I have visited Lanzarote countless times: with school trips, family holidays, and more importantly, it is where Airam and I used to go on holidays when I was a student and couldn’t afford anything else. The latter alone, makes it a very special island for me.
Lanzarote for me is like an extension of Fuerteventura. The funny thing is, that despite them being so close, they couldn’t possibly be any more different! But I will get to that later. I decided that for my first post about Lanzarote I would write about my most recent trip there 2 years ago (not really that recent any more but still). A good friend of mine was visiting, and we decided to spend a day in Lanzarote. This, by the way, is an incredibly easy thing to do. There are two ferrys that leave Corralejo every hour from 8 am to 6 pm (the last one changes depending on the time of the year) every single day of the year. The ride takes only 20 – 30 min and you can take the car with you.
Here is a random tip: there are two different ferries from two different companies connecting the islands, which are Fred Olsen and Armas. If you happen to be taking the ferry on a day in which the sea is being temperamental, and you are prone to sea sickness, take the Armas. It takes an extra 10 minutes to get there, but going slower means less movement. Trust me on that one!
We took the first ferry in the morning, which meant a really early start to the day. We were however rewarded with sunrise at sea, which for me, is the best kind of sunrise.
Also here is another cool tip: if you take the ferry, sit outside one of the sides and watch out for flying fish! Seriously. I didn’t know they even existed until the first time I took the ferry with Airam and he told me about them. I thought it was an invention from the movies (excuse my ignorance in this aspect), but it turns out they are definitely real! They are relatively easy to spot once you actually look out for them. You will start seeing them once you are halfway to Lanzarote. One of these days I will manage to take a picture of one…
But now, let me actually tell you about our one-day roadtrip! See below our itinerary:
1. Los Hervideros
The ferry dropped us off at Playa Blanca, and after a brief pit stop for breakfast we set off for Los Hervideros. This place feels like it is out of this planet. It could easily pass for Mars or Mordor. Seriously.
I have recently come to the realisation that most people’s definition of desert differs from mine. I grew up in a deserted island. There is no natural vegetation what so ever apart from cactus-like plants. Both Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are deserts (not sandy ones, but deserts nonetheless). And yet, even though I’m used to it, I find the landscape around Los Hervideros to be amazing, which means that if you are not used to deserted landscapes, it is likely it will completely blow your mind!
Los Hervideros are rocky cliffs that resulted from volcanic lava drying out and being shaped by the ocean. This fight between the lava and the ocean is responsible for the tunnels and caves that characterize this unique place. It is not just the cliffs themselves, but also the surrounding landscape what creates such an impact. All you will see are only black and brown rocks for miles and miles.
2. El Lago Verde
Lago Verde in Spanish means Green Lake, and that is exactly what this is. Actually, the real name of this place is Charco de los Clicos, which is a lot more accurate since Charco means puddle, and as you can see from the picture, it is indeed more like a big puddle than it is like a lake. But putting technicalities aside, this rather peculiar spot is only about a 10 minute drive from Los Hervideros and is definitely worth a quick stop. When you first arrive, you get to look down at it, as it is located at the bottom of some sort of crater. To make it even cooler, the sea is just a couple of metres away and even though sometimes they come quite close, as far as I know they never touch. Not on the surface anyway! They are however connected underneath.
This green lake is also found right next to the town of El Golfo, a classic local fisherman’s village. We didn’t stop there this trip but is definitely worth stopping by if you have the time!
3. Cueva de los Verdes
Next we decided to head towards the north of the island, driving first through Timanfaya National Park. And here comes a cool fact: Lanzarote has an active volcano. You will find it within the aforementioned National Park, and if you only do one thing in Lanzarote, paying a visit to this National Park should definitely be it. Why did we not stop there then, you ask? Well, the roads leading up to the actual park are rather scary and I just wasn’t feeling confident enough to drive through them. I did however later learn, that they don’t allow cars to drive through those roads any more. Now everybody parks their car as they enter and there are designated buses that will take you up to the volcano.
But back to our day route. We had the option of visiting either Los Jameos del Agua o La Cueva de los Verdes, both of which are some of the most popular attractions in the island. The first one is basically a cave with a lake around which a cultural centre was built by the locally famous architect César Manrique. The later is a group of underground tunnels and caves. They are both the result of the eruption of the volcano La Corona 3,000 years ago. I let my friend picked which one would she like to visit (since you have to pay to get in), and that’s how we ended up visiting La Cueva de los Verdes.
Cueva in Spanish means cave, and Verdes technically means green. However it is referred to as Verdes not because of the colour but because that is the surname of the family that owned the area the cave is located in. The only way to visit it is through a 1h guided tour (9€). I have done it a couple of times and it’s been great every time. I would strongly recommend it, particularly if you have never visited volcanic tunnels before, as it is rather fascinating. If you have been to volcanic tunnels before then I’m afraid there is nothing really special about this one, except for a neat surprise at the end, which I am not going to spoil.
4. Mirador del Río
After our nice underground volcanic walk (sounds cool when I say it like that, doesn’t it?), we headed up through winding mountain roads to the viewing point Mirador del Río. On a clear day the views are rather spectacular and you can see the Famara Cliffs and all of the Archipielago Chinijo, which is a group of 5 islands: Alegranza, La Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste. They area all protected as part of a Natural Reserve for marine life and birds. La Graciosa is the only one that is inhabited – about 700 habitants. If you want to do something off the beaten path you should definitely go there! Also, Alegranza has the only red sand beach in the Canaries and it is completely unspoiled. I actually have never been but I will definitely try and make it next time I visit.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture, it wasn’t a clear day when we visited last time. We could still clearly see La Graciosa and hints of Montaña Clara behind it. Also, to access the proper viewing point you have to pay, but if you are on a budget (as we were), the views are still impressive from across the car park, where this picture was taken.
Our final stop in our day tour was Orzola, the most northern village in the island. It is a rather small fishing village duck away among mountains and cliffs that has remained unspoiled by tourism. Also it is from here that you can take the ferry to La Graciosa.
All we did here was stop for a late lunch. There are a couple of restaurants right by the small harbour, which serve really good fresh fish, although they are generally busy. We did try one of them and had a terrible experience in which we were literally sitting at a table for 1 hour without anyone even having taken our order. So we left, and headed further into the town where the food was as good and the service was excellent. So I’d strongly recommend skipping the restaurants by the sea if you visit on a busy day! Unless of course you don’t mind waiting for hours for your food.
We and our satisfied full bellies left Orzola with no more plans for the day except a relaxed drive by the coast back to Playa Blanca for our 6 o’clock ferry (you need to be there an hour beforehand if you have a car). What I did not expect at all was the landscape that was waiting for us once we left Orzola. Beautiful and isolated white sand beaches and crystalline water. The perfect ending to our day and something after all these years I would have never associated with Lanzarote! I tried really hard to remember but as far as I could recall, it was my first time seeing these beaches, so if you are looking for some peace and quiet at the beach that’s probably where you should head. Although the weather wasn’t great and maybe they do get more visitors on a clear sunny day, but something tells me that is not the case. I will sure test it when I go back!