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Many people come to Lanzarote for the weather and to relax by a pool or on the beach. However Lanzarote has far more to offer tourists than its fabulous climate.
No visit to this stunning volcanic island is complete without a visit to Parque Nacional de Timanfaya home of Lanzarote’s only live volcano – Montaña Del Fuego. A trip to the National Park can be made by car or organized tour however it is not possible to drive “the lunar route” – the path made by lava from the last eruption. If you do drive to the park there are tour buses to take you on this incredible route with commentary in English explaining the history of the area. Whilst in the park you will witness three experiments to demonstrate that the volcano is still live. (I will not spoil this experience by going into any detail.) You will also see restaurant “El Diablo”, set on top of the volcano and designed by Ceaser Manrique, the food served here is heated by Fire Mountain itself!!!
Ceaser Manrique was an architect who had a great influence on the island of Lanzarote from ensuring the lack of high rise buildings to the many cultural attractions on the island designed by him. Of particular interest are Mirador Del Rio (set in the side of a cliff forming a beautiful viewpoint of La Graciosa, the island off the north of Lanzarote), Jameos Del Agua and the Manrique Foundation.
Jameos Del Agua is a definite must see set in the north of the island. It is a natural lava tunnel that Ceaser Manrique has transformed into a spectacular setting. Here you will find a small underground lake, the only place in the world you can see the blind, white, albino crab! These tiny creatures usually live deep in the sea but were brought into this lake by volcanic eruption. The site also boasts a James Bond style swimming pool that was designed by Ceaser Manrique for the King of Spain and as such can only be swum in by him! This beautiful attraction also houses a Museum about volcanic activity worldwide and an auditorium with natural acoustics were concerts are held. At night Jameos Del Agua transforms into an ultra chic club.
It is also worth mentioning that literally across the road from Jameos Del Agua are the Green Caves – Cueva de los Verdes. These caves hold the secret of Lanzarote and were where the Canarians hid when Lanzarote was invaded by pirates. Well worth a look for those steady on their feet.
The Manrique Foundation was actually Ceaser Manrique’s house which he created in five volcanic bubbles. This stunning architecture is very difficult to describe and has to be seen to be believed. The Foundation also has a lot of Manriques works of art on display. This said the Foundation will equally be enjoyed by those with little or no interest in art.
There are many other masterpieces of architecture and design, by Ceaser Manrique, on the island. Monument “Al Campesino” can be seen from the road near San Bartolomé and is a sculpture dedicated to the farmers of Lanzarote. Jardin de Cactus is a spectactular cactus garden near Mala with many, many species of cactus set in beautifully landscaped gardens.
One of the most attractive of Ceaser Manriques creations is the stunning LagOmar in Nazaret. This was once Omar Shariffs residence which he reportedly lost in a game of cards! It is not possible to enter the house but the grounds are now home to one of Lanzarotes finest restaurants, a couple of bars, a stunning swimming pool and beautiful grottos. This is a lovely place to sit with a drink and absorb your surroundings.
Aswell as all the aforementioned attractions Lanzarote has many beautiful villages such as El Golfo – with the green lagoon and black volcanic sand, Arrietta – with a beautiful beach, and Femes – high on a mountain with panoramic views. The island also boasts two picturesque marinas – Rubicon near Playa Blanca and Puerto Calero near Puerto Del Carmen.
On top of all this there are a variety of tourist attractions:
Rancho Texas is an excellent zoo by day, home to tigers, sea lions, birds of prey, crocodiles, buffalos and much more. The bird of prey display is particularly impressive with wings practically skimming your head – please don’t stand up! At night the park hosts the islands country and western night with a fabulous barbeque, line dancing and lasso displays.
The yellow submarine – Submarine Safaris – goes from Puerto Calero and the forty minute dive is an experience for all the family over the age of two. You will dive to the sea bed and see a multitude of fish and marine life as a diver comes round the porthole feeding the fish.
Catlanza also goes from Puerto Calero and is a truly relaxing way to spend an afternoon. The catamaran sails up to the stunning Papagayo beaches where it anchors giving you the chance to swim, snorkel, have a ride on a jet ski or simply top up your tan.
It is also possible to get a day trip , or simply go on the ferry yourselves, to Fuertaventura so you can send a postcard home from a different island and confuse your friends and family!
So as you can see there is much more to Lanzarote than sun, sand and ............. sangria!!
About the Author: Jon-Paul McTavy is the owner of Lanzarote Tourist. You can find more information at http://www.lanzarotetourist.com.