Lanzarote is a volcanic Island, it is sometimes referred to as the “Island of the 1,000 volcanoes”. The most famous area is the Timanfaya Natural Park but it is not the only place here to find such amazing landscape I took photos of.
Parque Nacional de Timanfaya
The Timanfaya Natural Park is without question the most fascinating, there are hundreds of volcanic craters, every year, close to 1 million people visit the Park.
The symbol of the Park, the Fire Devil (El Diabolo) was designed by Cesar Manrique, you can find it for example at the entrance.
In the 18th century the volcanic eruptions created a lunar landscape, enclosing the Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains), with many craters, canyons and lava valleys.
Inside the Park in the El Diablo Restaurant (what other name would it have…?) the geothermal heat is used to make the barbeque on a cast iron grill placed over a hole in the ground – Cesar Manrique’s idea. Temperatures just a few meters below the surface can reach 600°C, so it takes for about half an hour for the chicken to be ready to eat The restaurant sits on top of the Islote de Hilario, a black volcano – which is the tallest of all the Fire Mountains.
After you arrive at the visitors’ Car Park you will witness several demonstrations of ‘how hot’ the area is. The staff will pour water down a number of holes in the ground and then the water bursts back up a few seconds later – like a mini-geyser Another demonstration shows how quickly hay will catch fire when exposed to the heat beneath the earth.
It is not allowed to just walk in the Park and with that damage the natural environment. You can visit the Timanfaya Park by bus (cars can go only to the car park), bus tours leave from the visitor centre and go through the park on the La Ruta de los Volcanos, it takes for about 40 minutes. During the tour you can take really nice photos from the bus. Sometimes the light shining onto the window can “destroy” the pictures/the view unfortunately.
I read that there are organised walking tours too, they are free but you must reserve it in advance. Where you can do it is on the website of the Park
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE TIMANFAYA NATURAL PARK
- Due to the incredible surreal lunar landscape, it’s said that NASA used it to train the Apollo crew: the astronauts looked at pictures of the area to get an idea of what the surface of the Moon might look like.
- This landscape was featured in films such as Almodovar’s Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces) (I like Almodovar very much) and Doctor Who!
- During the eruptions in the 18th century (nobody died at it, but many villages were destoyed) many of the inhabitants left to the New World in a new life. The cigar trade in Cuba was helped by many former Lanzaroteños, as were many banana and sugar plantations in countries such as Venezuela.
The area between Teguise and Guatiza – volcanic stone formations
Since I am an enthusiastic discoverer I could find some places outside the park where you can see a “lunar landscape”. Between Teguise and Guatiza you can stop at a small parking area and see this:
Caldera del Cuervo – awalk inside a crater
There are a lot of craters (calderas) you can discover here too. Caldera Colorada, going around its crater can be amazing (I will do it in the near future) and it is where you can find the La Bomba (the bomb), a huge volcanic stone too. The Caldera Blanca looks interesting too, it is a bit further in the North, I will go there too soon.
What I saw during an excursion is the Caldera del Cuervo, you can find it near the Caldera Colorada. I was really excited to go into this crater. First I thought it is a tiring walking, but it is absolutely not. The parking is just max 20 minutes from the crater, the walk is easy. The crater looks amazing from the outside, the surface, the whole are where it is, the entrance. And inside it is like being on the Moon. You are really walking in an extinct volcanic crater Where can you do that? Not many places exist in the Earth, but I checked Google, there are some in Hawaii, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Iceland and the Canary Islands.
Isn’t it like a lunar or even a martian landscape??
I hope now you are in the mood to discover the “Moon” on Lanzarote.