1. Explore Timanfaya National Park
One of the most popular Lanzarote attractions, the Timanfaya National Park is the best place to explore the Fire Mountains (Montañas del Fuego) responsible for the volcanic eruptions in the 1700s. The landscape here is unique, with the lava fields, cones and salt marshes resembling the surface of the moon. Guides will demonstrate how hot the lava fields are by throwing water into holes in the ground, only to emerge as piping hot steam! There’s also the El Diablo Restaurant, where food is cooked on grills heated by the volcano. A coach tour is included in your ticket price, as you can’t wander unsupervised in the park. If you want to go beyond this, various free walking tours are offered, and take around 3-4 hours, but booking in advance is required.
Opening times: Daily, 9am to 6pm (restaurant closes at 3pm).
Location: Timanfaya National Park, south-west Lanzarote. Tourist buses arrive at the park entrance in the morning, so if you’re hiring a car, go in the afternoon to avoid queues.
2. Discover the Cueva de Los Verdes
Cueva de Los Verdes, or ‘The Green Caves’ are volcanic hollows formed by the eruption of Mount Corona around 4000 years ago, part of the longest lava tunnel in the world. The caves were historically used as a hideout for the locals during invasions by pirates but now make one of the most captivating Lanzarote sights, with special lighting showcasing the different structures and natural colour changes due to the iron and salt. You can walk around 1km of the 6km cave, across 3 levels.
Opening times: Daily 10am – 6pm.
Location: 35520 Haría, Las Palmas.
Price: Adults €8, Concessions €4.
3. Hang out at Jameos Del Agua
Jameos Del Agua was devised in a radical way during the 1960s, by Cesar Manrique, Lanzarote-born architect and artist. The word jameo in this context means the opening of a lava tunnel, and the Jameos Del Agua is the result of Manrique’s transformation of part of the same Mount Corona volcanic system. Now, you can see a collection of gardens, café, a natural lake home to albino crabs and a number of other species, and an auditorium which regularly hosts events. Chill with a cocktail at the underground cave bar, or stick around ’til nightfall when a second venue turns into what’s got to be one of the world’s more unusual nightclubs (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday only, 7.30pm – 2am).
Opening times: Daily 10am – 6.30pm. Bars and restaurant open selected times, with reduced hours during winter.
Location: Carretera Orzola, Punta Mujeres.
4. Laze in Playa Blanca
One of the more upmarket Lanzarote resorts, Playa Blanca oozes the charm of unhurried seaside life, where boats drift in and out of the harbour and you can wander from the boutiques of Marina Rubicon to the bar without a care in the world. The main Blue Flag Playa Blanca beach lives up to its name, part of a string of three white shores cupped by black volcanic rocks. Head to Playa Dorada to try watersports like parascending, jetskiing and scuba diving, or nearby Papagayo, said to be the most beautiful beach in Lanzarote.
5. Browse the Jardin de Cactus
Lanzarote’s Jardin de Cactus (Cactus Garden) is a quirky attraction in Guatiza in the north of the island. With a botanical oasis feel, it is home to over 1000 cacti plant species in a terraced former quarry shaped like an amphitheatre. Again, it’s largely the handiwork of Cesar Manrique – his last project before his death in the 1990s. The colourful cacti are sourced from all over the world and perfectly contrast the grey volcanic ash. There are ponds, winding paths and lava rocks overlooked by a restored rustic windmill, offering great views towards Arrieta. Tip: August to September is the perfect time to visit the gardens, as many cacti are in flower.
Opening times: Daily, 10am to 5.45pm.
Location: Carretera General del Norte, s/n, 35530 Guatiza.
Price: Adults €5, Concessions €2.50.
6. Visit Cesar Manrique House Museum & Volcano House
After exhausting all the Lanzarote attractions by Cesar Manrique, don’t miss his former studio-home near Haria, a reimagined manor house that’s now a museum dedicated to his life and the promotion of his works. Marique’s other property, Volcano House, near Tahiche, is 25km south of Haria and another zen-like creation built in five volcanic bubbles, with flowing rooms, natural light, fountains and a swimming pool. The house is also one of Lanzarote’s most important art galleries, where famous names from Joan Miró to Pablo Picasso have been exhibited in the past.
Opening times: (Cesar Manrique Museum) Daily, 10.30am to 6pm. (Volcano House) Daily 10am to 6pm.
Location: Casa Museo De Cesar Manrique, Calle Elvira Sánchez, 30, 35520 Haría.
Volcano House, César Manrique Foundation, Taro de Tahíche – C/ Jorge Luis Borges, 16.
Price: Joint ticket for both properties is €15. Individual tickets available.
7. Go wild at Rancho Texas Park
Rancho Texas Park is a Texan-themed animal and water park in Puerto del Carmen, perfect for anyone with kids in tow. There’s a wide selection of activities, from the pool and waterslides to gold digging and canoe rides on the Indian Lagoons neighbouring the Tipi Village. Animal-wise, the most exciting finds here are the rare white tigers and Komodo dragons, with plenty of daily events featuring sea-lions and birds of prey.
Opening times: Daily 9.30am to 5.30pm.
Location: Alcalde Cabrera Torres Street (Noruega Street extension), s/n. Puerto del Carmen.
Price: Adults €22, Concessions €17.
8. Take a Submarine Safari
If you’ve always wanted to explore the depths of the ocean but don’t fancy diving then how about a trip on a submarine? Submarine Safari in Puerto Calero gives you a rare opportunity to take a dive in a submarine, up to 30m deep into the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of Lanzarote. The dive will take approximately one hour, and a diver swims alongside the vessel feeding the fish so you will get to see a wide variety of fish.
Opening times: Daily 9.30am to 5.30pm (excluding Sundays during winter).
Location: Puerto Calero. Free bus services are available from Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise (enquire about booking).
Price: Adults €55 (online discounts available), Concessions €34.
9. Charco de los Clicos
Lanzarote is full of natural wonders, the Charco de los Clicos (or Green Lagoon) near El Golfo being another startling example. The lagoon has an unrivalled location at the foot of a volcanic crater, surrounded by black and red lava rocks. The lagoon’s green colour is a result of the unique combination of micro-organisms and volcanic minerals mixing with seawater from the Atlantic. Pop along the road to sample the freshly caught fish of the day in the restaurants of El Golfo – try Mar Azul for some of the best oceanview dining.
10. Slow down in Yaiza
A tranquil village near the foot of Timanfaya National Park, Yaiza has maintained its character, having survived the volcanic eruptions of the eighteenth century. There’s a pristinely-kept square, a seventeenth century church, gardens and tapas bars where you can enjoy quiet al fresco dining with the commanding backdrop of Mount Timanfaya. It’s the perfect place to experience traditional Lanzarote, away from the pulsing resorts of Costa Teguise. Yaiza is also the place to buy Lanzarote gemstones and jewellery, with a series of small boutique shops run by local designers and craft-makers that you can patrol for rare souvenirs.
11. Sunbathe on black sand
You haven’t experienced the Canaries like a local until you’ve sunbathed on a black sand beach, and quiet Playa Quemada, populated mainly by those in the know, is the ideal place to start. In the south-west close to Puerto Calero, this so-called ‘burnt beach’ attaches onto a former fishing village and retains a pleasant, sheltered feel if you want to escape those brisk Canarian winds.
12. Visit Castillo de San Jose, Arrecife
Many people on Lanzarote holidays fly in and out of Arrecife Airport without stopping at the island’s capital, but there are some cultural gems here worth seeing. This defensive fortress was used to keep pirates at bay until the nineteenth century, and today houses the Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo (Museum of Contemporary Art), featuring sculptures in some unusual places – check out the works on the roof, and look for the elegant horses and riders standing out in the sea, which can be seen from the gallery’s restaurant.
Opening times: Daily 10am – 8pm (to 9pm in summer).
Location: Calle Norte, 51C, Arrecife.
Price: Adults €2.50, Concessions €1.25.
13. Stroll El Charco de San Gines
Take a stroll along the ‘Venice of the Atlantic’ at El Charco de San Gines, an old section of the Arrecife marina. A lagoon framed by fishing cottages, restaurants and bars, it’s a great place to stop for a cold beer, some tapas and a spot of people-watching as the sun sinks. La Miñoca has surprisingly good-value plates with the friendly service an extra plus.
14. Drop in at the Bodegas El Grifo
Did you know that the Canary Islands are prime wine-making territory? The volcanic ground here is strangely ripe for growing certain varieties of red, white and rosé grape, as demonstrated at the Museo del Vino, within the 1775 Bodegas El Grifo winery, the oldest on the island. Take an inside peek at the growing, crushing and bottling process, guided by local experts. Tastings are included in the ticket price and if you like what you try, you can even order bottles to be delivered to your home.
Opening times: Daily 10.30am – 6pm.
Location: LZ-30, Km 11, 35550 San Bartolomé.
15. Discover La Graciosa – the eighth Canary Island
The tiny, virtually unheard of island is home to a population of just 600, off the north coast of Lanzarote. Rumoured to be the Treasure Island in R. L. Stevenson’s famous book, a British ship is said to have buried their valuables on La Graciosa back in the eighteenth century, to prevent them being found by pirates. Whether the treasure remains is subject to local myth but you can certainly enjoy a spot of speculation whilst sunning yourself on the undoubtedly gorgeous beaches. The finest is Playa de las Conchas to the north-west; it is possible to walk from the ferry port but 5km in the midday heat can be unforgiving. Thankfully there are fairly cheap water taxis charging €8 per person to wherever you wish, or 4×4 jeeps which cost a little more. To get to La Graciosa, car ferries leave from Orzola on Lanzarote and the journey takes 15 minutes. Lanzarote is also handy for a quick weekend break in Fuerteventura to the south; read our guide to find out more!
How to get to Lanzarote
Lanzarote’s international airport is just outside of capital Arrecife, on the east coast of the island. You’ll find direct flights up to seven times a day from London airports Gatwick and Luton, plus flights from Bristol, Birmingham and Belfast International. The journey time takes a little over four hours, with some of the cheapest short break deals from regional airports like Manchester.
Your trip starts here! Compare the best deals on flights to Lanzarote below:
Where to stay in Lanzarote
Like the sound of Playa Blanca but don’t want to be disturbed? Boutique Hotel H10 White Suites (from £92 a night) is an adults only apartment hotel next to pretty Playa Dorada, perfect for couples looking for quiet weekends away.
If you’d rather stay away from resorts altogether, go for the village of Yaiza near Timanfaya National Park – Chez Laura is a simple but friendly guesthouse offering rooms from £34, gorgeous mountain views and easy access to hiking trails.
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*Published March 2017. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.