Cesar Manrique’s Lanzarote
Lanzarote is often decried as an unglamorous and unsophisticated holiday destination for the package holiday masses, but there is another way to enjoy this Canary Island. Instead of just sunbathing all day and drinking all night, with our help you can seek out the coolest and most beautiful attractions across the island. And you can still take advantage of all the cheap flights, cheap accommodation and gorgeous weather.
The first person who saw the potential of attracting tourists to the island was a local called Cesar Manrique. He thought that tourist attractions should be beautiful and interesting and he had a lot of very clever ways of going about things, like turning underground lava flows from the (thankfully now rather limited) volcanic activity into all sorts of places. There are six spots to choose from, each with something different to offer.
Fundacion Cesar Manrique
by Terry Wha
The best place to start your tour of the attractions, you can really get a feel for what it’s all about here. Manrique created this place as his home and today you can see the underground living spaces, complete with swimming pool and a huge mural outside and even an art gallery boasting not only work by Manrique but Picasso and Miro too.
Jameos del Agua
The most popular of the attractions, the centrepiece here is an underground lagoon and concert hall, so you could book yourself tickets to a musical event here if you wanted to up the culture stakes. Everything is lushly landscaped and the lagoon glitters with albino crabs who are unique to the lava cave. Outside, the most lavish swimming pool awaits, so lovely only the King of Spain is allowed to swim in it!
Jardin del Cactus
by Terry Wha
This is a rather spikier affair with over 1000 species of cactus in a landscaped garden. There are all sorts of crazy sculptures dotted about and a sleek bar where you can sit and refresh yourself, all adding to the atmosphere. The inspiration came from the traditional cochineal harvesting cactuses which used to grow here.
El Diablo Restaurant
by Terry Wha
Timanfaya National Park is another big hit on the usual tourist trail but you can get an altogether closer experience at this Manrique-designed restaurant. The food is actually cooked using the awesome heat from the volcano so you can enjoy the unusual surroundings with a once-in-a-lifetime meal.
International Museum of Contemporary Art
As you can tell by now, Manrique was fond of taking something natural or existing and turning it into an exceptional attraction, and here he turned an old castle into an oasis of modern art and effortless relaxation. The once-ruined Castillo de San Jose now boasts an incredible art collection as well as the best café in Arrecife.
Mirador del Rio
And for one final transformation you’ll have to head to the north of the island to an old naval gun battery, not the most promising of starts. But Manrique took this spot and turned it into the most enjoyable and glamorous lookout point imagined. Here you can feast your eyes on the sweeping vista which includes neighbouring islands of La Graciosa, Montana Clara and Alegranza.
top image by epradator