With its still-steaming mounds of volcanic tuff and eerily barren lava fields, the volcanic terrain of Timanfaya National Park is a world away from the lively beach towns that Lanzarote is best known for. The focal point of the protected area is the dramatic red and black-rock mountain range, aptly named the Fire Mountains (Montañas de Fuego) after a series of eruptions in the 18th century that covered the entire island with volcanic ash and lava, completely reshaping the its topography.
Today, the volcanoes lie dormant, but the area remains a potent source of geothermal energy thanks to a residual magma chamber – a fact enthusiastically demonstrated by tour guides who toss bundles of branches into the steaming pits, where the wood rapidly burst into flames. Access to Timanfaya National Park is restricted to guided tours, and most visitors to the park opt to take the guided coach tours included in the admission price.
Art and architecture meet nature at the César Manrique Foundation. Situated in Manrique’s former home, the foundation melds into a landscape of lava rock and provides a visually stunning glimpse into the Lanzarote native’s craft.
Manrique, an artist and architect, left an indelible mark on the island, and not just through his creations—he even impacted the Lanzarote skyline. Indeed, thanks to his efforts, he helped to ensure that growing tourism didn’t result in growing skyscrapers. It’s a mission that continues to this day via the foundation, which aims to not only preserve Manrique’s work, but to also advance the environmental and artistic causes he valued.
The house itself sits on the aftermath of an 18th-century volcanic eruption that vastly changed the Lanzarote terrain. But it isn’t just built on the frozen-in-time lava, but among it, with the bottom living space occupying five volcanic bubbles.
When it comes to remoteness and volcanic landscapes, the Canary Islands are good at making you feel like you’re a world away. And the barely-a-village, bayside Majanicho only adds to that magic. It will have you feeling like you’re on an expedition on the face of the moon – albeit one that includes surf-worthy beaches and an ocean.
Located along the northern coast of Fuerteventura, Majanicho is—at least for now—less a village than it is a collection of somewhat ramshackle houses cuddled up around the watery finger of a bay. Don’t expect to find restaurants or shops here, and rather just a rocky coast, and crystal-blue waters filled with the occasional dinghy used for fishing. And then, of course, there are the surfers -- from windsurfers to kiteboarders and just regular old surfers – who know that these secluded waters offer up some great opportunities to catch either waves or wind.
Fuerteventura might seem like enough of an island paradise, but it isn’t the only one that you’ll want to be conquering in this part of the Canaries: just 2 kilometers off shore sits a tiny islet that is a worthy destination unto itself. Called Lobos Island, the volcanic land mass spans 1.8 square miles and gets its name from the large population of monk seals (also called sea wolves) that used to live here.
Although the island’s formation dates back to thousands of years ago, 1405 marks the first recorded presence of man, when Jean de Béthencourt used it as a resupply station during his conquest of Fuerteventura. Since those times, it has remained virtually uninhabited, with a lighthouse keeper having lived there until 1968, after which the illuminated beacon became automated. Today, and since 1982, Lobos Island has been classified as a nature reserve, noted for its abundance of vegetation species (over 130 different kinds), and its bird population.
The Canary Islands sit just 70 miles off the coast of western Africa, but the setting of Fuerteventura’s Corralejo Dunes National Park might have you thinking you’re a lot closer. Indeed, this beachside nature reserve covers almost 3,000 hectares of sandy dune-filled landscape, and will give you the sensation that you’re visiting the Canaries’ continental neighbor as opposed to a beachy archipelago.
Though the undulating white sands are surely reminiscent of the desert, the granules in Corralejo Dunes Natural Park are in fact actually made up of tiny little pieces of shells and mollusks as opposed to anything rocky. And it’s not all just about the dunes in these parts, either, as these mountains of sand give way to the bright blue ocean, and plenty of opportunities for enjoying the sun and sea. Even better? Don’t expect to see the built-up shorelines that you might find at other popular Fuerteventura beach destinations.
Far removed from the golden sands and azure waters of Lanzarote’s principal beach resorts, the coastal landscape of El Golfo harbors one of the island’s most unique geological areas. A rare example of an ancient hydro-volcano, a combination of volcanic eruptions and sea erosions have imprinted the shore with a half-moon shaped crater lake, Lago Verde (Green Lake), separated from the sea by a stretch of black sand.
Looking down over the beach from the surrounding cliff tops is the best way to view the site, an otherworldly landscape famous for its startling contrasts of colors and shapes. The lime-green waters of the crater lake (the result of the Ruppia Maritima algae that lives in the waters) appear almost luminous against the black sand beach, itself a peculiar blend of black volcanic sand and green Olivine stones, and the small bay is framed by a rugged chain of eroded volcanic rocks.
Cactus gets its due respect at this wildly prickly Lanzarote garden, which was inaugurated in 1990. The Jardín de Cactus is the final brainchild of beloved island native César Manrique, the painter, sculptor and architect whose work famously balanced both art and nature. The cactarium, which occupies a former quarry, is home to 7,200 cactus plants and 1,100 different species, all originating from far-off places such as the Americas and Africa.
While there, you can wander the various levels of the amphitheater-shaped garden by traversing its many paths, all lined by peculiar rock formations, various water features and of course, the thorny plants themselves. Spy the giant Don Quijote-style windmill that tops the garden, then take a garden-break by visiting the artisanal goods-filled shop, or by grabbing a bite to eat at the restaurant and terrace.
Met de opvallende witte gevel, die aan de oever van de haven van Santa Cruz staat, is het Auditorio de Tenerife een erg herkenbare bezienswaardigheid van de hoofdstad van Tenerife. Het futuristische ontwerp van architect Santiago Calatrava heeft veel weg van het Sydney Opera House. De herkenbare witte betonnen bogen zien er vooral ’s avonds en ’s nachts erg spectaculair uit, wanneer deze van de achterzijde verlicht zijn.
Hoewel rondleidingen met gids een goede manier zijn om de inrichting van het Auditorio de Tenerife te bekijken is de beste manier om de bekende zaal te bekijken het boeken van een ticket voor een show. Er is het hele jaar door een gevarieerd programma van muziek- en dansvoorstellingen met hoogtepunten als de Tenerife Opera, het Symphony Orchestra of Tenerife en speciale Kerstmusicals.
A trip to the Canary Islands is already an adventure, but a trip to Oasis Park Fuerteventura is more like a wild, animal-filled safari. This zoo-meets-botanical garden occupies a pocket of land in the southern part of the island, and allows visitors to encounter nature in new and thrilling ways that they probably never have before.
Committed to conservation and research, Oasis Park Fuerteventura began as a plant nursery, the roots of which you can still see today in the botanical garden that features thousands of tropical plants, ranging from cacti to succulents. But it’s probably not the plants that will excite you or your family the most, but instead the park’s resident animals. Specializing in Savannah animals, Oasis Park is home to 3,000 critters of 250 species, including everything from hippos to elephants, giraffes, zebras and more.
Charming Casa de Colon was reportedly a rest and repair stop for Columbus and his ship, La Pinta, en route to the New World in 1492.
Originally belonging to the Governor of the Canaries, Casa de Colon was one of a small number of houses that became Las Palmas's first settlement marking the beginning of the city in 1478.
Casa de Colon's ornate doorways, latticed balconies and chocolate-box-like exterior make it one of Las Palmas’ most eye-catching buildings. If its pretty facade doesn't excite you to discover more about the building's history and Columbus's visit here, the interesting and well-run museum inside will.
Here you’ll find multi-lingual exhibits that explain the connection between the Canary Islands, Columbus and his great voyages that led him to discover and establish trading links with the new world.
Het Loro Park op Tenerife is een van de grootste attracties van het eiland. Het is ideaal geschikt voor een dagtocht vanaf Gran Canaria. Er leven meer dan 200 pinguïns en 350 papegaaisoorten (de grootste collectie van beide dieren ter wereld). Het park heeft ook een enorme variëteit aan dieren, zoals haaien, krokodillen, jaguars en gorilla’s.
Er is veel te zien in Loro Park en u bent er zo een dag bezig. Bezoek Planet Penguin (de grootste replica van het continent Antarctica die ooit is gebouwd) of kijk naar de leefwereld van de walvissen in de Orca Ocean. Plantenliefhebbers zullen het Orchidarium waarderen, waar het hele jaar door meer dan 1.000 orchideeën te zien zijn. Voor de kleintjes wordt goed gezorgd in Kinderlandia, een dorp en jungle in Afrikaanse stijl speciaal voor kinderen.
Fuerteventura isn’t all beaches and volcanic landscape—history and culture are highlights too, best discovered in the island’s most historic village, Betancuria. Named after the French explorer Jean de Béthencourt, who founded the town (and conquered the island), Betancuria served as Fuerteventura’s capital until the late 1800s. It was selected as such in hopes that its inland location would be protected from pirates; unfortunately that wasn’t quite the case, as almost the entire village was virtually destroyed in the 1500s (and later rebuilt, of course).
Expect to find a quintessential Canarian pueblo here, including whitewashed buildings set upon the backdrop of a volcanic landscape. A visit here doesn’t just promise a charming town either: you can learn more about the region’s inhabitants and history with a trip to the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography. Also of note is the Santa Maria Church, with its humble white exterior, and lavishly baroque interior altar.
De Iglesia de la Concepción (Kerk van de Onbevekte Ontvangenis) heeft een geschiedenis die terug gaat naar 1498. Het is de oudste kerk van Tenerife en een legendarische bezienswaardigheid in de hoofdstad Santa Cruz. Volgens de legende zou de originele kerk zijn gesticht op bevel van Alonso Fernandez de Lugo, commandant van de Spaanse veroveraars, maar de huidige kerk dateert van renovaties uit de 17de en 18de eeuw.
Het meest kenmerkende element van de kerk is de klokkentoren, een prominente bezienswaardigheid in de stad, maar ook het tegelwerk in Mudéjar-stijl, de uitgebreide barokke interieurs en het zilveren altaardeel zijn de moeite waard.
If you’re looking to get a dose Fuerteventuran culture, then look no further than the inland village of Pájara, located in the central part of the island. Nestled up against Betancuria Natural Park, Pájara is where you’ll find whitewashed-building-lined streets, a famous church, and heaps of classic Canarian charm.
Indeed, it’s that church, though, that draws many a visitor to this interior town. Called Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Regla, the holy building dates back to the late 1600s and is noted for its ornate and gilt altar (which allegedly came from Mexico) and elaborate façade that some speculate, with good reason, has Aztec influences (after all, Spaniards returned from the Americas with more than just corn and potatoes). Apart from its main sight, the church, Pájara’s sweet streets are worth a walk around. It’s a village where you can get a sense of days gone by as locals shoot the breeze in the pueblo’s main square, the wind rustles in the palm trees.