Posted by: travelrat | August 30, 2010

Mirador del Rio

Lanzarote: 15th December 2009

Our next stop was to visit more of the work of Manrique at the Mirador del Rio. A lot of coach tours on these islands seem to consist of visits to a succession of miradores, but this one’s different.

It’s actually built into the towering 500-metre-high cliffs, with the Cyclopean glassy eye of the window of the café and souvenir shop, staring unblinkingly out to sea. There’s a balcony on the outside, too, and, from either, you get superb views of the small island of La Graciosa, and its outlying volcanic islets. And, of course, there are the close-up views of the cliff itself.

If you were wondering about the Rio, when there are no rivers on Lanzarote … that’s the name of the strait far below, between La Graciosa and the main island.

It wasn’t originally built for visitors to look out to sea, though. Early settlers took advantage of its lofty eminence to look out for pirates. In later years, it later became a gun emplacement called the Bateria del Rio.

It was only in 1974, that it came out of use as such, and Manrique and his associates converted it to become so much more than a ‘car park with a nice view’. And, if you think you’ve seen it before, the BBC once used it as a location on an ‘alien planet’ in the popular ‘Doctor Who’ programme.


  1. Hi Keith,
    Looks like a lovely place. Yes I can see why they originally used it as a lookout for pirates. I love places that have a lot of history, there are always so many story’s behind the scenes that need to be explored.

    • Its ‘previous existence’ as an observation point and a gun emplacement made it an ideal spot for a mirador

      And, I have an idea that those ‘pirates’ were our heroes (eg Sir Francis Drake, Humphrey Davy, Sir Walter Raleigh, etc.) 🙂

  2. I love the pirate association. I can just imagine Jack Sparrow standing there, swaying slightly. A beautiful spot.

    • Couldn’t take to Jack Sparrow … he never said ‘Ah-aarrhh!’ once! 😀

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