Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote is the main attractions on the island. For good reasons! Admiring the protected volcanic landscapes is like traveling to another world with smooth sand-like lava rocks next to big and sharp boulders, and from black, to orange, to red. It is an experience you will not forget! Below is my guide to help you make the best of your Timanfaya National Park Tour - by car, by bus or walking.
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About the Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote
Why visit the Timanfaya National Park?
Because it looks like that:
Seriously, it is a 51sqm (21sqmi) area of protected land covered with lava and volcanic features in all their shapes and colours. It is very easy to access and it allows you to discover scenery that you can't see in many places around the world.
This is one of the best Lanzarote excursions to enjoy from the Resort towns and definitely one of the top things to do in Lanzarote.
Map of Timanfaya Lanzarote
Here is a simple map to show you the extent and location of the Timanfaya National Park and the surrounding Los Volcanes Natural Park:
Intro and Facts about Timanfaya Lanzarote
- Timanfaya is a parkland entirely made up of volcanic soil
- The greatest recorded eruptions in the area where the 6 years between 1730 and 1736 - at that time more than 100 volcanoes became active and devastated part of the island
- The volcanic activity continues today - you can see the heat just under the crust with the 2 experiments next to the restaurant with the steam geyser and the fire pit
- It is one of of the main part of the Lanzarote Biosphere Reserve established by the Unesco in 1993
Landscapes of Timanfaya Lanzarote - Video
Before I give you more information about the different options to visit the National park, I made a short video of the bus ride through the park and the Tremesana walk, to give you an idea of what you could experience around the Fire mountains:
How to visit Timanfaya - Summary of options
Let start with a summary of your options. I am introducing each one in the next sections of this article.
- Coach tour - this is the main way to see the park. At El Diablo restaurant, you can tour a large portion of the park on a bus. This is included in the entry price - to get to El Diablo restaurant, you can either drive or join an excursion from one of the resort towns
- Ranger Walks - very limited spots to join small group tours on special walks in other sections of the park - 3hours and booking essential
- Extend to Los Volcanes Natural Park - There are also many volcanoes around Timanfaya where you can walk and explore freely. They are already nice but not as cloistered.
- Visitor Center - don't miss the TImanfaya visitor center that is not at the restaurant. Further along the road, you can learn more about the geological history as well as the flora and fauna...
- Camel Ride - Another very touristy stop is the Camel ride. A short walk on one of the volcanoes. I don't recommend it but I am still listing it here
You can find all those places and many more in my eBook in which maps and info help you easily plan your trip:
Because of the fact that you can only go in a closed bus to tour the main area, photographing Timanfaya is difficult. Your best option is to book one of the walking tours (but then you can't choose the time and take as much time as you want).
It will be frustrating, but it is the best way to protect the landscape.
Timanfaya National Park Tours by coach - Main Option
The main option to visit the National Park is to take the Bus tour from El Diablo restaurant. Here are info, tips and photos.
Timanfaya National Park by car + Bus
The bus tour starts regularly from El Diablo Restaurant to take the Ruta de los Volcanes winding through the craters
You can either go to El Diablo with your own rented car or with an excursion:
- Tours depart from all the main resort towns (Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise) and cruise terminal
- You can either book a half day tour that only covers the drive to Timanfaya, the fire experiment near the restaurant and the tour of the park by bus - check out this option
- Or you can book a day trip that takes you on a more in -depth experience with other interesting stops in Lanzarote - check out this option with the green Lagoon of El Golfo and the cliffs of Los Hervideros
- Easily accessed from LZ-67 where the El Diablo symbol create by César Manrique stands
- Puerto del Carmen to Timanfaya - 30 min drive
- Playa Blanca to Timanfaya - 30 min drive
- Costa Teguise to Timanfaya - 45 min drive
- Timanfaya National Park Ticket Price is 8 euros per adult (4 euros for children)
- Mid-day you might have to queue to enter
- At the turn you have to go through the booth and pay your entrance tickets or show you multi-attraction tickets
- Then you drive a little bit more to a large parking under the restaurant
- Open from 9 am
- Check out my article about Driving in Lanzarote
At the El Diablo restaurant
At the restaurant, you will find a souvenir shop and facilities. If it is lunch time you can see them cooking with the heat coming from the Earth (geothermal heat). The restaurant is another one of César Manrique's attractions in Lanzarote.
Just outside are 2 demonstrations of how hot it is under the Earth Crust:
- The fun one is when they throw water in the hole and it erupts in a steam geyser
- The other one is when dry bush takes on fire because of the geothermal heat.
Tips + Best time to do the Timanfaya National Park Bus Tour
- If you came with an excursion, you will climb back on your bus to drive around the park.
- If you came by car, queue to get into the orange bus near the souvenir shop
- On which side of the Timanfaya Bus to sit? Well both side have interest and you will end up standing to try and see what's on the other side. However as a general rule, the right side (opposite the driver) is a little bit more interesting for panoramas, especially in 2 locations where you are higher and it opens up to a vast area
- Best time to do the Timanfaya bus tour? - if you are coming by car, you can choose you time. First avoid 11am to 3pm and all the excursion busses come. Then for the best light: Both morning and afternoon will be interesting. The road swirls around many volcanoes so you have views in every directions. So sometimes you will see black shapes because you are facing the sun and sometimes you can see the colours, when the sun is behind you. The ideal would be to do it once in the morning and once at the end of the afternoon.
- How long is the bus tour? Too short - it takes 30 to 40min to do the whole loop - there is a pre-recorded audio in several languages that explains what you are seeing around you.
- How to take pictures from the Timanfaya bus? The bus might stop is some nice places, but you cannot get outside. This is to protect the landscape. So you will always have reflections from the windows. to reduce them, you have to place your lens right against the window. It limits you angles but you won't have strange distorsions and glares.
- Note: the road is narrow, and people might feel vertigo in a few spots... The drivers are very impressive, and I think a tip is deserved if they drove really well
Photos from the Bus ride
And now, let me share with a selections of my Timanfaya Bus ride pictures. It was difficult to reduce to only a few, but I can't share them all!
Notice the different aspect of the lava: sometimes swirling ground, sometimes large rocks and sometimes looking like sand.
And notice also the different colours!
Timanfaya National Park Walking Tours
If, like me, you are planning your trip early enough, you might be lucky to still be able to grab a spot on one of the rangers' Timanfaya National park walking tours.
How to book a walking tour
There is no way to walk by yourself in the Timanfaya National park. Anyway there are not many walkable area because it is mostly volcanic soil that is fragile and could break under your weight if there is a tunnel. So dangerous!
However there are a couple of service roads, where walks are organized with the park rangers.
There are only a few a week and groups are limited to 8 people.
They are free but you need to provide information to get a permit and show you passport the day of the tour.
You can see the different options and book at this website: reservasparquesnacionales.es (don't worry, it is in English)
Timanfaya walks - Tips
I only did the Tremesana one that depart from Yaiza. Here are a few tips:
- The walk last 3 hours so bring water, hat and sunscreen. There is no shade at all!!!
- Wear good shoes, and if possible hike shoes going over you ankle. Most o the the beginning you are walking in picon (small volcanic rocks like gravel). So it is hard on the calves and the small rocks tend to enter your shoes. So annoying!
- Don't bring a tripod. It is a long walk. There is no real stops. You keep walking and just to very short breaks for explanations. No time to set up your tripod.
Photo of the Tremesana walking tour in Timanfaya
Below is a selection of photos from the Timanfaya walk. It was really fascinating and, again, it was difficult to select which pictures to show...
At the beginning of the tour, we see historical fig trees that were planted after the eruptions. They were the rare trees to be able to survive and they still give fruits!
But my favorite part is the second half, more towards the heart of the national park. The landscape is breathtaking with many different style of lava and volcanoes. Fascinating to have the explanation from the ranger and be able to ask many questions!
Extend to Los Volcanes Natural Park
About Los Volcanes Natural Park
Around the Timanfaya National Park, is the Los Volcanes Natural Park (the one in Lanzarote, not the one in El Salvador).
In this area you can find many more volcanoes that erupted at different ages and can look quite different.
The advantage here is that it is free to access and several walks have been set up for visitors.
From Road LZ-67
The main road along Timanfaya National park is LZ-67 from Yaiza to Mancha Blanca.
There are not many spots to park because there is lava right by the side of the road. And walking on the road is dangerous because people tend to speed. However you can't really walk on the lava either because it is sharp and fragile. So you can take pictures at the beginning of the road or while your co-traveler is driving...
Many of the volcano walks are along LZ56. Some of my favorite includes:
Above is the view as you walk towards Montana Cuervo. You can see the volcanoes of Timanfaya in the background.
Above is a zoomed view from the tour of Montana Colorada. Towards the end (when walking counterclockwise) you are aligned with the line of volcanoes.
Above is a picture taken from the Los Rodeos walk. You get views in every directions and it is quite fascinating right on the lava edge.
Plan your trip to Lanzarote
You can find all my favorite walks and photo spots, and many more points of interest in Lanzarote, in my eBook with maps and info to help you easily plan your trip:
Timanfaya Visitor Center
Our next stop is at the visitor center. Strangely it is not near the El Diablo restaurant inside the park.
It is further North on LZ-67. You can't miss it it is well indicated.
I recommend a visit to the center during the hottest hours of the day.
It is a great way to cool down and learn more about the fascinating world that surrounds it.
You have a great scale representation of the park and the alignment of volcanoes.
And then you have photos and explanation about the geology of the area, the history or eruptions and how flora and fauna come back after such a cataclysmique event.
Displays are in English, Spanish and German if I remember correctly. I can't fin my note on the subject. Sorry.
They also have set up a viewing platform at the back of the building. You don't see well the volcanoes but it is impressive to be in the middle of the sea of lava.
Facilities on site. Open 9am to 5pm.
Timanfaya National Park Camel Ride
Lastly, another touristic attraction of the Timanfaya National park is the camel ride.
The parking is on LZ-67, South of the El Diablo entrance.
I don't recommend it because it is overdone and does not offer such fantastic views.
And the poor camels are doing that all day long.
But here it is, if this is something you like:
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