one of its episodes filmed here.
Calle Rambla Medular, 15, Arrecife, Spain
MiradorDelRio-Graciosa | © afrank99/WikiCommons
Lanzarote is famous for its white sand and the shoals of fish. Whether you prefer scuba diving or deep-sea diving, there are reefs and wrecked ships for you to explore, and you’ll be able to see a rich variety of sea animals such as octopuses, soles, rays and seahorses. There are a number of schools to choose from dotted around the island that provide training courses. You can also bring your own googles and flippers and explore at your leisure.
Sergeant (CC) | © Martin Fisch/Flickr
Playa de Papagayo or Papagayo Beach is actually made up of a series of little beaches nestled between lava rocks. They are not so easy to get to, involving stony tracks and some walking, so they never get too overcrowded or noisy. The sand is fine, the water crystal blue, and there is a small beach house restaurant if you are in need of refreshments. This is a good place to go walking or snorkeling to spot the fish and octopuses. If you can, stay for the beautiful sunset.
13, Calle Punta de Papagayo, 13, Yaiza, Las Palmas, Spain
Cueva de los Verdes
La Cueva de los Verdes, which could be translated as Verdes Cave, is a lava tube about seven kilometers long. This tube was formed thousands of years ago when the volcano Monte Corona erupted. The streams of lava hardened on the outside but continued flowing on the inside which explains the formation of the tunnels. Parts of the roofs of these tunnels caved in creating openings which are called Jameos. One of these Jameos serves as the entrance to the caves. About two kilometers of caves are open to visitors, and the shapes and colors make this a truly memorable visit. There is even a concert hall in one of the caves.
Haría, Las Palmas, Lanzarote, +34 928 84 84 84
If you are looking to mingle with the locals and listen to the melodies of the Spanish language, you might want to consider a stroll around Teguise’s Market. It is held every Sunday morning in the Plaza Clavijo y Fajardo. You can find a bit of everything here: island products such as cheese or wine, imported trinkets, souvenirs, clothes, fruit and vegetables. This makes it a great place to shop for gifts to take home. There are lots of little cafés nearby where you can stop for a drink afterwards and enjoy the hustle and bustle around you.
Teguise, Las Palmas, Lanzarote
This incredible building was designed and built by artists and architects César Manrique and Jesús Soto. It is actually built in and around a cliff of hardened lava rock, which explains its unusual architecture featuring tube corridors and cave-like rooms. The renowned actor Omar Sharif owned the house for a few months in the 1970s before allegedly losing it during a game of bridge. These are already enough reasons for visiting this impressive building, but it also hosts art exhibitions and part of the building houses an outstanding restaurant. If you can, stay and watch the sunset paint the rocks red.
Calle los Loros, 2, Teguise, Las Palmas, Lanzarote, +34 672 461 555
Volcán El Cuervo
Lanzarote produces some excellent wines. How? you might ask, since Lanzarote is known for being hot, dry and windy. The vines are protected from the wind either by low, stone walls or by planting them in shallow holes and covering them with basalt sand. The grapes benefit from the warm sun by day, and the condensation formed in the sand at night gives the plant the water it needs. Everything in the wine-making process is done by hand. There are some organized tours, and depending on the site you can find museums, shops or restaurants where you can taste the delicious wines.
Casa José Saramago
Casa José Saramago will appeal to the literature fans visiting the island. José Saramago was a portugese writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998. He, as well as his books, were fiercely political and he deeply believed in the power of the people. In 1992 he exiled himself on the island, where he died in 2010. The house appears untouched, it almost feels as though he might walk in at any moment. The vast library in particular mustn’t be overlooked. The tour is led by auto-guides but the staff will happily answer any of your questions, and you may even meet a member of the family.
Calle Los Topes, 3, Tías, Lanzarote, +34 928 83 30 53