Lanzarote is situated just 125 kilometres from the northeast coast of Africa, and is the fourth largest of the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura being the largest three).
Lanzarote gets its shape and landscape from its volcanic background… and this is most apparent in the Timanfaya National Park in the centre of the Island. This dramatic landscape has led to it being the scene for a number of movies, television programmes, and music videos. Who can forget, for example, Raquel Welch frolicking by the green lagoon, at El Golfo. More recently, Penelope Cruz filmed her movie – Broken Embraces – at El Golfo. Doctor Who even had an episode or two filmed in Timanfaya. There is also a rumour that Eastenders (the popular British soap opera, based in London) was first brought to life during a holiday in Lanzarote.
A number of famous people regularly visit the Island. La Santa, a high end training hotel in the north of the Island, regularly welcomes racing drivers, cricketers, rugby teams and more to its facilities.
Lanzarote’s most famous “son” has to be Cesar Manrique – an artist who made Lanzarote his home for many years. His art and influence can be seen all over the island… from his brightly coloured paintings and murals… to his large birdcage wind ornaments. Sadly, Cesar was killed on the road just outside his home at Tahiche. The spot is now a roundabout with probably my favourite of his scupltures proudly turning in the Lanzarote wind.
The island is protected under Biosphere status, which in theory should have protected it from illegal builds and high rise. Sadly, corrupt government representatives put paid to that idea, although most of these have now been brought to task for their dodgy dealings. This, paired with Cesar Manrique’s desire to keep the island pure and uncluttered… means that the houses dotted on the hillsides tend to be very pretty… very white… and not skyscrapers.
The population is extremely mixed, with native Canarian, Spanish, Morroccan, British, German, Italian, French, Indian and Chinese families, to name but a few, all living and working side by side on this little rock in the Atlantic.
Lanzarote elicits a love or hate in the vast majority of its visitors. Some cannot get used to the starkness of the landscape. Others sadly, venture no further than their hotel pool… so miss out on so much. For the majority however, once they have visited the Island, it remains in their hearts forever – whether it is because of holidaying in the popular resorts, remembering the fire mountains of Timanfaya, or by experiencing the art of Cesar Manrique – the Island’s most famous resident past or present.
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