By Sandie Johnson
Sandie is not a resident of Lanzarote but is a frequent visitor who spends some part of every year on the island. She is a member of the Lanzarote Creative Writing Group.
Lanzarote has many walking opportunities to suit all ages, abilities and levels of experience. For a small island such as this is, the choice is really extensive and the main problem is choosing where to begin! The good news is that you don’t have to embark on a full day’s trek in the more remote areas of the island to experience its peace and tranquillity, and wealth of fascinating flora and fauna.
In Costa Teguise, for example,
which is a purpose built resort in the south of the island, there is a series of way marked walks on footpaths in and around the town. Ranging in length from 4.5 to 10 kilometres, these provide an excellent starting point and can prove to be a source of delight and interest for the first time visitor, seasoned traveller or full time resident alike. Walking these easily accessible and non demanding routes, you will quickly get a flavour of many of the island’s special attributes whilst getting some beneficial exercise and the wonderful fresh air of Lanzarote.
An information leaflet and map clearly displaying the walks can be obtained from the Tourist Office, located in the delightful, Cesar Manrique designed Pueblo Marinero, which is easily located in the centre of the town, near the seafront. There are also larger maps and information boards in various places along the promenade/cycle path that hugs the shoreline here, passing a number of beautiful and varied local beaches. All the walks are circular so, in theory, you can pick them up at any point along the way, but the logical place to start is at the seafront where there are ample opportunities for refreshments, before or after your walk, in a number of local bars, cafes and restaurants.
Each footpath is way marked for the vast majority of its route and, where signs appear to have run out or may have been removed, the way forward is still easily identifiable, as the footpaths are all made up of the same, small grade material and edged with lava rocks of various hues. As well as walkers, you will often see hardy mountain bikers and energetic joggers along the way, especially on the shorter routes. The longest (10k) route is the one to opt for if you are seeking peace and tranquillity. This one also affords a couple of breathtaking viewpoints of the coastline and outlying settlements of “sugar cube” houses.
On any of the walks, you are sure to spot examples of the wealth of flora and fauna of the island, some of which are unique to this special place. Lizards, geckos, butterflies and birds abound wherever you go. Where the footpaths meander through the more central areas of the town, they are edged by, or traverse, plantations of palm trees, cacti and succulent varieties of plants native to the island. In the more tranquil surroundings of the longest walk, you may also be rewarded by the sight of a local rabbit or partridge scurrying for cover, a busy hoopoe bird pecking at insects or a kestrel hovering majestically overhead.
All this in just one of the islands small, tourist towns and the whole island beyond still awaiting your exploring footsteps!