How to Visit Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote

During the 1730’s the most notorious event in the island’s history took place when devastating volcanic eruptions took place over a period of nearly six years. Within an area of only eight square kilometres between twenty five and thirty volcanoes erupted, creating the area now known as the Timanfaya National Park. The next volcanic eruptions to take place in this area were in 1824 and these are the last recorded incidents to date. However, there are still several areas above ground level which are too hot to touch even to this day.

The original land which is buried underneath the now solid black lava was once an area of twelve villages where the most fertile farming of Lanzarote took place. The Timanfaya National Park is now the most popular attraction for tourists when visiting the island and it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. With the small amount of rainfall in Lanzarote, there is little erosion taking place so the ‘moon-like’ landscape remains in pristine condition.

How to Visit Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote

Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote

Guided Tours of the Timanfaya National Park

The Timanfaya National Park lies just 20km north of the popular holiday resort of Playa Blanca. Booking a guided tour of Park one of the best things to do in Lanzarote.

The tour allows visitors to explore the park’s unique volcanic landscape and learn about its history and geology. Most tour operators in the main resorts of Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise offer a range of tours, otherwise you can pre-book your visit before travelling. Private vehicles and walking are not allowed in the park so a guided bus tour is essential.

The first part of your tour begins at the fascinating Islet Hilario Visitor Centre which is where demonstrations of geothermal activity are demonstrated by members of the staff which help you to fully appreciate the sheer force of the volcanic eruptions. Then it’s onto the bus where your tour guide will point out the main features of this volcanic scenery including lava tongues and volcanic tubes.

Things to do in Lanzarote: Visit Timanfaya National Park

Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote

When it is time to eat you should visit the other major attraction here at the Park, the El Diablo restaurant which not only provides stunning and panoramic views of the area but the grilling of the food served here is done over the heat provided from the volcano.

Some popular guided tours of the Timanfaya National Park include the following:

Route of the Volcanoes: This is the most popular bus tour in Timanfaya National Park which takes you on a 9km drive through the park’s volcanic landscapes providing spectacular views of the MontaƱas del Fuego (Mountains of Fire) and the sea of lava with its 25 craters. The tour begins and ends at the Islet Hilario Visitor Centre and takes from 30-45 minutes. There are numerous stops to allow passengers to take photos. Back at the visitor centre you can watch some fascinating geothermal demonstrations by the guides.

Timanfaya National Park Guided Tour

Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote

Timanfaya National Park Southern Tour: This 5-hour excursion visits a number of natural sites in southern Lanzarote of which the Timanfaya National Park is the highlight. Other interesting stops include a visit to a winery in La Geria, a camel ride in El Camacho and stops at natural wonders such as Los Hervideros, El Golfo and the Green Lake.

Timanfaya Small Group Trekking Tour: If you’re interested in exploring on foot, guided walks with park rangers are available. However, spots are limited and must be booked well in advance. Keep in mind that the rugged volcanic landscape offers little shade, so it can be challenging during the hot summer months.

Driving to Timanfaya National Park

Driving to the park is an option for visitors. Car rental in Lanzarote is popular and affordable. The journey to Timanfaya National Park takes around 30-60 minutes, depending on your location on the island. Avoid mid-day hours when it’s crowded. Parking at the park is free.

Lanzarote Landscape

Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote

If you decide not to go to Timanfaya National Park on an organized excursion you can hire a car and travel independently. However, you should make a point of getting there early as the park is often crowded during the peak holiday season. On arrival you will still need to take the bus tour to see everything that Timanfaya has to offer as cars aren’t allowed inside the park.

One advantage of travelling by car is having the opportunity to visit the beautiful village of Yaiza on your way back to your resort. This village somehow escaped the devastating effects of the volcanic eruptions and is well worth a visit while you’re in the area.

Visit the Historic Village of Yaiza

Yaiza is a pretty village standing on the edge of the Timanfaya National Park which, according to local folklore, is blessed by a higher power. Whilst many villages were ransacked by pirates in the 16th and 17th centuries Yaiza was spared as it lay higher than its neighbours.

Then in the early 18th century, when volcanic eruptions destroyed many of the surrounding villages, Yaiza was again spared as lava flows heading down the mountain veered in two directions towards the villages of Uga and Playa Blanca leaving Yaiza relatively untouched by the disaster. As well as this geographical “miracle” the village church of Nuestro Senora de Los Remedios was left unscathed and the village folk attributed their good fortune to an act of God. To this day there’s a local legend that the statue of the Madonna within the church sometimes appears to be surrounded by a mysterious blue haze.

Nowadays Yaiza’s good fortune is based on tourism as visitors heading for the nearby Timanfaya National Park stop off in the village for a look at its beautiful plazas, its charming white washed buildings and its flower filled streets. And if you get your timing right you can enjoy lunch at the 16th century Restaurante La Era (Calle el Barranco 3). This is a good place to enjoy some local seafood dishes or traditional Canarian stews and soups. You should also be sure to sample some of the island’s famous mojo sauce, a spicy sauce made from garlic, olive oil and paprika.