Playa Blanca is located within Yaiza, one of five municipalities on Lanzarote. Whilst most of Lanzarote’s main attractions, such as the Jameos del Agua and the César Manrique Foundation, are located in the North of the island (some 40 mins drive away) there’s still loads to see and do in the immediate environs.
One of Lanzarote’s small villages, Yaiza is the administrative capital for the entire municipality of the same name. But it could hardly be described as a throbbing metropolis – on the contrary in fact, as this picturesque pueblo has been voted Spain’s Prettiest Village on no less than two occasions.
It certainly conforms to the traditional image of the quintessential Spanish village, with pretty white washed houses and churches predominating, interspersed with colourful flashes of bougainvillea.
If you’re keen to uncover some history during your time in Yaiza village, Lanzarote is brimming with history. It is also known locally as The Miracle Village, as this is the spot where lava flows from the eruptions at Timanfaya in the 1730s finally slowed to a halt, after submerging 13 other hamlets in its fiery path.
Apart from the pretty local church – Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios – the oldest and most impressive local buildings are now home to hotels and restaurants. The Hotel La Salinas for example occupies the beautiful red coloured edifice that is located on the edge of the village as you enter from the north. Pop in for a drink or a meal should you fancy nosing around.
The La Era restaurant is located within the thick white washed walls of a former farmhouse that was originally built in the 17th century, and was developed into its current incarnation as a showcase of traditional Canarian cuisine by the local artist César Manrique, in conjunction with his close collaborator Luiz Ibañez.
The Centro de Artesania, situated close to the church, is also an interesting spot to explore, as it plays host to regular exhibitions of the work of local artists.
Wine lovers will adore the unique growing methods and spectacular scenery of the La Geria region. Here local farmers have defied Lanzarote’s windy arid conditions and exceptionally low rainfall to produce good quality wines since the 1700s, by using the local volcanic chippings known as picon to mulch their vines, whilst protecting them in stone circles, called zocos, from the elements.
Best of all, the single road that runs through the region is dotted with delightful bodegas, some offering free samples and the opportunity to pick up a selection of local varieties.
The sweet white grape Malvasia is very popular, but increasingly good quality reds and rosés are also flowing off the local production line too. Should you fancy a bite to eat whilst you’re exploring La Geria then we’d recommend dropping into El Chupadero, where you can enjoy good quality tapas and great views of the vineyards.
Just 10 minutes from Yaiza village is another small village. Femés is known locally as El Balcon and is located a few hundred metres above Playa Blanca, which means visitors can drink in some spectacular views of the resort and the southern shoreline.
There’s not that much to do here other than drink in those views – although there are a couple of good restaurants that are worth visiting, especially Casa Emiliano, whilst the sizeable local church is also an impressive example of traditional local architecture.
If fresh fish is your thing, then the small coastal village of El Golfo is a real must see. As here, one of the main attractions is the string of fish restaurants that adorn the rugged volcanic coastline.
Once suitably fed and watered, you can then take a stroll back along the coast to visit Lanzarote’s famous Green Lagoon, which has provided the cinematic backdrop for a number of major motion pictures – including Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces and the cult sci-fi classic One Million Years BC. Best remembered by some for Raquel Welch’s appearance in an animal skin bikini!
Los Hervideros translates as boiling pots in Spanish and a visit to this well-weathered stretch of volcanic coastline soon reveals why, as the tide crashes riotously in and hisses out through myriad blowholes and caves.
The ubiquitous César Manrique designed a low-impact walkway through the area which really helps to optimise the experience. Whilst local honesty stalls also sell a selection of volcanic olivine, a green semi-precious stone.
Salt production used to be one of the mainstays of the island economy in centuries past and visitors can still buy and sample this locally produced crystal at the Salinas del Janubio, a much photographed set of brightly coloured salt flats located close to Los Hervidores.