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    What to see in Lanzarote: all the places not to be missed (and all the experiences to do)

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    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort
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    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    All the places to see in Lanzarote and all the experiences to do on the most elegant and sought after island of the Canaries, from the works of Manrique to the historic cities, from the beaches to the trekking.

    For the first time in years, I spent a month in the same place (Lanzarote precisely) and I was able to really explore the island far and wide. I do not have the presumption to say that I have seen all the things to see in Lanzarote, but almost all of them have. I traveled every road of the island, I did a lot of trekking and I sunbathed on almost all the beaches, I dived with cylinders, I ate in many restaurants, just to be able to make a complete report. Then don't tell me I don't love you! After the article on How to organize a trip to Lanzarote (with all the practical info), here you will find all the places on the island in my opinion worthy of note (and that's why you can't find Arrecife in the list ..) and all the experiences to do. 



    In this regard, in addition to the various tourist attractions, one cannot fail to mention the fact that Lanzarote is the ideal island for sports all year round. In fact, you will often meet champions in training. It is no coincidence that on the island there are specialized centers such as Club La Santa, TrisSport or Dingy Coach, which offer packages for athletes providing all the necessary (high-level) material and internationally renowned coaches. The most popular sports are the Triathlon, running, openwater swimming, road cycling or MTB, sailing and climbing.

    It should also be noted that Lanzarote owes a lot to the genius and inspiration of César Manrique, painter, sculptor and architect who has put his talent at the service of the tourist development of his native island (preventing certain havoc that can be seen in the other Canary Islands). We owe to him the regulation that prevented building speculation and the uncontrolled development of the island, as well as the magnificent design of some streets, a hotel, a villa and 7 truly magnificent art centers such as the Mirador del Rio, le Jardin de Cactus, the Jameos del Agua, the Cueva de los Verdes, which I will tell you about in this article. If you want to know more about him you can participate in this Lanzarote tour dedicated to César Manrique.



    What to see in South Lanzarote  

    Playa Blanca and Playa Papagayo 

    I start this article on things to see in Lanzarote with Playa Blanca. It is one of the 3 large seaside resorts of the island because, both in the town and in the surrounding area, there are some of the most beautiful and sheltered beaches on the island. A few kilometers outside the town, with a dirt road you can reach it Papagayo Beach which is considered to be the most beautiful beach on the island. Thanks to the basin in which it is located, it is a beach very sheltered from the wind, offers very beautiful backdrops for those who want to snorkel and is also particularly suitable for families with children. Although it is one of the best, it is not very crowded, it has a large parking lot and on the cliff just above there is also a "chiringuito", a small restaurant where you can eat for both lunch and dinner (enjoying a great sunset!). In the same area and with the same orientation, there are many other beaches: Playa Mujeres, San Marcial Beach, Pozo Beach e Cera Beach, and on the east side of the tip there is also Playa del Congrio which, however, is more exposed to the sea when it is rough. To get to these beaches you can take the car (all have ample parking), but you can also come on foot from Playa Blanca if you want to take a nice walk (about 45 ′). 


    Atlantic Museum

    Off the coast of Playa Blanca is this fantastic and unique underwater museum that I absolutely recommend among the things to see in Lanzarote. The Atlantic Museum it consists of a dozen sculptures at a depth of 12 meters that can be visited following a precise circuit both in apnea and with cylinders. The sculptures are fromEnglish artist Jason deCaires Taylor , promote education and protect the marine environment. The Museo Atlantico can only be visited if accompanied by authorized centers (you cannot come alone with a mask and snorkel). Among these, for freedivers we recommend the center Apnea Canary Lanzarote, the most renowned freediving center in the Canaries, founded by the international champion Miguel Lozano and his coach Santiago Jakas. If, on the other hand, you have a diving license and want to visit it with cylinders, you can rely on the Dive College Lanzarote (55 euros for diving with the license). If you do not have a license but want to experience the thrill of the first dive, you can do the "baptism of the sea" with them by visiting the Museo Atlantico (142 euros).  


    The natural pool of Los Charcones and the Salinas de Janubio

    Going up from Playa Blanca along the west coast, after a few kilometers (and a minimum of research and adventure) you can reach the beautiful ones Los Charcones natural pools. You will have to leave the car at this point and then proceed on foot (unless you have a 4 × 4) to here. You have to lean out of the cliff well to see them from above, before going down to the pools. It is a decidedly unspoiled place where you can take a bath in complete tranquility, as if it were a private swimming pool. Returning to the main road and continuing north it is worth seeing the beautiful black sand beach of Janubio Beach and Saltworks homonymous. These are the largest on the island and at certain times (like at sunset) they take on wonderful colors. 


    The Hervideros

    Going past the salt pans, take a wonderful stretch of coastal road, or that of  The Hervideros. In this area the natural erosion and the rapid cooling of the lava due to the sea has created a particular morphology of the rock, as well as impressive caves and cliffs. All this becomes even more so on days of rough seas, when the great ocean waves crash into it causing splashes and “doomsday” sounds. In the most beautiful point Manrique has created a pedestrian path to fully enjoy this spectacle of nature (he also designed the coastal road, which “cuts” the lava). Together with El Golfo (see next paragraph), it is one of the most beautiful places to see the sunset in Lanzarote.

    El Golfo and the Green Lake

    Not far away, a little further north, is the small seaside town of The gulf, where the famous is located Green Lake, in an ancient collapsed crater. The waters of this lake are very green due to the very high concentration of phytoplankton. From the observation point (5 'walk from the parking lot) you can observe the different stratifications of the lava flows which, depending on the periods and conditions, have created different "designs" and colors that go from yellow, to red, to black . Unfortunately, to preserve this place it was forbidden to go down to the sea, so you can only stop and look at it from above. For me the Lago Verde is one of the most evocative places in all of Lanzarote (I don't know how many times I've been back!). Stop for lunch or an aperitif in one of the fish restaurants in El Golfo  (above all I recommend the Bogavante) to see the sunset. 


    Casa di Deiter Noss a Las Breñas

    Following the advice of my friend Sara from The Lost Avocado, I went to the village (4 houses and a little more) of Las Breñas to see the house of this German artist I did not know, his name is Deiter Noss and lives between Monaco and Lanzarote. Las Breñas is located between Femés and the salt flats and crossing the country you will have no difficulty in understanding which is its home (by the way it is here). Already from the street you will see some installations in plastic, glass, metals, ceramics and so on and so forth, with which the artist has created a kind of open-air museum. Walking in the garden and admiring the works you cannot help but browse inside his beautiful home. When I went the door was ajar, the lights inside were on and there was only a chain to block the door, suggesting the desire to let visitors see what's inside. A very suggestive place!

    Quemada Beach

    Also Quemada Beach I discovered it thanks to Sara and it has become one of my favorite places (it was also quite close to home thankfully!). It is a small seaside village with few houses (but very nice and well-kept), 4-5 good restaurants (all with sea view) and 2 beautiful black sand beaches that follow one another along the coast. The beach attached to the town is made up of sand and pebbles, while the second one, walking southwards, is all sandy and is very very beautiful. If you go there, beware of the tide! When it gets up you can no longer go back to the village via the beach, but you will have to go through the path. Playa Quemada has a very nice atmosphere and is perfect for having a nice day at the beach with an attached fish lunch (among the various restaurants that are there, choose The fisherman! I've tried them all ..).

    Puerto del Carmen and Puerto Galero 

    Going up the coast from Playa Blanca you will find the other most important seaside resorts of the island: Puerto del Carmen e Puerto Galero, where the first is more “popular” and the second a little more posh, with a marina worthy of St. Tropez. This whole stretch of coast, even the most northerly after Arrecife, is full of beaches more or less sheltered but quite built and with a sandy bottom that descends slowly. They are ideal beaches if, for example, you want to live a few steps from the sea or if you prefer to have all the shops and supermarkets close at hand. From Puerto del Carmen also depart boat trips to snorkel and see dolphins.

    What to see in Lanzarote Centro 

    Timanfaya National Park (Montanas de Fuego)

    If you want to take a ride to Mars, this is an excellent opportunity to do it without leaving Earth. The Timanfaya National Park it covers an area of ​​about 50 square kilometers and incorporates more than 100 volcanoes: it is a unique opportunity to see such a vast area with some recently born volcanoes (the last eruptions are in 1824).

    There is only one way to visit it quickly: you have to go to the reception center (we recommend that you go to the opening around 9am or 30am otherwise you risk queuing up just to be able to enter the park), leave the car and get in on a bus that will take you around a small road in the middle of the volcanoes for about 10 'and will take you back to where you left your car. Unfortunately you cannot get off the bus (often there is not even the physical space and it could be dangerous). At the welcome center you can then see demonstrations and have a barbecue on a volcano fire in the panoramic restaurant.

    For real travelers, who do not lock themselves in a tourist bus even on these occasions, there is actually an alternative but you have to move well in advance (on the website they suggest a month before): the park organizes walking tour with guide. In this way, of course, the experience, as well as lasting much longer, will be completely different. There is also a path that can be taken at any time even without a guide, but it is less fascinating: it is what they call "Route of the Coast“, And it is the path that starts from El Golfo and crosses the whole park to Playa de la Madera. In this PDF you will find more information about the park and the guided tours.

    La Geria and the wine cellars

    The road that connects Yaiza to Masdache is one of the so-called “carretteras panoramicas”, that is, panoramic road. In fact, in this area you will see one of the most special things of Lanzarote: the windproof vineyards! After the eruption of 1730 the whole area of ​​the Geria was covered with a layer of dry lava. To plant the vines, however, it is necessary to reach the deepest layer, and the winemakers have therefore dug thousands of circular pits that allow, at the same time, to go down deep and to erect walls all around (called zocos) to protect the plant from the wind. The resulting visual effect is surprising. Of course all along the way you can stop in one of the “bodegas” to taste the local products and admire the landscape. The most interesting bodegas are:

    • The tap: the oldest winery in the Canaries (dating back to 1775) and one of the oldest in Spain. The guided tour (with tasting) is highly deserving (15 euros). Book it online
    • Florida: very good wines. Here, too, they do tastings and visits
    • La Geria: together with the Rubicon Winery (see below), it is the one with the best view, especially at sunset. They do visits and tastings
    • Rubicon: cellar with very good panoramic restaurant (and with fair prices)
    • Stratvs: very nice bodega and great wines

    Teguise: the ancient capital

    Always inhabited by the most influential families of the island such as the Bethencourt and the Herrera, Teguise was the capital of Lanzarote from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century and has preserved the old buildings, carefully restored, and a beautiful pedestrian center. Teguise is undoubtedly the most beautiful town on the island and in some places it reminds a little of Mexico or some small town in Greece. If you can, come on Sunday, when the largest and most famous market on the island takes place and all the streets are filled with stalls with street-food, vintage clothes and objects, aloe-based products ... a bit of everything in short. 

    Monument to Campesino and César Manrique Foundation

    In the center of the island, near the village of Mozaga, this one rises monument that Manrique dedicated to the peasants of the island, also called Monument to la Fecundidad, which pays tribute to the hard work of the fields. The monument itself is the result of the assembly of water tanks that fishermen once carried on their boats. Next there is then the house-museum (free admission) which offers an example of the traditional houses of Lanzarote, and a beautiful restaurant. 

    A short distance away there is the House of the Volcano which houses the César Manrique Foundation. The latter is housed in the house that the artist had built in 1968, upon his return from New York, on a lava flow and lived there for twenty years, from 1968 to 1988. As in all of Manrique's works, here too there is a fusion between the volcano and the architecture, between the building and nature. The upper floor is inspired by the traditional architecture of Lanzarote, to which it adds modern functional elements. Inside the house there is also the Manrique art collection with works by Mirò, Picasso, Tapies and others.  

    Museo LagOmar 

    In the hamlet of Nazaret, just outside Teguise, there is the LagOmar House-Museum (for me it is probably the most beautiful work of Manrique .. but they are tastes). This beautiful villa was conceived by Manrique and later designed by Jesús Soto for the English Sam Benady. The villa evokes an imaginary from a thousand and one nights and is of an embarrassing beauty, to the point that actor Omar Sharif, who was in Lanzarote to shoot a film, fell in love with it and wanted to buy it. However, his ownership of the house lasted only one day: the actor lost it the day after buying it during a card game with Benady himself. In 1989 the villa was then bought by the architects Dominik von Boettinger and Beatriz van Hoff who made it a museum. The villa develops inside pre-existing caves on the mountain, enriched by local objects, plants, lights and ponds; it is a kind of oasis in the rock.  

    José Saramago House-Museum

    Il Nobel Prize for Literature José Saramago lived in this house in Tìas for the last 18 years of her life, until her death in 2010. After a short time it became a house-museum in which one actually enters the intimacy of the great Portuguese writer. The house has remained exactly as he left it and you can visit the house, the library, the study and the garden with the olive grove. 

    What to see in Northern Lanzarote

    Famara

    La Famara beach it is located on the north-west coast and is the most exposed to winds. Precisely for this reason it is the most loved beach by surfers and there are many schools to learn how to practice this sport (especially in Caleta de Famara) , like this 3 day course. The beach is very long (5 km and more) and is protected by a long cliff that descends to the sea; the latter is nothing more than the slope of a volcano that exploded millions of years ago and is truly spectacular! In this area you can also do some beautiful trekking, including that of Risk of Famara which allows you to see the long cliff up from the mirador del Bosquecillo.

    Haria and the Manrique House-Museum 

    Together with Teguise, Haria is the second most beautiful town in Lanzarote. Thanks to its particular microclimate, Haria is surrounded by greenery and is also called the "valley of a thousand palms", because in the seventeenth century, for every born in the community, a palm was planted here (2 for males and 1 for females) . Most of the native flora is also found here, including endemic species unique to the world. If you can come on Saturday morning, when the “Haría Artesanal” market takes place, specializing in handicrafts and ecological agriculture, but it is beautiful even in the sunset light. 

    In Haria there is also the César Manrique house-museum, where he lived from 1988 to 1992 (the year of his death). The house has remained exactly as he left it and you will be able to see his workshop as if it were still in business. For the most avid fans of the great artist and for lovers of cemeteries ..in the small cemetery of Haria there is also the grave of Manrique and you will not have too much difficulty in identifying it. The tomb is at the bottom left and is mainly made up of plants. 

    Cactus Garden and Jameos de Agua

    Another architectural work by César Manrique (the last he did in Lanzarote) is the graceful Jardin de Cactus. Inside this old terraced quarry there are more than 1400 different species of cacti from the Canaries, Madagascar and Mexico. Everything is carefully preserved, the bar-restaurant is also an excellent spot for an aperitif at sunset (attention: the garden closes at 17pm in summer and at 45pm in winter). 

    Proceeding about ten kilometers to the north you reach another unique work by César Manrique: i Jameos del Agua . After the eruption of the Corona volcano, 6 km of natural tunnels were formed and later, in some parts, the vault collapsed (forming Jameos precisely, through which the light passes). Throughout the area Manrique has integrated a botanical garden, an Auditorium, a restaurant and a swimming pool: the result is remarkable! This place is also unique for another reason: it is thereonly place in the world where you can see Blind Albino Crabs (Munidopsis Polymorpha), a millennial species that got trapped under there. 

    Cueva de los Verdes

    At the other end of the lava tunnel of the Jameos del Agua there is another cave full of charm, called la Cueva de los Verdes. Used since the 2th century as a refuge to escape from invasions and attacks by pirates arriving from North Africa, it has now become a small work of art, of light and color, where you go from one floor to another of the tunnels for about 1 km. One of the more spacious galleries is used as an auditorium. To visit the Cueva de los Verdes it is necessary to participate in a guided tour and the visit lasts about XNUMX hour.

    Arrieta and Caletòn Blanco

    A little north of the Cueva de los Verdes and Jameos del Agua is the small port of Arrieta, with its beach much loved by surfers (especially beginners). The village is nice and has excellent restaurants: try the Casa de la Playa (right on the beach) or El Amanecer. Going further, just before Orzola we arrive at the most beautiful beach in Lanzarote (at least for me), namely the Caletòn Blanco. It is a super wild beach (it is not equipped and you will not find anything to drink or eat), but the color of the water is Caribbean! At this point of the coast the water is low (even at high tide it will come to life) and the water takes on an incredible color. Absolutely not to be missed !! 

    Mirador del Rio and Los Gracioceros road

    We have almost reached the far north of the island where you absolutely cannot miss this magnificent mirador designed by Manrique. The Mirador del Rio it is a viewpoint located at 475 meters above sea level, in front of the island of La Graciosa and the Rio (the channel that separates the island from Lanzarote). Admission is paid (around € 5), but if you have some time to spend it it is worth it; the architecture is simple, but its large spaces hidden among the natural rocks are very pleasant and of course the view is breathtaking. A short distance from the Mirador, at this point, also starts one of the most beautiful paths on the island: the Los Gracioceros road. As the name suggests, this is the path that the inhabitants of La Graciosa used to reach Haria from Playa del Risco (in the article on trekking you will find all the details).

    Orzola: paragliding and La Graciosa

    I close this article on things to see and do in Lanzarote with Orzola, the northernmost town of Lanzarote. The country is nice, but above all it is worth coming to see it Mojon Blanco Beach and to set sail at a time of La Graciosa (find all the info in the dedicated article). To get a different view of the north of the island you can also try the paragliding. We did it with Lava Fly Lanzarote and we found ourselves very well. The cost of a flight (in tandem with the instructor of course!) Is 120 euros for 1 hour (photos included). 

    Lanzarote FAQ

    You might also be interested in these other articles I wrote about Lanzarote and the other Canary Islands:

    • What to see in Tenerife South: 10 places not to be missed
    • What to see in Tenerife North: 10 places not to be missed
    • La Gomera (Canary Islands): what to see
    • Where to stay in Tenerife: the best areas
    • Tenerife: the 15 most beautiful beaches
    • What to see in La Palma, the 'isla bonita' of the Canaries
    • El Hierro (Canary Islands): what to see and what to do
    • What to see in La Palma: the 'isla bonita' of the Canaries
    • La Graciosa (Lanzarote): how to reach it, what to see and what to do
    • Fuerteventura: what to see and where to go
    • How to organize a trip to Lanzarote
    • The most beautiful treks in Lanzarote (Canary Islands)
    • Lanzarote: the most beautiful beaches and natural pools
    • Smartworking from the Canary Islands: info and useful tips for digital nomads
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