By Nick Ball
The Canary Islands are the seven specks of Spain located just off the coast of West Africa, which have become the second most visited region in the country after Catalonia, thanks to their fantastic year round climate, great scenery and wonderful beaches.
The Canaries however are not all birds of a feather – as each island boasts its own unique identity and character. Lanzarote is the most easterly link in the chain – and remains less touched by tourism than some of the larger islands such as Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Thanks largely to the work of a local artist called César Manrique – who campaigned vigorously against over-development.
During the 1960´s Manrique feared that his birthplace could become submerged beneath a sea of hotels and apartment complexes. As was already happening to large swathes of southern Spain as General Franco pushed ahead with his plans to create a package tourism industry.
Uniting with his friends in the island government Manrique managed to secure some important concessions. Such as an outright ban on high rise buildings and advertising billboards. Both of which are conspicuous by their absence on Lanzarote. Leaving the island largely as nature intended.
Which is just as well – as Lanzarote is blessed with a raw if somewhat unconventional beauty. Forged by a series of enormous volcanic eruptions in the 1730´s which covered around one third of the island in lava. Creating a lunar like landscape that is today one of Spain’s most popular national treasures – The Timanfaya Volcano Park.
Nick Ball is the editor of Lanzarote Guidebook * – the in-depth information guide to Lanzarote. Download a free 96 page guidebook to the island online.