Haría sits in the north of Lanzarote, nestled in the “Valley of a Thousand Palms,” a name derived from an old tradition of planting palm trees with the birth of every new child. Standing at 272 m above sea level, it’s one of the island’s greenest villages.
Haría’s fertile lands made it Lanzarote’s second most important town, after Teguise, until the mid-eighteenth century when Arrecife became the new capital. The area’s economic activity relied on food cultivation and livestock, salt production, cochineal farming aided by the two ports of Órzola and Arrieta. The municipality gradually suffered the effects of cheaper foreign imports arriving through Arrecife’s larger port, and the town’s importance diminished.
Today, this delightful village is as authentic as it gets. Traditional buildings with fascinating architecture line it’s pretty streets, marked by stone walls, wooden windows and balconies. Flowers in bloom and home-grown vegetables line the gardens.
Outstanding views accompany you on your trip to Haría, especially if you take the route from Teguise. The winding ascent that starts at Los Valles takes you up past the majestic wind farm. Further along on your right, you can stop to admire panoramic views of Arrieta and Punta Mujeres. The road leads you to Mirador de los Valles, then winds down the steep hillside towards Haría. This is a spectacular sight, although not for those with vertigo!
Arrive early to make the most of Haría’s treasures, to stroll around the market. Enjoy a coffee under the shade of centenary trees. Visit César Manrique’s House Museum and enjoy lunch at one of the town’s good restaurants.
The Saturday morning artisan market
This small, laid-back market is held in the town’s main square, Plaza León y Castillo, every Saturday from 10:00 until 14:00. The leafy pedestrianised village square is one of Lanzarote’s most beautiful, and is the main hub for Haría’s local community.
If you’re a lover of all things hand-made, this market is for you. Only registered craftsmen and women can offer their wares here in Haría’s market, and everything is made with passion. Those in search of a unique gift or souvenir will surely find it here.
The market is a mixture of permanent traders, established in the square’s traditional buildings, and temporary market stalls that set up for the day. Browse at a range of produce including clothing, jewellery, paintings, ceramics and pottery, soaps, flavoursome cheeses, ecological fruit and vegetables, to name a few.
One of Haría’s two churches, La Encarnación de Haría, stands at the end of the square. Visitors are welcome to view its charming interior. The church had to be reconstructed following the destruction caused by a storm in 1956, much to the sadness of the community.
The relaxing pace is contagious: a perfect excuse to enjoy some refreshment and home-made cake amongst the locals and market-goers at El Rincón de Quino. Watch the world go by from this pleasant, traditional street café under the shade of huge leafy trees, while listening to live street music.
César Manrique House Museum
César Manrique, Lanzarote’s famous architect, bought this palm orchard with ruins in the 1970’s, and began building his new home in 1986. His dream was to create a place where he could paint in peace and to be inspired by nature. He left his Tahiche house, converting it into a foundation, and moved into his Haría home in 1988, four years before his death.
The house was opened as a museum in 2013. This fascinating property comprises of Manrique’s living quarters, his workshop and a small house for domestic staff. The artist’s trademark style of blending nature with contemporary architecture oozes from the walls of this serene property. Traditional rustic Canarian architecture dominates with the use of solid wood and white stone walls.
Two wonderful courtyards greet you at the entrance to the house. An intimate and cosy feeling embraces you as soon as you step into the house, fusing the antique with the modern. Wooden floors creak under your feet, African masks hang on the wall amongst the elegant, though rustic furnishings.
Large and inviting sofas gather around a large basalt fireplace adorned with local ceramics and lamps. Artefacts made of recycled metal and wood by the artist himself decorate the walls. A grand piano takes pride of place nearby. Marvel at his collection of books, music and photographs of himself alongside the stars, royalty and other international artists and architects. All this with a smooth musical backdrop of some of his favourite music: jazz, classical and Afro-American.
Huge windows allow natural light to flow inside, integrating the garden and swimming pool area with the lounge. Indoor vegetation breathes life into each room. Both bathrooms of the house appear to naturally blend in with their exterior. It almost feels as though the architect still lives here today. One begins to understand the person he was, how he lived and a glimpse into his fascinating life.
Manrique’s workshop, half buried on the far side of the garden was his daily retreat. It has been left exactly as it was when he last used it. Canvasses are scattered on the floor (the way he preferred to paint, using the easel only for finishing touches and smaller works). Brushes and colours are poised at one side. His workshop lends an intriguing insight into his creative mind.
The last basket weaver on Lanzarote
On leaving the César Manrique House Museum, my attention was drawn to some baskets hanging outside a garage door, a little further up the road. Haría is known for its artisanal basket weaving, and I hadn’t seen them at the market earlier.
Inside the garage sat an elderly man, whose name I learned was Eulogio Concepción Perdomo. The 83-year-old told me how he has been weaving articles from palm leaves for sixty years, and that he is now the last craftsman of his kind on Lanzarote.
When he was younger, before Haria was served by roads, he would stay and weave in the houses of those who ordered his produce, as the daily commute across the mountains was impractical. He would regularly supply a small shop in Arrecife, six hours walk away.
In the old days, he recalls, it was customary to extract the hearts of palm trees, and every single part of the plant would be used: tools, brooms, roofing, animal feed, furniture, handicrafts, etc. Nowadays, however, it is no longer allowed to extract palm hearts and modern materials have replaced old traditional ones. Eulogio now obtains his raw materials from the local council landscape department for his activity.
On being asked if he thinks of retirement, Eulogio looks puzzled.
‘Retire? What would I do? No, I’ll carry on doing what I love, I always manage to sell something or other.’
Not surprisingly, I left with a bread basket, a lamp and a larger basket for firewood. After all, this is a disappearing tradition. Remember to call in on Eulogio when you visit Haría.
A day out isn’t complete without lunch. Haría offers many places to eat, though curiosity drew me to La Puerta Verde. I had walked passed this charming restaurant on several occasions, but had never stopped to eat. It’s easily accessible and tucked away only a few streets from the centre of the town.
The restaurant has German owners although their creative dishes are mainly Mediterranean, and with excellent options for all vegetarians.
Wanting to keep it fairly light, we ordered a few dishes to share: roasted provolone cheese with a rocket and red fruit salad, along with quinoa tabbouleh and caramelised onions, fried almonds and citrus wedges. So unique and absolutely delicious, even more so when washed down with a glass of local white wine!
Haría is a wonderful day out at any time of the year. Its geographical position makes it cooler than other parts of Lanzarote.