Travel: Volcanoes in Lanzarote

Ride a camel around the volcanic landscape of Timanfaya National park in Lanzarote

One of the most stunning things you can do on a visit to Lanzarote is explore the island’s vast volcanic landscape. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you plan to spend your whole holiday on the beach, you’re missing out on one of the most dramatic views you’ll ever see. Last weekend I explored the island’s family attractions, and this day out in the Timanfaya National Park was by far the most impressive thing we did.

Camel Treks in Lanzarote

For starters what’s not to love about a camel ride? Add in the excitement of knowing that you’re riding on a volcano, and I’d challenge anyone’s kids not to declare it the best day ever.

A camel ride in the Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote, is a fun-filled way to see the volcanoes

This was Valentina, the baby of our group, at four years old. She was the camel behind me, and had a very cute habit of snuffling in my ear every time we stopped! You ride the camels in two’s, to balance out the weight, though if you’re solo, you can just as easily ride with sandbags as your partner 😀 The ride took around thirty minutes, including time to settle in, and it was such a fun way to see Lanzarote’s 300+ volcanoes.

Lanzarote’s Volcanic National Park

Once we’d giggled our way round the surreal black hills, we took a guided bus into the heart of the park, Las Montañas del Fuego, where the real action was happening. It’s the only way to see this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and you’re not permitted to set foot outside of the bus, for the sake of preserving the landscape. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Lanzarote is used for filming many of the movies that involve moonscapes and stories of far-flung planets – that’s how other worldly it is.

Incredible craters - volcanoes of Lanzarote

The stunning volcanoes of Lanzarote

Restaurants in Lanzarote

What’s even more incredible is that once you’ve finished marvelling at the fact that Lanzarote is basically one giant volcano (check out this video to see how volcanic cliffs rise out of the ocean), you can eat a barbequed lunch cooked over the organic heat of the volcano itself. I kid you not, this is not some vast installation to appeal to the tourists; El Diablo sits atop an actual volcano, with an enormous grill cooking the delicious fish, meats and vegetables that will eventually end up on your plate.

Eat a barbeque cooked over the heat of a volcano in Lanzarote!

This is one restaurant where it pays to arrive in advance of your reservation. While you wait for your table, there’s a good chance you’ll catch a demonstration of the 400 degree heat beneath your feet, as first water, then hay is placed into a borehole, with spectactular effects. If you’re brave, you’ll also be given a handful of volcanic ash to hold – though you won’t hang onto it for very long!

The steam coming out of the boreholes at Montañas del Fuego is a spectacular thing to see - volcanoes of Lanzarote

Discovering how the 'Fire Mountains' volcanoes of Lanzarote get their name!
Watch where you step!

You might be forgiven for imagining that a restaurant at the top of a volcano has the view as its main attraction, and the panorama is utterly fantastic. But the simple food more than lives up to the premium location, and we were thrilled to be able to try out the local Lanzarote wine. The biggest volcanic eruptions here took place over 6 years, starting in 1730, and although none of the island’s inhabitants was killed, the lava destroyed pretty much all the crops bar one. The vines. Which makes the Malvasía Volcanica wine rather special. We drank it with most of our meals, and it definitely had a lovely distinctive flavour I couldn’t liken to any other wines I’ve had.

Wine from the volcanoes of Lanzarote

Here are some more ideas for unique places to eat in Lanzarote. We visited them all and I can vouch for what Sarah says about them.

César Manrique and the Lava Caves

Our afternoon was spent exploring some of the vast networks of tunnels and caves carved through the cooling lava rock by red hot lava streams. I had never thought about how lava might cool – why would you? – so it was fascinating the walk through the rabbit warren of tunnels, and caverns caused  by gas bubble explosions at Cueva de los Verdes.

Lava tubes carved by the volcanoes of Lanzarote

The caves really are a ‘hidden wonder;’ used as a hiding place in the 17th century to avoid capture and enslavement by pirates, they now house an underground concert stage you’d never imagine was there, and more than a few surprises – I won’t say more than this as I don’t want to spoil the biggest surprise of all, but trust me, it’s worth a visit!

Lava tubes carved by the volcanoes of Lanzarote

If you want your eyes opening even wider (and you should), a short jog down the road will take you to Los Jameo del Agua. César Manrique, the island’s renowned artist, originally transformed this lava tube into a nightclub, full of his quirky, modern style. (Manrique has left his artistic stamp all over the island – check out this post about the fascinating Cactus Gardens, another place you must visit if you’re holidaying in Lanzarote with children).

Los Jameos del Agua is quite possibly one of the untouted wonders of the world - César Manrique's conversion of one of the volcanoes of Lanzarote

You will stand literally open-mouthed at the underground restaurant (we didn’t eat there because they were hosting a wedding that day (SO romantic!), but please book it and let me know what you thought), the lake inhabited by tiny albino crabs, the jazz bar, swimming pool, and – wait for it – gigantic concert auditorium. I tell you, I wanted to live there, it’s that beautiful. The pool is off limits for swimming (though rumour has it the King of Spain is allowed to use it), but that’s a tad irrelevant – like an exquisite jewel, it serves its purpose of pure aesthetics. I can’t imagine a better place for a glass of something sparkling as the sun goes down.

Volcanoes of Lanzarote: The pool at Los Jameos del Agua in Lanzarote is quite simply stunning.

We were lucky enough to see a rehearsal taking place in the concert hall, and it sounded so magical, I wanted to come back during concert season to soak up the full atmosphere when there’s a crowd in situ. I bet the sound is amazing.

If you’re travelling with children, you should definitely plan to spread these visits out over the course of your holiday, but all of them are worth seeing, and will capture the imagination of most ages. Read this post by Flying With a Baby for specific recommendations on the best ages for each site (she also has a summary of the beaches in Lanzarote).

I’m certainly planning on taking my kids to Lanzarote. I’m sure they will declare it the best day ever!

Pin for later:

Visiting the volcanoes of Lanzarote with kids is quite simply a must-do adventure, especially if you have children learning about volcanoes at school. It's one of the most stunning things you'll ever see. Click the link to find out why.

More ideas on visiting Lanzarote with kids:

I travelled as part of a BritMums press trip with Visit Spain and the Lanzarote Tourist Board. All opinions, editorial and imagery is my own.

38 thoughts on “Travel: Volcanoes in Lanzarote”

  1. I love the lines which you’ve captured in the camel trek photo, of the curve in the hill and the riders disappearing over the top. #MySundayPhoto

  2. Wow, it’s such a fascinating landscape isn’t it? Other worldly even! A complete opposite to the volcano we walked around the top of in Japan, very sadly extinct nowadays. I found out recently that Germany has a load of volcanoes that nobody seems to be aware of. One of them is so big that if it erupts, that’s pretty much the end of Europe….

  3. I love Lanzarote – I’ve been a few times and it was actually my daughter’s first overseas trip. She dozed happily most of the way around Timanfaya, although we managed to find time to stop at the vineyards. There really is so much to see beyond the beaches.

  4. I had no idea that Lanzarote had so many volcanoes! What a fascinating place to visit and a great place to let kid’s imaginations run wild.

    • Yes, there’s a visitor’s centre where they do a volcano simulation and tell you all about the history of the island that kids would find interesting too I think.

  5. Lanzarote seems really popular at the moment! Know very little about it as have never been but all these posts are making it very appealing. I’m a huge volcanoes fan so i’d love it #familytraveltips

  6. I haven’t been to Lanzarote since I was a child – I remember finding Timanfaya fascinating, especially the camel ride! I’ll have to find the time to take my daughter one day #familytraveltips

  7. Oh my parents spend a lot of time in Lanzarote and go on the volcano tours quite often! They love it, I am always so jealous!

  8. The volcano and the cave is really amazing. I never know about this place before and I am in awe seeing the pictures. I wanna go here and see it with my own eyes. Maybe next year, I will plan to visit here.

  9. I completely agree, it truly was a fabulous day. Stunning place and one I definitely want to return to with my boys;)

  10. Oh – what an incredible place to get married! I think my children would declare a camel ride day as the best day ever, too. I’ve never done it, but I can imagine it’s thrilling. Lanzarote looks beautiful – I do like it when you see an artist’s touches around the place, like Gaudi in Barcelona. Manrique certainly had some style!

  11. The Canary Islands are one of my main holiday destinations and whilst on holiday in Gran Canaria and Feurteventura we visited Lanzarote for the day. We are planning to visit Lanzarote next year so this will come in really useful x

  12. I am still blown away that our meal was cooked by the volcanic heat! such a great talking point and who knew there was SO much to do in Lanzarote with kids?

  13. Everything about this island sounds beautiful. I would love to visit just to enjoy the landscape, but I’ll take any of the other activities too

  14. Oh, I couldn’t agree more with the fact that you’d be missing out if you just stayed on the beach in Lanzarote. Timanfaya National Park is stunning, it’s years since I’ve been and definitely somewhere I look forward to taking the children. Thanks for linking up to #familytraveltips

  15. My favourite place in the world. I lived there for 4 years and I’m saving hard to make it my place to retire to. The volcanoes are an incredible day out!


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