If you like modern architecture and constructions that blend perfectly in their environment, you should consider visiting some of Cesar Manrique’s creations in Lanzarote. His influence on Lanzarote’s landscapes is still present today. In particular, by limiting the hight of buildings to that of the tallest palmtree and the bilboard free roads.
This full day itinerary focuses on the North of Lanzarote. The first part of the day will keep the little ones on their toes. First with an open air exhibition of cactus of all shapes and sizes. Then, a visit of Haria village to walk on palm fringed old streets and run around in the pedestrian area. In the afternoon, the grown ups will take a peek in the life of the great architect Cesar Manrique in his house frozen in time and enjoy the beatiful pools and views in Jameos del Agua. Finally, the mirador will offer a unique view on Isla Graciosa, the island North of Lanzarote.
We did the itinerary from South to North.
1. Star at the Cactus Garden -Jardin de Cactus. This was actually one of the last works of Manrique. Jardín de Cactus has around 4,500 specimens of 450 different species, of 13 different families of cactus from the five continents. The green shade of the plants stands out against the blue sky and the dark volcano rock creating a striking explosion of colour that impresses most visitors. A small stream flows in the middle of the garden. Children can admire the huge red fish swimming in the small stream and will have fun looking at all the different cactus shapes. Access by stroller is quite ok for the ground level but you will not be able to climb on the terraces or visit the small windmil. Better have a carrier if the children are not yet walking. Entrance: 6 Euro per adult and children under 7 years are free.
2. Haria city walk and the house of Cesar Manrique. With the children still impressed by the original cactus garden but not yet hungry, hop off the car for a quick visit of Manrique’s house in Haria. This is the house where he spent the last part of his life and is a rather compact structure, accessible by stroller, except myaybe the outside studio area. If you plan to visit also the Manrique foundation in Tachiche, ask for a combo ticket (about 15 Euro). Once the kids start to signal they might soon get feed- up with this museum-house, step out on the strets of green Haria. There is a nice pedestrian area in front of the Haria cathedral where they can run around. You can also stop here for lunch or continue to Arrieta.
3. Stop for lunch in Arrieta. This small village is one of the best places to eat fish on the island. We parked the car and went in El Amanecer to put our name on the list at the bar for lunch. If travelling in high season, it is likely that some waiting time will be involved before a table becomes available. We were told of about 30 min so we used the time to check out the small, sandy and family friendly beach in Arrieta. If your wait is longer, you can take the opportunity for some beach games with the kids or a quick dip in the ocean. If you are not willing to wait too long, another good recommendation in Arietta where we ate on our last day is a no frills place, just after the village beach, called Casa de la Playa. Great catch of the day grilled fish and sea food. There were many locals when we went whcoh is always a good sign. Both restaurants recommended have high chairs.
4. Continue north to Jameos del Agua, another of Manrique’s original designs. He used the debris of a volcanic tube with lava flowing from Volcán de la Corona, on the north of the island and transformed it to a series of passage ways and pools. The entire place inspires peacefulness and harmony in the way nature and human creation came together. Birds echoe their songs in the lava caves. Small crabs shine like coins at the bottom of the internal lagoon, connected to the ocean. The place even has an original Auditorium, unique in the world due to its geological and acoustic features. On the practical side, do bring a carrier if the kids are not yet walking as there are several flights of stairs going up and down the cave. Entrance: 10 Euro for adults and children under 7 can go free.
5. Follow the road to Mirador del Rio, on the tip of the island. Carved into the summit of a 474-metre-high cliff on Lanzarote’s northern tip, the Mirador is almost invisible from the outside. Once you step inside, you find a maze-like sequence of tunnels, with huge windows overlooking the strait between Lanzarote and La Graciosa Island. Entrance fee: 5 Euro per adult.
If you like Cesar Manrique’s works, set aside another half day for the Fondacion Cesar Manrique in Tachiche and Museo Lagomar in Nazaret. They are both great sites although accessibility wise not too easy if you have reduced mobility. There are quite a number of steps and narrow passages. A carrier is recommended.
We combined the Fondacion and the lavish Lagomar house with half a day at the beach as the LO was getting a bit annoyed at the grown ups taking him from house to house and up and down an innumerable number of steps. I will include a short list of our favourite Lanzarote beaches in a separate post.