Lanzarote is the most north-eastern of the Canary Islands. Oval in shape, it lies north of Fuerteventura separated by the Bocayna Straits. It has an area of 836 square km; is 60 km long and 21 km wide. In administrative terms it includes a small group of islands know as the ‘Archipielago Chinijo’ or tiny archipelago, which includes La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste.
Despite its many volcanic cones, Lanzarote is the least mountainous of the Canary Islands, with a maximum height of 670 meters. It has an exceptional climate all year round. The average temperature is 20˚C, and the sea temperature varies between 17˚-18˚C in winter and 22˚C in the summer. The rainfall corresponds to that found in desert climates, and for this reason water has been a historic problem which is nowadays solved by desalinating sea water with water treatment plants.
Despite being close to the Sahara, the African coast is only 100 km away, its climate is quite different. This is due to the cold Mexican Gulf stream, which regulates the atmosphere, especially in coastal areas.
The main driving force in the creation of the Canary Islands has been volcanic action; Lanzarote is the oldest of them, since its origin goes back 19 million years. At present there are more than 300 volcanoes on the island, a hundred of which are very recent, dating back to the eruptions in the 18th and 19th century, which modified the island’s landscape and now form part of the Timanfaya National Park.
There is no doubt that Lanzarote is a land of contrasts, and as such, contrasted with the modern planning and design of its urban development, we can find the remains of the most ancient customs deeply rooted in the heart of its inhabitants. The general impression is that of fluctuating, jumping in time: from the land being farmed with a Roman plough to the ultra-modern music festivals; from rowing boats that are still used for fishing to the modern yachts moored in the marina harbours; most certainly it is a journey in time where the only thing that has not changed is the hospitality of the people of Lanzarote.
The ancient inhabitants of Lanzarote, the Guanches, called their island Tite-Roy-Gatra. In the old days it was known as Purpurita, due to the many orchilla it had (an orchilla is a lichen from which dyes are extracted). The island’s present name is owed to the Genoese navigator, Lancelotto Malocello, who rediscovered the islands in 1312