El Golfo is a tiny fishing village on Lanzarote’s southwest coast. You won’t find a village anywhere, in a more bizarre or spectacular place. The village sits on a lava field right next to the sea. The black lava only formed relatively recently and provides the perfect contrast for the deep blues of the ocean. It’s not a particularly large place, little more than a handful of houses, some old, some new. Many of the houses are painted in the traditional Lanzarote green, the rest being mostly blue.
The village is perhaps most famous for the Charco de Los Clicos (Green Lagoon) which is nearby.
El Golfo is one of the locations used in the 2009 film Broken Embraces starring Penelope Cruz and directed by Pedro Almodovar.
The Atlantic coastline here is wild and unspoilt, perfect for wave watching. There is nothing between here and America so the coastline receives the full power of the Atlantic. If you visit on a windy day (most days in Lanzarote!) the ocean waves can be quite spectacular. So remember to bring your camera for some amazing coastal photos.
Visiting El Golfo
There are two ways to get to El Golfo by car. Either take the LZ 702 / LZ 703 from Femes or the LZ 704 from Yaiza. It is about a 25-minute drive from Puerto del Carmen and a 20-minute drive from Playa Blanca. There is ample car parking just before you enter the village. This is a better option than trying to park in the village itself which can get quite congested.
There is another car park through the village at the northwestern end which is handy if you are planning to walk along the coast to the Playa del Paso. This car park is next to a children’s playground and a black pebble beach. It’s also where the road stops and the National Park of Timanfaya begins.
There is no scheduled bus service to the village. The only other option would be to book a day excursion from any of the resorts – these usually visit Timanfaya, El Golfo and Los Hervideros.
The village is popular with coach tours and is a very common lunch stop. This is probably because the village has lots of great seafood restaurants. If you want an excellent evening meal complete with a sunset, try the Mar Azul on the seafront. This serves great seafood and also has vegetarian options.
As well as the excellent selection of local restaurants, there is also a small supermarket and an ice cream parlour in the village.
El Golfo is very popular with locals as well, many have holiday homes here. If you want to avoid the crowds visit early in the day or if you like sunsets, towards the evening. The sunsets here are some of the most beautiful in Lanzarote.
Another option for avoiding the daytime crowds is to go for a walk along the coastline.
Walk from El Golfo to Playa del Paso
This is a stunning walk starting from the car park at the northeast end of El Golfo. It enters the Timanfaya National Park and follows part of the Ruta del Litoral along the coast to the secluded black sand beach at Playa del Paso. The route runs across the lava field. Much of it is marked out by small boulders and stones along the edge. This makes it reasonably easy to follow, the odd stretch is less clear, but it is a well-trod path. The route is not exactly busy, but you’ll no doubt pass a few other walkers along the way.
Ruta del Litoral
Wear stout walking shoes and be extra careful, lava is very sharp and quite unforgiving if you trip up! The route is quite exposed and there is little shelter from the sun and nowhere to buy any food or drink. So make sure you take suncream, a hat and enough supplies with you.
The walk to the Playa del Paso and back can be done in a morning or an afternoon quite easily. If you decide to return on the circular route this will add about an hour or so to your walk.
It’s important not to leave the path, there are still some lava tubes in the area and in places they have a thin crust that could give way. Also scattered around are “bubbles” in the lava. You might well spot one of these from the path. They can be 3 or 4 metres deep and up to 10 metres wide. The tops of these are often overhung making them impossible to climb out of, assuming you survive the fall.
The footpath runs across the lava field hugging the coast most of the way. If you like watching waves there are many spectacular views from the clifftops along the route. On the other side, the views across the lava field towards the volcanoes of Timanfaya are just as spectacular.
Playa del Paso
Eventually, the path meets a wide dirt road. Turn left onto the road and follow it down to Playa del Paso.
This is a great beach to have a rest, sit and watch the waves for a while. There is a sign on the beach that says “No picnicking” – no doubt to discourage people from leaving litter etc.
Please don’t be tempted to have a swim here, there is a heavy swell off the beach and a strong current.
Return to El Golfo
After you’ve had enough of the beach, return to the spot where you joined the dirt road. Now you have a choice, you can either return the way you came, along the coast or continue along the road. I’ve walked both ways and I prefer the coastal option to be honest, as the coastline is so spectacular (I could watch waves all day long!).
Ignore the path on the left-hand side which goes further up the coast to Playa del Cochino. This is a much longer and less walked path.
If you’ve decided to follow the road, continue straight ahead. The dirt road passes a barrier and a Timanfaya National Park sign. Pass a villa on the left. Shortly after the villa, you come to two white gateposts, pass these and then turn right. Carry on along the dirt road until it joins the LZ 703. Turn right to return to El Golfo now only half a mile away. The road is fairly quiet and it’s possible to walk on the scrubland at the side.
Charco de los Clicos
Charco de los Clicos is quite possibly the most amazing lagoon you’ll ever see. It is coloured a vivid green by algae growing in the water. If you’ve been in Lanzarote for a few days, you’ll no doubt have seen a picture of the lagoon on every postcard rack. The shade of green of the lagoon varies depending on the light and conditions.
The 150-meter long lagoon sits behind a black sand beach with a backdrop of impressively eroded red and yellow cliffs.
Visiting the Green Lagoon
So spectacular is the lagoon that it is on nearly all the tourist bus trips, which means it’s usually very busy. The lagoon is a short walk along a marked walkway. The walkway starts from the first car park above the village. This is on the left as you enter El Golfo. The path is to the left of the gift shop and leads to a viewing platform high above the beach and lagoon. This is well placed and offers the best view of the lagoon. You get great views of the beach, the caldera, the lagoon and the ocean, all from one place.
The lagoon has formed in a collapsed volcanic crater, which has been eroded on one side by the sea. It is now a protected area and sits behind a rope barrier, it’s not permitted to go near the lagoon.
It used to be possible to access the beach from a road leading down to the south end (from the direction of Los Hervideros). However, the road is closed now as the cliffs are unstable and dangerous.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed your visit to the Green Lagoon and El Golfo, if you have the time it’s only a short drive to Los Hervideros, where you can enjoy some spectacular wave watching and Salinas de Janubio, Lanzarote’s only working salt pans.
Other things to do in Lanzarote
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