Lanzarote’s unruffled northern breadth and the Chinijo Archipelago are an extraordinary vision. With the towering El Risco de Famara as a belvedere, it is as if nature intended for them to be marveled at. And, through Cesar Manrique’s iconic Mirador del Río, the world was given the eyes to do just that.

The History of a Vantage Point

The north of Lanzarote, the oldest part of the island, has witnessed Mother Earth’s artistry and wrath. From its emergence 16 million years ago, it’s gone through a cycle of growth and reshaping to be what it is today. The intimidating yet stunning testament of that period is El Risco de Famara. With 550-meter-high peak, it rises above most landforms in the island.

Although the colossal cliff extends up to the west of the island, its northern end has a more vibrant history. It served as a lookout for ships coming ashore in secret. Then, during the Spanish-American War in 1889, it became a military artillery station, earning the name “Batería del Río.”

Nearly a century later, the legendary César Manrique set foot on the soaring terrain. Just as impressive today are the natural splendors he saw that blew him away. With brilliant vistas as far as the eye can see, it was indeed a spot fit to be a viewpoint—in essence, it was already one.

Together with the architect Eduardo Cáceres and the artist Jesús Soto, who oversaw the technical side, the creation of Mirador del Río was completed in 1973. It became one of Manrique’s most iconic masterpieces, showcasing his trademark art in nature and nature in art.

Why Visit Mirador del Río

Many structures are designed to capture the eye and amaze with their grandeur. Yet, Mirador del Río astonishes in a subtler, more harmonious way. Ingeniously integrated into its volcanic surroundings, it surprises visitors by being almost imperceptible, camouflaged by natural lava rock formations. Here are the things you can expect to find at this destination:

The Interior

Unlike the hard and rough exterior, its interior is made of smooth and flawless alabaster. Walking around, the words artistic, simple, and stylish often come to mind. From the entrance to the vaults, everything is of architecture and design perfection.

Along the passageway, niches on the wall hold ceramics created by Lanzarote’s very own Juan Brito Martin, a famed self-taught craftsman-cum-artist. The lighting also gives the nook and the pieces a more dramatic feel.

Mirador del Rio Passageway
Mirador del Río Passageway to “The Eyes” – ©dziewul

The hall then gives way to a chamber divided into two chic cave-like rooms. Labeled as “The Eyes” because of two large glass windows, it not only allows for natural lighting during the day but also a magnificent view of the surrounding sceneries. Impossible to miss, too, are the ceiling arts and the carved-out-of-the-wall café bar.

Nearby is a spiral staircase leading to the gift shop and the roof terrace. Its spotless white framework makes it very much part of the building. Whereas, its wooden steps add a lot of character and supplement the place with a bit of hue.

Mirador del Rio Interior
Take a Peek through the Eye or Go Up to the Terrace – ©dziewul

The Viewing Decks

There are two outdoor spaces in Mirador del Río, the roof deck, and the balcony. Unless one has acrophobia, “The Eyes” cannot compare to these open-air viewing areas. Simply put, being outdoors is the best way to enjoy the 475-meter-high clifftop lookout. How else can wanderers feel the cool breeze while standing in awe before the natural wonders?

Mirador del Rio Telescope
Closer Look at La Graciosa Using the Telescope – ©dziewul

Besides soaking in the panoramic view, getting a closer look from afar is possible with the provided telescopes on the balcony. For pictures without any rail guards, the roof deck is the perfect place. It has two ponds that are quite an original addition to the area as well.

The Vistas

On days when no clouds thwart the views, the whole Chinijo Archipelago Nature Reserve is visible. Across the narrow strait of El Rio is the island of La Graciosa. Among the minor isles and islands of the Canaries, it is arguably the most captivating. Housing the only settlement in the assembly of sanctuaries, its flourishing coastal town has a lovely harbor too. Its volcanic landscape, born of fire and lava much like the rest of the archipelago, is even more striking. Beyond La Graciosa are the islands of Montaña Clara and the Seabird breeding site Alegranza, as well as the rock islets Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste.

Mirador del Rio La Graciosa Lanzarote
A Couple Admiring La Graciosa from Mirador del Río – ©aaabbbccc

At the foot of El Risco de Famara, the sights are just as heart-stopping. There are two arresting attractions after the expanse of emerald grassland. Playa del Risco is a spread of marvelous golden sand. Far from the many seaside beauties in the archipelago, this one has not been enhanced in any way.

Adjacent to the calm beach is Salinas del Río, the oldest salt mines in the whole Canary Islands. In a stretch of natural beauties, the man-made salt ponds stand out. They go white, beige, and the perennial crowd favorite pink.

The Café Bar

If guests are to imagine or live out a movie fantasy while in the cafe bar, the 60s James Bond films would occupy the top spots easily. From the cocktail lounge to the extensive windows, it’s primed to be a spy or villain’s lair.

Aside from having reel daydreams, visitors can also relish light meals and drinks. The viewpoint’s heavenly cakes and ice creams can satisfy the sweet tooth, especially when paired with coffee or soda. On the other hand, the tasty bruschettas go well with alcoholic beverages. Either way, food and drinks are so much more pleasurable when enjoyed with splendid views.

Entrance Fee and Opening Hours

Opening Hours: Mirador del Río is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00.

Best Time to Visit: To ensure a more pleasant visit, especially during the busy summer months of July, August, and September, we recommend visiting in the afternoon. This helps avoid the larger crowds seen in the morning.

Entrance Fees:

  • Adults: €8.00
  • Children (Aged 7 to 12): €4.00
  • Children (Under 7): Free
  • Canario Resident Adults: €5.00
  • Canario Resident Children (Aged 7 to 12): €2.50

Keep in mind that tickets are valid for a single use within 3 months from the date of purchase.

Reduced Rates:

  • People with Functional Diversity can purchase tickets for €5.60 at the center’s ticket office, provided they present valid documentation.
  • Please note that discounts are exclusively applied to individual visit entry and are not cumulative with other types of tickets or services.

How to Get to Mirador del Río

Whether driving or relying on public transport, getting to Mirador del Rio from the island’s major tourist towns is part of the adventure. Renting a car offers flexibility, allowing vacationers to explore at their own pace. If driving, use GPS coordinates 29.215030160960954, -13.478171464811888. Alternatively, public transport is available, but be mindful of bus schedules, which can vary seasonally and on weekends. A bit of walking may be required, so plan accordingly.

From Puerto del Carmen

Driving: The journey takes about 50 minutes. Start on LZ-2, heading north towards Arrecife. From Arrecife, continue on LZ-3 and then onto LZ-1, following signs for Arrieta and then Órzola. As you approach the island’s northern tip, look for signs to Mirador del Río. The route is scenic, with stunning coastal views along the way.

Public Transport: Take bus line 03 from Puerto del Carmen to Arrecife’s Intercambiador (bus station). Then, switch to bus line 26 towards Yé or 09 to Órzola. Unfortunately, there’s no direct bus to Mirador del Río, so you’ll need to get off at either of these stops and walk or take a taxi. It’s only about 2.5 km from Yé to the Mirador. It’s a bit of a hike, taking at least 35 minutes, but the views are worth it! On the other hand, if you’re considering taking a taxi from your bus stop to Mirador del Río, Órzola could provide more options, given its status as a small fishing village.

From Costa Teguise

Driving: Expect a 35-minute drive. Head north on LZ-14, then switch to LZ-1, following the signs to Arrieta or Órzola and subsequently to Mirador del Río. The drive is straightforward and offers a chance to see more of Lanzarote’s unique landscape.

Public Transport: You’ll first need to get to Arrecife. Take bus line 03 from Costa Teguise to the Intercambiador in Arrecife. Then, follow the same route as from Puerto del Carmen: bus line 26 to Yé, and from there, it’s a walk to the Mirador. Another option is to take bus line 09 from Arrecife to Órzola and then take a taxi to the destination.

From Playa Blanca

Driving: The drive from Playa Blanca is the longest, taking about 1 hour and 20 minutes. You’ll start on LZ-2 northbound towards Arrecife, then onto LZ-3, and finally LZ-1 towards Órzola. The signs will guide you to your spectacular destination.

Public Transport: This will be a bit of a journey. First, catch bus line 60 to Arrecife. Once at the Intercambiador, switch to bus line 09 directed to Órzola to take a taxi to Mirador del Río or get off at Yé via bus line 26 to reach the viewpoint on foot.

Traveler Tips

With these tips, your visit to Mirador del Río will be as enjoyable as it is memorable.

Weather Check: Before heading out, glance at the forecast. Clear skies mean better views, so you can plan your visit accordingly.

Comfort is Key: Slip into your comfiest shoes for some easy exploring. You’ll want to wander around and soak in the sights without any discomfort.

Snap Away: Don’t forget your camera! The views here are Instagram-worthy, so get ready to capture some stunning shots.

Golden Hour Magic: Late afternoon brings out the best lighting for photography. Watch as the sun paints everything in a magical glow.

Explore Beyond: Extend your adventure by checking out other cool spots nearby. There’s plenty to see in the northern part of Lanzarote. Make a day of it by visiting the Jameos del Agua, Cueva de los Verdes, or the quaint village of Haría. Also consider joining an excursion that includes this attraction and others.

Guide Dogs Only: Remember, only guide dogs are allowed. As much as we love our furry friends, it’s important to respect the rules.

Check Out the Gift Shop: Don’t miss the gift shop! They’ve got some cool souvenirs and books that’ll make for great mementos.

Enjoy Responsibly: Have a blast taking in the views and snapping photos, but always be careful near the edges. Safety first!

FAQ

Is Mirador del Rio accessible to everyone, including wheelchair users?

Mirador del Rio is largely accessible to everyone, including visitors with disabilities, making it a welcoming attraction for all. The facility has been designed with accessibility in mind, ensuring that most areas, except for the upper terrace, can be reached by wheelchair. The upper terrace is only accessible via a spiral staircase, which will pose a challenge for those with mobility issues. However, the main viewing areas and facilities, including the café and the gift shop, are accessible, allowing all visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views and unique architecture of Mirador del Rio. Efforts to accommodate visitors with disabilities ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone, highlighting the inclusive nature of this iconic Lanzarote viewpoint.

Are there guided tours available?

Mirador del Rio itself does not typically offer guided tours as part of its standard visitor experience. The site is designed for self-guided exploration, allowing visitors to enjoy the views and the architecture at their own pace. Informational panels and interactive displays help enrich the visit without the need for a guided tour.

However, numerous tour operators in Lanzarote include Mirador del Rio as a key stop on their guided tours of the island. These external tours can offer additional insights into the history, geography, and cultural significance of Mirador del Rio and other attractions, often in multiple languages. Booking a tour with one of these operators can provide a more structured and informative experience, with the convenience of transportation and an expert guide.

For the most current information and options, check directly with tour providers or the official Mirador del Rio website for any updates on offered services or partnerships with tour companies.

Is Mirador del Rio suitable for children?

Yes, Mirador del Rio is suitable for children. The attraction offers breathtaking views that visitors of all ages, including young guests, can appreciate. The viewpoint’s unique architectural design, integrated into the natural landscape, provides an interesting visual experience that can captivate children’s curiosity. Additionally, the site’s straightforward layout makes it easy for families to navigate.

While the main viewing areas and facilities are designed to be accessible, parents or guardians need to supervise their children closely, especially near the viewing platforms, to ensure their safety. The lack of interactive exhibits specifically aimed at children means the visit might be more about the views and the experience of the place itself, which can still be a valuable and memorable experience for younger visitors.

Families planning to visit Mirador del Rio should prepare for their trip by bringing snacks, water, and sun protection, especially during the warmer months, to make their visit as comfortable as possible. Overall, Mirador del Rio can be a fantastic stop for families exploring the beauty of Lanzarote, offering both educational and awe-inspiring moments.

Are there any seasonal events or special occasions observed at Mirador del Rio?

Mirador del Rio does not typically host specific seasonal events or special occasions. The attraction primarily focuses on providing visitors with an opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views and unique architectural design year-round. However, visiting during different times of the year can offer varied perspectives of the landscape due to changes in weather and lighting conditions.

While Mirador del Rio itself may not have seasonal events, the surrounding area of Lanzarote may host festivals, cultural events, or celebrations throughout the year. Visitors interested in experiencing local culture or festivities can explore nearby towns and villages to see if any events coincide with their visit.

For the most current information on any potential seasonal events or special occasions at Mirador del Rio or in the surrounding area, it’s recommended to check local event listings and tourism websites or contact the attraction directly for updates.

Best of Nature and Man

The edge where Mirador del Río proudly stands has been a lookout or vantage point for many centuries. It was already a viewpoint even before Cesar Manrique saw its potential.

A natural watchtower, a wartime artillery post, and now, a one-of-a-kind structure that showcases the best of nature and man. Its exterior is one with Earth, while the interior is a fusion of art. An architecture that is simple, unique and classy all at the same time. From the outside, inside, up in the ceiling and on the roof, there’s always something astonishing to marvel at. Even the bar is a visual treat. Why is it a must-visit when in Lanzarote? It’s utterly hard to find one like it anywhere else.