This article introduces us to the secret charms of Lanzarote away from the crowds, with green caves, picturesque white houses and black lava fields planted with vines.
Thanks to a plethora of cheap flights to Lanzarote, the promise of sun, sea and sand and great promotion, the island of Lanzarote has become a hotspot destination for thousands of people every year. But if the thought of crowded beaches, pounding nightclubs and bars puts you off, think again.
Lanzarote has a secret side – one that is far more tranquil and serene than the brochures would have you believe. An island with a rich cultural heritage and some astonishingly beautiful vistas, Lanzarote’s secrets are waiting to be discovered by the more adventurous traveller.
Lanzarote’s secrets revealed …..
Lanzarote’s Cueva de los Verdes
Lanzarote is a volcanic island, and its turbulent geological past has created a honeycomb of lava tunnels and caves to explore. The best known of these are the Green Caves or Cueva de los Verdes. These tunnels and caves were created between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago and from the 17th Century the caves were used by the islanders to hide from pirates and slavers.
Today, the caves are a popular visitor attraction and stretch for over two kilometres into the heart of the island. The tour will take you though some dark and narrow passageways that lead you into the real secret of the Green Caves – an impressive auditorium. This auditorium regularly hosts live concerts, with the natural acoustics of the cavern giving the music an almost ethereal feeling. It’s a secret well worth discovering, but make sure you wear strong shoes suitable for walking!
The white houses of Teguise
Away from the crowds, Lanzarote has plenty of other secrets to discover. One of the biggest influences on island life was the artist César Manrique. His mark can be seen all over the island and it is Manrique that decreed that all houses on the island should be painted white with green doors and shutters. He also designed some of the island’s most spectacular architecture including LagOmar. This distinctive bar in Nazaret was once the home of actor Omar Sharif and still provides a welcome watering hole for thirsty visitors today.
The former capital of Teguise is the epitome of the real Lanzarote. Crossed with narrow, cobbled streets filled with tiny boutiques and mysterious, labyrinthine alleyways, this fascinating town is dominated by the 16th Century Santa Barbara Castle, which is now home to a museum celebrating the diversity of the island and its rich heritage of immigration.
Unique landscapes and great wine
Leave Teguise behind and you are confronted with the wide-open expanse of the plain of Famara – an unexpected desert landscape surrounded by lush hills and volcanic mountains. In the distance is Famara bay, a popular destination for surfers looking for a challenging beach and wild, unpredictable surfing conditions. If you prefer a gentle stroll along unspoilt sands, Famara Bay is also one of the quietest beaches on the island, giving you a chance to escape the tourist traps and throngs of partygoers in the more popular resorts.
Across the island of Lanzarote you will be confronted with an ever-changing landscape – from the black lava fields below Mount Timanfaya through to sub-tropical forests and expanses of desert cacti. The region’s rich soil produces some excellent wines that you would not normally find outside the island. El Grifo is probably the best known vineyard in the region, and tours of the cellars are yet another of Lanzarote’s secrets that is well worth discovering.
With flights to Lanzarote plentiful and cheap, there are plenty of hidden secrets to discover on this diverse and fascinating island. The island has a mild climate all year round, making it a perfect destination at any time of the year. During the winter the crowds are considerably thinned out, so if you want to discover a new side to Lanzarote, try a visit ‘out of season’ and explore this island paradise at your leisure!
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