Graciosa, Canary Islands

There is also a Graciosa in the Azores, see Graciosa

Graciosa Island or commonly La Graciosa (Spanish for en:graceful) is a volcanic island in the Canary Islands of Spain, located 2 km north of the island of Lanzarote with the strait named Río. It was formed by the Canary hotspot. The island is part of Parque Natural del Archipiélago Chinijo, Reserve of the Biosphere, "Marine Reserve of La Graciosa and the islands to the North of Lanzarote" it is linked to the municipality of Teguise. The island forms a part of the Chinijo Archipelago. The village is in the southeastern part of the island with houses encircling the harbor which has two piers and a yacht area in the bay. Other smaller islands include Montaña Clara (Spanish for clear mountain) which is an archipelago to the northwest, Roque del Este, Roque del Oeste and Alegranza to the north. The only two settlements include Caleta del Sebo and summerresidence Casas de Pedro Barba. The island is entirely made up of volcanic rock and sands.

The population is around 700. Tourism is the main industry along with fishing. Every year, tourists flock to the island for its tempered climate and its sandy volcanic coasts. The island has a school, lyceum, post office, supermarkets, a bank, port, beaches, and — except bar-restaurants — a square where bicycles can be hired (plaza).

Streets and roads on La Graciosa are unpaved sand. The Gracioseras can often be seen early each morning sweeping the streets smooth of the previous night's footprints. Motor vehicles are strictly prohibited and limited to a handful of licensed vehicles for special purposes. Since the roads are bad, and cars have to be shipped to Lanzarote for repair, about 70% of the motor vehicles on the island are old Land Rovers which often can be repaired by a local serviceman.

Access to the Island is by a thirtyfive-minute ferry crossing from Orzola on Lanzarote to the harbour in the village.

Graciosa Island has been raided by pirates for treasures.

Geographical features

As part of the easternmost islands in the archipelago, and th smallest inhabited Canary Island, the island is extremely arid and entirely made up of bushes and dry soil. Its length is about 8 km and the width is 4 km, equalling around 30 square kilometres. There are no natural water sources on the island but desalinated water has been piped directly from neighbouring Lanzarote since 2001.

The mountains lie to the northern and the western part. The southern and the eastern part are hilly. The tallest mountain is Aguja Grandes rising to 266 m. The second tallest is Las Agujas Chicas at 228 m. Other mountains include Montaña Amarilla (Spanish for yellow mountain), situated in the southwestern part and the crater-peaked Monte Bermeja to the northeast. It is partially eroding in the lower part. The elevation is 152 m.

The island's many beaches include Playa Francesa to the southwest, Playa de la Cocina to the west, Playa Lambra to the east, and the magnificent Playa de las Conchas on the far side. Points include Punta Gorda.


External links

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