Road trip Lanzarote - explore the north of the island by car

Road trip Lanzarote - explore the north of the island by car


The New Mein Schiff 2, TUI Cruises' current flagship, visits Arrecife Lanzarote. The berth is Puerto Naos. We walk 400 to 500 meters from the terminal to the tourist information and the base of the car rental company CICAR in the Lanzarote Marina.

Lanzarote marina

Lanzarote Marina with Mein Schiff 2


At CICAR, our established Canarian car rental company, we have pre-ordered the rental car for our road trip through Lanzarote's north. The necessary formalities are done quickly; the desired car is ready.

Our daily program

This is the third time we have traveled to Lanzarote on a cruise ship. On the previous two visits, we saw the key attractions of the island. This time we want to gain in-depth impressions of the northern half of the island. We dedicate ourselves to the following goals:

  • Jameos del Agua - the center for art and culture
  • Cueva de los Verdes - one of the longest known cave systems in the world
  • Mirador del Rio - the viewpoint in the north of Lanzarote
  • Haría - the city of a thousand palm trees
  • Teguise - the former island capital
  • Jardín de Cactus - the unique cactus garden
  • Arrecife - the island capital.

Our road trip to the north leads through the 4.000-soul community of Tahiche. In the district of Taro de Tahiche was the former residence of César Manrique, the artist, architect and patron of the island. Today the 1.800 square meter house is the headquarters of the Fundación César Manrique. Tahiche is also the location of the University of Tourism and the central prison of Lanzarote. The university is an offshoot of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Next to the town rises the 320 meter high Montaña de Tahiche, an extinct volcano. The crater is less of a challenge for experienced hikers.

Tahiche with Montaña de Tahiche

Tahiche with Montaña de Tahiche


A first stop in Guatiza

On the way to the Jameos del Agua we pass Guatiza. The place with fewer than 1.000 inhabitants is famous for its opuntia plantations. The cactus species has been an important source of income for the residents since the middle of the 18th century. The reason: Cochineal scale insects live on the Opuntia. They provide the natural red color of carminic acid. We don't stop because of the Chochinelles but because of the parish church of Cristo de las Aguas. The single-nave church is in the center of the village. Unfortunately the church is closed. We have no choice but to admire the straight-line construction, which is characterized by the high lantern and the edges of the church set off with black volcanic stone.

Guatiza - Parish of Cristo de las Aguas

Guatiza - Parish of Cristo de las Aguas


The Jameos del Agua

César Manrique created the Jameos del Agua, a center for art and culture, in the 1960s. He added the extensive system to the lava field of the Volcán de la Corona. The center consists of two levels. In an underground grotto there is a restaurant and a small lake in which blind albino crabs live. The water is connected to the sea via a tunnel. The water level of the lake changes with the tide. The Jameos del Agua also have an underground auditorium. This concert, ballet and theater hall can accommodate up to 600 visitors.

Signpost to the Jameos del Agua
Access to the Jameos del Agua
Jameos del Agua grotto with admirers
Jameos del Agua grotto

Above ground, the facility is characterized by a geological museum, a white swimming pool and an artificial waterfall.

Jameos del Agua - the white basin

Jameos del Agua - the white basin



 

The cave system of the Cueva de Los Verdes

In the 19th century, geologists discovered the seven kilometer long Cueva de Los Verdes lava tube in the northeast of Lanzarote. It is one of the longest known natural tunnel systems in the world. Originally the islanders hid in the caves during pirate raids in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1964 the cave was opened to visitors over a length of one kilometer. Effective lighting emphasizes the colors of the rock and its strange shapes. The cave is visited on guided tours.

Cueva de los Verdes


Cueva de los Verdes


Viticulture in the north of Lanzarote

Cueva de los Verdes - mystical light in the tunnel system


Cueva de los Verdes - mystical light in the tunnel system


 

Lanzarote is the most important wine-growing region in the Canary Islands. Wine is mainly produced in the southern part of the island in the region of La Gería. We see smaller locations on our way to the Mirador del Rio in the area around the Cueva de la Paloma, below and on the slopes of the Volcan de la Corona.

Corona Volcano

Corona Volcano


Indispensable for visitors to Lanzarote - the Mirador del Rio

Ten kilometers northwest of the Cueva de Los Verdes, at an altitude of 475 meters, is the Mirador del Rio viewpoint. The design for the Mirador was provided by none other than César Manrique. The artist had the Mirador architecturally merge with the surrounding landscape. The facility was built in the typical Manrique style. That means, rock caves were used for the interior design. Accordingly, there are no right angles and all rooms and areas including the parking lot are round. Large window fronts offer wonderful views, especially of the small neighboring island of La Graciosa and the northern surroundings.

At the Mirador del Rio
Natural construction at the Mirador del Rio
The island of La Graciosa and the Salinas del Rio
Mirador del Rio - looking south

 

Haría - city in the valley of 1000 palm trees

Our road trip takes us south from the Mirador del Rio over winding roads to Haría, the city of 1000 palm trees. The community lies in a wide valley and enjoys a special microclimate. It is thanks to the climatic conditions that the entire region is lush green. Plants grow in and around Haría that are otherwise not found in the entire Canary Archipelago.

Would do

Would do


Because of its location and because of the white buildings, the small town with around 1.000 inhabitants reminds us of a Moroccan oasis town. The many palm trees are striking. Bridal couples traditionally plant a palm tree. If there are children later, more palm trees will be planted ...

In Haría, at 30 Elvira Sánchez street, you will find the César Manrique museum house. The artist lived there until his accidental death in 1992.

Teguise - former capital of Lanzarote

The next destination of our road trip is Teguise. Lanzarote's largest municipality in terms of area was the island's capital for more than 400 years. Nice restaurants, cafes and well-stocked shops invite you to stay. The place has two eye-catchers in the center: the church of Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe and the tithe barn La Cilla.

Teguise - Plaza Clavijo y Fajardo with the Aloe Museum

Teguise - Plaza Clavijo y Fajardo with the Aloe Museum


We think the three-aisled church is really worth seeing. The tithe barn La Cilla manifests the feudal system that used to rule the island. It demanded taxes to be paid to the sovereign and the church. The land tenants' tribute was stored in the tithe barn. The restoration work on La Cilla was directed by César Manrique. The tithe barn is currently the seat of a credit institute.

Teguise - Nuestra Senora de Guadelupe


Teguise - Nuestra Senora de Guadelupe


Teguise-La Cilla


Teguise-La Cilla 


Little known rock formations

Our next destination is the Jardin de Cactus. From Teguise our route leads past the Montaña de Guenia again in a northerly direction, to Guatiza.

Below the Montaña de Guenia behind the El Mojón settlement, meter-high, gray-black rock formations tower up. This Lanzarote attraction is hardly mentioned by travel guides. We recommend stopping and taking a short tour of the gravel plateau. The towering boulders seem unreal. Individual sources report that the native inhabitants of the island originally held religious rituals in the middle of the stones. It would be possible. Google Maps calls the formations "Stratified City".

Rock formations - Stratified City

Rock formations - Stratified City



 

Jardín de Cactus - César Manrique's last great work

A few minutes later we park our rental car in front of the Jardín de Cactus. An eight meter high metal cactus is the signpost. The cactus garden was César Manrique's last great work. It is located in a 5.000 square meter pit, in which volcanic ash called “Picón” was mined for a long time. Since 1990 the oval has been used as a habitat for cacti and succulents from five continents. The information on the number and species vary. There is no doubt: several thousand plants grow in the amphitheater-like botanical garden. More than enough! Fantastic sights arise from every direction. For us, the Jardín de Cactus is an absolute “must”.

In the Jardín de Cactus
Cactus Garden
Cactus Garden
Jardín de Cactus with the Gofio mill

 

We also like the cafeteria built into the rock and the shop. We look at the figurative references on the toilet rooms with a smile. A restored Gofio mill rises above the cafeteria.

Jardin de Cactus - that makes us smile


Jardin de Cactus - that makes us smile


Jardin de Cactus - Gofio Mill


Jardin de Cactus - Gofio Mill 


Back in Arrecife

Contrary to our plan, we don't have enough time for the island's capital, Arrecife. At least we can still see the Charco de San Ginés. The natural salt lake is one of the attractions of Arrecife. The seawater-fed lagoon is surrounded by a promenade with palm trees, cafes, restaurants and shops. At the far end of the bay is the modern Teatro Atlántida. The picturesque area was designed by none other than César Manrique. The inner city lake with the many boats is a nice photo opportunity. On Saturdays there is a market on the promenade.

Arrecife - the Charco de San Ginés

Arrecife - the Charco de San Ginés


What remains at the end of the day

In terms of area, Lanzarote ranks fourth among the Canary Islands. But 58 kilometers in length, 34 kilometers in width and 846 square kilometers of terrain want to be discovered in peace. We recommend renting a car to those cruise ship guests who are used to getting an individual impression of their destinations. Under Lanzarote sights - the top highlights of the island we have put together the attractions of Lanzarote that seem important to us from north to south. Today's road trip presents the northern island destinations in detail.