San Bartolomé, a Land Shaped by Farmers
The heart of the island holds the dark beauty of La Geria, with its crops covered with microscopic shell fragments, many wineries where you can sample wines of unique flavour and the bustling life of Playa Honda.
It’s autumn on Lanzarote, but the sun continues to shine on the island, refusing to leave. This summer in the middle of November is a delight and the perfect time to slip into the centre of the island to enjoy San Bartolomé, a municipality that breathes the iron spirit of the Lanzarote men and women who stubbornly work the land.
San Bartolomé smells of melon, watermelon, onions and sweet potatoes. The crops are covered by jable, a sand formed by tiny pieces of sea shell that the trade winds bring from Famara Beach.
What is that pristine sculpture that reaches skyward? Your interest awoken, you approach this symbol of the island, the Monumento al Campesino, which the universal artist César Manrique created to pay homage to the courage and tenacity of those who knew how to take advantage of the fertility of an appreciative land on which it almost never rains.
Also called Monument to Fertility, this is the perfect place to immortalize your stay in Lanzarote, posting your snap on social media and inspiring a little envy in your friends.
So you can also tell them how good the food is on the island, go into the Casa-Museo del Campesino, and get ready to enjoy a pleasant journey through Lanzarote’s architecture, agriculture, crafts and traditional gastronomy.
This old farmhouse was restored and enlarged by Manrique with the help of his right-hand man, Jesús Soto, and its canteen is a great place to sit with the sun caressing you, waiting to sample some delicious white cheese and olives washed down with a flavourful off-dry wine.
The taste of the white wine that comes from this dark earth is curious. To enter La Geria is to enter a landscape from another world, from another planet. San Bartolomé is home to a part of the 5,000 hectares of the Protected Natural Area of La Geria, that landscape that always enchants, even when you have seen it a thousand times before.
In this charcoal-coloured volcanic land, farmers dug holes until they found fertile soil, planted vines in them and surrounded each one with a small stone wall to protect it from the wind.
With this intelligent technique aimed at promoting survival they created not only an overwhelmingly beautiful landscape, but also the birthplace of the well-known and unique Malvasia Volcánica wines, which have received so many awards.
Why not let yourself be enchanted by these famous wines? There are many wine cellars offering tastings, a wine tourism practice that is a fun way to savour wines made from such diverse grapes as Moscatel, Listán, Diego or Negramoll, while getting to know the ins and outs of their careful production.
If you are not satisfied with simply exploring the effect of liquid red, white or rosé on your palate and want to discover more, you can visit the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Vinos de Lanzarote, which is also based in this municipality.
San Bartolomé not only has an agricultural soul, but it also offers an open window onto the past. The Tanit Ethnographic Museum, located in one of the first bodegas on the island, is a unique time machine that takes you back hundreds of years, revealing the working tools, clothing and customs of Lanzarote’s ancestors.
You can then move on to the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century thanks to the Casa Mayor Guerra, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest by the Canary Islands Government. This stately building was built on the slopes of the Cascajo hills by the military governor of Lanzarote, Francisco Tomás Guerra. It was a strategic location which offered a view of the increasingly important port of Arrecife from its elegant balcony.
The property is surrounded by a pleasant area for leisure and outdoor sport where you can enjoy a snack or stretch your legs. Two of the seven paths that San Bartolomé offers start from this point: El Jable (San Bartolomé-Zonzamas), Juan Bello (La Florida-Cueva de los Naturalistas), Maretas de Guatisea, Montaña Blanca, El Cabezo (Montaña Blanca-El Grifo-La Florida) and Chimidas (San Bartolomé-La Florida).
These hikes of different levels of difficulty are a delight for lovers of nature and exercise and can also be combined with the fun of the nearby karting track, which will delight lovers of high speeds.
Tired after your walk? Then recharge your batteries at Playa Honda! With the ocean stretching out before you and the breeze caressing your face, this is the perfect place to eat. This residential town, where various cultures mingle, offers a wide avenue to walk along, from which you can access the different beaches that follow one another and sample a diverse gastronomic offer.
With a happy stomach, you can take a dip in the refreshing Atlantic while the planes that take off and land at the Lanzarote-César Manrique airport fly overhead.
With the water gently lapping under you as you gaze up into the trails left in the clear blue of the Lanzarote sky, it’s only natural to ask yourself this question: who would want to leave this paradise?