72 hours to get a taste of Lanzarote
09 September, 2014
By Isabel Loscertales from gastronomistas
Feeling a bit blue because summer is almost over? In just three hours you can get to Lanzarote from Barcelona: it's close, it's accessible, and you'll be able to enjoy the good weather again over a long weekend. But the good weather should not be the main reason to visit the island, as you'll find that the unique beauty of its volcanic landscape, the art byCésar Manrique and the island's cuisine are even more fascinating than its climate. As it's quite a small island (about 60 km long and 20 km wide), all you need is a few days to go on a short break and get a good taste of what it has to offer. We would like to suggest an ideal plan for three days:
DAY 1: CENTRE OF LANZAROTE
There are many places to stay on the island, like the popular area of Costa Teguise, which is full of hotels. Barceló Lanzarote Resort (Avenida del Mar, 5. Tel. 928 591 329. www.barcelo.com) is an affordable hotel and perfect for family holidays. It's being refurbished and has large and comfortable rooms, three pools for adults and two for children, many activities for children, sports facilities (climbing wall, miniature golf, tennis courts, etc.), a wellness centre, buffet breakfast, and "Mediterráneo", a restaurant that offers, amongst other delights, homemade pasta and a carefully selected range of wines.
Once you've settling in and are feeling relaxed, it's a good idea to explore the area of La Geria, where you can find the curious landscape covered with typical Lanzarote vineyards. Because of the volcanic soil and strong winds, the vines are planted in pits sheltered by circular stone walls. This dry cultivation method is called "enarenado". The view of these vast vineyards surrounded by perfectly built walls, with the bare mountains in the background, is unique in the world, and is well worth seeing. And even better if you enjoy it with a glass of wine in your hand. White wine is the island's speciality – specifically Volcanic Malvasía, the island's top variety. Once you try it you won't want to drink anything else. If you would like to find out more, you can visit a winery, like El Grifo (Teguise-Uga, LZ-30, km. 11. San Bartolomé. Tel. 928 524 036. www.elgrifo.com). Then, you can visit the "Campesino" monument and the César Manrique Foundation, which are close by.
The capital of the island, Arrecife, covers the centre of the island and the south coast. The most charming area, which is quite fashionable at the moment and has a great atmosphere, is Charco de San Ginés. After going for a walk you can have dinner at a restaurant that opened recently: Naia. It's very trendy and has a beautiful view of the lake. The half-Basque half-Canarian chef, Mikel Otaegui, offers modern Mediterranean cuisine with a twist, like foie gras micuit as crème brûlée, or creamy rice with small cuttlefish. Avenida César Manrique, 33. Tel. 928 805 797. www.restaurantenaialanzarote.com).
DAY 2: SOUTH OF LANZAROTE
The beautiful Timanfaya National Park is a place not to be missed. At the entrance you find an activity specially for tourists: a camel ride, which you might fancy... or not. The best thing to is to take the bus inside the park and enjoy the amazing lunar landscape: a desert area full of volcanoes, traces of lava, and a display of red, ochre and orange hues against the blue sea. You can almost get an idea of what life on another planet would be like. After the bus trip you can stop at the curious El Diablo restaurant, designed by César Manrique (the ever-present artist whose work is to be found all over the island), which overlooks the park. You have to see the enormous grill where they cook the meat – they use geothermal heat straight from the ground, at 600ºC!
Near the park you can find the coastal village of El Golfo, where you can taste typical cuisine of the sea. One of the places you can try is Bogavante restaurant (Avenida Marítima, 39. El Golfo. Tel. 928 173 505), which has a terrace that is not far from the sea. Here you must taste typical Lanzarote fish and seafood. With an intense flavour granted by the Atlantic Ocean, sea bream, comber, red mullet, limpets, squid, grouper, etc. are cooked in simple ways, grilled, with mandatory wrinkled potatoes and mojo picón sauce (either the more citrus green mojo, or the slightly hot red mojo). Other typical products in Lanzarote are cheese, also served fried with fig jam, and scalded "gofio" (which is toasted cornmeal mixed with water and salt; sometimes it replaces bread, and other times it's used to make desserts). And speaking of dessert, you must try "bienmesabe", a very sweet cake that is typical of the area, made with almonds, honey, egg yolk and sugar.
In the afternoon you can visit a lagoon, Laguna Verde or de los Clicos and the Hervideros, where you can see where the sea has eroded the volcanic rocks. Lower down you can find thePapagayo beaches, situated in a nature reserve (there is an fee of around €3 to park the car), and stunning coves where you can sunbathe and relax.
And to round off the day, you can book a table at La Tegala restaurant, in the town of Mácher, near Puerto del Carmen. It's a very special and romantic place, recommended by the Michelin Guide, where the food and the architecture are a wonderful combination of tradition and modernity. Built on a small vantage point, it is the result of joining an old traditional country house and an avant-garde annex with large windows. Chef Germán Blanco's signature cuisine includes many locally-sourced ingredients (organic where possible), to make it fun and contemporary, and bursting with flavour. The best way to discover it is with the Estela menu experience, which changes a few times during the year and is quite affordable at €42.
DAY 3: NORTH OF LANZAROTE
As you head north, it's worth stopping at the picturesque town of Teguise. If you go on a Sunday, there is a very popular market with a small area selling food, where you can purchase cheese, homemade mojo picón sauce, wine, etc. Nearby you can findFamara beach, with its amazing cliff. It's very popular with surfers, as it's really windy! Then you'll come across the town of Haría and its "valle de las mil palmeras" (Valley of a Thousand Palm Trees).
Another popular place in Lanzarote is the Mirador del Río viewpoint, one of César Manrique's projects, resting atop Risco de Famara, and perfectly integrated into the landscape. If affords amazing views of the volcanic mountainsides and of Chinijo archipelago, where Graciosa is the main island. You can have a drink at the beautiful café-restaurant, which boasts large windows that enable you to enjoy the panoramic view. Then it's time to visit Los Verdes cave, situated in a lava tube that continues under the sea. And then we find another of Cesar Manrique's great works: the beautiful Jameos del Agua site. It's an open lava tube with a natural lake. Look carefully at the small albino crabs that live here. They are an endemic species called "jameítos" There is also a café-restaurant here.
You can have lunch at the coastal town of Arrieta, to continue tasting the island's delicacies from the sea. If you're looking for an affordable place, La Casa de la Playa, a restaurant on La Garita beach serves fish and seafood for €15-20 on average (Tel. 928 173 339). And if you've still got time, you shouldn't miss a trip to Graciosa island, to visit some of its secluded beaches. Boats normally leave from the municipality of Órzola. This small island only has a couple of municipalities and no roads have been built, so it's perfect for those who love cycling in the unspoilt and wild countryside.
We’ll be there. If you want to come too, check out our flights here.
Nosotros nos apuntamos, si quieres venirte consulta nuestros vuelos aquí.
09 September, 2014