Lanzarote Island: Spain’s Volcanic Dream World

Lanzarote Island—a small Spanish island located near North Africa—is truly a world unto itself. Lanzarote Island features desolate volcanic fields, one of the world’s finest geothermal-powered restaurants, and a cave system that was spruced up by an artist who was pals with Andy Warhol. If you have ever wondered what a chicken leg would taste like if it was cooked using the heat of a steaming volcanic vent, a trip to Lanzarote Island is a must.

Lanzarote Island’s most famous resident was an artist named Cesar Manrique. Cesar Manrique was born and raised on Lanzarote, and had a great passion for the island’s striking, diverse landscapes. After a stint in New York City in the 1960s, Cesar Manrique returned to his native Lanzarote and undertook several creative projects, including an installation in a cave system which featured stone steps, neon lights, and tiered plants. All of Cesar Manrique’s Lanzarote-based art incorporates nature and accentuates the beauty of the island.

The César Manrique foundation

The César Manrique foundation/Photo by keid/Flickr

Timanfaya National Park features stark, rocky landscapes that are the result of a series of tumultuous volcanic eruptions. Visitors can ride camels along rugged, treeless terrain and watch small geysers erupt. Brilliant blue water is visible in the distance from almost every vantage point. The Fire Mountains feature rows of partially collapsed volcanic cones, El Diablo Restaurant—which is located in the heart of the Fire Mountains—features dishes prepared in an oven which employs geothermal heat. El Diablo diners can watch volcanic vents spew steam into the air through a large window as they eat their entrees.

Lanzarote Island is home to a unique wine region called La Geria. La Geira features rows of vines which are cultivated in volcanic ash. Each vine is protected by a semicircular stone wall. The ancient Malvasia grape thrives in La Geria. Malvasia is best known for its inclusion in fortified Madeira wine.

Many visitors consider Mirador del Rio to be one of the most spectacular locations on Lanzarote Island. Mirador del Rio is a towering 1,500 foot tall lookout point which was envisioned by Cesar Manrique and constructed by Jesus Soto and Eduardo Caceres, The lookout point is almost entirely encased in volcanic rock, which makes it virtually unnoticeable from a distance. Mirador del Rio features a small cafe, and a stunning view of several nearby islands. The sight of the royal blue Atlantic Ocean punctuated by rocky islands dotted with dormant volcanos never fails to fill visitors with awe.

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