The island’s major sights have been aesthetically developed by the late César Manrique, a Lanzarote native, and artist. Houses must be painted white, other than wooden windows and door frames or wooden shutters which can be any one of two shades of green. There’s no billboard advertising, no highrise buildings, giving the island a unique atmosphere.
So, in today’s blog post, I will show you some of the best things to see and do while on this amazing island, in my second mini island guide.
WHERE IS LANZAROTE?
Lanzarote is situated just 70 miles off the coast of Africa, the most easterly of the Canary Islands and one of the smallest. The island is, however, part of Spain and is a popular tourist destination, with its all year round sunshine, beautiful beaches and stunning national parks.
Lanzarote is a volcanic island, but it hasn’t had an eruption since 1824(phew). Its status is classed as historical and therefore dormant, although you can feel the heat under the surface at Timanfaya.
Playa Chica Beach – Love this beach. Great for snorkeling. Spent hours in the water and saw all sizes and sort of fish. It is pretty protected so you don’t have to worry too much about the current. The beach itself is not that great, but the fishes make it worth it. Even my mom who doesn’t like to get her hair went snorkeled for quite a while.
The Wine Valley of La Geria, which has been declared a ‘Protected Area’, is Lanzarote’s main wine-growing region, occupying about 20 square miles (52 square kilometers).
If your mental picture of a vineyard comprises lush green vines and rolling hills then you are in for in for a shocker. Because making wine is done differently on this volcanic island. In Geria, rolling hills have been replaced with black volcanic sand as far as the eyes can see. The grape bushes can’t grow ‘up’ because of the strong winds, so they grow low on the floor. They are protected from the wind by semi-circular zocos. So interesting and unique to see.
Haria is a picturesque village, known as the ‘Valley of the thousand palms’. It is also known for its Saturday market (Saturday Haria market). Hundreds of stalls with traditional Spanish food, souvenirs, clothing and much much more. There is a lot of handmade stuff that won’t break the bank, which makes for a fun shopping trip.
Playa Honda isn’t your typical resort town, but it is a pretty large town, with a fabulous beach and excellent shopping. This town is most famous for its plane spotting. You can get very close to the runway of the local airport and take some amazing pictures. There aren’t many places in the world where you can get as close to a busy, live runway.
I did not get too close to myself because we parked in the wrong spot. We ended up having to walk quite a bit. We got hungry, thirsty and hot so after a while, so we decided to go back to our hotel and chill at the pool. If you google plane spotting Lanzarote you will see quite a few cool pics.
TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK
This absolutely spectacular national park is a must see. This awe-inspiring stretch of volcanic wasteland offers a desolate and bleak monument to the power of Mother Nature.
Try to get there early to avoid queues! Stunning landscapes, only coaches are allowed in the actual park because of the narrow roads through the volcanic landscape. The area is best seen on a sunny day as the different colors are amazing.
Unfortunately, the Spanish like to strike a lot, so when I was on the island this park was closed to all visitors.
Amazing forces of nature are visibly at work here… even with only a little wind, the waves are impressive!
Definitely worth a visit, especially with all the other nearby sights. Plus it’s FREE, and the site is surprisingly accessible.
Be careful with young kids and elderly who are not stable on their feet. The footpath is pretty rough and there are virtually no barriers.
JARDIN DE CACTUS
Jardin de Cactus, or the Cactus Garden, contains over 1,000 species from all over the world, all arranged in an amphitheater-like landscape.
The garden is very well laid out and a pleasure to walk around. I wasn’t expecting much but found the weird shapes and sizes of these sturdy plants oddly compelling.
The cafe was excellent too: a Spanish omelet, some paninis, and a baguette were all well above average.
We only had so much time on the island that we didn’t visit everything. And as stated before, they government workers were on strike, so a lot of the major attractions where closed. Underneath are a few more attractions and things to do on the island.
- Jameos del Agua – a series of lava caves
- Cueva de los Verdes – Fascinating lava cave system created approximately twenty thousand years ago. The caves run for about eight kilometers from the source volcano down to the ocean. Guided tours start every ten minutes.
- Castillo de San Gabriel – Castle located in Las Palma.
WHERE TO STAY
|Calle Hungría, 6, 35510 Puerto del Carmen, Las Palmas, Spain|
|Phone: +34 928 51 26 81|
Cost AU $193 avg./night ( 3 people)
Breakfast Breakfast buffet included
Wifi Included (very basic and does not work very well)
I stayed in a 1 bedroom suite with my parents. Initially, I was not supposed to come with them, but I could only come to work for a certain period due to work commitments in Australia. They added me to the booking so the accommodation was not ideal. I got a mattress on a bed, which was a tad uncomfortable and short. But the hotel itself is lovely and we had stunning views from our balcony. Top tip: if you want to book this hotel then ask for a room on the second level, they have more privacy, a large balcony and stunning ocean and mountain views. (Plus an amazing sunset every night)
LOOKING FOR A BACKPACKERS HOSTEL?
Accommodation in Lanzarote is very diverse. You have something available in pretty much all price ranges. Underneath are some backpackers hostels.
LOOKING FOR A BED AND BREAKFAST?
Size: 845.9 km²
Population: 139,000 (2010)
Languages: As the Canary Islands are part of Spain’s territory, the official language spoken is therefore Spanish. However, it’s an incredibly popular holiday destination, so you’ll be able to get by with no problems if you’re not fluent in Spanish, as most people in the tourist areas will be able to speak good English.
Tipping: Tipping is quite discretionary in Lanzarote, with taxi charges often rounded up slightly, although this is by no means a requirement. Restaurants always include service charges by law and these should be clearly stated on the menus, although a small tip is usually expected and very much appreciated.
Weather: In January, the coldest month the average temperature at sea level, is of 17 degrees. The average temperature of the hottest month is of 24 degrees. During the night the temperatures normally do not go under 13 degrees in winter and 20 degrees in summer.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Lanzarote, just like the rest of the Canaries islands, is a year-round destination.
Always pack your shorts, t-shirts and a swimsuit. Although in winter months, you might want a wetsuit if you don’t want to look like a total tourist. But basically, temperatures rarely dip below a good English summer. Although in winter months, you will need a jacket in the evening.
I hope you have enjoyed this mini-guide on Lanzarote. Would you like to see more of these mini-guides? let me know in the comments below.
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