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Lanzarote - Lava & Grapes

Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain


View Nov 2020 on margofiala's travel map.

We feel like we saved the best for last, but each of the Canary Islands are so unique it is really hard to say. Lanzarote has great wine, long beaches and amazing food, all in a dramatic volcanic setting. And we found an awesome place to stay in Haria. Hard to beat this island, checks all the boxes and then some. We will definitely be back, maybe combined with a trip to Morocco.

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We loved our pad! Marcus and Heidi, our hosts, put the “a” in amazing and it is one of the best places we have stayed in our travels…and we have stayed a lot of places. Casa Palmera is a large house split into 3 completely separate suites. We stayed in the main house, there was a penthouse above us and another apartment beside us that the owners live in. It was like coming home, very nicely decorated, spacious, super comfortable and every detail thought of. We certainly didn’t need a three bedroom house, but it was nice to have space to spread out after months of apartment living to enjoy just being at home. It also has a large patio and garden area with a pool and great views of the valley. We really didn’t want to leave and extended our time there twice, in the end staying for just over two weeks.

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Click this link for more pictures, you will be tempted to go for a visit! 😊 : http://casitapalmera.com/

Best of all was their pets! Bob, Flossy, Chester and Luka. We so enjoyed having animals around the house, it’s been a long time!

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Plus 10 chickens (The Spice Girls). Dean got his fill of eggs! He even fed the chickens when Marcus and Heidi were away for a short trip and herded them back into the chicken coop when they escaped a few times. He kept asking them to stand still so he could count and make sure there was 10. Did he miss his calling?

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Just before we left, they rescued two kittens, Cagney and Lacey, to help with mouse duty. (Chester and Luka had retired from active duty.)

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We were about a 5 minute walk from lovely Haria, a town in northern Lanzarote. Lots of greenery and palm trees in this valley and town, almost like an oasis:

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Tasting the fruits of volcanic vines was a definite highlight of this island - both seeing how the grapes were grown and drinking the final product. Forget nice orderly rows of vines on trellises, instead a single vine is planted in a circular depressions in the black volcanic soil and a small crescent shaped stone wall is built around it for wind protection. There is little rain here and no irrigation, the plants survive from condensation of the sea mist in a few valleys on the island. Lots of work and pretty low productivity. It sure tasted good though, most are dry white wines (Malvasia grapes) with a distinct “minerally” taste that is so refreshing, great on a hot day.

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We visited three vineyards - Rubicon, Tablera and El Grifo:

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We didn’t get to visit Yaiza, but it was definitely a favorite beverage in their distinctive blue bottle (that is hopefully coming home with us):

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Cesar Manrique, born in Lanzarote, was an artist and environmentalist who created beautiful art but also made a substantial contribution to the island by establishing architectural standards for the island that maintained Lanzarote’s traditional architecture design. He also created some amazing facilities on the island using lava rock that are truly one of a kind. Many of his creations were closed due to Covid but we did manage to see a few. His legacy lives on as there are no high rise developments on the island and the white pueblos with green or blue trim give the island a very clean island feel.

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We had met a young American couple in La Gomera that were married on Lanzarote (pre-Covid) and had a “destination wedding” at Jameos de Agua. Her photos were stunning, so we had to go look for ourselves. It’s a signature Cesar Manrique’s creation, wonderfully combining black lava rock with white and aquamarine blue in a lava tube...yes, really.... and features I an underground concert hall, restaurant & salt lake. It was amazing to see what Cesar created from a 5000 year old volcanic cavern:

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The lava tube forming Jameos de Agua is about 7 kms long, and another section of it was developed for visitors to see the caves that were created as the lava rushed done to the sea and the top layers cooled to form a roof. Another amazing creation, called “Cuevo de Los Verdes”:

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Cesar Manrique out did himself with the creation of “Mirador del Rio”, an amazing lookout point over the north part of the island looking out to Isla Graciosa. It was originally a gun battery built in the late 1800’s, but Cesar had a different vision:

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Remember I said this island checks all the boxes? How about a coastal hike to a beautiful deserted beach? And not only one beach but your choice from 4-5 lovely coves (one had people so we skipped that one!) Playa Blanca is a main tourist center on the south coast, but right beside it is a natural park, protecting the beautiful Papagayo promontory from development. We hiked from Playa Blanca to Papaguya (about 8 km round trip) and picked our favorite beach:

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Famara is another one of Lanzarote’s most beautiful, undeveloped beaches, with the cliffs of Risco de Famara in the background. Known for its consistent waves and wind, this is a surfing and kite surfing mecca. It was just “over the top” from Haria, where we were staying, so one more curvy mountain pass road, but well worth it. On the way was a great mirador (lookout).

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The Timanfaya National Park protects a large part of the island (102 sq kms), that erupted between 1730-36, a relatively recent occurrence from a geological perspective. There are only two ways to access the park, either a bus tour or a 9 hour one way hike that has to be booked months in advance and, given it is one way, you need transport at the other end - which was closed due to Covid, so on the bus we went! (Don’t overthink that a hike in fresh air was closed but the bus tour was running during an airborne pandemic....). Luckily it wasn’t busy and we got seats right at the front, the views were astounding, as was the fact there was a paved road through this land of swirling, twisting, folded mounds of solidified lava, another Cesar Manrique “intervention”.

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The restaurant/tour bus center cooks food from the heat of the volcano:

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Back in the day, camels were used for transporting many things on Lanzarote, including grapes. Now used for tourists, we didn’t partake but it was cool to see them in this setting:

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Puerto del Carmen is usually a very busy tourist area and has some great beaches. We didn’t love all the British and German signs, but could see why it is a favorite holiday spot for them:

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The best part about visiting a British tourist destination is the plethora of Indian food restaurants! (Samosa Chat, Vegetable pakora, Tandoori roti)

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Punta de las Mujeres is right beside Arrieta, a seaside village we considered staying in, known for its rugged coastline and “natural swimming pools”.

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More hiking - we enjoy the thrill of hiking to the top of volcanoes and looking in! This was the jaunt up to Caldera Blanca, a good trudge through black lava rock (no choice but to stay on the path or get no where), then up the side of the volcano. A little windy at the top but at least Dean didn’t have to hang onto me:

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Our favorite restaurant in Haria, walking distance from our “ home away from home” was Puerto de Verde (The Green Door). We were there a few times, so of course Dean knew all the waiters, the owner and owner's family....is anyone surprised? We felt like regulars. (Candied local soft white cheese with sardines - sounds terrible but tastes delicious, tuna tataki, lamb roast with veggies, mango cream)

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Arricefe is the capital of Lanzarote and is where the airport is, so a major center. It also has a pretty coastline and we enjoyed some meals and sightseeing there. I suspect it was the only water we saw calm enough for paddle boarding but we never got a chance to do try it out:

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Playa Caleton Blanco is a cool, lagoon style beach near where we stayed. My sister Leesa would have been there for hours going through all the tide pools. It was very interesting, especially with the wind protection:

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On the southwest coast, is the small fishing village of El Golfo. Known for its waterfront seafood restaurants and dramatic coastline, including the famous green lake that Rachel Welsh poised by (in a fur bikini) in a 1960’s movie “One Million Years BC”, called Charco de los Clicos. We enjoyed a great lunch and exploring the coastline:

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Another Cesar Manrique creation, a cactus garden built into lava rock that was shaped into a coliseum. So cool, where did this guy get his ideas?

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We were lucky to see some of the cacti in bloom:

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And some were just very unique:

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A few agaves sprinkled in:

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On the north end of the island, is the town of Orzola, where small ferries depart for Isla Graciosa, the eighth Canary Island that is inhabited (slightly). We went over on a morning ferry and spent the day there, hiking and beaching. This is the island you can see from Mirador del Rio. We felt like we had the island to ourselves:

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Our favorite furry friends were of course Bob and Flossy, our resident dogs. Seeing their wagging tails each day brought a smile to our faces. Pinta is a winery dog we made friends with that greets everyone that arrives! She loves the warm volcano stones and the great food they serve, good thing she has a slim build:

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Next stop: Mallorca!

Posted by margofiala 07:10 Archived in Spain

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Comments

Loved the cactus garden. Your photos are a wonderful treat. Is my brother getting a little grey or was it sand from those white windy beaches?

by Donna-Lynne

Spectacular! Are you two the new poster boy/girl for Tourism Lanzarote? You should be!

by Johndotbike

WOW! What a beautiful, interesting island...might have to put that on our list.Great pictures and stunning models!

by Silene

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