Lanzarote is the fourth largest island of the Canary Islands nestling peacefully in the Atlantic Ocean just 125km off the coast of Africa. It is said to have been the first island to be settled, however its devastating volcanic history has formed much of its character today. There are so many things to do in Lanzarote, filled with natural beauty and out of this world volcanic landscapes there is a huge display of unmissable sights as well as fun activities.
1. Visit Timanfaya national park
An essential part of any luxury holiday to Lanzarote must include a visit to its flagship Timanfaya national park. Attracting many tourists each year this fascinating moon like landscape is filled with rare plants species and exciting geological phenomena. Several devastating eruptions between 1730 and 1736 formed the land as it is now, and still today Volcano Timanfaya is the last remaining active volcano (known as Fire Mountain). A popular attraction is when the guides pour water in to the ground to demonstrate how hot it is close to the surface, the water instantly steams and spurts geysers. Look in awe at the beautiful natural designs the lava has created and be amazed by the natural geothermal heat.
Its best to arrive early to beat the crowds but unfortunately you cannot really wander around freely so make sure you arrange a tour beforehand. Regular coach tours travel the park but also guided walking tours and camel rides.
For a spot of lunch the parks own restaurant El Diablo designed by César Manrique serves delicious Canary Island specialties with the volcanos forming a breath-taking backdrop.
Open: 10am – 6pm
Location: Covering around 50 square kilometres of the South West
Getting There: Accessible on bus tours.
Timanfaya national park, Lanzarote
2. Discover the life of César Manrique
For the art lovers, this interesting homage to a much loved figure in Lanzarote history is well worth a visit. César Manrique was an artist and architect born in Lanzarote, on his return from his American travels tourism had begun to bloom in Lanzarote, aware of its dangers César lobbied against the threats of tourism and had a major influence in planning regulations encouraging a sympathetic development of tourism which has resulted in a lack of high rise buildings on the island.
The two museums include the foundation of César Manrique and the house museum. The house situated in the handsome region of Haria reflects the perfect solitude and harmony of nature which inspired his art. The beautiful design is made up of white decor and black volcanic rock with stark flashes of greenery. Basalt steps lead down to a beautiful turquoise pool linked by volcanic passages. The foundation offers an exhibition of his work and a collection of other artists.
Open: 10am – 6pm
Admission: €10, children under 12 are €1. You can purchase a joint ticket including the foundation and house museum for €15.
Cesar Manrique foundation, Lanzarote
3. Beautiful unspoiled beaches
Lanzarote has become very much well known for its beaches. Beautiful white sands and calm clear blue waters make a postcard perfect setting more reminiscent of a scene in the movie ‘The Beach’ than a Canary Island. However with around 213km of coastline it becomes hard to choose between them. From the beaches in the north providing a livelier climate perfect for water sports to the scarcely visited secret beaches of Papagayo.
Island of La Graciosa- The tiny island sitting on the tip of Lanzarote is home to some of the most stunning beaches, protected by a national park these beaches are beautifully clean and not hugely busy. Idyllic pictures of white sand and turquoise waters are more reminiscent of the Caribbean than the Canaries.
Playa de Papagayo is actually a collection of many beaches, these beaches can be a little bit out of the way but well worth a visit. Extensive golden sands and small private coves make this collection of beaches some of the most beautiful on the island. There is not a lot around them so it’s a good idea to bring lunch and lots of water.
Famara on the North West coast is a popular long stretch beach welcoming a wonderful Atlantic breeze that is not only refreshing but perfect for water sports activities. The waves are particularly popular with surfers and the long stretching sands and the stunning cliff backdrop attracts sunbathers alike.
Beach of Papagaya in Lanzarote
4. Step in to magnificent Lava caves Cueva de Los Verdes
Cueva De Los Verdes or ‘green caves’ lie just north of Haria. The 8km long lava tube was left behind by the eruption of Monte Corona thousands of years ago. The caves are quite an exceptional sight, beautiful lights illuminate the magnificent caverns and the strange stalactites caused by air bubbles in the lava are a sight to behold. The cave gives way to an impressive concert hall where occasional music events take place, making use of the excellent acoustics.
Some tour groups can be a bit over crowded so it is highly recommended to book with an operator offering smaller groups.
Open: 10am – 6pm (last tour 5pm)
Admission: Prices depend on tours but adult entry is usually around €10
Cueva de los Verdes, Lanzarote
5. Enjoy shopping and explore the towns of Lanzarote
Lanzarote can be great for shopping. The bigger shopping centres tend to reside mainly in Arrecife and Playa Blanca and the biggest shopping centre on the island is located in Playa Honda just south of Arrecife. However the rest of the Island has a huge selection of lovely seafront promenades and small towns offering smaller shops selling local produce and boutiques selling local materials.
Sunday market in Teguise.
6. Enjoy a family day out at Rancho Texas park zoo.
For the family, Rancho Texas Park is a great day out. Feel like a cowboy in this Wild West style theme park. If you need a break from sunbathing and relaxing on the beautiful beaches you will find activities such as canoeing and panning for gold can give you the excitement you are looking for. The park is also home to a zoo with tigers, snakes and many more animals.
Open 9.30am – 5.30pm
Admission: Adults €22, children under 14 €17
Getting there: Buses run frequently from Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca and Puerto Del Carmen.
White tiger swimming, Rancho Texas park.
7. Water sports, scuba diving and snorkelling
Lanzarote’s coast is formed by volcanic activity to which beautiful underwater caves and flourishing marine life make excellent diving and snorkelling. The beautiful coastline and inviting warm waters welcome whales and dolphins which you can spot on several boat tours.
Good waves, lovely beaches and rugged landscapes with strong Atlantic winds make Lanzarote a water sports paradise. The many water sports you can do in Lanzarote include sailing, windsurfing, surfing, kite surfing, parasailing, jet skiing, water skiing and much more also there is a huge amount of water sports centres to choose from. For beginners there are more sheltered coves and beaches on the southern side of the island.
Snorkelling off the coast of Lanzarote.
Have you visited Lanzarote? We would love to hear your top 7 in the comments below.