Lanzarote has developed something of a reputation as a party island. However, it’s so much more than nightclubs and beaches. This picturesque Spanish holiday destination is also known as the “Island of 1000 Volcanoes”. One visit to ‘Lanzarote Volcano’ Timanfaya National Park and you’ll see just why that is.
Every year, thousands of tourists descend upon Timanfaya National Park to observe its volcanoes, wildlife, and breathtaking scenery.
In today’s article, we’re going to be discussing the best ways to get to the park and all the activities you can do when you’re there.
We’ll also be looking at the history of volcanoes on the island, so you can enter Timanfaya National Park with the most rounded knowledge possible.
Let’s get started!
Volcanic Activity At Timanfaya National Park
Right now, there is just one active volcano at Timanfaya National Park. This is the Timanfaya volcano, from which the park takes its name.
The many additional volcanoes in the park are either inactive or dormant, but it hasn’t always been that way.
During the 1700s, Lanzarote saw six straight years of regular volcanic activity. From 1730 to 1736, regular volcanic eruptions destroyed farmland, homes, and even entire villages. This left an extensive volcanic crust across the 51.07 square kilometers that make up Timanfaya National Park.
Today, the craters and canyons that were formed during the height of volcanic activity in the area wow visitors and make for incredible photo opportunities.
In fact, they are so magnificent that Timanfaya National Park has appeared in numerous movies and television shows, including When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Doctor Who.
The Ecosystem At Timanfaya National Park
When Lanzarote’s volcanoes were at their most active, it was virtually impossible for life to thrive or even survive on the island.
These days, however, the decreased activity has resulted in a slight rise in wildlife and a mammoth rise in plants.
Throughout Timanfaya National Park, you’ll find more than 200 species of plants. These plants have learned to adapt to the harsh conditions of the soil. The conditions at the park are so specific that six of its plant breeds cannot even be found outside of Lanzarote!
As for wildlife, the island – and especially the park – remain largely uninhabited, due to the lack of naturally attainable food and water.
That being said, there are certainly more animals to be found at Timanfaya National Park than there were in the wake of its volcanic activity back in the 18th century.
Among the most common creatures found in the park are reptiles, particularly lizards, who are able to thrive in the extreme heat of Lanzarote.
Besides them, you can expect to encounter a lot of birds during your visit to the park. Be careful, they aren’t always welcoming to tourists!
Vineyards Near Timanfaya National Park
The land of Timanfaya National Park may be harsh and inhospitable, but just a short distance removed from the area, you’ll find the bountiful vineyards of the La Geriatric wine region.
These vineyards produce wine that is unique to Lanzarote, with the island’s mineral-rich soil giving them a distinctive yet delicious flavour.
These vineyards have inspired numerous wine tours in the region, so you should certainly try to hop on one of those if you can make it coincide with your visit to the park.
Caves Near Timanfaya National Park
Also resting nearby Timanfaya National Park are the awe-inspiring caves of Los James del Agua.
Like so many fixtures of Lanzarote, these caves were formed when a volcano erupted. The volcano in question is Monte Corona (why does that sound familiar?) which formed the caves more than 4000 years ago.
When you enter the caves of Los James del Agua, among the first things you’ll notice are the magnificent acoustics.
The audio possibilities of the caves are so varied and of such a high-quality that concerts are regularly held within them. This includes the Visual Music Festival of Lanzarote, which showcases some of the Island’s most groundbreaking performers.
The tunnels of these caves are known to stretch deep underwater, especially the cave system of the Cueva de los Verdes.
This cave is home to the Tunnel of Atlantis, which boasts a length of a whooping 1500 meters. This gives it the distinction of being the largest underwater volcanic cave in the world.
Timanfaya Volcano Itself
As noted a little earlier on, Timanfaya National Park takes its name from its final remaining volcano. Timanfaya itself actually encompasses a number of smaller volcanoes, all of which still produce lava and make for a sight to behold.
The magnitude of Timanfaya volcano is something that must be seen to be believed. Oftentimes, in order to convey the mammoth power of the volcano, tour guides at Timanfaya National Park will cook steak or fish on its rocks before a stunned crowd of tourists.
How To Get There
Despite the mammoth popularity of Timanfaya National Park, reaching the area can be a bit of a challenge. Below, however, you’ll find the most timely and effective ways of reaching the park.
Travelling By Bus
One of the major disadvantages of Timanfaya National Park is that the park cannot be reached by any mainstream bus line.
This makes it pretty much impossible to visit the park as an independent traveller and travel by bus.
Those who are willing to sacrifice the independence that comes along with visiting the park alone do have the option of travelling via a designated tour bus. Numerous tour groups in Lanzarote operate buses to the park and will also provide professional guided tours upon arrival.
These include the Grand Tour of Lanzarote and the Lanzarote South Tour. Choose either of these tours as a means of getting to Timanfaya National Park and you’ll also receive free admission to the park itself.
Here is one of the most popular tours which will pick you up in the lobby or nearby bus strop: click here.
Travelling By Car
If you’d prefer to visit Timanfaya National Park as an independent traveller, you do, of course, have the option of travelling by car.
Unless you opt to drop the serious amounts of cash necessary to bring your car to Lanzarote, you’ll have to rent one once you arrive on the island.
Thankfully, this won’t be a challenge. There are numerous car rental agencies operating across Lanzarote, with most offering reasonable prices and rental periods.
Lanzarote is a relatively small island, so the drive to Timanfaya National Park is never too long, regardless of where you’re based.
From tourist hotspot Playa Blanca, for example, the park is a mere 30 minutes’ drive.
The same goes for travelling to the park from Puerto del Carmen. The longstanding tourist favourite of Costa Teguise, meanwhile, clocks in at 45 minutes removed from the park by car.
Once you arrive at Timanfaya National Park, you will, obviously, be expected to pay admission.
Thankfully, the park remains one of the most affordable activities on the entire island of Lanzarote.
Children under the age of 12 can secure admission to the park for just €6. For those above the cut-off point, admission is €12, which is still affordable compared to many of the other tourist attractions on the island.
If you are a resident, you can avail of the park’s resident rates, which will admit a Canadian resident for €9.60 and a Lanzarote resident for just €2.
Touring The Park
It’s important to remember that independent walking tours of Timanfaya National Park are not permitted.
The soil which composes much of the park’s surface is so fragile that it cannot support walkers in many areas. For that reason, visitors must trust professionals to guide them through the park.
There are several tour options on offer, so you won’t have any trouble finding a means of seeing Timanfaya National Park that suits you. You’ll find the most popular tour options outlined below.
Touring By Bus
Most of the tourists who visit Timanfaya National Park go on to tour it by bus.
There are actually two scenarios in which you can see the park in this way.
Obviously, the first is by joining an organised commercial tour that brings you to the park as part of its itinerary. If you choose to go this route, you will be guided through the park while riding on the same bus you boarded at the very beginning of your tour.
If you travel to the park by car, you will not be permitted to take your vehicle beyond a certain point.
Instead, you will be guided to one of the park’s private buses. There, you will board alongside fellow park visitors to be guided through the most breathtaking sites of the area.
Touring By Foot
If you would like to tour Timanfaya National Park on foot, the park does offer a small number of walking tours per week.
These tours are organized by park rangers and are in high demand. Additionally, they are usually limited to just eight people, so you must make sure to book well in advance.
It’s also important to remember that to partake in a walking tour in Timanfaya National Park, you must show your passport and provide personal information in order to confirm you are the same person who made the reservation.
A walking tour of the park typically takes about three hours, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of liquids.
You’re also going to want to keep your luggage to a minimum, as the walk gets pretty steep and even the slightest bit of additional weight can make the trek even more of a challenge than it has to be.
Touring By Camel
If you want a truly unique experience, Timanfaya National Park also offers tours by camel-back.
This is a great way to see everything the park has to offer without having to tire your feet or put up with the uncomfortable heat of a bus.
The camels used in the tour are well looked after and operate on rotation, meaning each gets a long break between outings.
Additionally, each camel is provided with extensive food and water during the tour to ensure they don’t grow tired or uncomfortable.
The tour itself will set you back €6 and lasts for about 20 minutes.
It’s important to note that while this tour offers incredible views of Timanfaya National Park, it doesn’t offer a whole lot in the way of photo opportunities.
There are a lot of literal ups and downs when it comes to touring on camel-back.
This constant bobbing makes it a challenge to capture a good picture. If photography is of concern to you, we suggest taking the bus or walking tour instead.
Cuisine At ‘Lanzarote Volcano’ Timanfaya National Park
During your tour of the park, you’re probably going to build up quite an appetite.
Don’t worry, you’ll find everything you need at the El Diablo restaurant!
The El Diablo restaurant is located within the park itself and offers a wide and varied menu composed of traditional Spanish cuisine and all the favourites of home.
If you can time your trip right, you should be able to catch the restaurant’s chefs cooking up meals using heat provided by the park’s active volcano.
On other occasions, you may be able to catch park rangers entertaining crowds outside the restaurant by throwing water into a hole in the soil.
This water then erupts in the form of a steam geyser, showcasing the inconceivable heat that lurks just below the park’s surface.
Take a look at the reviews of the restaurant here.
When Should I Visit?
If you plan to visit Timanfaya National Park, we suggest organizing your trip so that it falls outside the months of July or August.
We say this because these months are in the dead of summer, meaning the heat is harsher.
Completing a tour in the Spanish heat can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone during the hottest months of the year.
Additionally, July and August are the park’s most popular months. As a result, you’ll have to contend with dozens of tourists for even half the experience you’d have during a less busy period.
Timewise, we recommend visiting Timanfaya National Park in the early morning or late afternoon.
During the hours of 12 PM to 3 PM, the sun is at its highest, which means park conditions are at their most taxing.
The bus tour itself only takes about 40 minutes, so you won’t have to worry about losing the rest of your evening by visiting in the late afternoon.
You could, in theory, begin your tour at 4 PM and still have plenty of time to explore additional activities in the area before sundown.
Regardless of when you visit, you can be certain Timanfaya National Park will give you the perfect foundation upon which to build memories to last a lifetime. With its breathtaking scenery and countless unique experiences, this park is the embodiment of the Land of 1000 Volcanoes.