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Higher Ground

Friday May 26, 2006

Higher Ground

Lanzarote´s Miradors

As an island formed from some 100 plus volcanoes, Lanzarote naturally offers some incredible vantage points, or miradors (from the Spanish verb mirar, to look), for visitors in search of memorable views and vistas.

Some of these lookout points are so spectacular or panoramic that they have been further enhanced by man made additions, such as the Castillo Santa Barbara on Mount Guanapay above Teguise or César Manrique´s beautiful building at the Mirador Del Rio.

Others remain very much as Mother Nature intended and are well off the beaten track. There are even special road signs, displaying the symbol of a camera, marking many of them.

Here are some of the best spots to head for if you fancy reaching higher ground.


Las Nieves

Los Valles-Haria

Head in the clouds? It will be here. Las Nieves sits on top of the Risco de Famara range of mountains that runs all the way from the beach of the same name up to the Mirador del Rio in the north of the island.

Here you'll find the impossibly pretty Ermita de las Nieves - the fittingly titled Hermitage of the Clouds. This chapel is dedicated to the Virgin of las Nieves to whom the locals have prayed for rain for many centuries.

She must be a little hard of hearing though as rainfall stays as low as ever on the island. Alternatively the prayers may have been lost on the wind as it can be extremely breezy up here.

Past the chapel lie various outcrops of rock that afford the most incredible views down to Famara below, over to Graciosa and back down to the center and south of the island.

Not one for vertigo sufferers and keep a tight rein on the kids.

Las Nieves can be reached from the LZ10. Drive through Los Valles and watch out for the signposts.


Mirador Valle del Palomo

Little more than a lay by really on the LZ10 in the north of the island but the views down to Arrieta, Mala and Guatiza are well worth pulling over for.

Easy to find, the lay by is directly after the giant golf ball, or observatory, which sits atop the Risco de Famara, as you drive towards Haria from Los Valles.


Mirador de Haria

Just a couple of minutes past the lay by for the Mirador Valle del Palomo sits a restaurant, Los Helechos. The food here is nothing special but the view is incredible, so order a coffee and just feast your eyes on the beautiful Valle de Temisa and the coastline of Arrieta below.


Mirador de Guinate

Easy to find but little known spot which offers great views over to Graciosa. Drive to and past the Guinate Tropical Park for around 3/4 minutes and you can't miss it as the road comes to an abrupt end.


El Balcon de Femes

El Balcon (The Balcony) in the lovely old village of Femes is well worth a visit.
It sits some 450 metres high and gives breathtaking views down across the Rubicon Plain to Playa Blanca below and out to the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura.

Femes is easy to find its well signposted on the LZ2 running between Puerto el Carmen and Yaiza and also boasts the added bonus of a couple of decent restaurants. The best is Casa Emiliano, set back a little from the Balcony. The best views however are from the restaurant Balcon de Femes.


Mirador de Yaiza

This mirador has been enhanced by man with the creation of steps and landscaped gardens but still offers great views back to the Volcano Park at Timanfaya.

 It´s easy to find too. If driving into Yaiza from Puerto del Carmen take the first left after the church, drive straight ahead for a couple of minutes and you cant miss it.

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