Discovering the volcanos of the Timanfaya National Park
The surface of Lanzarote changed a lot in the past centuries.
Between 1730 and 1736, the largest and most important volcanic eruptions in the history of the Canary Islands occurred on the island.
For six years the earth was shaken by the hundreds of volcanoes that flooded the territory with lava and incandescent rocks, altering deeply the geography of Lanzarote. Whole towns were covered and others saved miraculously.
When the eruptions finally ended, the landscape assumed an appearance that reminded of the surface of the planet Mars. Even today, this landscape is still preserved, giving us the impression that the eruption has ended not long time ago.
How to get to the Park
Unfortunately, it is not possible to get there by bus, as there are no stops near the park. There are several tour companies that arrange organized tours, but I would recommend renting a car and spending half a day visiting the place. You can get to to the park from the south of the island, passing through Yaiza, or from the north by passing through Tinajo. On both sides, reaching these towns, you will find many road signs that will take you to the Park without any problems.
The Timanfaya National Park is not entirely accessible.
Some areas are inaccessible to preserve the territory, and the parts open to the public can be explored in two ways:
• Camel ride
Cost: 6 euros per person.
You can take a short excursion on the back of a camel in one of the valleys of volcanos for a few minutes.
• Volcano route
Cost: 10 euros per person.
This option is the most recommended one. At the main entrance of the park you can buy a ticket that will allow you to drive with your car through a small path that will take you to the Hilario Island. This is the “base” of the park, where you need to park the car and then take a bus (price included in the ticket) that will guide you for about 40 minutes and 14 kilometers through Timanfaya Park. This tour is really exciting and suggestive, and gives you the chance to see the most spectacular valleys of the park.
Returning to the base, there are several activities you can do, such as shopping at the souvenir shop. Or you can go to see the artificial Geysers that come out the burning ground!
There is also a restaurant, designed by César Manrique, where the food is cooked on a grill heated by the warmth emitted by the volcanic subsoil, a kind of natural barbecue! Do not be fooled by the tourist look of the restaurant: the prices are very affordable and the quality of the food is extremely good: a compulsory stop before leaving the park!
If, after this visit, you do not have enough of volcanoes and martian landscapes, there are other interesting excursions that you can do outside the park. Most are hiking, therefore requiring a minimum of physical preparation, and are free!
Here are a couple of excursions I recommend.
Volcano del Cuervo
This volcano is in another part of the park and you can get there with your car. There are no road signs to get there, so I suggest you arm yourself with a map and / or GPS so you do not get lost! At the beginning of the trail there is a yard next to the road where you can park the car. From here you can head to the volcano, you can go around it or you can go directly into its crater!
It is a very fascinating and evocative experience! If you are lucky enough to not find many people, you can enjoy the incredible silence and peace inside the volcano and, if you feel like it, you can meditate! 🙂
Caldera Blanca Route
Another interesting hike is that of Caldera Blanca: a very large and tall volcano, located north of the Timanfaya National Park. I recommend this excursion to those who are physically prepared to walk a lot: if you have any motor problems(direi che physical disability é meglio ), it is definitely not a good hike for you.
You will notice immediately that this volcano has a lighter color than the others present in the park: the reason is its age, 5000 years! Over the centuries, because of the weather agents, its rocks have assumed a color similar to beige.
This route allows you to climb up to the crater and enjoy a splendid panorama!
The whole walk is 9.5 kilometers, for a duration of about 3-4 hours.
You have to park your car at Mancha Blanca, and from there you can find a circular path that leads you to the top of the volcano. At its highest point you can admire the Timanfaya National Park on a side, and La Graciosa and the Risco Famara on the other side!
As I have said, the path is not simple so be prepared to many climbs and descents. But ,once you get to the top, it will definitely be worth it! 🙂
I hope this guide will help you discover this suggestive Park!
Remember that if you are tempted to take as a souvenir a volcanic stone you will be stopped at the airport and the stone confiscated! It is not allowed to collect a stone of a protected Natural Park and bring it home, so be careful!
I conclude this article with the legend of Timanfaya devil, symbol of the National Park!
There’s a legend that says that at the time of the volcano’s explosion, at the beginning of September of 1730, in the town of Timanfaya, name that later received the volcano, the inhabitants were celebrating the marriage of a couple formed by the son of the richest man in the area and the daughter of farmers of healing plants.
The couple was very in love, with plans for the future, and embraced in the typical dance of the zone, and at that very same moment, the earth started to move giving place to the great explosion. The whole village began to run from one place to another without knowing where to take refuge since large rocks began to fall from all sides, crushing houses, burying fields and destroying everything around.
The misfortune fell right on this newly married couple, when a rock of great dimensions, out of the bowels of the earth, fell on top of the bride burying her, under the astonished gaze of the man who just married her. Such was the rage and despair of that boy of fortunate parents who without thinking picked up a massive five-pointed gallows pitchfork from the ground to try to remove the stone that was on his wife, ignoring the cries of all those people who told him to give up and that there was no longer anything that they could to do. He doesn’t give up to the point that, without knowing very well why, of its entrails arose a force of such magnitude that he managed to lift the smoking stone and rescue the body already lifeless of his beloved, whom he took in his arms . Without letting go of the pitchfork, he began to run looking for a refuge that he could not find because of the force of nature.
Shouting and with the body of his wife in his arms, he ran into the Valley of Timanfaya until his forces allowed him, disappearing between the sulphate smoke that came out of the ground and the ashes that already covered everything. Even so, it was a night of full moon and, in a moment of clarity between the cloud of ashes and the glow of the full moon, several families could observe the image of that boy with a the enormous five-pointed pitchfork between his arms raised over his head, gradually disappearing between the ashes and the sulphate on the top of a hill.
In this moment, all the survivors of the town of Timanfaya said with the same tone “poor devil”.
From the blood of the wife’s body, the very same medicinal plants grown by the parents of the girl started to grow in the valley and all the survivors decided to call them after the two lovers: he was called Aloe and she Vera.
Years later, reconstructing the area, the boy’s body petrified by the lava emerged with its pitchfork still seized with force. Poor devil!”
Watch my video inside the Timanfaya National Park:
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave me a comment below!