The island of Lanzarote is considered “not a place for everyone” in the Canary Islands: there are not very many beaches here. But the desert volcanic landscape occupies almost the entire island: these are absolutely fantastic views that the local artist and sculptor Cesar Manrique turned into interesting art objects. But there are also plenty of traditional attractions here: four ancient fortresses, several museums, a water park, a zoo, restaurants, markets - everything you need for an interesting vacation.
Top 10 attractions in Lanzarote
Fortress of San Jose
The current fortifications of the main fortress of the island were built for defense against pirates in 1776-1779. on the site of a destroyed fortress of the 16th century. The people called San Jose the "Fortress of Hunger" - because the construction was started in order to provide the population of the island with jobs and save from starvation after droughts and volcanic eruptions. The fortress is protected by a moat from the land side, so that it is actually located on an artificial island; a drawbridge once led to it across the moat.
By the beginning of the 20th century, it was abandoned, and found a new life in 1976. Renowned local artist Cesar Manrique created an interior redevelopment project, and the fortress was turned into a Museum of Contemporary Art. Here, the work of Spanish artists of the second half of the 20th century is presented, temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, concerts, performances, and lectures are held. In addition, there is a wonderful "view" restaurant in the fortress tower above the sea.
Rancho Texas Zoological Garden
A huge zoo stylized as the Wild West: with an Indian village, a shaman's cave, gold mines and other interesting locations. The park was founded in memory of those Canarian families who moved to Texas at the beginning of the 18th century - they continue to remember their Canarian roots. Some of these settlers were natives of Lanzarote.
Themed shows with cowboys and Indians are held here, you can ride a horse yourself. With birds of prey - hawks, eagles and condors - a special show is held, they fly right over the heads of the audience. The park shows traditional shows of killer whales, sea lions, parrots. But the most important thing, of course, is just animals that are kept in comfortable conditions and spacious enclosures. There are white tigers, armadillos, bison, giant turtles, Komodo monitor lizards, Nile crocodiles, pythons and other rare animals.
Museum of whales and dolphins
The museum was created in 2005 with the participation of the Canary Islands Cetacean Society. This is the only museum in Spain that is entirely dedicated to this order of mammals. In the waters of the Canary archipelago, 27 species of these creatures live: whales, killer whales, several different dolphins. Here, the border between warm and cold waters, very deep bottom depressions, an abundance of fish - all this makes the Canary Islands the most suitable environment for their life.
The museum exposition tells about the evolution of cetaceans and their origin, about the environmental problems that cause their death, and about the efforts that are being made to protect them. For example, the Spanish military is prohibited from using sonars within the waters of the Canary Islands. The museum has a media room where you can listen to the voices of dolphins and whales and watch films about them, as well as a shop with souvenirs and themed literature.
Timanfaya National Park
The main natural attraction of Lanzarote is its volcanic landscapes. In the thirties of the 18th century, a series of volcanic eruptions almost completely changed the appearance of the once blooming island, and the last eruption of 1824 complemented this picture. For the sake of filming "alien" landscapes, filmmakers now come here now and then - for example, some episodes of "Clash of the Titans" were filmed here.
There is a sightseeing bus running through the national park; its 14-kilometer route passes through the most picturesque places. The main attraction is the "Devil" restaurant invented by Cesar Manrique, which is located next to one of the former craters. Here you can see that volcanic activity continues. A show is shown in front of the restaurant: straw is lit from the heat that comes out of the ground. Then they fill it with water - and you can see a colorful geyser of steam. They say that the grill in this restaurant is also cooked exclusively on volcanic fire.
Aquapark Costa Teguise
The only water park on the island is located at the Costa Teguise. This is the place where you can indulge in water activities. Many people stay at this hotel specifically for the water park. There is a children's area with shallow pools and a bouncy castle, there is a Kamikaze slide for adults and several other high-speed slides designed for teenagers. In addition to various slides, sun loungers and pools, there is a go-kart, a paintball area and an amusement park "El Parque Aventura", the most important of which is a climbing wall and a rope park.
Some of the rides are included in the ticket price, some are paid separately. During the season there are a lot of people here, in winter it is almost deserted and quite cool. They are not allowed here with their own food, but you can have a bite to eat in several restaurants on the territory of the hotel.
Cueva de los Verdes cave
Cueva de los Verdes is a huge volcanic cave that was formed around the 3rd millennium BC. during the last eruption of the Korona volcano. This tunnel is about 6 kilometers long, formed by a stream of incandescent lava that once flowed here. It is approximately 15 meters high and 24 meters wide. The cave has long been used by people - objects of the Guanche Indians who inhabited the Canary Islands before the Spanish conquest were found here.
Since 1964, the cave has been open to tourists: a section of about a kilometer in length is equipped with footbridges, electric lighting and even audio accompaniment, music is playing here. In the largest of the halls of this cave, concerts are periodically held. The lower section of the cave is called Jameos del Agua, with a separate entrance. Here you can see an underground salt lake, which sometimes gets the reflections of the sun, due to the fact that the vault collapsed over the lake itself, and have a bite to eat in a cave restaurant.
Fortress Santa Barbara
Next to the first capital of the island, Teguise, there is another fortress - Santa Barbara, the fortress of St. Barbarians. It is located in the interior of the island, near the crater of the Guanapai volcano, because it was intended not so much to protect the coast as so that the inhabitants could take refuge in it in case of devastating pirate raids. The fortress, however, was quite small, so that only the richest and noblest citizens could hide in it, and the rest of the population hid in the nearby Cueva de los Verdes cave.
The Santa Barbara fortress officially continued to be used until 1913 - however, already as a military dovecote, and then it was finally abandoned and revived now as a museum. First, the Museum of Emigration was opened here, and then the exposition was supplemented by the Museum of Piracy. The inhabitants of the island have something to tell about the most famous pirates of the 16th-17th centuries, because almost every one of them was noted in the Canary Islands, ravaging coastal cities and taking local residents into slavery.
House-Museum of Cesar Manrique
The painter and sculptor Cesar Manrique is the most famous person in Lanserote. He is a native of this island, but lived in Madrid for many years and then in New York. In 1966, the artist returned to his homeland. He designed many objects on the island that attract many tourists: this is the administrative building and the restaurant of Timanfaya Park, the Museum of Modern Art, the Cactus Garden.
The most interesting object is his own house with a garden - this is a work of art of landscape design, in which abstract art objects are combined with natural beauties. The house is built around a huge old fig tree, on its lower level there is something like a botanical garden, there are ponds, complex transitions from level to level, a small exhibition of abstract paintings - and fields of black volcanic lava spread around the house.
Bodega El Grifo Winery and Wine Museum
Volcanic soils are the most suitable for growing grapes, therefore, on the islands, which are of volcanic origin and have preserved traces of past eruptions, they make the best wine. Lanzarote is very dry, and eruptions were very recent - the layer of fertile soil here is not large. Therefore, here they specially look after each planted bush of grapes: they are planted in special deep holes, so that water accumulates better in them, and a layer of fertile soil is closer. The island's vineyards bring in about 2 million liters of wine a year.
The Wine Museum is located at a small winery that produces 12 types of wine - it has existed on the island since the 17th century. A huge old vine grows at the entrance to the museum - it is itself a landmark of the island.
The cactus garden is another creation of the landscape design genius Sazar Menrique, created in the early 90s. XX century on the site of a former quarry where volcanic ash was mined. The entrance to it is marked by a giant metal cactus, which looks, however, completely realistic.
The garden itself is a huge amphitheater with terraced steps resembling a crater. It really is an art object, not just a botanical garden. However, lovers of cacti and succulents will not be disappointed. There are 1100 species of these plants collected in the garden, and in total - about 8 thousand specimens, and they feel great here. There are cacti from South and North America, and local Caribbean, from deserts and forests, useful for agriculture and simply beautiful. In spring, cacti also bloom - and this is just an amazing sight.