What to see in Lanzarote in a single day: the southwest route
If you have just landed on Lanzarote, and you want to see everything right away but don’t know where to start, keep calm and follow this blog post because it could prove to be really useful.
Today, in fact, I want to suggest an itinerary that I drew up myself – one that’s not too demanding, and that extends along the south-western part of the island and that satisfies everyone, absolutely everyone: from lovers of volcanic landscapes, to beach enthusiasts.
This itinerary (and the undersigned guarantees that you will not be disappointed!) covers a series of stages summarised in the following points:
- Visit to the Montañas del Fuego (Mountains of Fire)
- Visit to the characteristic towns of Uga and Yaiza
- Wine-tasting and lunch at a winery
- Visit to the coastal town of El Golfo and Lago Verde (Green Lake)
- Los Hervideros
- The Janubio salt flats
- Papagayo beaches
1. Visit to the Montañas del Fuego
The Timanfaya National Park is definitely a must-see for anyone who chooses Lanzarote for their holidays. How could it be otherwise on an island where volcanic and magmatic emergencies form the heart of its masterpiece?
So what’s the best way to visit?
First of all, I advise you to go early, when it first opens, because it is such a popular place to visit you will almost certainly find a long queue of cars that, fortunately, moves quite fast. The Montañas del Fuego are indescribable, the context is totally primordial, dramatically charming, and almost ghostly in some places.
Once you arrive at the car parks, you will immediately be directed to one of the buses that take you on the half-hour journey through the lava oceans, black deserts and apocalyptic scenarios. In the bus there is a guide who will describe step by step the history of the eruptions, also using the chronicles of the time, explaining how the landscape came to be shaped by fire. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
At the end of the tour you can also watch the geyser demonstrations – I’m sure you’ve seen several videos on the web and can’t wait to admire them live – as well as finding out how meat is cooked using the heat of the volcano. You can also eat, have a coffee or quench your thirst at the excellent El Diablo restaurant where grilled meat cooked on the volcano is also served.
PS: Before or after visiting the Montañas del Fuego, I recommend going to the nearbyCentro de Interpretación de Mancha Blanca (Mancha Blanca Interpretation Center), an educational centre that is free to visit and is open until 4:00 pm, where you can learn everything there is to know about the eruptive activity of the volcanoes.
2. Visit the characteristic villages of Uga and Yaiza
If you imagined the towns of Lanzarote as villages of low white houses, with green paintwork that stand out against a black carpet of volcanic earth, you should know that this is the perfect description of Uga and Yaiza. These are two very friendly villages, very characteristic, beautiful to visit and, of course, to photograph. Here every sight, every corner, every window, even the simplest, takes on meaning and invited being captured by the lens. You will enjoy wandering the streets of these enchanted landscapes, among palm trees and big orange flowers that suddenly emerge from over the plastered walls.
3. Wine-tasting and lunch at a winery
After all that wandering around I’m sure that your stomach will soon be telling you it’s time to get a bite to eat.
What better time to experience the local gastronomy and volcanic wines, than in one of the many wineries along the road that crosses through La Geria, the characteristic landscape of the vineyards of Lanzarote? I chose the Grifo winery for my visit. Founded in 1775, it is the oldest winery in the Canary Islands and is among the 10 oldest in Spain. Here, a long winemaking tradition has been passed down the generations unchanged, resulting in a variety of wines suitable for all palates, including whites, muscatels, rosés and even reds. Do not miss the guided tour of the museum that forms part of the winery (not all of them have a wine museum) during which the most traditional grape processing techniques are described, after which the tour continues in the vineyard. With its ancient charm, the structure is an oasis of peace that provides you with an immersive food and wine experience with the opportunity to consume some characteristic dishes of the place.
4. Visit to the coastal town of El Golfo and Lago Verde (Green Lake)
Once your appetite has been satisfied, your journey continues to the coastal town of El Golfo, a cluster of white houses that line the main road and look out over the impetuous ocean. This small town is known for two main reasons: the good fish that is on offer in its many restaurants and the green lake that can be reached on foot with a 5 minute walk, after parking the car at the entrance of the village.
The green lake, also called Charco de los Clicos, is one of those gifts from Mother Nature that you just can’t miss . It came into being as a result of volcanic eruptions, and was formed by the surface of the sea water. The display of colours shows the perfect coexistence of contrasts, from the bright green of the lake to the red of the rock, the black of the sand and the blue of the sea.
5. Los Hervideros
Another point of interest is Los Hervideros, a cliff overlooking the sea where the power of the water and the strength of the rock meet and collide. Again, the scene has a huge visual impact . Seeing the waves that crash so violently against the face of the cliffs and then penetrate the ravines generates a very particular effect which will leave you in awe. I recommend that you return at sunset to photograph one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life.
6. The Janubio salt flats
Did you think you’ve reached the end of this itinerary? No, there’s one last surprise before you run off to swim in the sea. Since you’ll have to pass through anyway, I recommend you make a stop at the Janubio salt flats. You want to know why? What’s is so special about these salt flats? They’re just so photogenic! Created in 1895,they are the largest salt flats in the Canary Islands. I recommend you come back here at sunset too. Then you can tell me all about the magic of the colours you admire.
7. Papagayo beaches
And now, isn’t it time you went for a swim in the ocean? Of course it is. So now I recommend you visit the Papagayo beaches: Playa de Mujeres, Playa del Pozo, Playa de la Cera and, last but not least, Playa del Papagayo. All four beaches are part of the same coastline and can be reached via a system of dirt roads, so be careful with your car and go slowly. It may take a little longer, but who will care about that when you find yourself on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches swimming in a turquoise sea nestled between golden sand and rocky outcrops.
An experience lived and told by Salvatore Lampreu