To be very honest, we had no idea what to expect from Lanzarote, which is part of the Canary Islands. We booked our flights pretty much last minute and not really had time to read up on anything to do on the relatively small island. So we kind of stumbled upon great discoveries which we did not expect. The first thing you will probably think of is the volcanic landscapes, but Lanzarote is more than that. It offers culinary delights, amazingly unique architecture and picturesque nature. But most impressing, the island has managed to preserve and combine its naturesque beauty so effortlessly with “mass tourism”.
Rent a car
We highly recommend you to rent a car as the island is not that big and you can easily explore the entire island, even during a short stay. If you book online in advance you can find great value deals especially for small cars. We got our own excess insurance from a specialist online provider (which is valid for 12 months, so if you rent a car more than once a year then it is definitely worth it). Therefore, you will only need to pay the rental cost of the car per day without the relatively costly insurance. So you can save significantly and snap up a car for as low as € 6 per day (excluding petrol of course).
You do not necessarily need an SUV as all the main attractions are easily accessible. Please also keep in mind that if you are planning to take the ferry to Fuerteventura from Playa Blanca you need to leave your car behind.
Be sure to buy an entrance ticket called CACT which gives you several different combinations of tourist attractions. The CACT unites 9 different attractions. (Adult prices for: 6 centres is € 33; 4 centres is € 28 & 3 centres is € 21). If you are planning on visiting most of the famous sights of Lanzarote you should definitely purchase the 6 centres. The ticket is valid for 14 days so there is no need to rush.
You can purchase a combo ticket at the first place you go (it is a good idea to combine Jameos Del Agua with Cueva de los Verdes which is just 3 minutes by car).
Timanfaya National Park
Timanfaya is a truly unmissable attraction in Lanzarote. Driving up is an experience in itself. It costs € 9 to drive up to the car park, meeting point & restaurant unless you have a combination ticket featuring “Las Montañas del Fuego” . You can park your car in front of the restaurant El Diabolo and from there take an official tour bus which navigates through the truly impressive volcanic landscape. The restaurant on-site actually grills its food over the volcanic heat and the surreal view over the volcanic scenery is simply breathtaking.
Jameos Del Agua
One of our first stops and also the place where we fell for the genius architecture of César Manrique was James Del Agua. César Manrique was an amazingly talented and visionary artist & architect who influenced the overall look (no high rise buildings, no massive hotel resorts, no ugly billboards with ads on the side of the road, etc.) and sustainable tourism of Lanzarote to this very day.
Jameos Del Agua is a cultural centre built in and around natural formed lava caves. We highly recommend visiting this unique place and just enjoy the incredible beauty and artistic genius which you can feel in every corner. There is also a restaurant in a cave that boasts a salt water lake which houses albino lobsters that are blind. The restaurant is truly exceptional and is booked weeks in advance, so make sure to reserve a table early. There are also concerts happening regularly so we suggest checking the events schedule before you plan your visit.
Fundacion Cesar Manrique
The house of César Manrique can only be described as astounding. He managed to integrate his house seamlessly into the natural landscape which makes it seem like the house is enclosed in lava. There is one window which looks like lava is running through into the house. Visit first thing in the morning or late afternoon to truly enjoy the house in peace & quiet.
Jardin de Cactus
Another must-see stop is Jardin de Cactus (another César Manrique project) which is home to hundreds of different cacti species. You may want to visit without children as the beauty of the plants makes it hard to resist from touching them.
Cueva de los Verdes
Another attraction that you may consider visiting (if you have time) is Cueva de los Verdes . But generally speaking, it just doesn’t have the same wow factors as all the other places. You are not allowed to enter the caves without a guided tour (with a group of 30 persons). Older people and young children may have big difficulties crawling through the caves and keeping up with the speed of the tour in general. This attraction is definitely not suitable for people who are claustrophobic or suffer from back pain! After seeing cave after cave you just get a bit bored and even the very last bit which is extraordinary (you will find out a secret that you need to promise to keep to yourself) cannot really keep up with other sights.
Mirador del Rio
Driving up to the Mirador del Rio in the north of the island is a small adventure in itself (especially when you are not used to left hand driving). The vistas you already see from your car should however not distract you from the relatively curvy road. But once you arrive at the Mirador del Río you will be able to enjoy absolutely striking views over the island of La Graciosa. The lookout platform and the restaurant were also designed by César Manrique. Be prepared for a rather windy experience which simultaneously offers a great selfie opportunity (no wind machine for gorgeously waving hair needed).
El Lago Verde – El Golfo
An incredible example of Mother Nature where at the foot of a volcanic crater wall is a green lake which is filled with volcanic minerals and micro-organisms (believed to be unique to this lake).
LagOmar is a private house that once belonged to famous actor Omar Sharif. It is alleged that Sharif lost the house in a card game of Bridge. LagOmar is another striking example of the extraordinary naturesque architecture found on the island. It was majestically built around volcanic caves which form a natural labyrinth.
Where to stay
Lanzarote caters to all types of holiday makers. Luxurious hotels, adult only resorts and boutique hotels in traditional style can be found throughout the island. There are also lovely family hotels in Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise.
When to go
The good news is that you can visit the Canary Islands throughout the year. Good weather is basically guaranteed with an average temperature of pleasantly warm 22°C. We wanted to get some sun in early December and had a great stay in Lanzarote. We opted for an explorer holiday rather than a beach holiday. Nevertheless, we did have a dip in the sea too and returned to London with a healthy tan.
If you found our BLOG helpful then please be sure to check our other Travel Tips including Mexico, Ibiza and Mallorca. Also if you want the perfect travel watch you should definitely have a look at our collection of high quality watch rings.