Famara is perhaps the most inspiring landscape on Lanzarote, an eternal source of inspiration for artists and dreamers.
Millions of people who visit Lanzarote may never see its most memorable beach. Famara is not on the tourist trail – you won’t see coaches parked up on that sand-scattered road – and the island’s tourist board does not spend a lot of time promoting it in comparison to other locations.
There are good reasons for this. Famara is not a tame, safe beach. It has few of the facilities that beaches in the resorts offer and a red flag warning that swimming is not recommended flies permanently on the beach, reminding visitors that its tides and currents have taken several lives.
Famara provokes deep reactions. It’s easily the most popular response we receive when we ask people for their favourite spot on the island, but there are also some people who dislike the forbidding cliffs that overlook the beach, and its desolate feel.
But the beach is essential to understand Lanzarote. Like many well-off islanders, César Manrique’s family spent their summers in a beach house at Famara, and those broad views, primal colours, the meeting of sea, sky, surf, sand and rock and the immense mirror-like reflection of the beach at low tide are echoed in many of the master’s work.
Those old beach properties are typified by the Casa Modernista in Famara – an impressive but dilapidated building that will soon be renovated.
When tourism first started in earnest on the island, the first dedicated visitors were Scandinavians, and several tourist complexes were planned for the Famara area. Only one, however – the complex now known as the Famara Bungalows – ended up being built by Norwegian promoters.
The bungalows are a strange development, each built in a semi-circular shape intended to reflect the zocos of Lanzarote’s wine country. Although many think they mar the landscape, they remain much sought-after properties.
Famara, however, is a place where only a few people live permanently. For others it’s a place of retreat and renewal, where water sports such as surfing and body-boarding mingle with a laid-back lifestyle and those eternally stunning views of magnificent cliffs, distant islets, immense skies and constant sets of rolling waves.