Montaña Bermeja above the desert sand of La Graciosa
stands above the northern end of La Graciosa
off the north coast of Lanzarote
like it's counterpart Montaña Amarilla
does on the opposite side of the island. Both volcanoes share size and history and the fact that they have been named by their colour. While Montaña Amardilla
ows its name to the yellow tuff in its east face, Montaña Bermeja
has been named for the scarlet lava from which it is made up. Little is known about the geology of the island but generally it is assumed that all four of its volcanoes erupted in the same timeframe, when across the strait on Lanzarote Monte Corona
and its three neighbours erupted in a giant outbreak: 5000 - 3000 years ago.
Quite obviously two parallel fault lines opened, one underneath the Famara Cliff
on the main island, one a couple of miles to the west in the area which was to become La Graciosa
. (To complete the whole story two more but smaller fault lines developped even further to the west, creating Isla de Montaña Clara
, Roque del Oeste
and Isla de Alegranza
.) All the desert island's volcanoes are aligned on a straight line with one exception, Montaña Bermeja
. It is located to the west of the line, already halfway to the Isla de Montaña Clara one giving rise to the suspicion that its eruption occurred separately from that of the other volcanoes.
stands sentinel above Playa de las Conchas
, one of La Graciosa's
most wonderful beaches. White sand above an emerald green sea - only the palm trees are missing or you would get that Caribbean feeling. It is generally climbed from the south side from the beach. There the ground is most solid, whereas on the other sidess you find slopes of loose red lava and cinder. A rare thing for the Canarias, there is a summit cross on top. Views are wonderful - if you pick the right time. Montaña Bermeja
is the closest you can get to the other islands of the archipelago and thanks to its separate location, all La Graciosa's volcanoes are on display. Due to the ferry timetable, though, Montaña Bermeja
is usually climbed around noon with the sun blasting full in your face if you turn the latter direction.
Summit View: Isla de Alegranza
Summit View: Isla de Alegranza
The Archipelago Chinijo as seen from Montaña Amardilla. Montaña Bermeja in the middle
Getting to La Graciosa is a lengthy affair. Though there are ferries from the Spanish mainland to the Canary Islands, they take more than 24h for the trip. Therefore most visitors therefore go by plane. Every travel agency in Europe offers flights, hotel rooms, apartments, rental cars etc. so that reaching the Canaries is rather a matter of money than opportunity. During the summer season flight fares can be reasonable but during the Easter and Christmas holidays you have to be prepared for additional fees of 500€ per person.
Lanzarote has its own airport between the capital Arrecife and one of the main tourist centres, Puerto del Carmen. There are public bus lines but – like on all the islands – they don't run too regularly. If you plan to stay on your own, better take a rental car right at the airport.
From the airport take highway LZ1 through Tahiche and Arieta to Orzola, the northernmost village of the island. From the harbour the LLa Graciosa Ferry departs several times a day. The first departure is at 10:00 a.m, the last return ferry is at 4 p.m. in winter and 6 p.m. in summer. On La Graciosa the ferry lands at Caleta de Sebo from where within 2h you can reach the summit of any of the four volcanoes of the island.
Isla de Montaña Clara and Isla de Alegranza, seen across Montaña Bermeja
The whole island of La Graciosa belongs to the Parque Natural del Archipelago Chinijo
. In this natural park the usual restrictions apply. La Graciosa is a desert island so any single plant or animal is unique. Don't pluck any flowers, don't disturb any animals, most notably nesting seabirds. In reality you'll be hard up to find any of both kinds.
Isla de Montaña Clara and Montaña Bermeja
La Graciosa doesn't offer too many accommodation possibilities. Generally, most visitors take the first ferry in the morning and return by the last. If you miss the ferry there are opportunities to find a bed - you simply need to ask anyone who's hanging out at the harbour of Caleta del Sebo.
There is a campground to the south of the village. Like everything on the island it is dry and sandy. However, a 15 minute walk will take you back to Caleta del Sebo.
As for holiday homes, hotels or apartments on Lanzarote either consult your nearest travel office, or – search for lodgings on Google. There are several sites on the web, dedicated to rent privately owned houses or apartments. Prices are generally a bit less expensive than for tour operators but you don't have as much security. With a bit of luck you even might find something in Caleta del Sebo but don't expect any luxury.
Maps & Books
Kompass Map WK241
Kompass is the only company known to me which offers GPS digital Maps. In addition for those of you with Garmin GPS receivers there is a map source map set of all Canary islands out there.
- Islas Canarias
Map Source custom map
By Manfred Pepper
My recommendation is a guidebook by Rother Verlag, available in German. The book is an excellent hiking guide covering all the interesting areas of the island. Since it comes with small maps for each excursion it might even be used without a map to support them.