Timanfaya National Park, spread southwest of the island, is one of the most sought-after destinations in Lanzarote. Often referred to as the Fire Mountains or Montanas del Fuego, its rugged, lunar terrain harbors a plethora of unique, otherworldly attractions. Describing the allure of this 51-square-kilometer volcanic landscape, replete with lava fields and lapilli (black volcanic sands and rocks), as merely interesting would be an understatement. So prepare to be utterly captivated as you witness the astounding demonstration of nature’s formidable power that permeates every inch of this arid paradise.

A Geologic Beauty Born Out of Lava

“Out of this world,” “moon-like,” and a “volcanic paradise”—these words sum up Timanfaya National Park at first glance. The sea of lava formations, black volcanic sand, and mountains in colors of fire collectively narrate the captivating tale of this place’s rich history.

Between 1730 and 1736, a relentless eruption unfolded, with approximately 30 volcanoes continuously spewing lava and ash, ultimately submerging eleven villages on the island. The displaced villagers were compelled to abandon not only their homes but, in some cases, even the island itself. Left in the aftermath is a barren yet mysteriously breathtaking landscape of multi-colored rock formations and copper-colored sand that stretches for 20 square miles.

Landscape of Timanfaya National Park
The Out-of-this-World Landscape of Timanfaya National Park – ©stolenpencil

Despite the passage of centuries, the magma beneath the surface of Timanfaya, declared a National Park in 1968, remains active, and the lingering scent of sulfur still wafts through the air. Undoubtedly, Lanzarote continues to live up to its moniker as “The Island of Fire.”

Tours Around Timanfaya National Park

Timanfaya National Park offers three distinct tours, each blending education and entertainment seamlessly. Visitors have the option to join a coach tour, a camel tour, or explore on foot through the walking tours. Each experience promises both educational insights and enjoyable moments, allowing guests to choose the adventure that best suits their preferences.

The Coach Tour

Starting from the Islet Hilario Visitor Center, each tour lasts approximately 40 minutes, covering a 14-kilometer route along the captivating “Ruta de Los Volcanoes.” Tour coach drivers are experts at navigating the rocky terrain’s twists and turns, so even though passengers can’t get off the bus, they still get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and take plenty of pictures.

Coach Tour Timanfaya Lanzarote
Sharp Turns and Curves – ©emzet70

During the tour, an audio guide takes listeners on a journey through Martian landscapes, highlighting the dry hills and valleys in all their vibrant red and ochre glory. The highlight is the Islote de Hilario, known as the “Black Volcano,” standing at an impressive 510 meters and marking the highest point in the Fire Mountains. Additionally, guests have the chance to hear excerpts from priest Don Agustin Cabrera’s firsthand account of the natural disaster that led to the park’s creation. The journey offers not just picturesque scenes but also a narrative that adds depth and context to the unique geological wonders of Timanfaya National Park.

Schedule: Daily 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Queue closes at 4:00 p.m.)

Admission Fee: Adults 20 Euros; Children (7-11 years old) 10 Euros

The Camel Tour

In close proximity to the Islet Hilario Visitor Center and also along LZ-67, another captivating way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Timanfaya unfolds. This spot draws people seeking a unique experience – camel rides. These gentle creatures gracefully traverse a path, offering a mesmerizing view of the stunning volcanic landscapes that define the park.

Camel Trekking Timanfaya Lanzarote
Camel Adventure Tour in Timanfaya – ©trevorbenbrook

Just a few steps away from the congregation of camels, known as the “Echadero de las Camellos,” a small museum or information center awaits. Here, visitors can delve into remnants of the island’s farming past and explore the enduring camel traditions. The center provides valuable insights into the historical significance of these hunched animals, underlining their importance in the lives of the village people.

Schedule: Daily 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Admission Fee: 22 Euros per couple or camel with two English seats. Children under three years old enjoy complimentary admission as they can sit on one of the parents’ laps.

The Walking Tour

Exploring Timanfaya National Park on foot offers two distinct options for guided walks. Tourists interested in these hiking adventures can inquire at the Mancha Blanca’s Visitors and Interpretative Center, where information about the available trails is provided. The two enticing options are the Termanesana Route and the Coastal Route, each offering a unique perspective on the park’s natural beauty. It’s essential to note that reservations must be made in advance for these walking tours, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable exploration of Timanfaya’s diverse landscapes.

Termanasa Route

The Termanasa Route provides a concise yet immersive 3-kilometer walk, bringing travelers in close proximity to the awe-inspiring volcanoes. Completing the trek takes approximately 3 hours, offering a thorough exploration of the volcanic landscapes. It’s worth noting that this trail is designed to accommodate a maximum of 8 adults, ensuring an intimate and personalized experience for those who embark on this captivating journey through Timanfaya National Park.

Walking Tour Timanfaya Lanzarote
Walking on Lava Trails in Timanfaya – ©joergsabel

Coastal Route

The Coastal Route leads tourists to the captivating coastline, where remnants of magma and lava from past volcano eruptions meet the sea, crafting breathtaking seascapes. While this 6-hour trek presents a challenging adventure, thrill-seekers equipped with proper hiking or trekking boots and an ample supply of water will find it exhilarating rather than overly difficult. The physical exertion is rewarded with the discovery of mesmerizing and unique geological wonders shaped by the island’s dynamic interplay of land and sea.

Dining at El Diablo Restaurant

The coach tour culminates at El Diablo Restaurant, positioned atop the highest point of Timanfaya National Park. This location offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Lanzarote, providing a truly awe-inspiring panorama.

Within the restaurant, visitors are welcomed by a unique lava stove – essentially, a hole in the ground with a cast-iron grille on top. This ingenious creation by the legendary Canarian artist Cesar Manrique allows the rare opportunity to savor “volcano-broiled” dishes, utilizing the geothermal heat of approximately 600°C.

Cooking Volcano Timanfaya Lanzarote
Cooking Using Geothermal Energy – ©aaabbbccc

Beyond the culinary delights, the venue boasts quirky demonstrations that captivate guests through glass windows. One such spectacle involves a person pouring a pot of water into a long tube inserted into the ground. Connected to the intense subterranean heat 10 meters below, the water surges back upwards through the tube as a boiling geyser, creating a rare and fascinating sight to behold.

How to Get There

Many tourists opt to join a coach tour, but some who prefer to explore at their own pace simply drive their rented car to Timanfaya National Park. Thankfully, driving to this popular destination from Lanzarote’s major towns is straightforward. Here are directions from the island’s main towns:

From Arrecife:

– Head southwest on LZ-3 toward LZ-2.

– Continue on LZ-2, following signs for Yaiza/Timanfaya.

– Merge onto LZ-67.

– Follow the signs to Timanfaya National Park.

From Puerto del Carmen:

– Take C. Reina Sofía to Cam. del Pozo.

– Continue on Carr. Puerto Calero to LZ-2 in Yaiza.

– Follow LZ-2 to LZ-67, following signs for Timanfaya.

– Follow the signs to Timanfaya National Park.

From Playa Blanca:

– Take the LZ-2 road heading north.

– Follow LZ-2 towards Yaiza/Timanfaya.

– Merge onto LZ-67.

– Follow the signs to Timanfaya National Park.

From Costa Teguise:

– Head south on LZ-3.

– Merge onto LZ-2.

– Continue on LZ-2, following signs for Yaiza/Timanfaya.

– Merge onto LZ-67.

– Follow the signs to Timanfaya National Park.

Make sure you have a map or GPS navigation to assist you on the journey. Timanfaya National Park is a popular attraction, and road signs leading to the park are well-marked, making it relatively easy to find without needing a guided tour.

Traveler Tips

Timanfaya National Park is a marvel of nature, and to make the most of your visit, consider these helpful tips:

  • Wear comfortable closed-toe shoes for the walking tours to navigate uneven volcanic terrain.
  • Sunscreen and a hat are must-haves, as the park lacks significant shade.
  • Plan your visit early in the day to avoid the peak afternoon crowds.
  • Stay hydrated and carry sufficient water, especially during the longer hikes.
  • Consider booking guided tours in advance to ensure availability.
  • Charge your camera or smartphone to ensure plenty of battery for capturing the stunning landscapes.
  • Check the weather forecast, as strong winds may affect your visit.
  • Respect the park rules and safety guidelines for a responsible experience.
  • Explore the nearby visitor centers to gain deeper insights into the park’s history.
  • Be mindful of wildlife, such as the Houbara Bustard, during your visit.
  • Follow designated paths and avoid venturing off-trail to preserve the fragile environment.

Journey through Lanzarote’s Volcanic Past

A visit to Timanfaya National Park unfolds an unparalleled experience. Hailed by travelers as the pinnacle among Lanzarote’s diverse attractions, it offers an adventure that engages all the senses. Various tours allow guests to marvel at the surreal beauty of expansive volcanic sand, vast lava fields, and captivating volcanoes. The unique restaurant atop a hill provides a remarkable glimpse into the earth’s powerful energy. Yet, beyond the scenic marvels, visitors gain a profound appreciation for nature’s resilience and witness the adaptability of the local community in the face of past devastations.