One of the principal attractions at El Golfo is the famous Green Lagoon - an unusual phenomenon in the cove, where sea water has become trapped in the form of a lake and turned a striking acidic green, due to the algae which lives there.
The Green Lagoon
The beach itself is made of pebbles, and the cliffs behind the lagoon are equally dramatic, having been wind eroded into fantastic shapes over the course of the centuries. The scenery is further enhanced by the large finger of rock which sits just off the beach and causes the sea to crash around it.
This landscape is so wild and raw, filmmakers thought it was the ideal backdrop for Raquel Welch to appear in, wearing her animal skin bikini in the classic movie One Million Years B.C.
The weathered cliffs extend all the way along the walkway which goes in the opposite direction to the village, revealing different bands of rock which have been smoothed and shaped by the forces of nature into their current formations.
The village of El Golfo is to the right of the Green Lagoon as you face the sea and has possibly the highest concentration of fish restaurants on the island. For this reason, it´s the perfect place for Sunday lunch and is packed with island residents at the weekend.
There´s certainly no shortage of choice and it´s a real pleasure to just wander along the front and see which establishment takes your fancy. Recently, these restaurants were threatened with extinction - as a law prohibiting buildings within a certain distance of the sea was mooted. Fortunately though this threat has now abated.
Several of the restaurants are so close to the sea, you may well observe the kitchen staff washing and gutting your lunch by the sea shore, to the delight of the seagulls which come expressly to help clean up.
The ozone coming off the sea and the crashing waves make this an extremely atmospheric spot for a bite to eat. A great range of local fish is available, including Bocinegro, Vieja, Cherne (Wreckfish), Lenguado (African Sole), Rape (Monkfish), Boquerones (White Anchovies) and the more exotic catches such as lobster.
And if you are really taken with El Golfo you can even stay there, in the little village hotel, which boasts nine double rooms, a swimming pool and a restaurant – to vie with the multitude of others in the village. El Hotelito del Golfo can be contacted on 0034 928 173 272.
Los Hervideros - Boiling Pots
Just along the coast from El Golfo, are the fascinating 'Boiling Pots' of Los Hervideros, one of the more off the beaten track attraactions on Lanzarote. This is a collection of caves and inlets created by the crashing waves of the Atlantic, where you can look down through blowholes in the volcanic rock at the sea as it surges in and out.
Some of the rock has been shaped into geometric patterns, similar to the weathering at the Giants Causeway in Ireland. César Manrique added his own touches to Los Hervideros by designing the route of the walkway around the various blowholes and viewing points.
At El Golfo and Los Hervideros you'll also see plenty of honesty stalls selling lumps of the semi-precious mineral Olivine - which is found in abundance up here on Lanzarote´s wilder northern coast. Just pick the bit that takes your fancy and stick a few euros in the tin.
Salinas del Janubio - Salt Flats
A little further down the road from Los Hervideros as you head back away from El Golfo towards the main road to Playa Blanca you will come across the Salinas del Janubio, one of the remaining salt flats, where islanders used to create sea salt for consumption and export.
The flats appear in unexpected colours, such as magenta, deep red, coral and dusky pink, although the salt crystals produced here are naturally still sparkling white.
How to Get There
If you are driving from Playa Blanca you will need to turn off the Arrecife motorway where the signpost indicates El Golfo and Los Hervidores.
You will be driving through part of the Natural Volcano Park, which encircles the Timanfaya Park on all sides, to reach this little village.
If you are driving from Puerto del Carmen you will need to go through or round Yaiza (there is a bypass round this village) on the LZ-2 until you get to the roundabout where El Golfo is marked. Again, you will be driving through the Natural Volcano Park until you reach the village.
Keep your eyes peeled as it is easy to miss the little turning.