As for Lanzarote, each of the Canarian Island has its own characteristic and personal look.
Lanzarote is quite arid, ruddy toned and surreal. It seems like a volcanic world that looks pretty much like it belongs on another planet.
In a strange land like this it is no surprise there are different spots to see and lots of places to visit.
Here you can see different examples of that.
The place of the Island from where we started our journey is Puerto del Carmen, a few kms far from the airport.
Puerto del Carmen is where the “tourists” can enjoy the beach and the Main Street adjacent to the beach, it is full of shops, restaurants and pubs.
Day 1st we choose to visit Arrecife, the capital and the main city of the Island.
Here you can find the modern and the old colonial Spanish buildings. There are new-built hotels in front of the ocean nearby the old castles. Inside of the city there’s a typical port surrounded by restaurants where you can taste lots of good fish dishes.
The next day we woke up early in order to enjoy the sunrise and have a run in the street near the Ocean. Then we had breakfast and we toke a car for exploring all the territory.
We decided to visit the incredible house that has been created within a series of volcanic bubbles by the local born artist and architect César Manrique.
Yes, we are talking about Cesar Manrique Foundation. What I like most of this major work of art is that it reflects the perfect symbiosis between man, art and nature. In fact, there are different bubble rooms, each one with its particular style, and a great outdoor swim pool and garden.
After that, our interests in the artis became bigger and we went to visit also the Casa Museo Cesar Manrique, which can offer an intimate insight of the Canarian domestic life. It is located in a pretty village, Haria.
This place could be considered as a beautiful green oasis in the Valley of a Thousand Palms. The name of this valley regards the tradition of planting palm trees to mark the birth of a child, two were planted for a boy and one for each girl. Haria is also known for the beautiful views as well as the famous palm trees making it incredibly popular with walkers and mountain bikers who take advantage of the many paths in the area.
During the other five days we had, we made a plan of the different things to see.
One of them is The Cuevas de Los Verdes, which like the Jameos del Agua are part of a six kilometres long lava tube which formed about thousands years ago when the Montaña La Corona erupted.
It forms one of the longest volcanic galleries in the world and is of great scientific interest. The Cuevas de los Verdes was an excellent place to hide for the local people during the attacks from pirates and raiders that were suffered throughout its history by the islanders.
Anyway, the beauty of the caves is amazing and it is certainly one of the most interesting volcanic structures on the island but you have to keep in mind that it is a big cave so some people may find it claustrophobic.
But this is not a problem, you can go to Jameos del Agua.
Jameos del Agua
Climbing down a stone-staircase you enter into this attraction. What you have in front is the first cave known as “Jameo Chico”, which has been turned into an unusual bar or restaurant, with views over a small lake.
This one has extremely clear water, obviously regulated by the Atlantic Ocean, and is home to a unique species of blind albino crabs. You will never see them in other parts of the World and this is why these crabs have been adopted as the symbol of the Jameos del Agua.
Crossing the lake, by a narrow footpath, we find ourselves in the “Jameo Grande”. This turquoise pool is truly heaven.
Near the exit there is the House of the Volcanoes which is an avantguarde building that houses some fantastic information about the island of Lanzarote and volcanoes in the Canary Islands in particular.
In fact, you can view instruments and computers showing live temperature measurements and movements of the Earth: so interesting!
Jardin de Cactus
Lanzarote’s famous Cactus Garden is based toward the north of the Island in Guatiza and it is worth visiting it: I’ve not seen anything of its kind!
Mirador del Rio
Following the street to reach the North you will find one of the spots I like most: Mirador del Rio.
As the name reveals, it is a viewpoint on an approximately 479-metre-high escarpment called Batería del Río.
The location was created in 1974 by Cesar Manrique in his typical style, consisting of a cafe, a souvenir shop and a platform on its top which are integrated in the lava rock. The building is hidden under a heavy stone skin that blends in with the environment, perfectly respecting the landscape.
After accessing inside the building through a narrow winding white corridor, there is a spacious white-walled open plan area with a wooden floor, tables and chairs with two large glass curvaceous windows that allow contemplating an extraordinary panoramic view over the strait of “Río” towards the remote Island of La Graciosa and, on clear days, Montana Clara and Alegranza.
This minimal design ensures that visitor’s eyes are not distracted from the real protagonist: the breathtaking view you can enjoy through the eyes of the Mirador. It is one of the things you could never forget. You have to trust me.
Another landscape so bizarre is the one you can see in El Golfo.
Located on the west coast, it is one of the most surprising visions to be found on any of the Canary Islands as it’s an almost luminous green lake. The fact that it’s surrounded by black sand, ruddy slopes, ebony coloured volcanic cliffs adds to the overall strangeness of the place.
Least but not last, in fact it is the most popular thing to do in the Island, there is the Timanfaya National Park. In here you can watch spouting geysers, bushes spontaneously combust and chicken being roasted by volcanic heat. The landscape in here is impressive and unique. The sensation is to be on a different planet. The route designed by the local artist Manrique you will be lead to the a sea of colourful dormant volcanoes and spent cones. Incredible experience.
In Lanzarote there are different coasts to be seen but I find two beaches particularly beautiful for different reasons. Below you will find why.
The Beaches of Playa Blanca, in the south of Lanzarote, are characterized by golden sand, clear water and blue skies. Thus they are great places to lay back, chill out and top up your tan.
Playa Papagayo is perhaps the most well known of all the beaches around Playa Blanca.
This is in reality a collection of smaller beaches that are separated by high cliffs, forming a number of sheltered amazing and remote bays.
The area has been protected and is now a national park which can be accessed by a rather bumpy dirt road or by the coastal pathway which starts at the eastern end of the resort. There is a small charge to use the road, but this is certainly well worth the cost. There is also a Water Taxi that could bring you there from the harbor in Playa Blanca.
Although access to the beaches at Papagayo is relatively easy, it is quite a distance from any of the main residential or tourist developments. You need to go prepared if you want to spend all the day in here because there are very few services at the beach but this is why it’s an awesome place.
Caleta de Famara
Going away from the Island’s more touristic areas in the south, Caleta de Famara is a small coastal village located on the north shore of Lanzarote, in the Natural Park of the Chinijo Archipelago.
It is a well-known beach in the surfers world, famous for its amplitude, its clear sand and its high waves.
In the narrow road leading to the village of Famara is not so easy to drive in because it’s made of sand and there are lots of holes. If you continue you will finally arrive in a beach with lots of parked vans of surfers defying the waves. The landscape of this small creek is very particular thanks to the rock mountain rising from the beach. We went there at the sunset, so magical!
La Graciosa Island
La Graciosa is a tiny desert island made up of sand and volcanic cones. It’s around 8 kilometres in length and 4 kilometres wide. There are only two small villages, Pedro Barba and Caleta del Sebo, which are home to the estimated 600 islander population.
La Caleta del Sabo is a fishing village and port for the boats coming from Lanzarote, in particular Orzola. The sea journey is not so easy to face up due to the fact that is offshore. On the other hand, it lasts only 30 minutes so not too long.
Thanks to the remoteness of the building and the people, being dropped in La Caleta del Sabo can feel a bit like being deposited in a North African outpost. In fact, there is just one shop in the Island and it’s here, as well as the restaurant, houses and the facilities. The rest of the Island is completely desert.
How to explore this remote island
You can explore the Island on foot or by bike: there are few 4×4 cars which is not possible to be rent except for 2 or 3 cases. The streets are made of sand and aren’t tracked. We toke the bikes to explore it but it was so difficult: you can choose two tracks in order to explore the north or the south zone (full of dunes). Before leaving, take some waters and solar protection cream because there are no other places in the tracks. One thing to note: there is no shade, too.
Anyway, we decided the north route and we came across a beach of rare beauty: I fell like I was in the Caribbean Ocean for the cleanness of the water and the white beach. I am talking about Playa de las Conchas.
That scenery is like a postcard in my mind, difficult place to forget. I hope it will remain like this for some years, or maybe forever.
It was the perfect way to conclude the holiday.
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