I admit to being slightly biased about how beautiful the north of Lanzarote is, after all I’ve made it my home and it’s captured my heart.
On your next visit to Lanzarote, I really want you to escape your holiday resort and hire a car for the day to discover the beauty of the unspoilt north of Lanzarote. You can visit two of the island’s most interesting attractions, and discover little lagoons & coves, with the purest white sand and the bluest ocean water. I adore this area, it’s the opposite of the busy resorts in Lanzarote, and provides a wonderful, tranquil oasis in the midst of any holiday visit.
Take the LZ1, which heads north from Tahíche towards Órzola, the northernmost tip of the island. After about 25 KM, you’ll pass the little fishing villages of Arrieta and Punta Mujeres - we’ll come back to those later. Five minutes after that, you’ll reach the Jameos del Agua and the Cueva de los Verdes, two visitor attractions - one on either side of the road. It doesn’t matter which you visit first, so make you choice and park in the relevant car park.
Cueva de Los Verdes
As the name suggests, it’s a cave! It was formed during the very early eruptions on the island, and it is one of the world’s most extensive lava tunnels, running 6 KM from the corona to the ocean. In previous times the inhabitants of the island used the natural tunnel to escape pirates.
The section of lava tunnel which is open to visitors comprises of various galleries, small guided tours depart regularly. You can learn something of the history, see spectacularly coloured rock, which is beautifully lit, and look out for one of the world’s great optical illusions!
Jameos del Agua
Built by Cesár Manrique, the Jameos del Agua is at the ocean end of the tunnel, and has an amazingly clear lake in it inhabited by blind albino crabs, found nowhere else in the world. At the centre, there is a fabulous swimming pool built in the “Jameo” style, and an auditorium where concerts are played, using the amazing natural acoustics of the cave. As you leave, walk down to the end of the car park to look at the ocean, where the lava flowed out to sea. You might also find some kite / windsurfers just along the coast towards Arrieta if the conditions are right.
Now it’s time to head to the secret white beaches! Continue north along the coast road towards Órzola and within a few KM, you will start to see a series of pure white sandy beaches, protected by natural lava reefs, in little coves. There are car parks for most of them on your left, so park up and go and have a look. You don’t need shoes, as the sand is so soft. I would suggest heading to one of these two beaches for a paddle and chill out, before lunch.
Caleta del Mero
This beautiful little cove is found on the crest of the hill, after the wide sweeping bend. Access is either via a rocky footpath or through the sand dunes. This beach is favoured by naturists, who tend to like chilling out in the zocos. These low level circular structures on the beach, are simply volcanic stones placed on top of each other, to provide some shelter from the breeze. Don’t worry if you don’t like sunbathing in the all together, textiles are welcome here too!
The sheltered and shallow beach of Caletón Blanco is popular with local families. This beach is accessed via a dirt track leading off on the right as you approach Órzola. Simply park your car next to the beach and pick your spot.
The water is shallow and amazingly clear, we love rock pooling and paddling here, this place is always a winner with young children who are mesmerised by the fish to be found swimming around their feet.
Once you’ve enjoyed a paddle or a swim, it will be time to get some lunch!
Órzola is Lanzarote’s northern most village, and provides all the communication links with the island of La Graciosa, there are regular ferries running from the harbour here over to Caleta del Sebo.
There’s a great choice of restaurants facing on to the harbour area in Órzola, for us it has to be fresh fish or paella when eating out in this location. Take a stroll along the main street and the promenade beside the harbour, the waiters are friendly, you can have a look at the specials boards and see which one tempts you.
Our favourite local fresh fish include dorada (sea bream), cherne (stone bass), lubina (sea bass), vieja (parrot fish) and the ugly but tasty cantarero (scorpion). The fresh fish of the day is usually cooked on the grill and served whole with flakes of toasted garlic and a squeeze of lemon. We adore the cantarero fried, the skin is scored and the whole fish cooked in a deep fat fryer. For something a little special look for the fish baked in salt, this is normally served in fillets at the table. A glass of chilled Lanzarote white wine is the perfect drink to enjoy with your lunch, but not for the designated driver!
After lunch you may want to visit two attractions that are in this area, Lanzaloe is an aloe vera farm where you can visit the fields and sample the products. If you are out for the day with young children, they’ll enjoy a visit to Pardelas Park, where little ones can pet and feed a variety of animals.
On your drive back take the turn off for Punta Mujeres, this village has a selection of sea pools along the coastline and a slip way which is littered with pretty little fishing boats. It’s great snorkeling from the harbour and La Piscina is a popular seafront bar if in need of refreshment.
The next village along is Arrieta, it’s worth a pause at the harbour here too, to see the “dolls house” it’s an unsual construction for the island’s strict planning laws and has an interesting history. If you’ve got time to spare, head for Playa La Garita it’s a fabulous locals beach, with golden sand, a pier, children’s play area, toilets and showers. The best part about this beach is the Chiringuito, an excellent beach bar serving tapas and drinks.
It’s only 12KM from Arrieta to Órzola, I’ve suggested doing this route by car, however by far the best way to enjoy this stretch of coastline is on a bicycle. So if you get a chance, ditch the car in Arrieta and pedal this undulating coast road, it’s a little bit special and light in traffic.