This sub-aquatic island in the Canaries offers moon-like scenery that is packed with beaches, volcanic landscape, and natural attractions. The crystal-clear waters, thirsty soil, and the oasis of palm trees make Lanzarote one of the most popular holiday resorts in Spain. A trip of 5-to-7 days is enough to explore it thoroughly while you can tour Lanzarote’s most touristy sites in a couple of days.
Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It had active volcanoes until the 19th century, and this ensures its uniqueness. The first population came here around 500 AD, from North Africa. They were called majos. In the 15th century, they were conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, becoming the first Spanish island. As a Spanish territory up to this day, it became a place of intense tourism during the 20th century.
Located further north is Costa Teguise, which is calmer, more family-orientated version of the two towns above. Arrecife is where the cruise port and airport are locate. While there are a few resorts there, it’s mostly known as a city known for shopping and partying with the locals.
The capital city of Arrecife and Teguise boast the majority of the historical monuments on the island such as the San Gabriel Castle and the Castillo San Jose. The charming towns Haria, Yaiza, Uga and Tias,are worth a visit to discover the typical island architecture.
When to Visit
Lanzarote Island has very constant weather throughout entire year. The climate is temperate, with an average ranging between 22 – 30. For those enjoying a lot of sun and relaxation on the beach, the hottest months are July, August, and September.
Being a Catholic island, however, Lanzarote has many religious holidays, celebrations, and festivals, that attract tourism. So, if you don’t mind big crowds, experiencing these traditions is more than worthwhile.
What to Love
This exotic island is soft and peaceful and hosts most resort towns on its eastern (Morocco) site. It’s the perfect location for lying on the beach, sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and boat rides.
The other side, facing west towards the ocean, is wilder. It has unpredictable landscapes carved by strong winds and lava. This is a side for spectacular and dangerous sightseeing, nature discovery, trailing, biking. Swimming here is not recommended, as the waters can be as rough as the volcanic landscape.
Places to See
There are lots of attractions to visit in Lanzarote, but a visit to the Timanfaya is absolute must. The whole volcanic tourism on the island revolves around it. The unique wine crops of La Geria and the coastal areas El Golfo and Los Hervideros also provide spectacular backdrops to emerald green craters and turquoise waters.
Timanfaya National Park
A unique volcanic scenery, created during the 18th century that covers a quarter of the island. The landscape within Timanfaya National Park looks like it’s from another world, and is is main attraction for Lanzarote tourists.
An impressive natural amphitheater, in the South of Lanzarote. It is a spectacular green lagoon volcanic-crater, partially flooded by waters, named Lago Vede. This is a protected reserve which includes also a small beach and village, with historical buildings. Nearby you’ll also find Los Hervideros
Mirador del Rio
It is a high sightseeing point, at 475 m, that presents you with an amazing drone-like image of Lanzarote. The landscaping that surrounds Mirador del Rio is signature project by the famous architect Cesar Manrique.
Cesar Manrique Artworks
All over Lanzarote, you can admire his artworks as well as his architectural projects that have remodeled the entire Canary Islands. There is also the Cesar Manrique House Museum, in Haria.
Cueva de Los Verdes
A 6 km long cave network, created by lava, Cueva del Los Verdes one of the longest in the world. Here the locals use to hide away from pirate attacks.
Things to Do
There are hundreds of things to do in Lanzarote, it simply a matter of how much time you have during your stay.
Jameos del Aqua
A psychedelic-fantasy system of caves, decorated and transformed into a mind-blowing touristic complex, by the architect, Cesar Manrique. There are special concerts and dinners held here that are quite the experience.
The oldest settlement in the Canaries Islands (1402), which was Lanzarote’s capital for 450 years. In the town, you’ll find the best market in Lanzarote, as well as a pirate museum in a castle.
Charco de San Gines
Yet another Cesar Manrique creation this lagoon of Charco de San Gines in Arrecife is the Venice of Spain. The fishing boat are by scenic walking paths and bridges, along with lots of trendy cafes and restaurants.
Head to Famara if you’re new to surfing and want to give it a try. Then check out La Santa if you want to see how the professional surfers ride those monster waves.
Casa Museo del Campesino
A monument dedicated to farmers, camels, and rural living, Casa Museo del Campesino one of Cesar Manriquețs masterpieces. It is an abstract modern sculpture, carved in one block of white rock.
Europe’s first underwater sculptures man-made attraction, Museo Atlantico is a fascinating location for scuba diving, next to Marina Rubicon.
The beaches in Lanzarote are wide and unspoiled with Playa Grande, Playa Chica, Playa Dorada and Playa de Los Pocillos among others being very resort-friendly. Other more secluded beaches like Playa Papagayo and Playa Famara are where you go to get away from the resort crowd.
The largest festival is on the 15th of September, in Tinajo, dedicated to Lanzarote’s patroness, la Virgen de Los Dolores (or de Los Volcanes). You can also join St. John’s festivities in June or St. Gines’ the Bishop in August with the patrons of Arrecife in the island capital.
A rule of thumb in Lanzarote, is wherever there’s a resort… there’s a shopping mall nearby!
Found in Puerto del Carmen, Biosfera Plaza has lots of shops and international brands, along with restaurants and cafes. On the rooftop you’ll find a starlight cinema, Jurassic mini-golf, and a big soft play area for children.
Located in Playa Blanca, Marina Rubicon is one of the largest malls in Lanzarote, with numerous stores, as well as cafes and a beautiful ocean view.
Centro Comercial El Mercadill
A classic style, coquette shopping center, in Arrecife with small shops, restaurants, and cafes arranged on two levels.
With Lanzarote being a cruise destination, shopping markets are quite popular woth shore excursion and resort tourism.
Every Sunday morning, this historical place hosts one of the best markets in the north. You not only get fresh local food, but also many handmade items. From pottery to leather products, there is everything that you could ever wish for, waiting for you to strike a bargain. That is why this place becomes extremely busy until noon.
Haria Craft Market
Organized in the northern village of Haria, every Saturday morning. Listen to Canarian music, watch traditional dances on the main street, and purchase local handmade products, artistic objects, and fresh food at low prices.
Every Wednesday and Thursday you will find this artisanal market open around Carco de San Gines.
What to Buy
You’ll find aloe vera all across in the island, not only in shops but in plantations and aloe museums as well. Hand-crafted pottery is a Lanzarote speciality, as is mojo sauce for those who like it hot and spicy.
Aloe Vera grown all over Lanzarote is renowned as one of the best in the world. You’ll see small factory shops right next to aloe farms, as well as in any shop on the island. The creams and juice are top sellers.
Guanche fertility symbols made of ceramic fired in the old ground technique is a great present.
You can take home a bit of Lanzarote’s unique taste in the shape of the twin red and green traditional sauce jars.
What To Eat
Try the local dishes made of fresh seafood, sancocho soup (salty fish and sweet potatoes), tollos (cod strips), as well as, ropa vieja (beef stew) and conejo al salmorejo (rabbit and sauce).
You can also same the local goat meat, cabrito and baifo, along with goat cheese and fresh vegetables. The papas arrugadas (potatoes) with spicy mojo sauce (coriander and pepper sauce) is also quite nice.
For dessert, you could go for a morcilla (sweet black pudding), or bienmesabe (almond and egg yolk).
What to Drink
With Lanzarote being known as wine region, a quick drive into the interior will bring you to many fine bodegas and wineries.
Also known as Malvasia, there is an entire pilgrimage route for the vineyards, called la Ruta de Las Bodegas. The white wine is considered by the locals the best, but don’t stay aside from the red one, either. You can also find them bottled in all local shops.
Try the local beers made by crafters in the cities’ outskirts.
With a vehicle, you can get around easily and cross the island from one side to the other, in 40 minutes north-to-south, and 25 minutes, west-to-east.
The taxi will take you almost anywhere, it’s not that expensive, but you will find them only in the tourist spots and in cities. You can, also, take the bus, which covers quite a lot of the important locations of Lanzarote.
There is also the option of renting a car. Not as cheap as the bus, however, you still encounter decent prices. The car rental is the greatest idea when you want to explore parts of the island that are further away from populated areas, or not touristic, yet, very attractive.
If you are the sporty type, then you should rent a bike or an electric scooter.