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Lanzarote Moon Landing – Touring Timanfaya

 

Fire Devil, Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

The Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

In the course of just over 300 years Lanzarote´s Timanfaya region has been transformed from a natural disaster area into a national treasure – and is now one of the most visited attractions in the whole of Spain.

Lanzarote´s Hottest Attraction

Named after one of the eleven villages that were levelled by huge volcanic eruptions in the 1730´s (which went on for six years), this area, measuring around 200km square, is now a barren wasteland of twisted lava and spent peaks.  Whilst all of the volcanoes are now dormant or extinct this is still very much a hot attraction, as evidenced by the geothermal heat emanating from below the earth’s surface here – which is used to cook food over giant grills in the fantastic restaurant El Diablo (The Devil), which was designed by Lanzarote´s favourite son César Manrique.

Welcome To The Moon

Touring around the region the analogy with the moon becomes obvious – and indeed very apt.  As NASA cosmonauts were apparently shown pictures of Timanfaya to prepare themselves for their own lunar expeditions, whilst the scenery here is certainly out of this world. 

Visitors park up close to the restaurant before boarding coaches which are expertly driven through the twisted landscapes on a route which was mapped out by Manrique. The tour takes about forty minutes and is accompanied by a taped commentary in English, Spanish and German, which outlines the events leading up to the eruptions and which also highlights key points throughout the tour.

Tour Route Through Timanfaya

The route consists of a single lane paved roadway, which is only for use by the official coach drivers.  As the landscapes and ecology here are so delicate that visitors are not allowed to deviate from this path – let alone set foot on the lava fields themselves.  Perhaps the most impressive point on this tour is the Montaña Rajada, as this affords the most incredible sweeping views of the region.

Once the coach tour is completed visitors are encouraged to watch demonstrations conducted by park wardens which illustrate the fierce heat still present just beneath the earth’s surface.  Water is poured into geysers, only to be expelled seconds later as jets of stem.  Whilst straw pushed into a hole in the ground quickly catches fire.

El Diablo Restaurant

A visit to the El Diablo Restaurant is also a must, not least as it showcases some great Manrique design touches, such as the huge saucepan light holders in the bar area and the panoramic giant windows which are perfect for drinking in the amazing views whilst enjoying a bite to eat.

The centre piece of the restaurant is a dead garden, featuring a dried out tree trunk and an animal skeleton, which clearly draws inspiration from the Japanese dry garden style and which illustrates perfectly the destructive powers of Mother Nature.

The Fire Devil

Timanfaya was officially designated a national park in 1974 and it´s little wonder – as this is probably the most pristine lava-scape on the planet.  As with all of the other attractions that he created on Lanzarote, Manrique also designed a special logo for the Park, the now well known figure of the Fire Devil, a symbol that is evident throughout.

Background Information

The park is open daily from 10.00 to 17.45 and admission costs €8 per adult and €4 for children, a fee that also includes the coach tour.  It´s worth noting that there are no public bus services running to Timanfaya, so you will need to either hire a car, take a taxi or book an excursion.

 

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