If you’re sailing on an Atlantic crossing, there’s a very good chance that your cruise ship will stop on the island of Lanzarote. Today, Nick Ball, editor of Lanzarote Guidebook, offers suggestions on how to make the best use of your baby boomer travel time while on the island. Thanks, Nick.
The Canary Islands are often referred to as Europe´s Hawaii, thanks largely to their volcanic origin and clement climate – which is characterised by very low rainfall and temperatures that touch 20 Celsius even in the depths of winter. As a result, these seven Spanish owned islands, which are located off the coast of West Africa, have become a very popular cruise destination, as well as a winter sun bolthole for European baby boomers.
Lanzarote is the most easterly of these islands and last year just over 250,000 cruise passengers docked here, whilst air travel accounted for a further 1.5 million visitors. Yet despite the island’s undoubted popularity as a holiday destination, Lanzarote still remains surprisingly unspoilt, especially by comparison with the larger Canary Island of Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
This fortunate state of affairs is all the work of César Manrique, a local artist who fought against over development on the island. He created a series of highly imaginative visitor attractions, which combined his creativity with Lanzarote´s volcanic terrain.
Top of the itinerary for anyone with just one day to spend on Lanzarote has to be a visit to the Timanfaya Volcano Park. It lies at the epicentre of the eruptions that shook the island during the 1730´s – and very much resembles the surface of the moon. So much so, in fact, that the Apollo 13 astronauts studied pictures of this surreal terrain before undertaking their own lunar landing.
In the north of the island, Manrique transformed a jameos – a large collapsed lava tube – into a stunning underground grotto and concert venue, replete with sea water lagoon and tropical gardens. This impressive feat of architecture won international plaudits when it first opened in the 1970´s, attracting VIP visitors such as the Hollywood legend Rita Hayworth – who declared it to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.
Lanzarote also boasts lots of picturesque white washed villages and historic towns, as the island was fist conquered by Spain in the early 1400´s. Head for the former island capital of Teguise and explore a treasure trove of colonial architecture – where some buildings, such as the Palacio Marques, date back as far as 1455.
Nick Ball is the editor of Lanzarote Guidebook, the in-depth island information guide.
I toured the underground grotto and concert venue when Seven Seas Voyager stopped at Lanzarote. Nick is right, it’s impressive. Have you visited Lanzarote? Post a comment to tell me about your experience. You never know when I’ll be sailing the Atlantic again.