Lanzarote´s Leading Attractions

July 30, 2009

For a small island Lanzarote is big on visitor attractions.  Boasting one of the most popular national parks in Spain.  Along with lots of picturesque whitewashed villages, a host of natural wonders and the breathtaking man made attractions of a local artist called Cesar Manrique.

Lanzarote Island Map

Lanzarote Island Map

The island measures just 38km by 58km – making it easy to circumnavigate and tour.  Whilst both petrol and car hire in Lanzarote are very affordable – with the latter starting from as little as €13 per day.

Natural Wonders
The raw and majestic scenery of the Timanafaya National Park is undoubtedly Lanzarote´s best known and most popular attraction.  Home to mile after mile of lava fields and hundreds of multi hued volcanoes – all now fortunately dormant.  This wasn´t the case when they erupted in the 1730´s though – causing massive devastation.  But today over 900,000 tourists a year flock to enjoy the other worldly vistas at Timanfaya.

The volcanic El Golfo

The volcanic El Golfo

Elsewhere other volcanic marvels include the green lagoon at El Golfo.  Where a land locked lake located on black sand beach has been turned emerald green by the interaction between sea water and algae.  A striking sight which has been used by the makers of many movies – most recently Pedro Almodovar -who features this scene in his latest release Broken Embraces.

Village Vistas
The white washed village of Haria in the north of Lanzarote is located within the folds of the Valley of 1000 Palms.  An area as lush and verdant as the south of the island is barren and volcanic.

Haria Village in Lanzarote

Haria Village in Lanzarote

This is all the result of a politically incorrect policy dating back centuries.  With villagers planting a new palm tree for every new born girl and two for a boy.  Either way the effect is striking – as the entire valley resembles an African oasis.

The former island capital of Teguise also figures highly on most visitor itineraries.  This is the oldest settlement in the Canary Islands – dating back to the early 1400´s.  And is home to some fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture.  Such as the Palacio Spinola – the former home of a wealthy merchant and now a popular house museum.

Magic of Manrique
Locally born artist Cesar Manrique worked with Lanzarote´s volcanic scenery to build highly imaginative and extremely unusual visitor attractions that were all designed as an alterative to mundane and ecologically unsound water parks and golf courses.  A factor of great importance on an island with so little rainfall.

Amongst Manrique´s best known creations are the Mirador del Rio – an incredible lookout point perched 460 metres up on the Famara massif range of cliffs.  Which grants birds eye views across to the small neighbouring island of La Graciosa.  And the Jardin de Cactus – where Manrique assembled over 1000 types of cactus to create his own personal homage to the plant world’s spiniest species.

This post submitted by Nick Ball

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