Last week, Thomas Cook Airlines invited myself and 7 other bloggers to go and explore the sights and sounds of Lanzarote. I was pretty naive at first, thinking that the “Canary Islands” were just off the coast of Spain. Little did I know that Lanzarote is further south than Marrakech and is the largest island of the Canaries!
I packed my bikinis, flip flops and collection of hats ready for a beach adventure, however what we explored was a whole lot more than just a beach holiday. The island has a volcanic origin and has had active volcanoes during the 19th and 20th centuries – can you believe this!! The volcanic eruptions have left the island looking like scenes from Mars and gives some parts of the island quite and eerie yet unique landscape.
Here are nine things I discovered on the trip that you might not have known about Lanzarote:
1. A 7km Volcanic Tunnel Runs Underground and Through The Sea
Yes this is true! The Cueva de los Verdes (or Green Caves) are part of the Atlantida underground cave system that was formed over three thousands years ago. The volcanic tunnel runs for 6km and then continues for another 1.6km underwater. 2km of the trail is open to the public with guided tours leaving each half hour. A cool fact is that during the time of pirates, the locals used the caves to hide in to stop being robbed of their treasures!
2. There’s A Jaw Dropping Optical Illusion
Spoiler alert! If you do go and visit the caves just skip over this point. But when you are visiting the Cueva de los Verdes, there is a jaw dropping amazing optical illusion to discover. At first, it looks like there is here is a huge gigantic hole in the ground. However, after the guide drops a small stone into a pond of water, you actually realise that the hole is only a reflection of the 15 meter tall cavity of the caves above. A big wow moment for me!
3. Lanzarote Has Many Vineyards Yet They Don’t Water The Vines
On the border of the Timanya National Park, there is a very famous wine growing region called “La Geria” in the lava mountains. Driving through this area, the unique quality of the black landscape and oddly shaped rows of vines makes it a very special sight to see. The vines are protected by smile shaped walls called “Zocos” that are built to protect the vines from the forceful winds that sweep through the island. They also don’t have to water the vines (what you say?) Each vine is planted 2 meters deep and covered with volcanic lava that helps to keep the moister in and around the plant. Who would have thought! There are 18 vineyards or Bodegas to visit and taste the Lanzarote wine. We visited the Bodegas Rubicon and enjoyed a gorgeous long tabled lunch and wine tasting tour.
4. They Have Europe’s First Underwater Museum
Yes you read correctly – a museum completely underwater. Off the coast of Lanzarote, in the clear blue waters, British artist Jason deCaires Taylor has created an extraordinary series of underwater sculptures. The unique, permanent installation can be found 14m beneath the surface, accessible to snorkelers and divers galore. Museo Atlantico opened in February this year for underwater adventures and divers to visit. Would you take the plunge?
5. They Use The Volcano As A BBQ!
In the Timanfaya National Park, you can dine on a delicious meal that was cooked on a Volcano! The heat that comes from the active volcano is over 450 degrees celsius, so your steak or fish won’t need long on the bbq. If you want to experience the devilish cooking phenomenon, the restaurant is called El Diablo restaurant which translates to devil quite fittingly. The unique setting overlooks the Timanfaya National Park with panoramic views of the Fire Mountains.
6. There’s A Museum For Aloe Vera
The humble Aloe plant gets it own museum on the island of Lanzarote. The volcanic landscape makes for a perfect climate for Aloe to grow so it’s not a surprise it gets it’s own museum, Museo de Aloe de Lanzarote.
Situated in the village of Arrieta, in the north of the island of Lanzarote, the museum is 150 square meters in size and is decorated with volcanic rock. You can see how they harvest the plant and learn about all the different uses for the plant including therapeutic applications for the skin, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and for the bones. I foolishly didn’t use as much sunscreen as I should, so the aloe came in very handy to sooth my sunburn (along with most of the bloggers on the trip!).
7. You Can Walk Through César Manrique’s House
If you are a lover of interiors and nature like me, you are going to love this artist’s house! The César Manrique Foundation is located in the centre of the island, which use to be the artist’s home. You can now walk through the 5 bedroom house which has been constructed on five volcanic bubbles. It’s a beautiful display of the artist’s own style of architecture and landscape gardening, featuring indoor and outdoor rooms including a gorgeous pool. We spent hours in here admiring the designs and taking the opportunity to take some photos using this gorgeous backdrop.
8. There’s A Green Lagoon Inside A Volcano Crater
When visiting the town of El Golfo, make sure you walk up the volcanic sandy track to see the infamous Green Lagoon (Charco de los Clicos). Trapped inside a volcanic crater, the body of water has turned green from the algae that has formed on the bottom. With the dramatic volcano backdrop contrasted with the blue skies, the Green Lagoon viewpoint makes for an optimal photo opportunity. Grab a vino and watch the sunset over this rare landscape.
9. There’s The Most Beautiful Viewpoint I’ve Ever Seen
Lastly but far from least, you must visit the Miradol del Rio viewpoint over the island of La Gracisosa. The viewpoint is nestled into the volcanic landscape which gives you impressive panoramic views of the island below. Approximately 475 meters high, it’s one vast outlook you must experience when visiting Lanzarote.
So what do you think? Are you sold? If volcanoes, vineyards and green lagoons aren’t enough for you, there’s always the mouth watering Spanish cuisine and the endless amount of gorgeous beaches.
If you want to see more of my Lanzarote trip with Thomas Cook Airlines, check out my travel vlog that I created earlier in the week. Thomas Cook Airlines have a huge range of affordable flights to Lanzarote daily. Thanks again for the invitation to explore a wonderfully dramatic island and the chance to meet the other beautiful bloggers.