Lanzarote is all about the "look." It is a remote, windswept island with a dramatic volcanic landscape of dark, rocky expanses, devoid of any vegetation, populated with volcanic cones – more than 300 of them! – and punctuated with pale beaches. It is frequently the setting for science fiction films that demand a stark backdrop, and is now also a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – yes, the entire island. It is an island that dissuades the tourist, yet lures the volcanologist.
The Canary Islands of Spain
Lanzarote's centerpiece is the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, which has in it no fewer than 38 volcanoes, including some that have seen relatively recent volcanic activity – in the 18th and 19th centuries. Besides the park, the principal interest on the island lies in its capital, Arrecife, which has an old fort and a museum worth seeing, as well as Puerto del Carmen which is a major tourist center, the attractive little village of Haria, and the unusual volcanic caves of Jameos del Agua which are flooded with sea water and retrofitted as an auditorium with a restaurant and disco. Among Lanzarote's beaches, the nicest of the lot are near the Playa Blanca at the southern tip of the island.
Lanzarote's most famous son is artist César Manrique. Among the most famous films shot on location on the island are One Million Years B.C. (1966), Road to Salina (1970), Krull (1983), Enemy Mine (1985) and Broken Embraces (2009), and the TV series Doctor Who and The Martian Chronicles.
Lanzarote is the easternmost of Spain's Canary Islands, 168 miles (268 km) from Tenerife. It is actually closer, much closer, to Africa (135 km) than to the Iberian Peninsula (1,000 km). It has a population of roughly 128,000.
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