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Yaiza

It’s little short of a miracle that tourists are even able to visit Yaiza’s pretty, plant-filled streets and squares. By rights, this beautiful small town of some 3,500 inhabitants should be lying petrified under streams of lava.

 

General Information

But today Yaiza flourishes. The self-same volcanoes that once threatened it with extinction now ensure economic survival; diverting streams of visitors to this tranquil, traditional little town instead.

A Brief History

Church in YaizaBack during the main period of volcanic activity on Lanzarote from 1730 to 1736 Yaiza appeared doomed.

With just 210 remaining inhabitants, it’s very location seemed certain to assure the town’s destruction, lying downhill from the epicentre of the eruptions (in what is now known as Timanfaya) and directly in the path of the resulting lava flows.

As twelve other towns and some of the most fertile farming land on the island surrendered to the molten mass, Yaiza, somehow, got lucky.

A Miraculous Escape

Residents of the town were eyewitnesses to what must have been a terrifying event. They reported that as the lava flowed towards them it split in two — forcing one stream in the direction of Uga and the other towards Playa Blanca — so leaving Yaiza unscathed.

A religious man might attribute this kind of luck to a higher power. After all, Yaiza was home to the first ever Catholic diocese in the Canary Islands, established by Papal Bull in 1404.

Furthermore, the town’s pretty church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, which dates from the 17th century, also survived the eruptions intact. The church houses a statue of the Madonna; which legend has it is sometimes bathed in a mysterious blue light.

More Good Fortune

Yaiza was also lucky to escape the worst of the deprivations forced upon other towns and villages on the island during the prolonged pirate raids of the 16th and 17th centuries — largely due to the town’s elevated position.

But Yaiza’s real good fortune lies in the fact that its charming and historic white washed buildings and squares have been largely preserved intact over the centuries.


The Prettiest Village in Spain

Colourful planting has created an eye catching contrast to this backdrop, and this combination has resulted in Yaiza winning the coveted title of prettiest village in Spain, not once but twice over recent years.

Residents regard Yaiza as ‘The Capital of The South’ — due largely to the fact that the town is the administrative centre of the wider municipality of Yaiza, one of the biggest departments on the island encompassing important sites such as the Timanfaya National Park and the resort of Playa Blanca to the south.

But don’t expect a throbbing metropolis. Yaiza remains more of a lightly pulsating pueblo — which is lucky for anyone in search of the more authentic and traditional Lanzarote.


What To Do

Given Yaiza´s proximity to the lunar landscape of Timanfaya it’s kind of fitting that it’s main attraction is atmosphere.
In reality, save a few art galleries and the church, there’s not really a whole lot to do. But that’s the whole point — it’s more of a place to feel and experience.

Park up and wander the streets. Sit in the squares and absorb the sounds and smells. Gaze at the volcanoes from the mountainside terraces towards the rear of the town.