Lanzarote holidays pair up sunny skies and sandy beaches with the sci-fi scenery of Timanfaya National Park.
Lanzarote’s a long shot off being the biggest of the Canary Islands. But that hasn’t stopped it throwing its weight around. Good-time seaside resorts are parallel parked along its south coast, while Timanfaya National Park hogs the limelight in the north. It’s also the closest of the lot to Africa, which means it bakes in the sun all year round – just like its vitamin D-worshipping visitors.
Bags of beaches
Considering its teeny size, Lanzarote does well on the beach front. Most are golden, but you get the odd burnt-toast-coloured belt, too. Plus, places like Playa Blanca and Playa de los Pocillos have got their hands on Blue Flags. The latter’s backed by a prom that runs all the way to Puerto del Carmen, so you can easily head out for a night on the tiles.
Volcanic eruptions in the 18th century spewed lava all over the island’s countryside. This means you’ve got some extra-terrestrial landscapes to gawk at. You can watch spurting geysers, check out the Mars-like lava fields and see fish grilled over a volcano vent. There are loads of manmade marvels, as well, courtesy of artist Cesar Manrique. He’s the one behind the famous Mirador del Rio viewpoint, and you can thank him for the sugar cube buildings, too.
Lots to do
As far as holiday destinations go, Lanzarote’s got its fair share of resorts. Most of them are in the business of good-time holidays. Puerto del Carmen brings the theme park, mall and nightlife, while Costa Teguise is stocked with a waterpark and an aquarium. They’ve also got piles of bars and restaurants – from tapas bars to fast food joints. If you’d prefer something sleepier, there are still plenty of fishing villages to go around.
Things to See and Do in Lanzarote
Beach-lovers will be in their element on Lanzarote All Inclusive holidays. This little island has miles and miles’ worth of beaches, from Puerto del Carmen’s sweep of dark sand, to golden coves in towns like Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise.
The big beach
The most popular stretch by a mile is Playa Grande, a six-kilometre strip of sand in Puerto del Carmen. It’s a Blue Flag spot, with calm waters that are perfect for kids. If you’re into watersports you can pick from things like jet-skiing, parasailing and diving. There are also plenty of places to grab a snack if you’re feeling peckish.
The secret beach
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, though, head to Playa las Conchas. It’s not easy to get to, which is why you’ll never find more than a handful of people there. It’s on the island of La Graciosa, a 20-minute ferry ride from Orzola on Lanzarote’s north coast. Once you’re on the island, you can take a 4x4 taxi to the beach, or hire a mountain bike – it’ll take about 40 minutes to pedal over. It’s a travel mag-beautiful spot. The beach is white and made up of sand and tiny bits of shell, the water is a Photoshop shade of turquoise, and at one end stands a huge, red volcano.
The shops along Avenida de las Playas in Puerto del Carmen are as cheap as chips. Rummage around them and you’ll find stuff like bargain beachwear and imitation designer handbags. There are a load of souvenir shops dotted around, too. For something more traditional, drive 20 minutes north to Lanzarote’s capital, Arrecife, where you’ll find handmade pottery and textiles on Calle Leon Y Castillo.
Markets in Lanzarote don’t get better than the one in Teguise. The town bursts into life every Sunday when Lanzarote’s biggest street market opens. It’s a short bus ride inland from Costa Teguise. Stalls are packed with everything from intricate handmade lace to African tribal masks. In Arrecife, there’s a Saturday market right by the Church of San Gines – the stalls brim with ceramics and fabrics in every colour you can think of.
Playa Blanca is as chic as they come. Take a wander down El Paseo promenade and you’ll find loads of little high-end boutiques. And at the nearby Marina Rubicón, you’ll find Lacoste, Italian fashion places, and a bunch of perfume and art shops, too. In Puerto del Carmen, the likes of Diesel have stores tucked in among the souvenir shops on Avenida de las Playas.
You can make a night of it at the Marina Rubicón, near the harbour in Playa Blanca. There’s a little art gallery that stays open into the evening, and a clutch of restaurants tucked away among the alleys and plazas. Plus, you can walk off your dinner in the pond-dotted gardens here. For something a bit different, take in a concert in a cave at Los Jameos del Agua, a 25-minute drive from Costa Teguise.
For a high-octane night out, Puerto del Carmen beats the competition hands down. You’ll find the main hub of activity on Avenida de las Playas, where Centro Atlantico flexes the biggest muscles. This entertainment complex has floors full of bars, restaurants and clubs. In Costa Teguise, Avenida Islas Canarias has the highest concentration of bars.
No holiday to Lanzarote is complete without tucking into ‘wrinkled potatoes’. In the island’s signature dish, tiny spuds are boiled in their skins, then dried in the pan with salt until they’ve got a really tasty crust on them. They’re best served with a peppery sauce called mojo.
This strong, garlicky sauce is a Lanzarote staple. Pronounced ‘moho’, it comes in two varieties. Mojo rojo is the spiciest, and gets its distinctive red colour from paprika – some chefs also throw in a bit of chilli. If you prefer things milder, go for mojo verde, which is made with coriander or parsley.
Locals gather together in big groups to eat this mix of salted fish and potatoes topped off with salsa and mojo sauce – it’s often served up at fiestas and also on Good Friday. The cook plonks a big pan of it in the middle of the table, and everyone digs in.
In the local lingo, this sweet treat means ‘tastes good to me’, and the creamy concoction of ground almonds, lemon juice and eggs definitely has a following. Locals love to eat it with a generous dollop of ice-cream. Interestingly enough, the recipe came to the Canary Islands from the Middle East.
Lanzarote’s wine-makers break with tradition by growing their grapes in holes in the volcanic earth. The best known result of this process is Malmsey, which tastes a bit like Madeira and goes great with pudding.
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If the classic holiday set-up ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the mantra in Costa Teguise, where getaways draw on tried-and-tested ingredients. The little and large sandy beaches are popular with families, and there are enough bars and restaurants to bowl up somewhere new every night. The hotels buddy up to the beach, too, so it’s impossible to be more than a short stroll from the action.
The clue’s in the name on Playa Blanca holidays. It literally translates as ‘white beach’ – and what a belter it is. Resort-wise, it’s not on Puerto del Carmen’s level, but it’s got its own classy rep. You’ll find it at the bottom of Lanzarote, which means it’s easy to daytrip to Canary Islands must-visit, Timanfaya National Park.
Playa de los Pocillos
Resort-wise, Playa de los Pocillos is a bit of an introvert. This purpose-built place on Lanzarote’s east coast is all about toned-down holidays that put the emphasis on R&R. You don’t have to dial things down all the time, though. This spot is big on windsurfing and away from the beach you’ve got lively Puerto del Carmen just down the road.
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