Timanfaya national park is the most popular tourist attraction in Lanzarote. For some reason, there is a lot of confusion about what this place is and how, and what, you visit when you go there. A lot of people think that you need to book a tour with your hotel to get there. We will sort all of that out. Timanfaya national park is a great place to visit and there are several different ways for you to explore it!
Timanfaya national park – Just go there
A great way to see Lanzarote is by car. Even if all of the hotels, offer several excursions (with Timanfaya as one of them), renting a car is a great way to go. You will get your ticket at the gate and then you drive up to a big parking lot. We drove our motorhome here and we had a hard time parking since the parking is leaning like crazy (and that is not good for our fridge). But finally we made it and we had arrived.
Since we were not sure what to expect here, we felt a bit confused about where to go but we were quickly placed in a line, waiting for a bus. Visiting the national park by bus is by far the most common way to see it. You are not allowed to drive by yourself – you need to take a bus and join a guided tour.
Fun facts about Timanfaya national park
You will get a lot of information about the national park once you are there. And there is a visitor center where you can get even more information. But here are a few facts about the Timanfaya national park that you might find interesting.
- Timanfaya is still active and it consists of a series of streaming volcanoes and lava fields.
- It is one of the main parts of the Lanzarote Biosphere Reserve established by the Unesco in 1993.
- Given the incredible landscape of the park – it’s reputed that the Apollo astronauts looked at pictures of this area to get an idea of what the surface of the Moon might look like.
- The volcanic activity continues to this day. You can see the heat just under the crust with the 2 different experiments next to the restaurant with the steam geyser and the fire pit.
- The temperature reach a scorching 600°C just 10 meters below the surface!
Timanfaya by bus – the most common way
In the entrance fee (that is 9 euros – 2019), there is a ticket included for a bus trip. You board a huge bus and it will take you around an area of the park while giving you information about the national park. There is a tape playing in several different languages and you will learn more about the park. The trip takes about 40 minutes and it is amazing. One thing is that you will admire the skills of the bus driver (maybe even more than the actual views). The roads are super narrow and it is very impressive to see how they navigate these streets!
The last eruption was going on for six years and ended in 1930. The bus stops at several locations and you listen to interesting facts about this place. One thing that is often very important while going on a bus tour is “What side of the bus should I sit on?” In this case, either side works fine but we do believe that the views on the right side (opposite the driver), are a bit more dramatic. The only downside about taking the bus tour is that you are not allowed to get out of the bus at any time during the tour.
The El Diablo restaurant
When you first arrive to the Timanfaya national park, you will se a huge building. This is the El Diablo restaurant. Like all main highlights on the island of Lanzarote, Cesar Manrique is behind this unique building. This is a famous place where you can eat meat that is cooked with help from the heat of the earth. It looks super cool and Mini and I both felt that this was a restaurant that we wanted to try out since it is so unique.
It is said that this is the only place in the world where you can eat food that is cooked like that. The restaurant is an adventure by itself and you can read our post about the food here.
See the power of the volcanic earth
Once you have done the bus tour, you are allowed to roam around the restaurant area by yourself. There is a gift shop (
of course) and you can walk around here and see how the food is cooked and also see some super cool stuff that the guides will show you. First, you can get a fist of volcanic rock in your hand and you will feel how hot the stones are. Some of them are so hot that you can’t hold them in your hand.
What’s super impressive is that this heat starts right below the surface. And at the same time as this place is super cool, it is a bit scary to think of how “we play with nature”. I mean, is it really ok to pour water into a volcano? Will there be a time when the volcano says “enough”?
Montanas del Fuego – Mountains of fire
What a perfect name for a perfect place. One of the main highlights during your visit to the Timanfaya National Park is when they show you how hot the earth actually is. They have a pit where they put dried branches in. Within 60 seconds it starts to burn! At first, you can see the smoke but once it starts burning – it burns!
And this is also such a thing that makes me wonder – is this ok to do over and over and over again? Well, I have to trust that the people working there know what they are doing. And it is awesome to see so we are happy that we got to witness that!
Water makes a great blowhole
This is probably the coolest thing and the most awe inspiring. Outside of the restaurant, there are a few pipes sticking out from the ground. Every 10 minutes (ish) people gather round and one of the staff gets a bucket of water. He quickly pours the water into one of the pipes and then he backs up. After a couple of seconds, the water is pushed back out with a loud sound. This is incredible!!! A true must experience!
And one thing that is super cool to see once you have seen the power of the volcano is the other people’s reaction. We spent quite some time here so we got to see this blowhole several times. In the end, we just enjoyed other peoples reactions. Some of them screamed, some of them stood with their mouths open and some of them got afraid! We hadn’t done our research before coming here so we had no idea on what to expect from this place but it was awesome!
What is included in the entrance fee
There is some confusion among tourists on whether the bus trip is included or not and what you actually pay for when visiting the Timanfaya National Park. The entrance fee of 9 euros will give you the following experiences:
- A bus trip around the National Park that takes about 40 minutes.
- Short “show” where dried branches are placed into a pit and they burn up.
- A Short “show” where you can see how water is pushed out of the volcanic soil.
- You get a chance to see how food is cooked over the heat from the volcano.
- A visit to the restaurant that is super special. If you want to eat at the restaurant you will have to pay for your meal and drinks.
Different ways to visit the Timanfaya National Park
So, the most common way to visit this place is to either drive here by car or as an arranged bus tour. But there are several other ways to explore this place. If you want you can choose one of several other options:
- Ranger walks: This is a “must book in advance” experience. This is a tour that takes about 3 hours and is free of charge but since they only allow small groups, you need to plan your visit here. They offer guided tours in both English and Spanish and the walk is about 4 kilometers long. The walking tours are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the walk is easy so no need to be super fit. You can make your online reservations here
- Camel rides: This is one option that we skipped because of the fact that we don’t feel that a volcano should be seen from the back of a camel. But for anyone that thinks otherwise, now you know that there is an option to visit parts of the Timanfaya National Park from the back of a camel.
- Visitor Center: There is also a visitor center a couple of minutes down the road from the park. This is a great place to start to explore the park. You will learn more about the park here. This, on the other hand, will enhance your experience once in the park!
Visit other volcanoes in Lanzarote
The Timanfaya National Park is the main highlight on the island. However, there are a lot of volcanoes on the island that you can visit. And all of them are for free (except Timanfaya). We ended up visiting a lot of volcanoes during our stay in Lanzarote and we have listed them in a previous post.
Make sure to have comfortable shoes before your hike. And bring some water to drink. Other than that, you are good to go and to explore!
Information about Timanfaya National Park
Address: Crta. de Yaiza a Tinajo (LZ 67), km 11, 35560 Tinajo, Lanzarote.
Opening hours: 09.00 – 17.00 daily.
Entrance fee: 9 euros per adult and that includes the bus ride.
Visiting time: About 1 to 2 hours.
Perfect for: Families traveling with children. People that want to get more information out of their visit then “just a hike”.
Skip it if you: Are one of those people that “hate” touristy places. This place is very popular and is most often crowded.