Timanfaya National Park – Lanzarote’s number one tourist destination and location of the world’s longest recorded volcanic eruption which lasted for an astonishing six years. Today the earth is still raging below the surface and you can watch as it flame throws dry timber that, if close enough can turn a bucket of water into a powerful steam jet in seconds – just don’t stand too close or you’ll lose your eyebrows.
Jameos del Agua – Go underground at the incredible subterranean lake which the island’s famous artist, César Manrique, has turned into a fantastical landscape of volcanic sculptures and tropical gardens. Spot the tiny, blind, white and red crabs that live their lives in the dark.
Taro de Tahiche – If you’re an artistic genius your whole life has to reflect your work, which is why César Manrique shunned the urban semi-detached we mere mortals occupy in favour of five volcanic bubbles in the earth. His extraordinary home is now open to the public for a glimpse into the way the other half lived.
Cueva de Los Verdes – My personal favourite Lanzarote attraction, the Cueva de Los Verdes is a six kilometre long volcanic tube, one kilometre of which is open to the public and stages classical concerts with arguably the best acoustics on, or rather under, earth. Caverns the size of cathedrals, rock passages with the headroom of a hobbit, stone galleries and staircases reveal a world of breathless wonder.
Teguise – The original capital of the island, Teguise is a picture-postcard-pretty town with arty shops and quaint tapas restaurants. There’s also a Timple Museum, and if you don’t know what a timple is, that just shows you need to go. Head up there on a Sunday morning to shop at the island’s largest flea market or avoid Sundays to miss the crowds.
Get into Shape – Lanzarote is a magnet for sports enthusiasts of every discipline. From the surf dudes who flock to enjoy the summer trade winds, to the superhuman athletes who compete in the Lanzarote Ironman competition, everyone’s on an adrenalin buzz.
Wine Tasting – Lanzarote’s landscape is an inhospitable one for tender grape vines which is why you see them cradled in their own circular pits, protected by low dry stone walls. Get to know the resultant wine and you’ll be searching the shelves of Threshers when you get home for that distinctive Lanzarote Malvasía label.
Take a Tapas Trail – Lanzarote is blessed with some excellent tapas bars to try lots of different dishes, one in each location. Costa Teguise has some particularly good ones like Repikada and La Pikada on Avenida Las Islas Canarias.
La Graciosa – Escape to your own desert island by taking the ferry from Orzola to the traffic free (well almost) island of La Graciosa where roads are made of sand and where shoes, and clothes for some, are optional. It’s your archetypal tropical island paradise – pass me a Bounty someone.
Cactus Gardens – Not just somewhere to dump Mum and Gran while you head to the surf, these gardens are prickly customers with cacti shapes and sizes that will raise your eyebrows and a smile. It’s another César Manrique design so you know you’re in for a treat.
Photo credits/copyright: Ian Hughes, Andy & Jack Montgomery
Posted : Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 at 10:00
Andy Montgomery is a travel writer and blogger currently living amongst banana plantations in the north of Tenerife. If she’s not sipping mojitos in a Cuban bar or clinging to some vertigo-inducing outcrop by her fingernails, she’s working on her Buzztrips travel website.