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Written by Savi, 16 Comments

Part 1 of our 4 part series on the little Spanish island, Lanzarote. You can read Part 2 herePart 3 here, and Part 4 here.

If you live outside Europe, chances are the Canary Islands don’t feature on your travel radar. Even in Europe, the archipelago is often marketed as a year-round holiday destination for the average sun-starved European.


Tired of the English weather, we decided to get our fill of sunshine by flying to Lanzarote, the most easterly island of the Canarian archipelago. To our surprise, we discovered that Lanzarote is a bit of an oxymoron- parts of it, especially Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen, are geared to the package holiday market, but steer clear of those parts and you will discover stunning landscapes and golden beaches. It is this OTHER Lanzarote, boasting of lava rocks, sleepy tapas bars, unique vineyards, and the azure waters of the Atlantic, that this series will focus on.


We flew with Thomson but a number of portals in UK offer Lanzarote holidays at competent prices. It took us a while to recover from the landing of our flight. The size of the island and the position of the Arrecife airport ensure that the plane hovers over water for a while and hits the runway mere seconds before landing. Once we had recovered from the exciting, albeit stomach-churning landing, we noticed the complete absence of high-rise buildings and hotels. Volcanic mountains and azure beaches punctuated with whitewashed houses dominate the landscape of Lanzarote.


This is due to Canarian architect Cesar Manrique, who worked with the Ministry of Tourism to develop an eco-friendly model of development for Lanzarote. Villages populated with picturesque whitewashed houses with green and blue shutters add an inimitable character to the island.


Lanzarote Manrique Whitewashed houses surrounded by volcanic mountains


Manrique’s philosophy intrigued us so much that we spent our first days in Lanzarote familiarizing ourselves with his work by visiting his house, Fundacion Cesar Manrique, which has been turned into a museum. The avant-garde architect carved his subterranean house from lava bubbles, and each room uses natural vegetation (cacti) to adorn tables carved out of volcanic rocks. Rest assured, you will come away covetting a house similar to Manrique’s unique abode.


Lanzarote ManriqueManrique’s sculpture- Man, Dog, and Donkey

Lanzarote ManriqueVid at the entrance to Manrique’s house carved out of lava bubbles

Lanzarote ManriqueManrique’s drawing room carved out of a lava bubble


His unique touch can also be witnessed in Jameos Del Agua, a series of connecting caves and grottoes. Here a surreal staircase leads to volcanic bubbles and passages that have artistically been carved into a café and a concert cave.


Manrique Jameos Del Agua Lanzarote Walking into a volcanic cave at Jameos Del Agu

Manrique Jameos Del Agua LanzaroteCafé carved inside a volcano at Jameos Del Agua


Bruised Passports’ Tips

  • Go early to avoid the crowds at Fundacion Cesar Manrique
  • Follow your visit to Jameos Del Agua with a spectacular sunset at Mirador Del Rio


Need help planning a trip to Lanzarote? We have some sample itineraries here

16 thoughts on “Lanzarote: Manrique’s Paradise

  1. What a spectacular way to take advantage of the islands unique features and build facilities in the lava tubes, quite ingenious. I would love to visit, but this is sooo far from where I live, maybe some day 🙂

    1. I have to agree Noel- both of us were endlessly fascinated by the facilities in the lava tubes. I hope you make it to our side of the world soon- would love to help plan your Euro-trip 🙂

  2. Lanzarote has so much to thank Cesar Manrique for. Without his guiding light of an influence, it could have gone the way of Gran Canaria and Tenerife’s overdeveloped resorts.

    1. It does- he was quite the visionary. I can’t get over his house- I want one just like it *sigh*

  3. I don’t know why but I have never been to Lanzarote yet. I do not like high-rise buildings either, so this sounds like a perfect place especially the azure water and tapa bars sound very tempting.

    1. It is- it has the perfect combination of stunning beaches, volcanoes, quaint villages, and amazing food 🙂

  4. Hello,

    Loved reading the series. Thanks so much for a detailed view.

    We plan to travel here in February, and would like to know typical per person/per day cost – to stay or to spend if that’s ok? I know it depends and it’s different as per travelling style but any averages to compare? I tried searching online and I find staying prices on the higher side than my expectations?!!


    1. Hi Sheetal,

      Thanks a lot.

      You are right – it depends a lot on your travelling style. However, you can get an airbnb apartment for as little as USD 20 a night. As for food, expect to spend anywhere between $10 and $100 per person depending on your taste and choice. Car rental is cheap in Lanzarote and a small car can be rented for around $20 a day depending on the season.

      Hope this helps.

  5. Hi Vid and Savi, How advisable is this place during December? Will it be too cold and windy? Thank for writing and sharing your experience 🙂 Have sent you a personal email too.

    1. Lanzarote can be windy for sure but weather wise it will be pleasant in December – we visited in December and had a great time 🙂

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