For a small island, Lanzarote has considerable cultural clout. Artists, writers and architects have called the island home over the years, leaving a legacy that is begging to be explored. Luckily for you, we’ve listed five unmissable cultural hotspots to explore at your leisure, from volcanic caves and modern art to sculptures that move according to the summery Atlantic breeze.
Jameos del Agua
The Jameos del Agua is a series of volcanic caves located near the northern tip of the island, transformed by locally born architect César Manrique into a stunning auditorium in the space vacated by lava flows from the long-dormant Volcán de la Corona. Around the auditorium are rock pools inhabited by an ultra-rare species of blind crab, adding to an otherworldly experience. Events in the cave’s auditorium are numerous and diverse, including everything from craft workshops to traditional music and contemporary dance performances. These caves are simply an unmissable Lanzarote day trip opportunity. However, it isn’t Manrique’s only contribution to the island – far from it…
Wind toys – Jugetes del Viento
Owing to its fairly isolated location in the Atlantic Ocean, Lanzarote can get fairly windy – and Manrique harnessed these transAtlantic gales by designing delicate and playful ‘wind toys’ which are scattered across the island, on roundabouts, hillsides and in and around the Fundación César Manrique in Taro de Tahíche (a museum dedicated to his life and work, based in his former residence). Plotting a route to see the delicate sculptures that spin and tumble in the wind is an ideal way to spend a day exploring Lanzarote’s art heritage.
San Jose International Museum of Contemporary Art
Another Manrique creation, this contemporary art museum is situated within an 18th-century fortress, displaying a range of contemporary artworks from artists such as Joan Miro and even Manrique himself. The interior of the gallery offers a fantastic way to cool down after a morning wandering around the streets of Arrecife, while enjoying a healthy dose of Lanzarote history and culture.
Lanzarote’s local dishes are an absolute treat, and a perfect way to live like a local. Find an authentic local restaurant and indulge in the likes of papas arrugadas – potatoes boiled in sea water and served with gloriously rich mojo dips made with garlic, vinegar and herbs. The potatoes have a uniquely different flavour, as they’re grown in the black, volcanic soil that abounds in the inland of the island.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous than humble spuds, Lanzarote also offers a wide selection of seafood – with sea bass, parrot fish and sea bream all commonly caught in the waters around the island. One unforgettable place to sample these foods is the El Diablo Restaurant, situated on a viewpoint in the stunning Timanfaya National Park.
José Saramago’s house
If your tastes lean more towards the literary, Lanzarote has plenty of treats in store for you, too! Portuguese Nobel Prize winning author Jose Saramago lived out his last few years in a modest house in Tias, just outside Teguise. The house is now open as a small museum dedicated to his life and work, and offers an intimate portrait of the writer and his beliefs – and why he ended up in Lanzarote, in protest at the censorship of his work in the 1990s. The small museum is certainly an interesting, off-the-beaten-track afternoon at one of the less well known Lanzarote points of interest.
If we’ve whet your appetite for a culture crawl, why not browse our wide selection of villas in Lanzarote, the perfect staging posts for a deep dive into the island’s culture and history (and a deep dive into the pool after)?
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