Lanzarote and La Gomera Facing Tourism Issues


The most northeastern island of the Canary Islands is Lanzarote. It was formed around 15 million years ago by underground volcanic eruptions. The once flourishing island was scarred by volcanic eruptions. After the great volcanic eruption in 1730, which lasted no less than 6 years, a third of the island was covered with lava, which buried entire villages. The last volcanic eruption occurred in 1824, but it was not comparable to the great eruption of 1730. In those years, the eruptions of the one volcano created several hundred smaller ones, whose heat can still be clearly felt today, and which became an unreal crater landscape. Due to the rigid lava layer, the landscape on Lanzarote is extremely barren; only plants that have adapted to the environment grow here. Due to the acute lack of water, precipitation is rare except in winter, but then green life awakens on Lanzarote, conventional agriculture is not to be found here. The valley of Haria offers a green oasis in the midst of the dreariness. 1000 palm trees have been planted here, which are nourished by condensation water due to their location in the valley. Otherwise, the water problem on Lanzarote is relatively well under control thanks to the seawater desalination plant. However, the growing number of tourists with their high water consumption is increasingly becoming a problem. The more water that has to be treated by the desalination plant, the more energy has to be supplied, which in turn means that more oil has to be imported. An endless cycle that is not sustainable. The fauna of the Canary Island is as sparse as the flora. Due to the low supply of food, only goats are kept here, from whose milk the famous Canarian goat cheese is made.

Lanzarote is amongst the driest countries in Europe

La Gomera

Whilst Lanzarote is the more popular choice, the island of La Gomera lies in the Atlantic Ocean and is a more understated part of the Canary Islands. After El Hierro, it is the second smallest of the Canary Islands. It was formed about 12 million years ago by volcanic eruptions in the sea, until it became an island in the sea. You can still see the volcanic origin of the island quite clearly. In the interior of the island there are several volcanic vents lying close together. Here, in the centre of the island, you will also find the largest contiguous laurel forest in the world, which, together with the volcanic vents, forms the Garajonay National Park. This is under the protection of UNESCO, as it has been declared a World Heritage Site. The Garajonay National Park is also home to the island’s highest mountain of the same name, the Garajonay has a height of 1487 metres and is therefore ideal for climbing tourists. Unlike the six other Canary Islands, La Gomera is not yet so overrun by tourism. You can only get here by ferry from Fuerteventura or La Palma. La Gomera has had an airport since 1999, but the runway is so short that no international passenger planes can land or take off here. The most famous thing about La Gomera is its unique whistling language, El Silbo. This was already used by the indigenous people of La Gomera to communicate across the great expanses of the valleys and mountains and has recently been taught again as a compulsory subject in primary schools. The Bay of Pigs is certainly familiar to hippies. Here, in the island’s most famous valley, Valle Gran Rey, hippie communes existed for many years. They lived in caves on the beach, which are still used today by some dropouts as a cheap place to stay.