Spending one week in Lanzarote, mainly in Costa Teguise, we were able to explore some of the Canary island’s unique places, landscapes and cultural heritage.
In this article we want to share with you some rather unusual activities and hidden places we discovered.
Cycling the world’s longest seafront promenade
With a measure of 26 kilometers, the coastal promenade in Lanzarote is considered the longest promenade in the world. It connects the two popular holiday resorts Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise, with the capital of Arrecife lying in the middle. Pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy the view of the ocean from many different angles and visit some of the nicest beaches along the way.
There are plenty bike rentals on the island, offering regular bikes as well as e bikes. Bear in mind that the island is quite windy, so it can be strenuous to cycle against the wind.
We accepted the challenge and cycled the coastal boardwalk. It’s a full day trip, so you should leave in time.
The magical garden of Don Pillimpo
This place caught us off-guard on our stroll around the old town of Teguise. Walking from the direction of San Bartholome, suddenly a vast collection of white statues and sculptures emerged in front of our eyes, seemingly out of nowhere. The peculiar shaped artworks filled us with awe and left quite some impression on us.
The owner of the magical garden who is also the artist at the same time is called Jose Garcia Martin (also known as Don Pillimpo). The place is also referred to as Museo Mara Mao.
First, I thought the display resembles a cemetery, with the eerie sculptures being tombstones. There is even a statue of a cross.
The more I kept looking, the more details I discovered scattered all around the place like retro computer monitors, mannequins and old toys.
The garden continues behind the house and resembles an outdoor gallery. There is no need to enter the premises as you can also get a good view from a distance.
We were surprised by how much arts there is to find on this small island.
César Manríque hunting
The famous local artist and environmental activist César Manríque was deeply inspired by the uniqueness and beauty of his native island. He was on a constant mission to integrate nature, architecture and arts – the things he loved the most.
His creations can be found all over the island – like this swimming pool, part of the arts center, Jameos del Agua.
If you plan to visit Cueva de los Verdes and Jameos del Agua on your own and don’t mind walking, you can take the local bus to Punta Mujeres and walk from there.
While waiting for the bus, we had some time to stroll around this little beach town. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw a house right out of a fairy tale, decorated with hundreds of colorful plants and flowers. We are not sure if this is the owner captured on the photo.
There is a huge colony of feral cats inhabiting the island. We were surprised to see so many cats wandering around or sunbathing on the beach.
While tourists may find it adorable, many of the cats are not neutered, which leads to an uncontrolled increase of the feral cat population and the spread of disease.
There are volunteering programs and charities who provide food, medical care and spay/neuter campaigns for the cats.
Cueva de los Verdes
If you don’t mind spending some time under the ground, climbing through some narrow and dark passageways, you should plan a trip to the Green caves or Cueva de los Verdes. These caves are part of the largest lava tube of the world and were designed by the artist, Jesus Soto.
The cave system stretches for over 2 kilometers, but the tour just covers one kilometer, lasting around 50 minutes. Jameos del Agua lies on the other side of the same lava tube, which ultimately leads into the sea.
The highlight of the tour awaits at the end and should be kept a secret according to the tour guide. If you want to know what it is, you can keep digging through the internet, however if you plan to visit Lanzarote, you should come and see for yourself. You will not regret the wait.
What makes Lanzarote so special is the ever-changing scenery. Many visitors book a trip to the Timanfaya National Park in order to see the island’s most spectacular volcanoes, but you will already be surrounded by volcanoes as soon as you leave the beach towns and head a little bit inland.
We walked from Costa Teguise to Teguise old town and passed some volcanoes not far in the distance. You should check for marked trails and avoid venturing out too far. Always bring enough water and sun screen. If you walk alone, let someone know where you are heading to. Make sure to select a hiking trail suitable for your fitness and do your research well in advance.
An abundance of cacti and succulents
The biggest collection of cacti and succulents from all over the world can be admired in the park, Jardin de cactus, César Manríquez last creation before he died.
The park itself hosts over 4500 specimens of cactus and succulents.
Even if you are not able to visit the park, you will make acquaintance with an abundance of prickly plants wherever you go.
As an urbex enthusiast I am always happy to discover some abandoned sights in the places I travel. Like this abandoned ruins in Arrecife. It’s just walls but with a fully preserved balcony.
There was also a ship wreck (Telamon) on the shore between Arrecife and Costa Teguise which was left abandoned since 1981 after a leak. According to the news, the wreck will be dismantled this year.
Aloe vera and salt museum
On our self organized trip to Cueva de los Verdes, we took a bus to Punta Mujeres. While we were walking the last kilometers to our destination, we discovered a museum dedicated to the healing powers of Aloe vera.
It’s one of five visitor centres titled Aloe Plus Lanzarote and located in different places on the island. There is no admission fee, so we had a look inside. You can learn about the history, cultivation and medical benefits of the Aloe vera plant. There is also a store where you can purchase aloe vera induced products.
Further, there is a section about other natural resources characteristic to the island: salt and cochineal, a parasite bug from which the natural dye carmine is extracted.
On their website you can even request free guided tours.
Who would have guessed that wine can be produced in a volcanic desert? It is a quite bizarre sight to spot lush green vineyards dotted across black volcanic rocks. The most popular vineyards are located in La Geria. However, you can find them growing all over the island.