There’s never been a better time to Discover Lanzarote.
Lanzarote is a popular resort for tourists in Europe. Firstly, the island promises year-round sunshine, warm weather and low rainfall which creates the perfect climate for poolside travel. Moreover, miles of black sandy beaches create the impression of a desert paradise.
Yet look past this tranquility and you’ll find an island with a violently volcanic past and a brutal history. There’s more to meets the eye when you discover this beautiful island.
What I love the most about Lanzarote, is that you can easily do poolside tourism whilst making time to discover the island.
Believe me, I know its tempting to spend a week by the pool, buried in a good novel (no shame intended, the Lanzarote weather is great for this). But I’d encourage you to explore other sides of the island.
Here are my 12 top tips to Discover Lanzarote. Enjoy.
Lanzarote, alongside the other Canary Islands, is located 125km west of Morrocco. Although closer to Africa, the islands have been part of Spain since 1402.
You can also discover Lanzarote by boat and there are regular ferries to and from the island.
When should I visit?
Lanzarote promises sun and warm weather throughout the year. May to September tend to be hotter however this means that tourist numbers are high and resorts are busy. Therefore the winter months are a good time to visit as the climate remains warm throughout.
Travelling by Car is one of the best ways to discover Lanzarote and having a car makes it much easier to visit the island’s main attractions. In fact, some of these attractions (including the Timanfaya National Park) aren’t connected to public transport which means that hiring a car or booking a trip is required if you want to visit these places.
We hired a car from sixt who have a base at the airport in Arrecife.
Lanzarote has many scenic roadways which offer a unique perspective of the island.
- LZ-702 is a mountainous shortcut between Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca. You can expect towering volcanoes, rural hamlets and a stunning view towards Playa Blanca.
- LZ-703 from El Golfo to La Hoya. A picturesque coastal route with many black sandy beaches. The beaches here are much quitter than those in the main tourist areas.
- Timanfaya National Park – See below.
Use resorts as your base
The island is small and it’s possible to drive the length of the island within an hour. This means that the island’s attractions are accessible wherever you chose to stay.
You will find most accommodation within the main beach resorts. Costa Teguise, Peurto Del Carmen and Playa Blanca are the largest of these.
If you are looking for some poolside time, as well as opportunities to explore, I’d recommend using these beach resorts as a base. From there you discover the rest of the island.
The beach resorts on Lanzarote are much quieter than the resorts found in Tenerife. I’d recommend Playa Blanca as the quietest and is less commercial than the others.
Eat out….and often
Abandon the all inclusive buffet. There are some great restaurants to discover on Lanzarote.
- Gusto is in the outskirts of Playa Blanca, towards Faro Pechiguera. Here you can expect a warm welcome and home cooked Italian food, surrounded trendy interiors. The pasta here is amazing.
- Restaurant El Diablo is inside the Timafaya National Park. The menu is basic and there are limited vegetarian options. However the main attraction is that they prepare the chicken using volcanic heat. Furthermore, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Montañas del Fuego while enjoying your meal.
- Divina Italia is by Charco De San Ginés in Arrecife. Here you can sample stone baked pizzas whilst enjoying the beautiful view across the harbour. Visit on the weekend and be surrounded by locals enjoying the weather.
Above all, be sure to order Patatas Arrugades con Mojo or Canarian potatoes during your visit. This is a canarian dish which they traditionally prepare by boiling potatoes in seawater. This leaves the potatoes with a delicious salt crust and a spicy mojo sauce compliments this dish perfectly.
In other words – They are to die for.
Discover Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park
The Timanfaya National Park is best known among the volcanic attractions on Lanzarote. The park is the site of the island’s most recent volcanic eruptions on the island in 1824. Volcanic activity continues to this day and is used to dramatic effect. There are regular demonstrations where guides use the volcanic heat to create fire. Additionally water explodes from the ground through a man-made geyser.
Watch out – this one can catch you by surprise.
As part of your entrance fee, a complementary coach trip will take you deeper into the park. The coach will take you through the Ruta de Los Volcanes. The journey brings you closer to the volcanic craters and solified lava flows. There is a short audio commentary on the bus (in three languages) which provides a brief summary the area’s history.
Timanfaya is extremely popular with visitors and it’s likely that you will queue to enter unless you arrive early. We visited in early February and queued for around 40 minutes. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of water and something to keep you entertained. In addition to that, be sure to bring cash for your entry fee. It was around 10 euros to enter and there wasn’t a card machine at the entrance.
Explore volcanic caves
Discover a different side to Lanzarote beneath the surface. The Cueva de Los Verdes is a labyrinth of caves which extends for 6km beneath the surface.
The caves a have a fascinating history. This was where the locals hid when the island was being pillaged by pirates and slave traders. A tour guide provides an overview of this history as well as highlighting the various underground rock formations.
The Cueva de Los Verdes ends in a dramatic climax which is a closely guarded secret. Visitors to the caves are sworn to secrecy about what happens. In other words, you will need to visit the caves to find out what this is.
Explore City Life in Arrecife
If you prefer human activities to geology, head to Arrecife and discover the capital city of Lanzarote. The city is small by international standards yet has an undeniable Mediterranean and cosmopolitan vibe.
Visitors to Arrecife should head to the Charco de San Ginés for a stroll around the saltwater lake. Hundreds of brightly coloured fishing boats occupy the lake and which bob merrily in the breeze. A bustling promenade surrounds the lake, offering bookstores, bars and restaurants.
Head here for food and drinks by the harbour.
The Iglesia de San Ginés dates from the 17th century and is located close by.
From here, we took a short walk to the Castillo de San Gabriel. This is 16th Century fort built on a tiny island close to the coast. The fortification is a remnant of Lanzarote’s history of piracy and plunder. Today the castle is home to a small museum on the island’s history (all in Spanish) and offers a promenade which reaches towards the ocean.
The Canary islands are a great places to watch the stars as there are low levels of light pollution. What’s great is that you can do this anywhere, even from your accommodation or beside a swimming pool. However, be sure to wrap up warm and use plenty of insect repellent.
Download the Skyview app onto your mobile. This app will help you to locate the major stars, planets and constellations. For example, I was able to see Mars and Jupiter without a telescope.
Soak up the sun by Puerto Calero Marina
Puerto Calero is best know for it’s Marina, which hosts up to 450 boats and yachts. The walk around the harbour is pleasant and views stretch out towards Fuerteventura.
After you have circled the marina, head toward the small strip of bars and restaurants. This is a perfect place for passing time in the sun watching the world go by. In addition to this, Puerto Calero offers a small number of boutique shops offering everything from souvenirs to designer clothes.
Arrecife provides decent opportunities for shoppers, most of which are located on the Avenida Leon y Castillo. Expect international chains alongside independent traders. El Mercadillo is worth a visit, less for the shops and more for the live music which is hosted by the restaurant inside.
The Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca hosts a local market each Wednesday and Saturday morning. Stalls here offer a great variety of products from the island. The market is very popular, therefore arrive early to beat the crowds.
Stock up on Aloe Vera
Whilst shopping in Lanzarote, stock up on Aloe Vera supplies. The island’s arid climate and rich, fertile soils are perfect growing conditions for aloe vera therefore you will find many aloe vera themed shops during your visit. AloePlusLanzarote have a strong range of products and usually have offers available.
In conclusion, there has never been a better time to discover Lanzarote.
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