My Favourite Places In Lanzarote (& Why I’ll Always Secretly Love Lanzarote )
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Brits tend to think of the island of Lanzarote – and the Canary Islands as a whole – as an easy fly and flop destination. Most places in Lanzarote are synonymous with holidays rather than adventurous travel, and with days spent relaxing as opposed to exploring.
But even though it may not be trendy to say it, I absolutely love Lanzarote – and not just for lying on the beach.
I know I’m far from the first person to notice this but all the Canary Islands, and Lanzarote in particular, have so much more to offer than a week or two on a sun lounger and I’m often surprised at how few people talk about it.
Yes Lanzarote is blessed with a fantastic climate, and plenty of year-round sunshine, but it also boasts incredible natural attractions and from pretty historic towns to dramatic volcanic moonscapes.
And Lanzarote has some unusual and quirky places to visit, the like of which you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.
I’ve holidayed all over the world, and it’s not often I revisit somewhere unless it’s pretty special, yet I’ve been on holiday to Lanzarote three times.
Perhaps the old nickname of Lanzagrotty still lingers in people’s minds but it really shouldn’t: as well as plenty of average 3 star hotel accomodation, there are lots of luxury hotels and plush places to stay.
My favourite high-end Spanish hotel group for beach holidays has always been Iberostar and given that’s where I stayed on my holidays to Lanzarote I *always* keep an eye on luxury hotel offers especially last minute deals, because I know I’d always be happy to return to the island.
So if you’re after a great holiday in Lanzarote but don’t want to deepen just your tan while you’re there, read on to find out which places in Lanzarote I recommend for discerning visitors…
Why I Love Lanzarote: Nature Meets Art Meets Relaxation
The stark volcanic landscape of Lanzarote is peppered with jaw-dropping viewpoints, including black beaches perfect for surfing and alien-looking national parklands. There are also Bondesque 60’s style underground lairs, designed by local architect and artist Cesar Manrique.
As the fourth-largest of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote sits at the North Eastern point of the chain, closest of all it’s neighbours to the Sahara desert and almost parallel to Agadir, in Morocco.
But despite being geographically part of Africa, the Canaries’ enduring popularity is partly due to being perpetually cooled by their own trade winds, meaning the island of Lanzarote enjoys the perfect temperature year round. This makes it a great place to holiday during the summer and to escape to during the British winter.
For art and culture seekers, Lanzarote’s reputation doesn’t necessarily precede it, but to overlook the island is a mistake. In truth it’s a bit of a bonus that many people on holiday in Lanzarote (and this goes for Tenerife too) tend to stay in their hotel or resort as you’ll have fewer crowds to contend with, particularly if you visit out of high season.
Find out why there’s more to the island than meets the eye with this list.
My 5 favourite places in Lanzarote:
1. El Golfo; the Emerald Green Lake + The Boiling Pots of Los Hervideros
The Green Lake is a great example of of Lanzarote’s incredible raw natural beauty, and a geological marvel which was once the backdrop for the film One Million Years B.C. starring Raquel Welch. The village of El Golfo is also a popular place for locals to enjoy a traditional Canarian Sunday lunch. The main thing on the menu? Fish and seafood.
Just along the coast by car (on the LZ-703 from Salinas de Janubio to El Golfo) is a collection of caves and inlets formed, like the Giant’s Causeway, by the pummelling sea and waves, creating blowholes in the volcanic rock. It’s known as Los Hervideros which means ‘the boiling pots’ and is an awe inspiring reminder of the power of nature.
These are dramatic, off the beaten track wonders which will define your holiday to Lanzarote and be more memorable than any day at the beach.
2. Fundacion Cesar Manrique & The Manrique Collection
One of the Lanzarote-born artist’s key sites on the island, Manrique’s former home outside Tahiche fuses architecture with the unique spectacle of lava-ridden landscapes.
This labyrinthine site is made from naturally-occurring lava bubbles making it great fun to explore for visitors of all ages.
The influence of Matisse and Picasso on the artist and sculptor is evident in the shapes and forms, and was the result of Manrique spending time studying in the USA. You’ll find the same inspiration at the six other Manrique-designed sites on the island.
You can also thank Cesar Manrique for Lanzarote’s signature style – low-rise traditionally-painted and whitewashed buildings thankfully remain prevalent and it’s largely due to his campaigning that the island has stayed so unspoiled to this day.
Other key places to visit in Lanzarote from the Manrique collection:
-Jardin de Cactus
-Jameos del Agua
-Cueva de Los Verdes
-Mirador del Rio
-Museo de Art Contemporaneo
3. Teguise Town & Market
One of the real highlights of my visits to Lanzarote is Teguise market, which is held on Sunday mornings from 9am until 2pm.
This is the place to go for a lively morning’s entertainment, some great shopping and to enjoy a wander around this beautiful example of a traditional Lanzarote village, featuring narrow streets lined with white and green houses.
From beautiful lace and handmade pottery to the usual made in China market fodder, there is a wide and sometimes inspiring selection of goods here, including some items that I had never seen elsewhere on my travels. For shopping it really is one of the best places in Lanzarote and a few purchases found their way home with me and have been prized ever since.
4. Park Nacional de Timanfaya
You need your own set of wheels to get the most out of Lanzarote that’s for sure, and every time I have visited I’ve found car hire in Lanzarote to be a must to get to the far north of the island for Timanfaya.
Make sure you hop in a car or join a tour so you can check out the sights of Timanfaya National Park for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Once inside the park you will have to board a special minibus with other tourists to see the scenes up close, which is a shame, but it’s understandable as the landscapes deserve to remain unpolluted by litter, and this is the best way to do it. The advice is to sit on the left for the best views, as the driver winds his way through 14 km of colourful craters.
This volcanic national park will make you question whether you’re still on planet earth, let alone in Europe. Created nearly 300 years ago when one of the world’s biggest volcanic explosions rocked the island for six whole years, spewing out millions of cubic metres of lava and creating the Montañas del Fuego that you see today in the centre of the area.
You can also eat at Cesar Manrique-designed Restaurant el Diablo where the food is cooked in the boiling hot volcanic soil.
5. Puerto Calero
Surely the antithesis of everything you might think of when imagining a resort in the Canaries, Puerto Calero is a 450 berth yachting harbour adjacent to some of Lanzarote’s best luxury hotels outside Playa Blanca.
This is a discerning and relaxed part of the island, with a few villa rental options and a smattering of upmarket restaurants and bars, giving you, the perfect venue for a sophisticated night out where you can mix with locals and seafaring visitors alike.
The busier Puerto Del Carmen area is also close by and you can travel between the two quickly by car or taxi (there is a bus too) – so if you tire of the relaxed vibe here, you can go and party at the rather more hedonistic town.
But be warned, unlike this list of places I love in Lanzarote, Playa Del Carmen is one of the more obvious places to go in Lanzarote for a package holiday vibe.
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