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San Bartolomé started as a small farming village known to locals as ‘Ajei’ which in translation literally means ‘small township’. It began to expand during the infamous pirate attacks which became more frequent in the 15th century. Fearing for the safety of their families, people who were living on the coast started to come to San Bartolomé seeking shelter, as it was positioned more inland and therefore it was considered safer.
The town was formally recognised in the late 18th century, when Cayetano Guerra Clavijo y Perdomo established the San Bartolomé Church here in 1787.
San Bartolomé is centrally located, sheltered by the Mina and Guatisea mountains, located between the districts of Tias and Arrecife. Although it is the second smallest municipality after Arrecife, it is also the most densely populated, having around 5000 citizens. The airport is only 10 kilometres away, the same distance as San Bartolomé’s coastal strip of Playa Honda.
A 15 minutes drive on LZ-35 will get you to Lanzarote’s most popular resort - Puerto del Carmen, while the island’s most spectacular scenery, the Timanfaya National Park, can be found 20 kilometres to the west on LZ-56.
Things to do and places to visit
César Manrique’s unique style can be seen everywhere throughout Lanzarote, and San Bartolomé is no exception, as the town’s architecture is typical Canarian: narrow streets, cosy houses painted white to blend in with the island’s natural beauty and a centuries old Parish of significant cultural value.
Another place of interest in San Bartolomé is the Casa Mayor Guerra, an 18th century building that served as the home of former military Governor of Lanzarote. Currently, it serves as a history museum, located on the slope of Guatisea, operating weekdays from 10AM - 2PM. The entry fee for adults is 3€ and 1,5€ for children.
The Tanic Ethnic Museum can be found adjacent to the Town Hall and it encapsulates the cultural and working life of Lanzarote for the past two decades. It comprises of an exhibition hall, crafts shop, chapel, cafe and beautiful courtyard. The museum has its door open to the public from Monday to Saturday, 10AM - 2PM; entry is free.
More of Lanzarote’s agricultural past can be seen in Casa Ajei, which is found near the town centre, into a converted 18th century manor. The cultural centre hosts exhibits of traditional Canarian tools and materials used for farming and doubles as a meeting place for folk groups and local artists. Tourists can visit Casa Ajei on weekdays from 5PM - 10PM.
What is close by..
The area surrounding San Bartolomé is renowned for its farmlands and vineyards. The fertile jable earth covers the northern part of the municipality - La Geria district, where significant amounts of sweet potatoes, pumpkins and watermelons are cultivated. To the south, in La Cena area, the best wine on Lanzarote is produced - the Malvasia wine. Tourists can visit the unusual vineyards, grown in holes dug in the ground, protected by semi-circular volcanic rock walls.
Playa Honda, part of the San Bartolomé municipal district, is situated near Arrecife Airport, in a developing area. The 2 kilometres long, golden-sand beach has a beautiful promenade, full amenities including accommodation, bars and restaurants and the winds make it an ideal place for windsurfing. Another closeby beach is Guacimeta, half the size of Playa Honda but remarkably less popular due to its position - right next to the airport.
The impressive house of César Manrique, the late Canarian architect can be found on the outskirts of the town. Tourists can visit this unique 3000 square metres home which now houses the César Manrique foundation, serving as a reminder of the artist’s truly brilliant vision, which shaped the architecture of the island.
Another touristic point of interest in the area is the impressive sculpture created by Jesus Soto, portraying a farmer and his herd can be seen just outside San Bartolomé, in the Mozaga village. The sculpture was made to celebrate the hard-working, inventive farmers of the land, built from recycled fishing boats and water tanks. Next to the sculpture is the Campesino Museum, a colonial farmhouse where you can taste traditional food and wine. The Museo al Campesino is open everyday from 10AM - 6PM.