Lanzarotethe most original of the Canary Islands.
Lanzarote is the most unusual and original of the Canary Islands. Repeated and prolonged volcanic eruptions have, until recently, influenced the fascinating landscape, which finds almost no comparison throughout the world.
Lanzarote is the easternmost island in the Spanish Canaries, distinguishable by its striking volcanic surface. Almost ninety volcanoes with about three hundred craters dominate the landscape. With an area of approximately 800 square kilometres, Lanzarote is the fourth largest, and therefore the middle-sized, of the seven well-known, permanently inhabited islands of this archipelago.
Earthy and sometimes almost scary, the “Fire Mountains” stand out in the island’s south west. They were not created until the 18th century after years of violent eruptions: you think you are in a moonscape, with bleak slopes, enormous craters holes, and sharp lava in all shapes and colours everywhere. Deep black ash fields and solidified slag are spread out across the land. Lichens colonize the lava; mysterious and almost unreal caves and tunnels hide underground. The play of colours in this landscape is always a unique experience. Depending on the time of day, the colours of the landscape change from a dirty grey-brown to black, to a partly reddish shimmer. But it’s often the sparingly placed details, which frequently seem to be intentionally arranged, that make Lanzarote a picturesque island: snow-white fincas glow in the dark nothingness, single palm trees sway in the wind, caravans of camels plod down the slopes, the bright spots of hang gliders circle like insects in the sky…
Anyone wanting to get the most out of Lanzarote, should embrace the island’s completely different and unusual nature. No forests and few trees thrive in the stony steppe-like “desert”. Nevertheless, plant life abounds everywhere: for example, bright green euphorbias cover the lava fields in the north for miles, ankle-height, colourful succulents (water-storing plants) and lush cacti proliferate, colourful flowers, palms and dragon trees adorn more than the many hotels and apartments. Objects by the famous island artist Cesar Manrique make welcome landmarks throughout various points of Lanzarote. With much dedication and love, he actively influenced the appearance of “his” island. Hardly anyone was as connected to his home as he was. It’s due to him that Lanzarote’s natural beauty has not been engulfed with mass tourism, but was elevated by the harmonious combination of art and nature. His basic idea, to make Lanzarote one of the most beautiful places on earth, is reflected in all his works, making Manrique virtually immortal.
Of all the Canary Islands, Lanzarote has had it particularly hard because the island has no groundwater, a large part of agricultural regions were buried under several meters of volcanic eruptions, and the island suffered raids by pirates and slave traders, droughts, plagues of locusts, and economic crises. But the islanders’ ingenuity and tenacity have overcome disasters time and again. 1993 was a big year for the small island: the island’s particular model of development, which combines sustainable economic growth with the protection and conservation of the natural environment, brought Lanzarote the recognition by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve on October 7th, 1993. This was the definitive confirmation of the Lanzaroteños’ long and intensive efforts to keep one of their characteristic traits, namely the continued interest in preserving their environment. This was the first time that an entire island received this special award. It is awarded to habitats in which people and nature always live in harmony with each other, and in which the “particular requirements for careful further development” are met. The perfect symbiosis between man and nature, which was achieved in Lanzarote, is undoubtedly the main reason for this international recognition. The preservation of these properties will be one of Lanzarote’s greatest future tasks.
Every year, more than 250,000 Germans visit this north eastern Canary Island, which is world-famous for its fascinating volcanic landscapes. It was classified by UNESCO as a “world heritage area of biospheres” as early as 1993. Its main attractions include the great ”Fire Mountains”, which were formed by great magma eruptions, and the underground caverns and tunnels that were formed by lava. But Lanzarote also has kilometres of black, white, and gold sandy beaches that have lots to offer for water sports enthusiasts. Since tourism came to the island relatively late, the typical Spanish constructions have been kept under control. César Manrique, the island’s most famous artist, influenced the architecture, until his death in an accident in 1993. He designed holiday resorts closely following the traditional construction methods of the islands.
Eberhard Fohrer, who lived on Lanzarote for a long time, sheds light on the different aspects of tourism in his travel handbook, and shares many tips and background information More Information about the book…