The Mirador del Río is a viewpoint situated in the north of the island of Lanzarote, in the north of the town of Teguise, but actually closer to the city of Haría; this is probably the most beautiful view of the Canary Islands, with a splendid view of the archipelago Chinijo, a secondary archipelago of the Canary Islands.
This natural lookout was built in the early 1970s by the artist and environmentalist César Manrique who managed to integrate into the cliff buildings of the reception center, so that they are nearly invisible from the ground like the sea .
The Lookout Rio is built into the cliff of a promontory in the northern Cordillera de Famara (Risco de Famara), close to the northern tip of Lanzarote, the Punta Fariones. This promontory, formed by lava from the volcano Monte Corona, dominates the northern coast of the island from a height of about 479 m; at its end, volcanic rocks form a cliff that drops steeply to the sea.
This promontory overlooking the strait that separates the island of Lanzarote the island La Graciosa and the archipelago Chinijo; the strait, with a length of ten kilometers and 2 km wide, has the appearance of a river, and the currents are as strong as those of a river; This is why it is named Estrecho del Río (Detroit River).
The promontory was once called “Atalaya Grande” (Great Watchtower) because it was used to observe the movements of ships from pirates who occupied the island La Graciosa, to prevent their attempts to raid Lanzarote.
Later, around 1898, during the Spanish-American war for control of Cuba, a battery of cannon was installed there, the batería del Río.
You can still see the remains of this battery a little north of the gazebo.
From the late nineteenth century this northern area of Risco de Famara continued to be known as the “Batería del Río”. The Mirador del Río is sometimes called “Mirador de la Batería”.
The Mirador del Río was designed in the early 1970s by César Manrique and directed in 1973 by his colleague Jesús Soto and the architect Eduardo Cáceres; the inauguration of the gazebo was held in 1974. The Lookout Rio was regarded at that time as one of the most modern buildings in the world.
The building follows the rules César Manrique adopted for all its public art: total integration of art into the natural environment, which must be altered as little as possible; construction contours to the environment and shows no right angles.
From the outside - from the parking lot - the site appears as a rough stone wall, dotted with balsamiferous euphorbia, which is hardly distinguishable from surrounding landscapes. The building has two levels; the entrance is through the lower level: one enters the building through a narrow, fairly dark corridor where an exhibition of pottery. César Manrique wanted that one discovers the spectacular view at the last moment: it was only after this corridor we opens into a vast vaulted room opening to the outside by two large bays convex glass. In this room is installed a cafeteria, with a gift shop on the right side; ceiling hang two metallic sculptures of César Manrique, the appearance of gigantic spiders, made of son of iron and iron plates, clinking under the action of air currents.
Outside the room is a balcony overlooking the gulf and from where the views can be admired on the archipelago Chinijo; this semicircular balcony is surrounded by a parapet shaped rail which reveals the gazebo like the prow of a ship sailing on the ocean. Since the hall a staircase leads to a second level where there is an observation deck, which usually blows a strong wind but where the view is even more beautiful.
The ocean side of the building is covered with a shell made of raw volcanic stones bound by mortar, which matches the rounded shapes of the building and mimics the look and color of the rocks of the cliff. Since the island La Graciosa this camouflage makes the Mirador del Río barely discernable from the cliff, if not the two large windows that could be compared to the eyes of a giant insect.
The Mirador del Río offers a magnificent view of the strait between the island of Lanzarote island La Graciosa; This long narrow strait - off only 2 km - appears as a river and was named Estrecho del Río (Detroit River).
Beyond the strait is discovered throughout the archipelago Chinijo with the foreground, the island La Graciosa and the island of Montaña Clara and Roque del Oeste and the north, the island of Alegranza. Only the island La Graciosa is inhabited, with the only village of Caleta del Sebo, Montaña Clara and Alegranza are only islands only hosting seabirds.
At the foot of viewpoint is one of the oldest salt mines in the Canary Islands, the Salinas del Río. In light of the setting sun the basins of these disused salt marshes have a patchwork of pastel colors: pink, orange, red and brown; it is the presence of small crustaceans that gives these waters reddish tones.
Slightly southwest of the saline is the Playa del Risco; This white sand beach is often deserted because it is only accessible by sea and by taking a steep path on the LZ-202 road in the hamlet of Las Rositas (few parking spaces are available at the trailhead). The descent takes an hour of time, and the ascent quite difficult, much more ...
The Mirador del Río is located north of the small town of Haría; since Haría we reach the lookout via scenic drives LZ-201 and LZ-202. Since Arrecife follow LZ-1 road, and the LZ-201 road; arrived in the village of Yé, follow the right, the LZ-203 road for 2 km.
The Mirador is not visible from the road; it is reported by a wrought iron sculpture representing a fish and a bird; it is a metaphor for two natural elements which are present in this landscape: water and air.
Hours: daily, 10 am to 19 pm (18 pm from October to June); last admission fifteen minutes before closing. To avoid the crowds, individual visitors will visit in the afternoon.
Admission: € 4.5 (half-price for children 7 to 12 years). Holiday Packages “Bono 3, 4, 6 Centros” are used to Mirador del Río.