Last Updated on by vincent
If you are here, it means that you want to go to Lanzarote and see the most beautiful of it: Timanfaya National Park. And you’re lucky! Yes, this is the most beautiful place on the island, preserved, magnificent. A set of still active volcanoes with superb colors, between lava fields and sand dunes. And as I loved the place, I enjoyed it a lot so I’ll give you some information and a lot of pictures! Anyway, you are in the right place! Talking about pictures, we’ll see it a little bit below but the buses having awful blue tinted windows, taking pictures is a bit complicated, it’s hard to catch them, hence their strange color!
Timanfaya Park, a journey through the volcanoes of Lanzarote
Lanzarote is shaped by volcanic activity. A very large part of its territory (3/4 in fact) is composed of lava fields, arid landscapes, difficult but exceptional. It was in 1730 that the island changed its face with the eruption of the Timanfaya volcanoes. Well, eruption, let’s say “appearance” because in this place there were villages, not volcanoes. When the earth opened in 2 to make appear these volcanoes, 10 villages disappeared. The lava flowed continuously for 6 years to cover the whole south of the island and many other eruptions followed. From a very fertile land, the island became a much more hostile place, with landscapes looking like the end of the world and an agriculture that had to be totally revamped. The last eruption in Lanzarote was in 1824, still in Timanfaya.
Some figures and dates :
- the first paved road was created in 1950 for a visit by Franco
- the area was declared a national park in 1974
- in 1993, the area and almost the whole island of Lanzarote was classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco.
- There are almost 2 million tourists per year
What to do in Timanfaya National Park
As you’ll see, Timanfaya National Park is super regulated, with very little room to maneuver. The interior is only accessible via bus/group/reservation. This is done for several reasons, the main one being for the preservation of the park. Because a release of tourists among these volcanoes, that would be a little waste, and that would be also dangerous because the fields of lava are very unstable, in the sense that to walk in it is to risk to shoot the ankles in every step. But we’ll see, we still have a lot of things to do, it will keep us busy for a while. And for the activities around, the hikes, it will happen in the next section
The bus ride
It is the highlight of the show, we come for that and it is really worth it as we can see it on the photos. But to optimize this superb 40 minutes ride, here are some advices:
- you can make the stroll by bus several times. From the moment you are on the site, we do not control anything, and we will not prevent you from doing it again
- place yourself near the window, ideally on the right. But as you can go around several times, you can do it on each side 🙂
- be among the first to get on the bus to be sure to have a good seat. Concretely, not being at the window is a bit of a waste.
There is an audioguide that runs in several languages. Not necessarily very interesting, I would say that we do not listen to it too much and that we have especially the nose stuck to the window 🙂 The big problem with these buses, they are the bluish windows. Ok it is probably to avoid being dazzled by the sun, but that stains the photos, which are not easy to catch up after! So you can take one or two test pictures and make some white balancing adjustments
El Diablo Restaurant
It’s classic, we have a tourist restaurant in the center of the park, where the buses leave. But contrary to what is usually done, this one seems to be very good! As a smart guy I did not come at lunch time, but its meat has a very good reputation. Moreover, this meat is cooked from the heat that circulates in the volcanoes. You will see at the entrance a volcanic heat hoven, more than 300°. The restaurant also has the advantage of having a bay window that goes all around, offering a great view. On the other hand, it seems to be expensive. We are far from the normal prices of Lanzarote, it’s around 25€ per dish
Hiking in the park
It is not possible to hike freely in the national park of Timanfaya. Around yes, we will see it a little later, but in the park itself you will have to go through the tourist office which organizes two walks in the heart of the park. The only problem is that the places are very limited and you have to book several weeks (months?) in advance. I didn’t manage to get a place, all the slots were already taken.
For these hikes in the park, it is absolutely necessary to book via the official website. And so you have to book a long time in advance because the hikes are not done every day and they are limited to 8 people. The main hike from Yaiza is said to be very interesting, 3 hours in the lava fields (and in full sun, not a single point of shade) and between the volcanoes that you can’t approach otherwise.
You can also go through this guided hike to discover the park of Timanfaya
A camel ride
This, I confess, I tell you about but i’m not a fan of that kind of activity. A little south of the entrance we will find a space where it will be possible to make a camel ride in the sand dunes that border the park. It’s 20 minutes and 6€ per person and it seems like 2 per camel
What to do around Timanfaya
I tell you about it in this article more general on Lanzarote, we will find nice walks around the park. In particular :
- los Bardou Volcanes: a small gravel road to the west of the park, from El Golfo, takes us to the limit of the park. We have two volcanoes on which we can climb (a lot of wind!) and we have a fantastic view. There is no one around, ideal for the sunset.
- montana Caldereta and Caldera Blanca: located in the north of the park, this superb walk in the middle of the lava fields allows you to discover two very nice craters, among which Caldera Blanca which offers a great view. It’s quite long, you need good shoes, but it’s definitely worth it!
- the Camino a las Malvas : a nice walk, a bit monotonous in the long run, but just above the park.
On the road LZ-30, nearby, we will have the bodegas which make test their wine productions, and it is rather nice! However, you can try this one, with a very good reputation.
The activities proposed by the tours
If you are not motorized or just want someone to take care of everything, local agencies offer activities around Timanfaya Park. I haven’t personally tested all of them but I have selected them based on customer feedback and their relevance. Here are some examples:
- Most popular : Discover Timanfaya with an agency
- Guided hike in Timanfaya Park
- A day in the volcanoes: Timanfaya, El Golfo, Los Hervideros and local wines
- Visit the vineyards of Lanzarote
But if you want to know more about activities in Lanzarote in general, you can click on the button below. There are really a lot of them, and great ones! My two favorites are the volcano walks and the wine tasting as it is quite special
♥ Favorite ♥
A beautiful hike through the volcanoes!
- A wonderful guided walk in the volcanoes of Lanzarote
- A small group tour with a professional guide, 3 hours long
- Prices start at 42€
Practical information about Timanfaya
The visitors’ center
5km north of the park entrance we will find the visitor center. We will find information about the activities around, but no reservation is possible. I confess that I was not thrilled by the friendliness and the advices given, the impression to find myself in a Parisian brasserie 😀 (and i’m Parisian!). But inside, it is already fresh, and we find information about the history of Timanfaya, the volcanoes, the rocks. It is rather interesting. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How much does it cost to get in, the different packages
So look out, it gets a little complicated. In recent years, the price of Timanfaya has increased a lot, it is now :
- 12€ per adult
- 6€ per child (up to 12 years old)
However, in Lanzarote it is worthwhile to take the “packs” of entries. As all the entries are individually between 5 and 12€, you can take a ticket for 3, 4 or 6 places from 23,50€ per adult. It becomes very profitable very quickly. These multiple tickets can be purchased at each tourist location
Well, this too changes regularly. Currently the park is open between 9:30am and 5pm. The last bus is at 4pm. It’s not indicated on the official website, but I think it’s the winter hours and that in high season there is an hour more because I saw testimonies saying that it could go until 6pm. So go and ask at the visitors center, they will really know how to tell you
The different restrictions
Well, there aren’t many. Actually there is one, but a big one: it is forbidden to walk in the park. Because the park is very fragile and because the lava fields are dangerous, like the rest of the island, access is restricted and you can only visit the national park via buses or guided hikes. The different paths leading to the interior of the park have barriers preventing you to pass, rangers regularly pass by and to pass by means exposing yourself to heavy fines, so I don’t recommend it even if it looks super beautiful and super simple
What time to come
There are over a million visitors a year and many people come with the different organizations and by bus, usually in the late morning or early afternoon. So I would advise you, if you can, to come in the morning for several reasons.
First of all, there are fewer people. So less people means less waiting to get a parking spot and then getting on the bus faster. And once the tour is over, you can have lunch at the restaurant which I hear has very good meat. The sun also hits pretty hard in Lanzarote, so to get better light, arriving at the beginning or end of the day is better if you want to take nice pictures (which is not easy with the tinted bus windows!)
How to get to Timanfaya
Coming by car and parking
First of all, parking is included in the price. But as it is limited, if it is full you will have to queue when entering the park. So it is better to arrive early!
Coming by car is very easy. The access is on the famous road LZ-67 that crosses the park and the lava fields. It is central and easily accessible (not to mention the traffic jams!):
- 20 minutes from Playa Blanca
- 30 minutes from Arrecife
- 25 minutes from Teguise
- 40 minutes from Costa Teguise
- 20 minutes from Puerto del Carmen
Then, concretely, if you have the license, driving in Lanzarote is very easy and cheap. The driving is calm, the roads are in good condition (for the paved ones!). And a car rental will cost between 10 and 30€ per day. The two best companies are Top Car and Auto Reisen. Cheap, good cars, no bad surprises and excellent feedback. Don’t hesitate to compare prices before booking! For my part I check on Kayak
Coming by bus
Here it is easy, it is not possible to come by public bus to Timanfaya. There is the bus 161 that goes to Yaiza, that is to say 10km from the center, or the 52 that goes to Macha Blanca, 9km north of the center. And then, it’s impossible to come on foot because it’s forbidden to walk along the road (I was caught by the patrol) and there are no sidewalks. So at worst you can hitchhike and get to the entrance, but then you’ll have to walk up.
You can find all the bus lines of Lanzarote on this site.
So if you want to come without a car, then you have the agency excursions, which I have already mentioned
An excursion to Timanfaya with an agency
So we have seen, to go to Timanfaya without a car is slightly complicated. This is probably to favor the agencies that can therefore offer many outings from the main resorts of the island, but the good thing is that the prices are rather reasonable and the offers very correct, from 27€ the half day. We will find an exit dedicated Timanfaya. 5h in and around the park, an excellent value for money.
The agencies also propose day tours or sometimes half day tours with a lot of things to do like the indispensable El Golfo, Yaiza or the caves. From 40€. So it will depend on what you have already seen, your timing
Where to stay nearby
Well, considering the size of the island the location of the accommodation is not the most important to come and visit Timanfaya. However, I wanted to be close to the volcanoes especially for the setting, it attracted me more than the beaches. So I went to Uga just near Yaiza it’s just south of the park and it’s really nice. A small white village surrounded by volcanoes. We are very far from the activity of the tourist cities like Playa Blanca or Costa Teguise but there is something for everyone! 🙂 Otherwise, just north of the park, we have Mancha Blanca, very well located and very quiet, and Tinajo which is nice (with some good restaurants!)
And there you have it! Although very regulated, Timanfaya remains the most spectacular place in Lanzarote. Young and old should be overwhelmed by the beauty of these volcanoes, easily accessible from everywhere (the advantage of small islands!). So if it’s your first visit to Lanzarote, don’t miss it, especially since the price is affordable. During the tourist season, just plan to arrive early or at the end of the day to avoid the crowd. And don’t hesitate to take a few walks around the park, the views are really crazy!