The Mirador del Río is a window over the Atlantic carved into the rock, four hundred metres up the cliffside. Designed by César Manrique and built in 1974, this lookout point is one of his artistic adaptations of natural surroundings that perfectly integrates into the side of the Risco de Famara cliffs. He achieved this by using an outer layer, or second skin, of volcanic rock that makes it impossible to see from La Graciosa or the ferry from Órzola that provides regular transport to the eighth Canary island.
Considered one of Manrique’s most iconic works, The Mirador del Río inspired other similar lookout points showcasing two more amazing views in the Canary Islands: the Mirador de la Peña viewpoint, which was built on El Hierro in 1989; and the Mirador del Palmajero in Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera, where work began that same year, although it was not inaugurated until 1995.
This spectacular vantage point affords stunning views over the Chinijo Archipelago, with La Graciosa in the foreground, Alegranza in the background, and between them El Roque del Oeste and Montaña Clara. The narrow strait that separates this group of islets from Lanzarote is known as the ‘Río’ or River, hence the name of this Centre of Art, Culture and Tourism. It can be reached from Ye or from Guinate, both located in the municipality of Haría.
Once again, Manrique managed to create beautiful interiors that complemented the natural beauty of the outside. He was faithful to his organic style and gave the Mirador flowing lines, soft textures, a balance of colour with bright white set against dark volcanic rock, clever lighting and elements of traditional island life, such as pottery and plants rubbing side by side with modern sculptures, like the hanging mobiles featured in the main hall.
The interior houses a lounge café with tables arranged in front of two enormous panoramic windows and a long curved sofa in front of a large fireplace. Outside, only a wooden railing separates you from the incredible views. You can see the drop to the beach far below and the Guza salt flats, thought to be the oldest in the Canary Islands, which date back to the era of Sancho Herrera, who was the first lord of Lanzarote between 1422 and 1534.
As if that weren’t enough, a beautiful spiral staircase takes you to the souvenir and gift shop, which also has a view over the horizon. And up one more flight, you’ll find the ultimate viewpoint and will, no doubt, find it hard to leave…