Located just off the west coast of Africa, Lanzarote - one of the Canary Islands - is famous for its mild and warm climate, beaches and volcanic landscapes. But the island is also a popular tourist destination because of its peculiar character, a clever mix of nature, art and traditions, which makes it different from the other islands of the archipelago and which is manifested in the presence of the so-called CACTs - Centres of Art, Culture and Tourism. They are mostly natural attractions put at the service of tourism through the careful work and creative genius of César Manrique. CACTs are the core of tourism on the island! But Lanzarote is not just CACTs! Its peculiar landscape also makes it a popular excursion destination! Then, here is an easy hike on the northern part of the island, along the famous Risco de Famara.
If the Canaries are notoriously the islands of endless Spring because of their mild and warm climate all year round, Lanzarote is certainly an excellent example. Located in the ocean, off the west coast of Africa, the island is a popular tourist destination not only because it offers beautiful beaches and coastline, but above all because of its amazing natural landscape, which lends itself perfectly to discovery by car, as well as on foot or by bicycle. The island also has a lively and intense cultural life, which manifests itself in the so-called CACTs – Centres of Art, Culture and Tourism. They are mostly natural attractions put at the service of tourism through the careful work and creative genius of César Manrique. But Lanzarote is not just CACTs! For example, there are many hiking options on the island. We, during our stay, chose a rather easy and relaxed one: a circular walk from the Ermita de las Nieves church to the cliffs and back! So here is all the information and some useful tips for you.
Arriving by plane
Lanzarote is easily accessible by plane from all major European cities. From Switzerland, there are flights operated by Swiss* from Zurich. Furthermore, the low-cost airline Easyjet offers flights to Lanzarote from Basel airport, normally departing twice a week. In both cases, the flight time is about four hours. The airport of Lanzarote is located on the east coast, in the area of Arrecife. Inside the airport you will also find the main car rental companies to collect your rental car once you arrive at your destination.
From the airport, you can drive to the starting point of this excursion and park in the large space just in front of the church.
Hike overview & map
The hike we propose is a circular route that starts from the church of Ermita de los Nieves and, following a partly road and partly hiking path, reaches the meteorological station on the Famara cliffs and from there returns to the church’s viewpoint. The itinerary, just 7.5 km long, is nevertheless quite easy and can be covered in just over a couple of hours. There are no restaurants or toilets along the route.
From the church Ermita de las Nieves to the cliffs
We reach the starting point of this excursion on a rather grey and windy day. Wind is very frequent on Lanzarote and we are well prepared. Therefore, we put on a jacket and begin our walk. To begin with, we walk around the church Ermita de las Nieves, a small, quaint church on top of a hill surrounded by palm trees. The church offers a great viewpoint of the surrounding landscape but, at the time of our visit, it was closed and could not be visited inside. We then start walking towards the cliffs, first following the paved road for about 500 metres. Here we reach the Mirador de Ermita de las Nieves, a large viewpoint on the cliffs that offers a beautiful view of the sea and Famara beach. We continue for approximately one kilometer between potato fields and turn to our left, following the signs for the Military Air Surveillance Area. From here, simply follow the path along the high fence around the radar and then, slightly downhill, continue towards the cliffs.
Return from the cliffs to the church Ermita de las Nieves
Upon arriving at the cliffs, you will see an old weather station. Around the station, stop for a few minutes to observe the view and, for the brave ones, try to reach the nearby observation point on a steep cliff to the left, but be careful because the path to get there is rough and exposed, so make sure you have good shoes, good balance and do not suffer from vertigo. From the weather station, the way back begins, which first runs between fields and soon reaches the asphalt road. The asphalt return route is about 3 km long and is pleasant. It also offers good views of the opposite side of the cliffs. On the way back to the Ermita de las Nieves church, we decide to reach the car park again from the opposite side, along a gravel road. From here, you will also have the opportunity to reach one last viewpoint before returning to your car.
The route is not well signposted or easily identifiable in some sections. A couple of times we found ourselves lost along private fields with no exit. Therefore, the advice is to download the route offline and follow it with the help of GPS.