One of my all-time favourite walks in Lanzarote is the cliff path worn into the Mirador del Río in the north of the island. This footpath is known locally as the Camino de los Gracioseros and serves as a reminder of the grueling trek that the fishermen’s wives from the neighbouring island of La Graciosa used to undertake, to trade fresh fish in the local villages.
It’s a tough walk, descending 600m from one of the highest points on the island over 3km down to one of the remotest beaches in Lanzarote. The Playa Baja del Risco is stunning and only ever crowded on one day of the year, for the start of the annual swim from Lanzarote to La Graciosa.
There are no signs marking this walk, it starts from the hidden car park just opposite the rural hotel, Finca La Corona by the village of Yé. Before you descend, make sure you have all you need as the only way out of there is by water taxi to La Graciosa or a helicopter rescue service!
The beautiful beach beckons from the viewing platform at the top of the path, I couldn’t wait to set foot on this deserted sandy bay with turquoise coloured water again. It was early December, there was a flush of green lining the footpath with an assortment of wild flowers just starting to bloom.
The zig zag trail down the Risco de Famara is well marked and fairly loose underfoot, so it was eyes down on the descent, with an occasional pause to take in the panoramic view over the Chinijo Archipelago.
It’s so quiet here, if you want tranquility, this is the spot, the silence was only broken by birdsong and the crunch of volcanic stones underfoot. In less than an hour I was at the beach, there were two yachts anchored in the bay and not a soul on the sand.
I decided to push on and visit the abandoned Salinas del Rio salt pans before settling on the beach for my lunch and a swim. The last time I walked this route was in August and the salt pans were a vibrant red colour, this time they were completely submerged. I circled the Salinas watching the waders and came back along the stony ridge, which separates the Río for some interesting beachcombing before giving in to the desire to hit the beach.
There was a choice of zocos on the beach for my picnic, I really couldn’t wait to pull my shoes off and feel the sand beneath my feet. It’s such a wonderful feeling to leave an imprint of your footsteps on an empty beach.
I literally had to drag myself away from this piece of paradise and start the trek back up the risco. The climb really isn’t too bad if you take your time, there are plenty of places to stop and take in the incredible view to the islands of La Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Alegranza. Towards the top I stopped to catch my breath and realised just what a feat of strength it had been for those women from La Graciosa to climb this path, whilst balancing huge woven baskets on their heads full of produce.
This walk is 6-8 km depending if you extend it to explore the salt pans, allow 45 minutes to an hour for the descent and up to 90 minutes for the climb back up. Once at the top, head for the Mirador del Río visitor attraction, which is only a short drive along a stunning cliff top road, they serve great coffee and cake!