Castello de Santa Barbara
may be the lowest of the Canary Islands
but thanks to it fairly recent volcanic history it is one of the most impressive ones. Las Montañas del Fuego
with Timanfaya National Park
, the huge area which erupted some 300 years ago, takes most attention, while Risco de Famara
, the 15km long cliff in the north of the island hosts the island’s highpoint, Peñas del Chache
. In between, following older fault lines, there are old volcanoes, often the best lookout peaks, thanks to their often solitary location.
Arguably one of the best of these is Montaña Guanapay
, most of the times simply named Guanapay
. It is located in the centre of the island on the slopes, which gradually rise from the south to culminate in Risco de Famara
. It is located right above the village of Teguise
, which in former times was far more important than what remains today. Founded in 1414, Teguise
received town rights early on and became the capital of the Kingdom of the Canary Islands
in 1425, when Maciot de Béthencourt
took over the crown after the death of his father Jean. In 1448 the kingdom was eliminated and Teguise
served as capital for Lanzarote
until the current one, Arrecife
, was established in 1885.
Coming back to Guanapay
, its volcanic cone is topped by a crater of 200m diameter, open towards the south. Up on the topmost part of the crater you will find Castello de Santa Barbara
, a small fortress, which was (re-) built in its current form in 1588 by Leonardo Torriani
, Philip II's architect. Making use of the position of Guanapay
, the castle was intended as a lookout for pirates and later as a fortification to protect the capital Teguise
Today the castello houses the Museo del Emigrante
, the emigration museum. Faced with droughts and the volcanic eruptions of 1730 lots of inhabitants left the Canary Islands
to settle in the new world. Obviously – as can be seen from the files in the museum – 10 families from Teguise
were resettled in Texas
to found the city of San Antonio
, currently the seventh most populous city of the United States.
Teguise and the north coast seen from Guanapay
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.
can be most easily reached from the villages Teguise
at its base. From Teguise
a road leads to Castello Santa Barbara
, from Nazaret
dirt tracks and paths lead to the south slopes of the volcano to combine with the road from Teguise
- From the airport take LZ-2 to Arrecife
- Take the circumnavigation LZ-3 around the capital until LZ-1 turns off in direction Orzola
- In Tahiche switch to LZ-10 to Teguise.
- Nazaret is the last village to the right before you reach Teguise.
- For Teseguite drive through Teguise. and switch to LZ-104 at the end of the village.
Stone cairn sentinels on the route from Teseguite
The route from Teguise
is unspectacular. It follows the road to Castello Santa Barbara
at the top of Guanapay
just head up the south slopes of the mountain until you reach the road from Teguise
near the gate.
start at Ermita de San Leandro
and head up Calle San Leandro
southward. At the last house of the village turn right, heading up a rugged dirt road heading for Guanapay
. The track turns west, passes the volcano, then turns north towards the road from Teguise
Canarian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis)
There’s no Red Tape on Guanapay
other than that the Castello requires an entry fee (when it’s open). The routes from Nazaret
run through privately owned fields so stay on the roads and paths.
When to Climb
As every volcano on Lanzarote
can be visited all year round.
For holiday homes, hotels or apartments 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. We actually had a holiday home on the outskirts of Teseguite
thus hiking to the top of the volcano twice, on our first and last days.
Montañas del Fuego in Calima conditions
is usually swept by fierce north-western trade winds. Though they deposit their humidity on almost all of the other Canary Islands, Lanzarote is simply too low to form a decent obstacle. Therefore the climate is very arid.
For some time of the year, eastern winds prevail, which almost always carry clouds of Sahara dust with them. Usually this means reduced visibility but in some occasions Calima
occurs. Fierce storms take up the dust from the Sahara and sweep it across the islands. In these times visibility is nil and sometimes even the planes are grounded.
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.
Inselkarte (Island Map)
Downlaoadable at www.wanderreitkarte.de
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.