A Guide to Lanzarote’s Volcanic Attractions
The Canary Islands have long been a popular place for holidays, but for me Lanzarote is, without doubt, the star of the show. Its incredible volcanic landscape makes it utterly unique; so, I thought I’d put together a quick guide to exactly what you can do and see while exploring this side of the isle.
First, though, a little history; Lanzarote is one of the oldest of the Canary Islands, and it dates back some 22 million years, when it began to be formed by volcanic activity. Today, there are around 100 open-mouthed volcanoes on the island, as well as stunning national parks that have such unusual landscapes that they’re often described as lunar in appearance.
Its culture is also closely linked with the landscape – the island’s patron saint is Our Lady of the Volcano! – so it’s really interesting to learn how people have adapted to live on this unusual, rocky terrain. You can find out more about where to visit and places to stay through specialist travel operators like Sovereign at http://www.sovereign.com/destinations/Spain/Lazanorte.
Timanfaya National Park
Without doubt, one of the island’s top volcanic-based attractions is Timanfaya National Park, which is in the west of the island. Often described as the land of volcanoes, it is made up of massive stretches of fields of solidified lava, which reach all the way to the coast.
Head up to the natural viewpoint of Montana Rajada and you can see it stretching out for miles – I’d definitely recommend a trip up here if you’re keen to get a decent view. Across its 5,107 hectares, you can also see volcanic cones, cliffs and tabaibal, which are ancient areas now covered in vegetation.
You can amble around the coast here whenever you please, but if you want to explore the interior, you need to arrange a trip through one of the visitor centers. I’d definitely do this if you have time, since the visitor centers are also great places to learn more about the local landscape and human interaction with it. For instance, the one in Macha Blanca, which is just outside the park, is free to visit and tells you all about how the scenery was formed.
Parque Natural de Los Volcanes
The next place on my list is the Parque Natural de Los Volcanes, which actually surrounds Timanfaya National Park. Spanning a pretty impressive 10,158 hectares, the park is free to access, which means you can take a wander around whenever you please.
It was formed by a number of eruptions, notably those from 1730 to 1736 and in 1824. What’s particularly interesting about the scenery here is that during these eruptions, lots of ancient materials were forced to the surface and remain there today – the vast Caldera Blanca is just one example.
And it’s not only the landscapes that people come here for. In fact, this park has also been designated a Special Bird Protection Area, which means it’s great for wildlife lovers.
Cueva de Los Verdes
I’d also urge you to explore some of the subterranean volcanic attractions. For instance, the Cueva de Los Verdes is a tunnel formed by the Corona Volcano – and is one of the largest and most interesting of its kind in the world.
Visits here last around an hour, and they’ll see you wander through a stunning network of tunnels, which are particularly striking for their vivid and varied colors. It’s worth remembering that if you’re visiting in the peak season – i.e. between July and September – it is usually less crowded here in the afternoons.
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