Timanfaya-Las Montañas del Fuego
The quintessential scenery of Lanzarote. The touristic centre, conceived by César Manrique, allows you to come into direct contact with the amazing setting. The eruptions of 1730-1736 transformed thousands of hectars of land. A natural setting which well deserves its title of National Park and has become one of the most spectacular images.
En 'el Hilario' you can check out the characteristics of the islands volcanic activity: the subsoil in this area maintains a very high temperature. A geothermic anomaly that causes the suprising phenomenons such as the geysers, the burning gorse (aulaga- a typical dry plant of Lanzarote) when it enters into contact with the depths of the earth, or the amazing natural grill in the restaurant.
The setting of Timanfaya has an amazing impact upon you. A landscape of fifty square kilometres that was set alight by the uncontainable fire of nature. The volcanic eruptions between 1730 and 1736 and the short but intense three month period in 1824 devasted a quarter of the surface area of Lanzarote. The immensity of its geological crevasse (16 kilometres) explains the huge quantity of lava and the range of its lava flow that buried many villages (amongst others Ximanfaya) and extended the islands boundaries.
Fire Mountains is a landscape of extraordinairy beauty. It is a violent harsh landscape that captures you with its meandering shapes and contours, the melting pot of different colours of its volcanoes and the mystical aura that surrounds it. An area of natural beauty and an asset that has been awarded the title of National Park (1974) and that has maximum enviromental protection.
As you drive through on the Lz-67 road you can appreciate the disconcerting beauty of the volcanoes, red and ochre mountains that are a truly impacting sight for the eye to take in.
The route of the volcanoes
The route to the heart of Timanfaya, at the top of the Islote del Hilario, can be done in car or bus via a narrow road. From this spot, which is situated three hundred metres above sea level, you are absorbed by the grandeur of the lunar landscape as you calmly observe your surroundings.
In the enclosed area for tourists, the visitor can learn about the subsoil of Timanfaya whose temperature is normally around 400 degrees. In the red gravelled gardens there are two demonstrations which make you realise that you are standing on a subterranean pressure point. The demonstrations consist of burning 'aulaga', a kind of gorse that is very common in Lanzarote, via a small furnace that is connected to the subsoil and the suprising activation of the geysers. A bucket of water is poured into some small tube like holes and on contact with the subterranean heat the water bursts into a flash of vapour that rises to the surface at great speed.
The visit to Timanfaya includes a trip by bus along the route of the volcanoes, it is approximately 14 kilometres. The trip will take you to the heart of the Fire Mountains. In other words, to the ferocity of the 'malpaís' a rough surface of congealed lava flow, the craters, the furnaces, the rough textured mountaineous peaks, and the amazing figures of solidified lava.....the visual experience of the trip is accompanied by audio explanation: a remarkable composition of background music by the Lanzarote Artist Ildefonso Aguilar. Many tourists choose not to do the trip and settle for the viewpoint from the tourist centre, which is a big mistake, you should opt for the bus trip.
The 'El Diablo Restaurant'
On returning from the 'Islote del Hilario' you will have the opportunity to go inside the 'El Diablo' Restaurant. It is situated on one level and is circular, blending into the volcanic surroundings, a gastronomic corner with views of the eruptive landscape. The architectural ensemble was designed by César Manrique and stands out more as a view point than for its culinary activity. The thing most worth mentioning is the special grill which is connected to the subsoil of Timanfaya, where they prepare the fillet steaks in view of the visitors.
Visting Timanfaya will take approximately two hours. It is something which you must include in your holiday plans whilst in Lanzarote. The best time to be truly taken in by the magnetism of the volcanoes is first thing in the morning between 9 and 11am when there are fewer visitors, allowing you to fully appreciate this natural monument.
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