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The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands

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General presentationGeneral presentation
The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Crest (Jerbez author). Click to enlarge the image.Lanzarote is one of the seven islands of the archipelago of the Canary Islands, the 4th by area (845 km²) after Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria, the third of its population (about 145,000 people), after Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

Like the other Canary Islands, Lanzarote is of volcanic origin, but it is Lanzarote the volcanic character is most apparent, firstly because part of its volcanism is more recent, secondly because scarcity of vegetation leaves exposed volcanic rocks that cover much of the island. The interior of the island appears in summer, like a lunar landscape, about three hundred volcanoes ocher rocks, brown or black, dotted with white spots isolated farms and villages. Some mountains such as Montaña Colorada or Montaña Roja, have an almost red color, by oxidation of the iron ore it contains. These are just the winter rains that bring some green spots on the mountain slopes and in valleys. The north of the island escape this aridity through its - relatively - high mountain ranges that stop clouds and cause precipitation.

The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. volcanic Dyke of Lago Verde in El Golfo. Click to enlarge the image.The strange beauty of these landscapes has been preserved from the greed of developers by the action of a man, the artist and environmentalist César Manrique, who, supported by the President of the Cabildo de Lanzarote, has managed to adopt a restrictive legislation on construction. César Manrique has itself made ​​its public art by integrating perfectly into the natural sites they highlight. Symbolically it was in 1993, the year following the accidental death of Manrique, Unesco declared the entire island “Biosphere Reserve”. The island also includes thirteen protected natural areas to varying degrees, which represent about 40% of the area of Lanzarote; the most famous is the recent volcanic area of Timanfaya (volcanic eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), which has the status of National Park.

EtymologyEtymology and toponymy
The name of the island of Lanzarote comes from the name of the Genoese sailor Lanceloto Malocello (Lanzarotto Malocello in Castilian, Lancelot Maloisel in French), who rediscovered the island in the early fourteenth century (1312, but more likely in 1336). Malocello was established in Portugal, where he was called Lanzarote da Framqua; Portuguese is his name that gave its name to the island. The island of Lanzarote appears for the first time in 1339 on a portolan cartographer Majorcan Angelino Dulcert as the “Insula de Lanzarotus Marocelus”. Lanzarote was once named Lancerotte in French.


The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Road Map of the island of Lanzarote (Canary Tourism Office author). Click to enlarge the image.Of all the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is the one that is the most northeast of the archipelago. Lanzarote is in the Atlantic Ocean 140 km off the Moroccan coast, at latitude of the Sahara desert. The northern tip of Lanzarote, the Punta Fariones, is distant 1,000 km from the nearest point of the European continent, Cape St. Vincent, located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, and in 1050 from the port of Cadiz to where left, after a stop, the Norman conquerors of the Canaries.

1 km northwest of Lanzarote are the secondary archipelago Chinijo and the island of La Graciosa. The southern tip of Lanzarote, the Punta del Papagayo is located 11 km northeast of the island of Fuerteventura, separated by the Straits of La Bocaina, and 170 km northeast of the island of Gran Canaria. The islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are the Province of Las Palmas.


Island The island of Lanzarote
The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Tourist Map. Click to enlarge the image.The main natural and cultural attractions of Lanzarote are, from north to south and from east to west:

The Cabildo de Lanzarote offers packages to visit several public attractions with a reduction in the entry price, the “Bono 3 centros” (20 €), “Bono 4 centros” (26 €) and “Bono 6 centros” (30 €).

KnowledgeHistory, geography, arts, traditions, flora ...

The archipelago of the Canary Islands were formed by volcanic activity over a period of approximately 22 million years. The archipelago is indeed crossed by a volcanic rift due to the drift of the African continent, which gradually separates the American continent. The first to emerge was island Fuerteventura; about five to ten million years after it was Lanzarote. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are connected by a base submarine; at this time the two islands are separated by a strait 11 km wide Strait of La Bocaina, but at the time of the last glaciation, the two islands were united.

The first mountains of Lanzarote to emerge, there are about 11 million years ago, were the massif of Famara in the north of the island, and the massif Ajaches in the south. Subsequent magmatic emissions linked then these two massifs. The last volcanic eruptions took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Map of volcanoes Lanzarote:

The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Satellite Image. Click to enlarge the image.The island of Lanzarote has an area of 846 km² - 805 km² if we exclude the archipelago Chinijo - with a length of about 60 km from northeast to southwest, and less than 21 km wide. The island is elongated, oriented northeast to southwest, as Fuerteventura, according to the fault lines that gave birth to these two islands. The perimeter of the island is 140 km of coastline, of very diverse natures, sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and coastline.

Lanzarote has a relief of low mountains, the highest in the northeast, in the Cordillera de Famara, the Peñas del Chache to 671 m; south, the massif Ajaches culminates at Mount Hacha Grande to 561 m; southwest, the most recent volcanic peak at the Montaña de Timanfaya to 510 m altitude. Between these volcanic mountains lies the sandy plain El Jable; in the south of the island lies the plain El Rubicón.

Chronology of the history of Lanzarote
The existence of the island of Lanzarote was vaguely known to the ancient world; the early first AD, the Roman historian Pliny the Elder mentioned the Canary and jointly designates Fuerteventura and Lanzarote as “purple island”, having no doubt aware that the Phoenicians had visited these islands, around 1100 BC, to harvest orchil, a lichen that provides a dye for dye purple woolen fabrics. However no trace of a Phoenician settlement were discovered on these islands.
  • Around 500 BC, the first inhabitants settled in Lanzarote: the majos or mahos a population of Berber origin, from North Africa.
  • In 1336 the Genoese navigator Lancelotto Malocello, sponsored by the Portuguese monarchy, “rediscovering” the island and built a watchtower on the Montaña de Guanapay, near present Teguise.
  • The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. History, Jean de Bethancourt. Click to enlarge the image.The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. History, expedition of Jean de Bethancourt. Click to enlarge the image.In 1402 the Norman Jean IV de Béthencourt and its associated Gadifer de La Salle come to Lanzarote, after a stop in Cadiz during which they put at the service of King Henry III of Castile. These Norman merchants are looking for the dye orchil (orchilla) for their mills in Normandy. They settled on the southern coast of the island, in an area they call Rubicon because of the reddish color of the rocks, and they build a fortress with a church dedicated to Saint Martial de Limoges. Castile Crown granted the lordship of Lanzarote to Jean de Béthencourt.
  • In 1404 Pope Benedict XIII is the church seat of the Diocese of San Marcial del Rubicón; the church was destroyed in the sixteenth century by English pirates.
  • In 1406 Jean de Béthencourt transmits the manor to his nephew Maciot de Béthencourt, who married the princess Teguise, daughter of the last king majo of Lanzarote, Guadarfia. Lanzarote then passes noble Castilian who participated in the conquest of the other Canary Islands.
  • In 1477, the island is devoted to Herreras who retained their stronghold until the late eighteenth century.
  • From 1550 Lanzarote is the subject of attacks by Barbary pirates and European.
  • In 1586 the Ottoman admiral Murat Rais (captain Mourad) seized the island with 500 men; the population is captured and enslavement; mother, wife and daughter of the Marquis Agustín Herrera y Rojas are released against a ransom.
  • In the seventeenth century, pirate attacks and privateers are amplified until 1618 with the attack Jaban and Soliman. Towards the middle of the seventeenth century, the population was reduced to 300 inhabitants by misery, murder, imprisonment and emigration.
  • The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Map of Lanzarote in 1741 by Antonio River. Click to enlarge the image.From 1730 to 1736, powerful volcanic eruptions devastated the southwest quarter of the island, destroying a dozen villages and among the best farmland where cereal culture had developed since the sixteenth century; the Montañas del Fuego that were born at that time are now the National Park Timanfaya.
  • 1770, 30 years later, the inhabitants of Lanzarote introduced on volcanic ash a new culture, that of the vine. By the late eighteenth century were also introduced the culture of soda used in the manufacture of soap, and the breeding of cochineal on prickly pear to produce red dye cochineal.
  • The island of Lanzarote. Berthelot Card 1837. Click to enlarge the image.In 1812, the Constituent Assembly of Cortes de Cádiz ended the feudal power in Lanzarote and in the rest of Spain. The island is directly subordinate to the Spanish Crown.
  • In 1824 new volcanic eruptions occur in the southwest of the island; they were less violent than those of the eighteenth century, but provoked famine.
  • In 1852 the port of Teguise, Arrecife, gets the free port status and becomes the capital of the island instead of Teguise.
  • In the twentieth century, from the 1960s, tourism grows and takes a leading role in the economy of Lanzarote.
Traditional food of Lanzarote is based - like the other Canary Islands - on cereal, potato, products of fishing and livestock.

The gofio is a cereal flour (wheat or maize) previously roasted before being ground; the gofio was already known of the aborigines of the island. Potatoes are proposed as “papas arrugadas”, small wrinkled potatoes, boiled in their skins, and served in a salt crust, accompanied by “mojo” (green or red hot sauce, to the oil, vinegar, salt and spices). Lanzarote has also developed a production of lenses (lentejas de Lanzarote), onions, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. A feature of Lanzarote is a fungus that grows in the sands of the plain of El Jable and is named Sandy truffle (Terfezia arenaria); this fungus has a slight scent of truffle; it is found in markets - in the rainy season - under the name of “papas crías” because it has the appearance of a potato.

The ocean provides excellent fish and seafood; fish are cooked or grilled “a la espalda” be boiled in “sancocho” (bouillabaisse).

Lanzarote has a large goat farm; the goats are consumed in various ways, including baifo, fried kid with garlic.

Goats also provide excellent cheeses (queso de cabra), sweet or dry, at different levels of maturity: queso blanco (3 to 4 days), semi tierno (7 to 8 days), semi seco (up 20 days) or queso durado (over two months). The people of Lanzarote sometimes eat with quince jelly (dulce de membrillo).

Traditional island dishes are accompanied by wines from Lanzarote; it’s La Geria that produced most of the Appellation wine Lanzarote, including sweet wines distinguished from malvasia grape.

Practical informationPractical information

Useful informationUseful information
Tourist OfficeThe tourism office
Turismo Lanzarote

Address: Triana, 38 - 35500 Arrecife

Phone: 00 34 928 811 762

Site on the Web:

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 14 pm (15 pm in winter).

Jet lagJet lag
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
See page Tourist information on the Canaries.
AdministrationAdministrative information
The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Tourist map of Lanzarote Island. Click to enlarge the image.Lanzarote is part of the province of Las Palmas, which also includes Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura; the capital of the province Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The capital of the island is Arrecife.

The island of Lanzarote is divided into seven municipalities: Arrecife (the capital), Haría, San Bartolomé, Teguise, Tías, Tinajo and Yaiza.

The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Climate. Click to enlarge the image.The climate of Lanzarote is favored much more temperate than geographic latitude might suggest, since the maximum temperatures oscillate in Lanzarote between 22 ºC and 25 ºC, the minimum shall not fall below 12ºC in winter, because the island is crossed by continental tropical air masses. The annual air temperature average is 20 ºC; in summer 24 ºC and 17 ºC in winter. The temperature of the sea water varies between 17 °C in February and 22 °C in September.

The rainfall ranges from 250 mm in Famara and only 50 mm in the area of the Costa del Rubicón, south of the island; the average rainfall is 200 mm annual. The little rainfall is concentrated in the winter and rain in summer is a rare phenomenon.

Two climatic elements involved in this atmospheric softness: the trade winds and the cold Canary Current. The wind is almost permanently present on the island. During the summer months, storms can stand, loaded with sand from the Sahara desert, the sirocco (also called calima the Canary), with temperatures up to 46 ºC (2004) and very poor visibility.

MeteorologyWeather and forecasts
The weather in Lanzarote at the moment
Air transportAir transport
The island of Lanzarote has an international airport located Guasimeta in the municipality of San Bartolomé, 5 km west of the capital, Arrecife.

The airport of Lanzarote-Guasimeta is managed by the company AENA.

Phone: 00 34 928 846 000

Site on the Web:

The airport has two terminals:

  • Terminal 1 is dedicated to traffic with mainland Spain and other airports in Europe and the British Isles.
  • Terminal 2 is dedicated to traffic with the other Canary Islands, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Two airlines provide the inter-island traffic: Binter Canarias (phone: 00 34902391392; site on the Web: and CanaryFly (phone: 00 34902808065; site on the Web: www.canaryfly. es).

The capital Arrecife is connected to the airport every half hour from 6 am to 22 h 30, the bus line No. 22, from the exchanger; once an hour between 7 am and 21 pm, with the bus line No. 23, from the bus station.

Lines No. 161 and No. 261 connects Playa Blanca to the airport, via Puerto del Carmen; every hour from 7 am to 22 pm 30.

Detailed schedule at:

Lanzarote has three seaports passenger:The shipping company Trasmediterranea offers crossings from Arrecife to Cadiz, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz de La Palma and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (phone: 00 34902454645; site on the Web:

The company Naviera Armas offers connections from Arrecife to Huelva in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and from Playa Blanca to Corralejo (phone: 00 34 902 456 500; site on the canvas:

The company Fred Olsen connects Playa Blanca to Corralejo by fast ships (crossing 15 minutes) (phone: 00 34 902 100 107; site on the Web:

CoachRoad transport
The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Road Map. Click to enlarge the image.Lanzarote has a good network of roads to visit the island by rental car; from the north of the island, Órzola, to the south of the island, Playa Blanca, the distance is only 71 km by taking the LZ-1 road then the LZ-2 road, via the Boulevard device Arrecife.

The island has a bus network, but is adapted to the needs of villagers who go to work in town, early morning and returning home in the afternoon. Some tourist sites such as the National Park of Timanfaya or the Mirador del Río are not accessible by bus.

Bus schedules at:

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Interactive map of the island of Lanzarote
The northern coast of Lanzarote
The eastern coast of Lanzarote
The southern coast of Lanzarote
The western coast of Lanzarote
The interior of the island of Lanzarote
The flora and fauna of the island of Lanzarote
The island of Lanzarote - OTC Brochure (PDF)
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The island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands
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The island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands
The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands
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