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Category Archives for Sightseeing

Day Trippin’ In Fuerteventura

Lanzarote´s location just a short distance across the Bocaina Straits from the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura makes it possible to indulge in a spot of island hopping.  And why not – as the third largest of the Canary Islands offers historic hamlets, breathtaking beaches and a host of attractions that are all well worth exploring, especially if you have booked any of our villas or apartments in Playa Blanca.

Las Dunas National Park, Corralejo, Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura - home to amazing beaches

Ferries To Fuerteventura

Playa Blanca in the south of Lanzarote has long been the gateway to Fuerteventura and two companies, Fred Olsen and Armas run services throughout the day on a daily basis, with boats departing regularly from 07.10 in the morning through to 20.00 at night. 

If you plan to do more than just visit Corralejo (where the ferry docks) in the north of Fuerteventura and want to drive then the best and cheapest way to do this is to travel as a foot passenger and then hire a car on arrival, not least as some car hire companies on Lanzarote don’t allow you to take their vehicles off the island.

Amazing Beaches

Beaches are one of Fuerteventura´s primary attractions – and rightly so, as the island boasts some of the most impressive sands in Europe, never mind just the Canaries.   There are over 150 superb beaches to explore, as well as the famous giant dunes of the Dunas National Park which are located just outside Corralejo and which are also very visible from Lanzarote.  The beaches in the south of the island especially – in and around the Jandia peninsula – are widely regarded as the best on Fuerteventura and here you can stroll along the sandy shoreline for some 20km.

However, given the size of the island, if you are only visiting for the day then these beaches are some distance away by car.  So it is probably best to confine your exploring to the north and the sands in and around Corralejo, including the small town beach, whilst Cotilo on the west coast is also easy to reach.

Should you want to do more than just soak up the sun then Fuerteventura also offers an abundance of other attractions, including some very picturesque towns and villages. 

Picturesque Pueblos

La Oliva is the closest of these to Corralejo and is well worth exploring as this was the administrative hub of the island until passing this mantle onto Puerto Rosario in the 19th century – and as a result there are a host of historic buildings here.  Such as the pretty main church of Parroquiade Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, which is located right in the centre of the village and the impressive Casa de los Coronels (or House of the Colonels), formerly home to the military governor of the island and now used as an atmospheric exhibition space.  The Centro de Arte Canario Casa Mane is also well worth a visit as it houses a number of works from leading Canarian artists, including Lanzarote´s very own Cesar Manrique.

Betancuria is another spot worth stopping off at as this used to be the island capital and is widely regarded as the most picturesque village on Fuerteventura.  The main focal point is the church and gardens at the Iglesia de Santa Maria, which was restored in the 17th century after being raised by Berber pirates.  Further to the south lies Antigua (or old in Spanish), which as the name suggests is one of the oldest Spanish settlements in the Canary Islands, dating back to 1485. 

Fuerteventura is one of two islands that lie in close proximity to Lanzarote – so if you are really keen to get out and explore you can also visit La Graciosa, the 8th Canary Island.

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Treasure Island – Exploring La Graciosa


Harbour, La Graciosa, Canary Islands

Caleta del Sebo Harbour, La Graciosa

Lanzarote is an ideal base for exploring other islands in the Canaries chain, as it is just a short distance from both Fuerteventura and the smaller, lesser known island of La Graciosa. Part of the Chinijo archipelago which also includes the uninhabited islands of Alegranza, Roque del Oeste, Montaña Clara and Roque del Este.

The 8th Canary Island

La Graciosa is often referred to as the 8th Canary Island – as although administratively part of Lanzarote it is a world away in terms of atmosphere. As visiting here is a little like stepping back in time to an environment that seems totally untouched by so called modern day progress – for example there are no cars or tarmac roads and the island population amounts to only around 600 residents.

Inca Gold and Long John Silver

La Graciosa is also steeped in history, as it is rumoured to be the real life setting for the Robert Louis Stevenson classic Treasure Island. Certainly there was an enormous amount of piratical activity taking place in the waters around both Lanzarote and La Graciosa during the 17th and 18th centuries – as the Canaries were an important trading hub between the Spanish empire in the New World and the mother country in the Old.

In particular the transportation of Inca silver and gold caught the attention of privateers (or pirates depending on your nationality and point of view) such as Drake and Raleigh. Along with other raiders of various nationalities, including buccaneers from nearby Africa.

Guarding the Rio Straits

La Graciosa’s strategic importance was apparent once again during the late 19th century when the Spanish built a gun battery on top of the Famara massif, overlooking the Rio Straits which separate Lanzarote from the smaller island. As the country entered into what proved to be a near ruinous conflict with the United States which cost Spain many of its most valuable and prized colonial assets, such as the Philippines.

Today that gun battery is the Mirador Del Rio – one of César Manrique´s many creations – which is usually the spot where most visitors to Lanzarote gain their first glimpse of La Graciosa. As the Mirador was specifically constructed to make the most of the incredible views down to the island from height of some 460 metres.

Caleta del Sebo – Island Capital

La Graciosa survives on fishing and tourism and the islands population is solely concentrated in the islands picturesque ‘capital´ of Caleta del Sebo – which is where the ferry from Lanzarote´s northern port of Orzola docks throughout the day. The harbour area here is particularly attractive and there are a couple of bars and restaurants on the sea front here which are great for just watching the world go by at a serene and leisurely pace. The views back to Lanzarote are also pretty impressive – especially when the evening light casts a shade of pink onto the towering rock wall of the Famara massif.

The only other conurbation on the island is a small cluster of holiday homes at Pedro Barba, which lies along the coastline from Caleta del Sebo. Many of these properties are owned by wealthy Canarians and only ever see use for a few weeks per year.

Beach Lovers Paradise

Today, La Graciosa´s real treasures are its amazing and unspoilt beaches. There´s a small beach in Caleta del Sebo right by the ferry port, but many locals don’t like bathing there as they believe that the water is a little contaminated by diesel spills from the boats anchored in the harbour. Best instead to keep walking out of the village to the west to check out the beaches of Playa El Salado, Las Piconas, Playa Francesa and Playa de la Cocina, all of which are very unspoiled.

The real star of the show here though is the golden sandy beach at Playa de las Conchas, which is on the opposite shore of the island to Caleta del Sebo and which can only be reached by 4×4 taxi, mountain bike or a long and dusty walk.

Getting to La Graciosa

A day trip to La Graciosa is a real favourite with guests booking any of our rural villas in the north of the island. The ferry from Orzola runs daily at 10.00 12.00 13.30 17.00 18.30 and returns from La Graciosa at 08.00 11.00 12.30 16.00 18.00 and costs €15 return. You can book tickets in advance by visiting the Lineas Romero website, or turn up and pay on the day.

In many ways a visit to La Graciosa provides an insight into how life on Lanzarote must have been lived before the advent of international travel and if you´re a serious beach lover it’s well worth making the hop, as the sands here are rightly regarded as some of the best in the Canaries.

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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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Time Travelling in Teguise


Teguise, Lanzarote

Plaza del la Constitucion in Teguise

If you´re a fan of all things historical, particularly architecture, then a trip to the town of Teguise in the centre of the island is a definite must.  As this is in fact the oldest Spanish settlement in the whole of the Canaries, dating back to the early 15th century and boasts buildings that were constructed as long ago as 1455!

Teguise is Lanzarote´s time machine – La Villa as it is also known locally was for centuries the capital of the island, thanks primarily to its central location and elevated position.  Which at that time were vital considerations for ensuring protection from pirate raids, which happened with surprising frequency during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Named after the last Princess of the pre-Spanish native Gaunche people, the town was first founded in 1402 as the first wave of conquistadores landed in the Canaries.  Over the coming years Lanzarote was to serve as an important base for the growing Spanish empire, as slaves from nearby West Africa were transported across the Atlantic, returning laden with Inca silver and gold.  A trade that caught the eye of many a pirate (or privateer, if you were looking at it from an English perspective), whilst ushering an era of prosperity that can still be seen in the magnificent villas and palaces that line the ancient cobbled streets.

However it wasn’t always easy going for the inhabitants of Teguise.  Despite enjoying the early warning system provided by the Castillo de Santa Barbara, which sits atop Mount Guanapay above the town, with commanding views, sometimes the pirates did get through.  And on one particularly bloody raid in 1618 Teguise was overrun by a force of 5000 Algerian pirates, who pillaged, plundered and murdered.  A small street called La Sangre (Spanish for blood) serves as a lasting memorial of this massacre to this day.

Teguise is home to an array of truly impressive edifices such as the main church, Nuestra Senora de Guadelupe, which is located on the main Plaza de la Constitucion, just opposite the Palacio de Spinola, a former merchants house which is now open to the public as a fascinating house museum.  Most of these buildings are very traditional in style, featuring internal patios (providing protection from both the wind and the sun) and wooden balconies – archictectural elements that are highly representative of the typical Canarian style.

The Ayuntamiento of Teguise publish an excellent guidebook to the town and its buildings entitled Conjunto Historico Artistico, which details the provenance and background of virtually every building of interest in the town.  You can pick up a copy by visiting the tourist information office in Teguise, which is located right next door to the Palacio Spinola.

Teguise is also home to a large weekly market every Sunday.  Thousands of locals and tourists browse hundreds of stalls, selling a wide array of goods from genuine artisanal products through to the sort of leather bags and belts that seem to crop up in markets across the world!  Either way market day is always busy, so if you want to take in Teguise and its buildings unencumbered by crowds then it´s best to head here between Monday and Saturday, when its much quieter and easy to navigate.

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