Lanzarote the black lava, the white houses, the blue and yellow skies

I traveled to Lanzarote in February 2020, hoping to get a bit of sunlight and shoot some volcanic landscapes. I had previously been to Tenerife but I thought Lanzarote was of a whole different level, with many more opportunities for a photographer.

The island is only 75km long and is a real paradise for cyclists (yes, I might go back just for that).

Let’s start with a blue sky because, well, who doesn’t like a blue sky.

Lanzarote is the northernmost and easternmost island of the Canary Islands and has a volcanic origin. It was born through fiery eruptions and has solidified lava streams as well as extravagant rock formations. (Wikipedia)

La Geria

La Geria is the first area where we stopped. The contrast of dark lava and isolated white houses made for some pretty incredible landscapes.

You may be wondering what those shapes in the foreground are. They’re actually vineyards for the most part:

How can an island as dry as Lanzarote produce excellent white wines and sweet wines? The answer is the “geria,” a cone-shaped hollow excavated in natural layers of volcanic gravel several meters deep and in the centre of which a vine is planted, a wall in the shape of a half moon is then built around the vine in order to protect it from the wind. Row after row of these perfect hollows which are tinted green, ochre and black result in a most unique landscape and it helps to justify why Lanzarote has been included in The Unesco World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Fruit trees such as the fig tree are also grown in this way, but it is the vine that is the star of the “gerias.”

hellocanaryislands.com

Food note (pun intended): I highly recommend having lunch at the Bodegas Rubicón — the view is amazing and food delicious.

Famara

While Famara wasn’t necessarily presented as a must-see place in Lanzarote, it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. For surfers, it’s also meant to be a pretty good spot.

Famara is how I’d always imagined a town built in the middle of the desert. All a bit surreal. There was a Little Prince feel to it.

Luciano, 92, who told me that Famara was the most beautiful part of the island. He was kind of right.
Meet my mum who had to put up with me for a few days.

Papagayo beach

There’s a pretty fun road (read “rocky”) that leads to Papagayo beach. You can drive there with any car but it’s probably a lot of more fun with a 4×4. Then the bay is pretty beautiful.

A Saharan sandstorm

If you read above, you already know that I primarily went to Lanzarote to get some sun in the middle of a pretty terrible British winter (read “rainy and windy”). The island gets an average of 300 days of sunshine every year so you had to be pretty unlucky not to come back with a nice tan… Well, don’t play the lottery with me — you might lose it all!

The following pictures don’t have any particular filter applied… it was just like that.

El Golfo

The tiny seaside village of El Golfo is famous for the Charco de Los Clicos (a green lagoon that was closed when we went), but the town itself gave me some pretty spectacular scenes.

Here’s a mix of Hockney, Hopper and Blade Runner.

One of my favorite photos from the trip — a painting right in front of me.

Though we missed the Charco de los Clicos, we got to see Los Hervideros just a few kilometers away from it.

The roads to Timanfaya

With winds of up to 160 km/h, most of Timanfaya, a national park, was closed — a big miss as it was meant to be quite beautiful. For another time, I guess. Here’s some of the roads that lead to it.

Yaiza

Yaiza is another small town I thought was pretty unique. Some of the scenes below appear to be staged but they obviously weren’t.

Las Salinas de Janubio

Timanfaya’s consecutive eruptions closed the ancient gulf creating the lagoon that permitted Janubio salt flats’ creation in 1895. Since then, the same family has been operating Janubio salt flats’ production.

The salt collection takes place between May and September/October when the hot and dry climate permits salt’s concentration and crystallisation. Wind and sun are the essential elements of the salt production cycle. The wind allows salted water to move between salt pans while sun’s heat increases salt concentration and water’s evaporation.

cookinlanzarote.com

Lanzarote’s salt industry started to disappear with the emergence of modern conservation techniques.

Once the fishermen got the possibility to freeze the fish they caught directly on the boat, they had no need to keep using the tons of salt they used to preserve the fish for several weeks before getting back on land.

The once flourishing salt industry drastically reduced its production and the island’s economy had to adapt rapidly. Nowadays, the island only counts with 3 functioning salt flats producing one-third of what they used to.

cookinlanzarote.com

Mirador del Río

The Mirador del Río is one of César Manrique’s most representative architectural creations as it shows a series of artistic and architectural details and his eagerness to combine art and nature. It is camouflaged on the rock and takes over El Río, the narrow stretch of the sea separating Lanzarote from La Graciosa. 

cactlanzarote.com

The interior architecture of the mirador was pretty amazing. Food note: order their chocolate cake if you go there, it’s 👌

The mirador was designed by César Manrique, a Spanish artist, sculptor, architect and activist from Lanzarote. I went to visit his house, which has now been turned into a museum. The guy had a pretty sweet life (you’ll get what I mean if you run a search).

That’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed following me around. Until next time! 👋

Emmanuel Nataf

I'm a founder at Reedsy (www.reedsy.com) and a street photographer in my spare time.

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