Our tour will take you to the most important Lanzarote sights, such as the white town of Teguise, the La Geria wine region, the salt flats, the green lagoon, Timanfaya National Park, the Valley of the Palms and the César Manrique cave with the albino crabs.
Island tour to the Lanzarote attractions
The fourth largest island of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote inspires with its rugged volcanic landscape. Black lava beaches alternate with places with bright white houses. Lanzarote was formed 15.5 million years ago by several volcanic eruptions. The last eruption was in 1824, but the volcanoes are not dead as you might think! You can see how active they are in Timanfaya National Park.
The island of Lanzarote measures 58 kilometers in length and up to 34 kilometers in width. The distance to the Moroccan coast is only 140 kilometers. We start our island tour in the capital Arrecife.
Arrecife has been the island capital of Lanzarote since 1852, before that it was Teguise. The city has about 63,000 inhabitants. Its name is derived from the Spanish word for reefs, Arrecifes. They were a hiding place for the pirate messengers who used to raid the town. Worth seeing is the lagoon Charco de San Gines, designed by the island artist Cesar Manrique. From Arrecife we drive to the interior of the country to Teguise.
Teguise, former capital of Lanzarote
The former capital of Lanzarote is next to Haria one of the most beautiful places on the island. Bright white houses stand out against the brown-red landscape. Green shutters and doors as well as palm trees add a few colorful spots to the picture. We get out at the parking lot above the town to visit Teguise. An old mill turns in the wind.
The windmill of Teguise Lanzarote
Teguise was founded around 1406 by Maciot de Béthencourt as a colonial town. As his wife was called Teguise, he renamed the place Gran Aldea de Acatife without further ado. She was the daughter of the last indigenous ruler of Lanzarote, Guadafrá. Again and again the place fell victim to pirate raids. Even the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, built on the volcano Guanapay, did not help much.
The sparrow feasting on palm fruits
We walk down the streets. Under a palm tree sparrows enjoy the fallen palm fruits.
The church Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
At the central square of the town, the Plaza de la Constitución, we come across the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church. It is considered the landmark of the city. Palm trees adorn the open space and cast a bit of shade. The Palacio Spinola on the west side of the square houses a museum.
Church in Teguise
The historic center
We walk through the pretty historic village center. White houses reflect the bright sunlight. With their green doors and shutters they are typical for the architecture of the Canary Islands.
White houses in Teguise
In the narrow alleys we come across nice stores, restaurants and cafes that look very tempting.
Alleys in Teguise
In the stores a lot of local handicrafts are sold. Among the special souvenirs of the island are also regional products such as white cheese made from goat’s milk, honey or wines from Lanzarote.
Tip: In Teguise it is market day on Sundays.
The wine growing area La Geria
We continue to the center of the island. The volcanic landscape looks dusty and dry. In this inhospitable area wine should be cultivated? At first sight I can hardly imagine it. There is no tree, no shrub growing. It looks like a lunar landscape. We are surrounded by volcanoes.
Wine growing on Lanzarote
Then we reach La Geria, the wine growing area. Semicircular walls protect the small green vines from the strong wind. Mostly it blows from the north. The cultivation method used in Lanzarote is called lapilli. Small depressions are dug into the lava layer (lapilli) where the rare winter rain can seep away. During the day, the dry lava soil heats up, and at night it sucks moisture from the air, which it then stores.
Walls protect the wine in Lanzarote
A single vine grows in each hollow. Its roots reach deep into the soil. With the stored moisture in the air, the vines can thrive. At Bodega La Geria we are allowed to taste the wine and can buy bottles.
Bodega La Geria Lanzarote
Location: La Geria is located on the edge of the Timanfaya National Park between Yaiza and San Bartholomé.
Camels in the traffic circle
Camels in the middle of a traffic circle! The figures, which look real from a distance, turn out to be a camel monument. There are many dromedaries in the region. They are often used for camel tours in the Timanfaya National Park. In the small village of Uga there is said to be even the largest camel breeding of the Canary Islands.
Camels in the traffic circle on Lanzarote
In Spanish this traffic circle is called Rotonde de Los Camellos. Gladly I would have stood for a photo to the dromedaries, but the car rolling. O.k. there was no place to stop.
Location: In the traffic circle between Yaiza and Uga.
The Timanfaya National Park
Again and again the volcanic landscapes change. The colors of the ground range from almost deep black to gray, brown and reddish brown. Some movies have been shot in this almost unreal landscape. For example, the film industry likes to use Lanzarote for science fiction and fantasy films. Are we on the moon or on Mars? Is this the Planet of the Apes (parts of the movie Return Planet of the Apes)? Also filmed on Lanzarote were Journey to the Center of the Earth, When Dinosaurs Ruled the World and Eternals.
Lanzarote volcanic landscape
About three quarters of the island of Lanzarote is covered with lava. Almost 300 craters were formed by the 100 volcanoes. Between 1730 and 1736 the volcanoes spewed lava for six years. They destroyed houses and fertile soil. You have to imagine that! In Timanfaya National Park you can dive into the history of the earth. Guided tours lead by bus, camel or as a hike into the fire mountains.
Location: Southwest of Lanzarote, between Yaiza and Montaña Timanfaya.
The salt flats of Lanzarote
We continue on the LZ 2 in the direction of Salinas de Janubio. At the southern tip of Lanzarote are the old salt flats, which were productive 100 years ago. In small basins the sea water is exposed to the sun until it evaporates and the salt crystals remain. The sea salt was fIn the past, they were often used to preserve fish. In the meantime, they are under monument protection and are only operated to a small extent.
Dark clouds over the salt pans of Lanzarote
Depending on the incidence of light, the salt pools glow from white to pink. When we were there, dark clouds just hovered over the scenery.
The green lagoon El Golfo
The Charco de los Clicos (Largo Verde) is a green lake at the entrance of the small village El Golfo. We walk there via a small footpath from the free parking lot in front of the entrance to the village, after enjoying the breathtaking view of the coast from the lookout point.
Hiking trail to the green lagoon with viewpoint on the left and El Golfo in the background
The volcanic landscape of Montaña de Golfo on Lanzarote ranges from red to brown. It is a volcanic crater partially submerged in the sea, which has formed a lagoon that is connected underground to the sea.
The tuff landscape of the Montaña de Golfo shines in all shades of red
As we approach the lagoon, we see the vibrant green color that shines especially well in the sunshine. It is formed by special algae, the Ruppia Maritima, which are found in the crater lake. They tolerate the high salinity of the lagoon very well. From a viewpoint we are allowed to have a look at the protected lagoon, entering is prohibited.
Lanzarote green lagoon
Location: In the southwest of Lanzarote, south of Timanfaya National Park
The Playa El Golfo
On the enchanting black lava beach offshore of the lagoon, it is said that one can find olivine, a grass-green gemstone. Jewelry is often made from this stone. Small fishing boats are a reminder that fishing used to be a main income of the place. Tip: You can enjoy fish and seafood in the numerous fish restaurants of El Golfo.
Lava beach on Lanzarote
On the other side of the rocks, the strong surf roars against the dark cliffs. Here you would rather not be in the water! So rather sunbathing than bathing!
Surf at El Golfo on Lanzarote
From El Golfo our round trip went back to Arrecife.
Haría and the valley of the thousand palms
On another tour we visit the sights in the north of Lanzarote. When you drive for a long time through dry areas, the color green seems to be paradise. The white village of Haría at the foot of the Famara Mountains is lined with many Canary Island palm trees. According to a legend, the locals planted palm trees when their child was born, one for a girl, two for a boy. A bit unfair, but at least the valley became greener! The valley belongs to the green, fertile part of the otherwise quite dry island.
Valley of the palms Lanzarote
In Haria you can visit the grave of César Manrique in the cemetery a little outside the town, if you are on your own. Because he loved the small towns, the artist retired in his old age to his estate in Haria. Today the building houses a Manrique museum. Location: César Manrique Museum, Calle Elvira Sánchez, 30
Haria in Lanzarote
We see 19th century mansions, narrow streets and lots of Canarian architecture. The Plaza León y Castillo is surrounded by shaded
figs and eucalyptus trees. We would have loved to stay here longer, but the tour continued.
Tip: In Haria on Saturdays there is a market with handicrafts and gegional products.
The César Manrique cave, where albino crabs swim.
The journey continued towards the coast to the César Manrique Cave, to which I have written a separate article. The artist turned the formerly littered lava cave into something very special! It is an art and cultural site with an underground lake, restaurant, swimming pool with waterfall and a concert hall.
In the lake you will find blind albino crabs, as they usually swim only in the dark deep sea below 2000 meters. The eyeless animals have adapted to the darkness. The César Manrique cave was a highlight for me!
Location: Jameos del Agua, Carretera Orzola, 35520 Punta Mujeres
I would estimate at least three days for the excursions to have enough time for sightseeing. Our first round trip was from Arrecife to Teguise, La Gerias, the salt flats and the green lagoon back to Arrecife. Another day would be scheduled for the breathtaking Timanfaya National Park. On the third day you can visit Haria with the Valley of the Palms and the César Manrique Cave.
More travel reports
Did you like my article about the Lanzarote sights? Then I recommend the following travel reports:
Lanzarote – the César Manrique Cave Jameos del Aqua
La Laguna on Tenerife, walk to the sights
Santa Cruz de la Palma, tips for a walk on your own
Santiago de Compostela in Galicia
Cádiz, walk through the old town
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