The clock will rewind 300 years. It will seem as though centuries are slipping away as you are catapulted backwards in time, passing volcanoes that once teemed with molten lava, villages with dramatic views and even the chance to dine with the Devil himself. The hot and historic attractions held within Timanfaya National Park are partly why holidays to Lanzarote are perennially popular, especially for those who love exploring the great outdoors of foreign lands while simultaneously discovering the rich geography and history that goes along with it.
Arisen from the Ashes
To look at the dramatic landscape that covers a quarter of Lanzarote is to catch a glimpse of what the earth may have looked like when it was first formed. The enormous volcanic eruptions that occurred from 1730 to 1736 spewed lava over villages and once-fertile land, leaving a quarter of the island barren. A thick hardened crust now coats the ground and even claimed some of the sea once the hot molten liquid cooled. Not much has changed visually, despite the passing of some 300 years; there has been nearly no natural erosion from sun, wind or other elements and, since visitors and vehicles are not allowed to travel off the park’s designated paths, the volcanic stones and sand remain relatively pristine.
I recommend staying in the beautiful, authentic and peaceful village of Yaiza if you want to make the most of exploring the park. Located directly at the foothills of the mountains, the view the village offers is breathtaking and it makes the perfect base as you venture out to see all Timanfaya has to offer.
Dining with the Devil
Reaching the top of Islote de Hilario is easy thanks to architect and artist César Manrique. He designed the ideal route to get through the park to the peak – and, being born and raised on the island, he should know better than anyone else. The most popular method of transportation to the top is also the liveliest: visitors can scale the mountain on the backs of camels. At the summit rests a restaurant that attracts many tourists when booking holidays to Lanzarote: El Diablo.
Dining at the Devil is much nicer than dining with him – and much more interesting. El Diablo’s unique and ingenious design is also credited to Manrique. Chefs grill food over a deep pit by using the natural geothermal heat from the dormant volcano the restaurant is situated upon. While diners eat their meals, they are privy to superb panoramic views that are intensified at sunset.
All holidays to Lanzarote should include a visit to Timanfaya National Park. This petrified and perfectly preserved natural wonder is a fantastic destination for nature, history and even animals lovers. Visit the volcano and immerse yourself in living history and a dead backdrop. Let camels tow you up into the heavens to have a dinner cooked by the earth itself. And finally, when the day comes to a close, rest your head at the foot of the mountain, on top of a fossilised but never-forgotten land.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays to Lanzarote , Bermuda, Sicily and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.