Lanzarote

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Lanzarote is not only completely different from the other Canary Islands, but also from most other places on this planet. Lanzarote is of volcanic origin, as all the other islands in the archipelago, but on Lanzarote, the volcanoes have been active up to the 19th century. As a result, large parts of the island's surface are covered with ashes and lava, making you feel that you were on another planet. Lanzarote is also a very arid place, where rain is exceptional. The island is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a Biosphere Reserve. Other parts of the island have been cultivated and there you will find large plantations of fruits and vegetables. In the region of Geria you will find a spectacular landscape with thousands of small volcanic craters. There you can see some of the world's most unusual vineyards. The grapes of Canary Islands' most famous wine, Malvasía, grow in small pits filled with volcanic ashes and surrounded by stone walls.

Lanzarote's capital of Arrecife is the island's largest settlement and worth a quick visit, as is the former capital of Teguise.

Lanzarote's main attractions are the Cueva de los Verdes, Jameos del Agua and the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, with its breathtaking landscapes. The Cueva de los Verdes is a 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) long part of a lava tube that measures some 8 kilometer (5 miles) in all. An eruption of the Corona volcano, 5000 years ago, created the tube. Due to reflections, inside the cave you will experience optical delusions of the most surprising kind. In the past, the island's inhabitants used the cave to hide from pirates and for invaders, the Cueva de los Verdes was a deadly trap. The Jameos del Agua is a very special part of the Cueva de los Verdes. It has a lake in it, where you'll see many tiny crabs that are blind. The animals' eyesight has disappeared as an evolutionary result of live in the dark lava tube. The Langostino Blanco, as the species is called, is perfectly adapted to the conditions of life in the caves. In the cave, Canarian artist Cesar Manrique created a complex that combines the miracles of nature with miracles of architecture. There are swimming-pools, restaurants and even a ballroom.

The destruction and rebuilding of Lanzarote by the elemental forces of its volcanos has resulted in one of the world's most incredible landscapes. The fertile lava also provides for opulent vegetation. Lanzarote is not very large and it can be explored in a day or so by car.

The Parque Nacional de Timanfaya is a bizarre volcanic landscape. The picturesque white houses of Tahiche are in sharp contrast with the surrounding area of black ashes. The nearby Casas Hondas once served as dwellings to Lanzarote's original inhabitants, the Guanches.

At Guatiza is a huge sea of cacti. They were planted there, because a species of insects living in them provided a red pigment that was highly valuated in the past. El Mirador del Rio is a bizarre rock of abouth 600 m high. It sits face to face with the small island of Graciosa and from the top, the view is outstanding. Graciosa and the small island of La Isleta have nice beaches. The Valle de Haria is a beautiful valley that features canyons of volcanic origins, palm-forests that extend for some 150 kmĀ² and a very picturesque small village. At Los Hervideros you can see picturesque forms of petrified lava, while El Golfo consists of a volcanic crater, flooded by the sea. The emerald green water contrasts beautifully with the black, volcanic sand.

There are numerous bars and restaurants near the lava tubes, as well as in the coastal resorts. Accommodation is widely available on Lanzarote. There are air connections with many places in Europe and ferries run between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.


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