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Timanfaya National Park

Listed under Extreme Environments in Lanzarote, Spain.

  • Photo of Timanfaya National Park
  • Photo of Timanfaya National Park
  • Photo of Timanfaya National Park
  • Photo of Timanfaya National Park
  • Brushwood ignites, Islote de Hilario, Timanfaya National Park
  • Geyser, Islote de Hilario, Timanfaya National Park
  • Lava barbecue, El Diablo restaurant
  • View from El Diablo restaurant
Photo of Timanfaya National Park
Photo by flickr user Mossaiq
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A lot of Lanzarote’s sparce terrain was shaped in the 18th century when more than a hundred volcanoes sprouted up over an area of fifty square kilometres, drenching the island's interior in lava and ash. These volcanic mountains were called the Montañas del Fuego or Fire Mountains, and though the last eruption in this region was in 1824, Lanzarote’s mild, dry climate has hardly managed to erode them, or the landscape they created, at all. That’s why this is such a fascinating place to visit and has been made into a National Park.

A strange selection of plants grown in this lunar like environment, it’s not just the bare, unprotected terrain they have to survive but also the extreme heat that’s still pulsing just below the earth’s surface here – bore a few metres down, pour in some water and next thing you know you’ll have your face burned by a geyser of steam – the National Park even has a restaurant where food is cooked on a grill set over a large hole in the ground.

Because of all the latent heat you can’t just wander the park freely, you have to explore with a tour group either on foot, in a bus or on camelback.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

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Islote de Hilario Visitor Centre, Timanfaya National Park

A landscape of black rough-hewn crags of lava, stretching from horizon to horizon, brings home the power of nature. A geology lesson made real, Timanfaya National Park has an impact in stark contrast to the easy-going beach life of Lanzarote.

Tiny lichens cling to life on the jagged rocks, but it looks as if it will take many hundreds of years to soften the landscape, formed by volcanic eruptions in the 1700s.

High up on one of the many volcanic cones, the Islote de Hilario Visitor Centre is built for panoramic views over the dramatic scenery. On the terrace outside, tour guides show off the heat of the volcano. Brushwood, pitchforked into a hole in the ground, catches fire within seconds. Water turns into a geyser of steam. Chicken sizzles over a hot lava barbecue, ready to be served in the El Diablo restaurant.

Coaches take visitors on a tour further into the interior of the park to see areas that you can't get to on foot or by car. Despite the rough terrain, this experience is accessible by wheelchair users as the coaches are modern ones equipped with a lift.

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