Tour the Volcanoes: Timanfaya National Park

Lanzarote is known for its volcanic landscapes, giving it a unique distinction against other islands in the Canaries. As we descended into land it was immediately obvious that much of the island remained relatively barren. It distinctly felt like we were touching down on foreign sands, as we hit the strip of tarmac next to the ocean, surrounded by dusty hues.

The environment of the island was drastically altered, after a series of continual volcanic eruptions filled towns and villages with molten lava, causing hundreds to flee for safety. Amazingly, no one was known to be killed as a result of the devastation, but the explosions would make it difficult to grow the same abundance of crops and left a permanent mark on the landscape.

Timanfaya National Park accounts for around a quarter of the island and is where you’ll find the dormant volcanic craters sat frozen in time. There is a tourist car park in order to visit the main viewpoint over the area, but you will have to take to a coach in order to gain a real view for the lunar-esque landscape that varies in colour and texture throughout.

Though it might not be immediately obvious, the geothermal energy beneath the surface is still very much active, as you can see for yourself via demonstrations presented by the park rangers; how long can you hold onto scalding gravel? Watch straw catch fire from the fiery depths below ground and catch steaming water erupt into a spurting geyser.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, witness your dinner being cooked by the natural heat of a volcano in the neighbouring El Diablo Restaurant, a unique feat that you are sure to remember when returning to tell friends about your travels round Lanzarote. This magnificent restaurant encompasses panoramic views over Las Montañas del Fuego and is the brainchild of prolific local artist Cesar Manrique, who combined his human intellect with the power of mother nature, enabling visitors to prepare their meals near 300 degrees in the natural furness.

There is also one other rather exotic activity that may interest some more than others. Always a possibility on my bucket list, this trekking experience came a little sooner than expected, as I anxiously approached a herd of beige mammals and mounted the hump in anticipation. Yes, I can officially say that I have ridden a camel through the barren sands of Timanfaya. In truth it wasn’t half as bad as I potentially feared, in fact I rather enjoyed!

Have you visited Timanfaya, Lanzarote, or another part of the world which bares resemblance? I would love to hear about your experience.

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