The landscape from the Mirador del Río is one of the panoramic views that I recommend in the north of Lanzarote. For the views themselves, to the Chinijo Archipelago, for the spectacle of the fall of the Riscos de Famara and for the building, yes, an incredible work of the great César Manrique.
The glazed viewpoint was built on an artillery site, the Battery of El Río, built for the defense of Lanzarote in the times of the Cuban War, in 1898, when it was feared – rightly so – that the United States Navy tried to occupy some from the Canary Islands. There were plans for this, as historians confirmed much later.
For the construction of the Mirador del Río in 1973, the volcanic rock was excavated, which gained more space than the artillery platform initially offered. The space was roofed with two domes that today give natural light and part of its identity to the viewpoint. Over the domes, land was added to hide and further integrate the structure of the viewpoint into the cliff. Natural or naturalized vegetation has ended up being installed on top of the whole in a very harmonious way.
Windows and terraces
The Mirador del Río rises at 479 meters above sea level and ‘to the bottom’ on the cliff, as colloquially it says in the Canary Islands. In case you were wondering, the curious name of El Río (The River) refers to the denomination that receives the short stretch of water that separates Lanzarote from La Graciosa.
The set has large curved windows, which look like the eyes of lookout and allow the observation of the landscape regardless of the wind. The place can be especially windy.
An outdoor terrace helps to be more in touch with nature and with the sensations that the environment offers. The upper terrace, which is reached by means of a spiral staircase, makes more visible the care that César Manrique put in when adapting the construction to the high profile of the cliff.
The first thing the visitor sees at the entrance is a figure, which is an emblem of the viewpoint. It represents a bird and a fish, water and air, outstanding elements in the experience at the Mirador del Rio.
From the viewpoint, in front, in view of the observer, you can see the Chinijo Archipelago, with La Graciosa island in the first place and its main nucleus, Caleta del Sebo. Behind La Graciosa, to one side, farther, closer, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste. Below, you can distinguish the Salinas del Río, striking for the pink tone of its waters, the result of the growth of an algae that gives that curious color.
Very old salt flats that were originally built by the Normans at the beginning of the 15th century. The roads that went down to the pits and that served to come and go to the graciers were once distinguished from El Río and La Graciosa.
The white of the walls and the domes of the interior, as I said, help the natural light diffuse in a balanced way in the restaurant area.
To solve the problem of acoustic reverberations produced by the shapes of the domes, César Manrique included in the design a rustic wooden floor and decorative mobiles with which to break the echoes.
The Mirador del Río must be visited on clear days, due to the height and orientation to the northeast and the influx of trade. It can happen – although it is not very frequent – that clouds accumulate, especially in autumn and winter days.
How to get Mirador del Rio
To visit the Mirador del Rio, you have to go up the Ye road, a payment from the municipality of Haría. The viewpoint has a bar and cafeteria service, and is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
In summer, the schedule is extended until 18.45 hours. The lookout phone, if you need it, is +34 928 17 35 36.
The bar serves hot drinks and juices. Access is paid, € 4.50 for adults and € 2.25 for children aged 7 to 12 (2016 prices).
For the most curious, the terrace has a coin telescope.
An excursion to Mirador del Río, can be an ideal way to organize a perfect plan to visit La Graciosa. In the link below, you can find a selection of accommodations on the island of La Graciosa.
That the views of Famara leave your best memories always in sight..