A visit to the Timanfaya National Park is a must for every visitor to Lanzarote. The spectacular volcanic landscape, that covers a quarter of the island, was created over six years of near-continuous volcanic eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736, with a smaller episode in 1824. The scale of the eruptions was enormous, with an estimated 2,000,000,000m3 of lava spewed out from more than 100 volcanoes onto previously-fertile land and villages, as well as reclaiming some new land from the sea. Although the majority of the eruptions took place nearly 300 years ago, Lanzarote’s dry climate means that the Volcanic landscape is relatively unchanged since that time.
Though there were no recorded deaths attributed to the eruptions, it is estimated that more than 44% of the island’s population emigrated during those years, and there are many accounts of livestock being killed by poisonous gases. Yaiza’s parish priest left a written account describing the destruction of villages, terrifying earthquakes, mountains rising up overnight, explosions and raining hot ash. When the eruption finally ended, much of Lanzarote’s most arable land was lost forever under a thick crust of basalt, though in La Geria, the locals soon invented a new form of agriculture, by digging pits in the volcanic ash, allowing vine roots to reach the fertile soil buried underneath.
Islote de Hilario
The main Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) Centre at Islote de Hilario offers visitors the chance to experience first-hand the geothermal anomalies present in the area (thought to be caused by a Magma intrusion under the island). Although volcanically dormant, temperatures of up to 610°C have been recorded at a depth of 13 metres, and up to 277°C at just 10cm! Visitors get to witness demonstrations of this intense heat as straw auto-ignites after being dropped into a shallow pit, steam gushes out of the ground moments after being pored into a hole as cold water, and the gravel under your feet is hot enough to burn your hand!
The cleverly-designed El Diablo restaurant utilises this geothermal heat for cooking by placing a large grill over a deep pit. This pit serves a dual-purpose since it was originally created to ventilate conducted heat from the restaurant’s foundations.
While visitors are not allowed to roam freely around, they do get to view the park from one of the coaches that carefully threads its way around the ‘Ruta de los Volcanes’ – a narrow road, closed to normal traffic, that snakes through the most spectacular areas of the National Park. This short coach trip around the park is included in the entry fee, and, notwithstanding the somewhat dated audio commentary and music, shouldn’t be missed.
How to get to Timanfaya
Since there is no public bus to the Timanfaya National Park, you will either need to hire a car or visit as part of an organised coach tour. The Grand Tour of Lanzarote and the Lanzarote South Tour both visit the park as part of their itinerary and include the entrance fee in their ticket price.
We are visiting Porto del Carmen in November we would like to visit Timanfaya National Park: do you still do tours early November we arrive 9th November for 2 weeks.
not nice to see a camel with an iron mask…
You wouldn’t want to be bitten by one!
You’re rigth, Bart.
I’m planning to spend a couple of days hiking on the island. No camel ride for me, after looking at the picture on this blog. Supporting animal abuse is not my thing.
With others I plan to visit your national park on our weeks holiday from 26 of January. We will have hired a car and be based in a large town on the south of your island.I would be grateful for advice regarding a visit on 29th or 30th of January with special interest is seeing the geological/ volcanic tunnel. Thanks, John Dillon
What tours do anyone recommend for Lanzarote when visiting? We’d like to visit Timanfaya and also rancho Texas
It’s much cheaper to hire a car and go on a lot of these trips yourself. For timanfaya you park up, then pay for the bus tour around the lunar landscape. Definitely a great thing to see. The chicken cooked over the volcanic vent was delicious in the restaurant. Jan 19. Ms.
Is it allowed to take some volcanic rock back to England as a souvenir
No – definitely not!
I wouldn’t pick it up from the national park as it’s protected, but you can buy all sorts of souvenirs made from it and it’s generally all over the island, including every flower bed
I am trying to book to join the guided walk in the Timanfaya National Park. Today I went on their site to book for a month today, and though the calendar showed places available, the words said that there were none. Does anyone know what the problem is?
that poor camel
Filipe Morato Gomes
Is there any hiking trails marked in Timanfaya NP?
Hi, It is my understanding that only the coastal route is open to hikers, otherwise there are a two routes where you must be led by an official guide from the park. More information can be found here (in Spanish): http://www.gobiernodecanarias.org/parquesnacionalesdecanarias/es/Timanfaya/InfraestructuraServicios/RutasItinerarios.html
Our tour guide to the National park told us that the Camels are treated very well. They only “work” every 2nd day and are fed well. They used to be mistreated but are now protected.
It is just so so sad to see the camels with an iron mask and used as transportation for tourist. We have seen a long queue with camels and tourist, not so nice – poor animals and it is just so commercial. If you really want to go I would recommend a guided trekking tour or by car.
This will be my fifth visit to Lanzarote and I’ve always wanted to go to the Timanfaya National Park but I’ve never been so I really must go.
However, I’m not happy seeing camels in iron masks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s animal abuse and I can’t support that, so it’ll have to be the bus tour for us.
I hope you still have the crazy tour operator that is honest with the passengers when he says that the bus driver has an artificial leg and sometimes it comes loose while braking.
Thanks for waiting for me at your favourite winery…I almost bought their entire stock until I spoke to you.