10 charming places that don’t appear in the guidebooks to Lanzarote
Observe life. Dwell on the details. Choose alternative routes. Sound good to you? Today we present a route that you won’t find in the tourist reviews of Lanzarote and that you simply must try.
If your wanderlust leads you to hanker for a local experience, you’ve come to the right place.
Simón Bolivar Park
Strolling under the flamboyant flame trees that guard Simon Bolivar Park is one of the sweetest pleasures of the interior of Arrecife. The red flowers and the refreshing shade of these trees create a canopy for the walker.
The sculpture that pays homage to Liberator of America was inaugurated in 1982 and placed in the heart of this park in the neighbourhood of La Vega. Bolivar had Canarian ancestors, connected to Garachico and the island of Lanzarote.
A school, a high school, a bookshop, a gym and a good number of bars and bakeries with their Iberian mini-rolls, sandwiches and sweet potato doughnuts make this a place packed with domestic life – the perfect place to stop to rest and watch local life go by.
The erratic blocks of Tao
It is difficult to imagine, but the reality is that these large blocks of rock that stand out among the badlands like small mountains (some reach 30 metres in height) are fragments from the destruction of one side of the La Corona volcano.
These huge rocks were blown several kilometres in that eruption 25,000 years ago. Looking at them is like looking at a fossil, a testimony of the island’s essence.
The Tinajo sundial
Long before smartwatches and pocket watches, tower clocks and sundials were in use on Lanzarote and in the rest of the world.
At the top of the Church of San Roque, in Tinajo, is the second oldest sundial in the Canary Islands. Small, white and made of Canary Island pine wood, it was made by a sailor from La Vegueta in the 19th century and has a commanding inscription engraved on the back: “Sr. Cura: consérvese” (Father Priest: keep well).
Take a stroll around the Plaza de San Roque and start walking along the Avenida de Los Volcanes. A two-kilometre walk past shops selling local products (fruit, cheese, craft beer, fish) awaits us. We picked up a sandwich of pata (roast pork) and goat cheese that we enjoyed placidly in front of the Mirador de Guiguan, contemplating the terraces etched on the land by the farmers of Tinajo.
The golden light of Montaña Tesa
At least once in your life you just have to enjoy a sunset in a valley of La Geria.
Today, why not follow secondary roads to reach Masdache via Güime and Montaña Blanca?
At the crossroads, turn left, leaving Bodegas Vega de Yuco behind you, until you come to an old farmhouse that still has its foundations and the channels that carry the water from its rainwater cistern.
Olive trees, peach trees, fig trees, vines, hollyhocks, gorse, prickly pears, fennel, lichen… The path is dotted with life. If you stop a moment to silence your footsteps crunching on the volcanic lapilli, you will hear the trill of the multitude of birds that inhabit this natural space.
Paseo costero: de Puerto Naos a Las Caletas
Leave Marina Lanzarote and pass the Fishing School, one of the best nautical centres in Europe. In operation since 1942, the functional concrete building was designed by the architects Laorga and Zanón.
Next door is the Nao brewery, with its award-winning craft brews, and several bars in front of the Monument to the Martyrs of the Sea and the beautiful sloop María del Rosario, a coastal vessel from the early 20th century.
The bar of the fishermen’s guild of San Ginés marks the beginning of a number of small bars where you can enjoy platters of freshly caught fish. A mural designed by local artist Santiago Alemán and painted on a wall of an old factory pays homage to the essential role played by women in the history of this city.
On this walk full of saltpetre and history you will see the Naos salt mines, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo-Castillo de San José, the native plants of Punta Chica, a house full of jolateros (small rowing boats made from recycled drums). If you follow the Paseo de los Mármoles and the Avenida de las Caletas, you will come to the ship Telamón, a Greek lumber tanker that has been semi-sunken in these waters since 1981.
In search of traditional architecture
Casa Ajei de San Bartolomé is a beautiful example of 18th century rural architecture, with Mediterranean and American influences. It stands out for its grand stone staircase that connects with the sobrado (upper floor) and its balcony made of Canary Island pine wood.
On the outskirts of the village, the Mayor Guerra mansion was built in 1770 on a hill overlooking the harbour of Arrecife. The coat of arms at the entrance is made of white marble. We were captivated by the main door, decorated with quatrefoils, and the large round balcony framed by a carved stone arch.
In front of the hermitage of San Juan, in Haría, you can see a restored house with beautiful circular sgraffito vesica piscis (Latin for bladder of a fish) or mandorlas, sacred symbols since at least the time of Pythagoras.
The conclusion of these walks? That it takes a lifetime to discover the treasures that Lanzarote holds around every corner.
Sometimes it’s good to wander around aimlessly, ask the locals and let yourself be surprised.