La Graciosa Island via Volcan de la Corona in North Lanzarote

Filed under: Car Hire in Lanzarote,Trips — admin @ 7:15 am April 29, 2012

This is a trip made on 15 March 2012 from Puerto del Carmen to Ye and Volcan de la Corona in the north of Lanzarote and then on to Orzola and a ferry to La Graciosa Island. Car hire was purchased on, details of the rental can be found on the earlier blog to Timanfaya National Park via Playa Blanca. Volcan de la Corona

Volcan de la Corona is situated in Ye in the north of Lanzarote and the route from Puerto del Carmen starts north on the LZ-2 to Arrecife. Taking the Arrecife ring road (Circunvalacion), look out for a sign to Orzola and North Lanzarote which connects with the LZ-1. At Tahiche take the LZ-10 to Teguise and continue north. It is a very pleasant drive with spectacular scenery. At Haria, take the LZ-201 north to Ye and Volcan de la Corona. There are no signs for the Volcano or the trail up to the Volcano crater but it is clearly visible on the right as you drive through Ye. The trek starts with a light incline through cactus and after 15 minutes there is a stone wall and large palm tree which is the beginning of a steeper climb for a further 15 minutes. At the top is the large crater – there are no fences so be careful as it is a long way down into the crater! The views across northern Lanzarote from the crater and indeed on the way up are breathtaking so take a camera.

Next stop is Graciosa Island or more commonly known as La Graciosa, the smallest inhabited island in the Canary chain and a nature reserve. With only 700 inhabitants, no paved roads and restrictions on future development, Graciosa Island reflects a Canarian lifestyle of decades ago where fishing is the main industry and tourism is yet to take hold.Caleta del Sebo La Graciosa

Travelling from Ye, continue on the LZ-201 east and then turn north on the LZ-204 to Orzola for the ferry to La Graciosa. There are two ferry companies operating from Orzola to Caleta del Sebo in La Graciosa; Lineas Maritimas Romero and Biosfera Express. Both companies charge 20 euros return and the crossing takes approximately 25 minutes. Lineas Maritimas Romero departs Orzola for La Graciosa at 1000, 1100, 1200, 1330, 1600, 1700 and 1800. The return ferry from La Graciosa leaves at 0800, 1000, 1100, 1230, 1500, 1600 and 1700. In the summer (1 July to 31 October) there is an additional ferry from Orzola at 1900 and from La Graciosa at 1800. The Biosfera Express ferry leaves Orzola at 0800, 1030, 1300, 1630 and 1830 with the return from La Graciosa departing Caleta del Sebo at 0700, 0930, 1130, 1530 and 1730.

A great place for lunch is Cafe Meson de la Tierra just off the square after disembarking from the ferry at Caleta del Sebo. Outside tables overlook the picturesque harbour and the food is excellent. Try the Fried Squid Romana for 9 euros – the best Calamari and chips you will ever eat!

Playa de las ConchasThe main reason for the visit to La Graciosa was to see the beautiful beach at Playa de las Conchas, 6 km from Caleta del Sebo on the northwest of the island. Travelling to Playa de las Conchas or indeed anywhere on Graciosa Island can be done by hiring a bike or a 4-wheel drive vehicle with driver. As you disembark the ferry there are a couple of bike rental places and to the right a number of old Land Rover’s and other 4WD vehicles ready to hire with a driver. Bike hire was 7 euros for the day from Bike Graciosa Island and the journey across the island on rough roads was made easier with the excellent mountain bike. Bikes are not permitted on the beach at Playa de las Conchas so there are bike racks at the end of the road. The beach itself is spectacular set against the backdrop of Isla de Montana Clara and although the water looks inviting, strong currents makes it unsafe although some were body surfing in the more sheltered areas.

After the ferry back to Orzola, take the LZ-1 around the coast and south to Arrecife connecting the with new Ring Road to join the LZ-2 to Puerto del Carmen.

Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote via Playa Blanca

Filed under: Car Hire in Lanzarote,Trips — Tags: — admin @ 12:30 pm March 24, 2012

This is a trip made on 14 March 2012 from Puerto del Carmen to Playa Blanca and then on to Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote. Car rental was purchased on the web site for 3 days hire from Puerto del Carmen for only £42. The Hertz rental location was in the Casa Mar area of Puerto del Carmen and the Economy vehicle was a Peugeot 207 with only 16,000 km on the clock. Peugeot 207 Car Hire Lanzarote A deposit of 550 euros was taken off the credit card in lieu of taking excess cover and the car was checked for damage which showed no significant problems and only a few superficial scratches. The statement of vehicle condition was signed which showed a quarter tank of fuel. Always check the fuel gauge before leaving the rental location as in this instance the gauge only showed an eighth of a tank left. This was brought to the attention of Hertz and amended.

Given the popularity of Timanfaya National Park, it is better to arrive in the afternoon if you are driving as most of the organised coach tours arrive in the morning, making Timanfaya very busy during this period. The morning can be spent in Playa Blanca which will complete a great day trip in Lanzarote.

Leaving Puerto del Carmen on the LZ-504, the route to Playa Blanca is straightforward and takes about 30 minutes. Turn left from the LZ-504 onto the main LZ-2 Arrecife to Playa Blanca road via Yaiza. Alternatively a shorter drive is to turn off just before Yaiza onto the LZ-702 down to Playa Blanca, a total of 24 km.

Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca is the main ferry port for crossings to Corralejo on the northern tip of Fuerteventura. There are a couple of ferry companies, Fred Olsen which operates a faster service taking 20 minutes or the Naviera Armas taking 35 minutes and slightly cheaper. Playa Blanca is a fairly small resort with a small sandy beach and a pleasant promenade of mainly restaurants with tables outside overlooking the beach and sea, a definite must for fish and seafood lovers with tapas from 3 to 4 euros per dish. Lunch can be taken in Playa Blanca or at Timanfaya National Park. The main reason for taking lunch in Timanfaya is to try the BBQ meat which is cooked over the volcano using geothermal heat and is absolutely delicious. Otherwise eat in Playa Blanca which will offer a wider choice and be much cheaper.

From Playa Blanca to Timanfaya National Park, take the LZ-2 north to Yaiza and then take the LZ-67 through Timanfaya to the entrance at Islote de Hilario, a total of 23 km. A few kilometres before the entrance are Echadero de Camellos (The Camels’ Resting Place) where camel rides on the volcano can be taken and offer a unique Lanzarote experience.

Timanfaya National ParkOpened in 1970, The Montanas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) or Timanfaya form an area in southwest Lanzarote where volcanic eruptions between 1730 and 1736 have created a unique, almost lunar landscape. Entrance fee is 8 euros and includes the “Route of the Volcanoes” tour, a 14 km coach tour with pre-recorded commentary in various languages. The route takes in the main centre of the eruptions in Timanfaya highlighting the unique geological and geomorphic points on interest. A good tip is to sit on the right hand side of the coach as this offers the more dramatic scenery and stops are made along the route to take photographs from inside the coach. The last tour leaves at 1700 except between 15 July – 15 September which is 1800.

El Diablo Restaurant, Timanfaya

El Diablo restaurant in Timanfaya National Park is open from 1200 – 1530 except between 15 July – 15 September when it is open 1200 – 1645. The restaurant is circular with glass walls providing fantastic views across Timanfaya while eating. Look out for the BBQ section on the menu where the meat is cooked on a large cast iron grill over a hole in the ground. The English section just refers to “Barbecued Meat” with no mention of being cooked by volcanic heat compared to the French “Viandes au grill du Volcan” or the Spanish “Carnes a la barbacoa del volcan”. Prices for steak range from Entrecote at 13 euros to Sirloin at 15.20 euros and T-Bone at 19.70 euros. Half a chicken (which comes thoroughly recommended!) was 8.10 euros and there is also sausages, veal, pork and mixed kebab available.

The drive from Timanfaya National Park back to Puerto del Carmen is the reverse of some of the route already travelled. Take the LZ-67 back to Yaiza and join the LZ-2 towards Arrecife, turning off onto the LZ-504 to Puerto del Carmen.