Lanzarote – The Island Of Fire

beach_at_papagayo, LanzaroteLanzarote is one of our favourite destinations. It’s a bit of a strange landscape with all the volcanic rock strewn everywhere, but the holiday resorts on Lanzarote are good places to visit for an enjoyable family holiday. Nick at has kindly written us an article about Lanzarote and some of the attractions that the island has to offer. Here is his article.    

Experience Lanzarote – The Island of Fire

Lanzarote may be a Spanish possession.  But this small, volcanic Canary Island, located just eighty miles off the coast of Africa boasts an identity and culture that blends Latin American and African influences with the Iberian.  Reflecting the islands former position as an important trading post between the New World and The Old.

castillo_santa_barbaraLanzarote – Background & HistoryConquered by the Spanish in the early 1400´s Lanzarote rapidly emerged to become a staging point between the new colonies in South America and the mainland.  As Spanish galleons transported Inca silver and gold across the Atlantic.Today Lanzarote is best known as a year round holiday destination.  With a clement climate that is often likened to an eternal Spring.  Which helps to attract around 1.5 million foreign tourists every year. 

The bulk of them from the UK and Eire.

Hail CesarTourism first evolved on the island back in the 1970´s.  Under the aegis of an island born artist and architect called Cesar Manrique who fought to ensure that Lanzarote would avoid the fate then befalling the Spanish Costas.  Which were being submerged beneath a wave of high rise hotels.Working in tandem with his close friends in the island council Manrique successfully campaigned for an outright ban on all buildings taller than a Canarian palm tree.  Whilst all advertising hoardings were outlawed.As a result – and in spite of its popularity with tourists – Lanzarote remains largely unspoiled.  With tourism carefully concentrated in the three main resorts of Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca.  Leaving the rest of the island largely as nature intended.lanzarote   

Natural WondersWhich is fortuitous – as Lanzarote boasts numerous beauty spots.  From the eerie lava fields of the Timanfaya Volcano Park.  Once the epicentre of a six year long volcanic eruption in the 1730´s which earned Lanzarote the sobriquet of the Island of Fire.  Through to the lush palm packed valleys in the north of the island.  Such as the aptly named Valley of 1000 Palms.  Where villagers used to plant one palm tree for every newborn girl and two for every boy.

Key AttractionsManrique´s influence also extended to the creation of unique tourist attractions.  As he sought to demonstrate that water parks and golf courses were not the most ecologically viable avenue.  Especially on an island with very little rainfall or natural water sources.Instead he sought to fuse Lanzarote´s volcanic landscape with his own artisistc aesthetic.  Resulting in the creation of seven tourist centres.  Such as the Jameos del Agua – where he turned a giant collapsed lava tube into a stunning underground auditorium. Or his own home and studio – which was constructed out of five underground bubbles in the lava flow.  And which now houses the Cesar Manrique Foundation – still one of the most popular attractions on the island today.

UNESCO BiosphereManrique´s campaigning work, in tandem with the islands volcanic terrain, led to Lanzarote being declared a UNESCO protected biosphere in 1994.  The first island in the world to enjoy such status.

Holidays in Lanzarote

The island is serviced by a number of the leading low cost operators in the UK such as easyJet and Monarch.  With flights to Lanzarote costing on average £200 return.  Depending of course on the time of year.Accommodation standards on the island are high.  With the best hotels and villas in Lanzarote  located in the island’s newest resort of Playa Blanca.  Which is located at the southern tip of Lanzarote – just across the Bocaina Straits from close Canarian cousin, Fuerteventura.


All photographs are copyright of James Mitchell





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