LagOmar Museum is a paradisiacal oasis nestled in a volcanic quarry and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Lanzarote. It’s a labyrinth of loveliness, and even though I have visited many times, it still takes my breath away when I enter its magical cave surroundings.
Now a museum with a small art gallery and a restaurant and cafe, this wonderful attraction was once a home briefly owned by the Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, who subsequently lost it in a game of cards.
Whitewashed pathways lead through tunnels, across stepping stones, past water features and to different viewing levels. From above, the true beauty of LagOmar shines out. The landscaping is unique and is one of the superb attractions in Lanzarote created by César Manrique.
In this post, you can learn what there is to do in Lagomar and its history and connection with Omar Sharif.
LagOmar’s Blue Lagoon
Once upon a time, there was a water feature in the middle of this ornamental lagoon, but it is now gone, and a few simple jets now create a relaxing trickle of water as you enter the lower level of LagOmar. The cave setting still maintains the tranquil atmosphere I have always loved, and on revisiting it after quite a few years away, I was pleased that nothing much had changed.
Information about LagOmar Museum
Address: C. los Loros, 2, 35539 Nazaret, Lanzarote.
Arriving by car: The LagOmar House Museum is 20 minutes by car from the capital of Lanzarote, Arrecife. Take road LZ-1 out of Arrecife and then take the LZ-10 from Tahíche. Once in Nazaret, turn right along Calle Las Perdices and continue until the end to LagOmar. Parking is wherever you can find it along the road.
If you haven’t got a car, you can always join a guided tour of the island, including LagOmar.
Opening hours: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm Tuesday – Sunday.
Restaurant hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from noon midday to 11:00 pm.
La Cueva bar hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 6:00 until midnight.
LagOmar Museum ticket price: €6 per adult / €2 per child.
How long will I need in LagOmar? Factoring in time to wander around, sit and enjoy the surroundings, take photographs and enjoy refreshments, I would say 90 minutes. But if you have the time, stay longer because, believe me, it will be hard to tear yourself away!
What will I see in LagOmar Museum House?
In keeping with the creativity of LagOmar, you will see whimsical works of art constructed from parts of industrial equipment dotted around the landscape. They are fun to find and have been at LagOmar for as long as I can remember since I first visited in the late 90s.
Wandering around LagOmar will reveal lush planting and beautiful spots to sit and admire the scenery. It is all so beautiful you’ll be mesmerised.
Cacti and palms are used all around as they grow perfectly well in the black volcanic soil. The use of green planting against the white-washed surfaces and natural rock formations are all part of Cesar Manrique’s vision of how he wanted LagOmar to look. When you visit, I’m sure you’ll agree he got it pretty perfect.
Play hide and seek in the labyrinth of tunnels and pathways
One of my favourite spots in LagOmar is the tunnel of stepping stones. The reason is that when my boys were small, I used to bring them here, and they would follow each other across the steps and around LagOmar on a little secret mission. I can still hear the echoes of them chuckling as they tip-toed across the steps to the other side.
Of course, I couldn’t resist crossing them and reminiscing about those memories. And let’s face it, that inner child is in all of us, just waiting to escape at any chance it can.
Following the pathways will lead you to find quiet places to sit, soak up the sunshine, and enjoy the spiritual vibe that encompasses LagOmar.
After you’ve spent some time relaxing, find the sign saying Museo and follow the stairs to the upper level. Here, you can learn about LagOmar’s history as you wander through furnished rooms and read about the house on information panels.
Step inside Omar Sharif’s Cave House
Once inside the museum, you will find out precisely what this cave house in Lanzarote has to do with the late actor Omar Sharif. Two things come into play – one, he bought the house as a holiday home, and two, he subsequently lost it in a game of bridge. So, let’s find out what happened in more detail.
The famous House of Omar Sharif (Casa Omar Sharif) was designed by César Manrique, who created many of the Lanzarote attractions we see today. The house would be built into the heart of a volcanic quarry by the British developer Sam Benady.
Manrique had the unique vision to follow the irregular lava shapes of the quarry, leaving the rock visible on the inside and combining it with white walls and green plants on the outside. He carried out the concept with the Lanzarote artist Jesus Soto, seeking to recreate spaces that would transport visitors to stories of the “1001 Nights”.
A fateful game of bridge
Benady started work on LagOmar alongside Manrique, and in 1973, the actor Omar Sharif, who was filming “The Mysterious Island” at the time, visited the house and fell under its spell, buying it from Benady on the spot.
Benady was a shrewd businessman and, knowing Omar’s worldwide reputation as a card player, challenged him to a game of bridge. Omar lost the house during the game because he didn’t know that Benandy was the European bridge champion! Since that day, the house has been known as “Casa Omar Sharif”. I think the ‘House of Cards’ might have rung truer!
Who owns Casa Omar Sharif today?
Once again, in Sam Benady’s ownership, the house acted as a meeting point for artists and prospective buyers who visited the island and were looking for a villa to buy in Oasis de Nazaret, the area around the house developed by Benady.
LagOmar changed hands in 1989 when German architect Dominik von Boettinger bought it. He then returned to Lanzarote with his wife, also an architect, the Uruguayan Beatriz van Hoff, and they both initiated the last phase of LagOmar.
Convinced that this unusual space would appeal to visitors, they decided to open it to the public for cultural activities and add their own personalities to the project.
The nature of Lanzarote represented a challenge that they overcame with César Manrique’s advice. They succeeded in combining LagOmar’s architectural elements with the natural environment to create LagOmar. This oasis opened its doors for the first time in 1997 and has welcomed visitors into its enchanting spaces ever since.
Supposedly, a part of the upstairs living quarters is available to book for holidaymakers. The swimming pool below is part of that rental. Why not contact LagOmar yourself for a unique holiday stay?
Sit back and enjoy refreshments at LagOmar
Before you leave LagOmar, be sure to stop for refreshments. A delightful outdoor seating area under the shade of palm trees or on the patio is the perfect place to enjoy a meal or drink.
If you prefer dining indoors, there’s an on-site restaurant and a cocktail bar. La Cueva is located inside one of the cave openings and serves drinks from 6 pm to midnight; it’s a unique place to enjoy a whiskey sour or a mojito.
However you plan to spend your time at LagOmar, I am sure, like me, you will come away knowing you probably won’t see anything quite as enchanting as it again!
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