Things to see and do in Lanzarote
Attractions in Lanzarote
Bask on beautiful beaches
Home to arguably the best beaches in the Canary Islands, the jewel in Lanzarote's coastal crown is the stunning Papagayo Beach on the southern tip of the island. Set in a sheltered cove, its golden sands are the perfect place to top up the tan and go for a paddle.
Call in at the Cesar Manrique Foundation
The late artist, Cesar Manrique, was the architect behind some of Lanzarote’s most outlandish buildings. However, his finest work can be found at the Cesar Manrique Foundation (www.cesarmanrique.com), which occupies the artist’s former home. Typically, this is no ordinary home; Manrique converted air pockets in the nearby lava fields into rooms, where he lived and worked until his untimely death in 1992.
Cruise to La Graciosa and Alegranza
If you have a day free hop aboard a sailing boat or ferry in Orzola and cruise to the nature reserve of Alegranza, the most northerly point of the Canary Islands and the only Atlantic nesting spot for the rare Eleonora's falcon. Continue your sailing sojourn with a detour to the tiny volcanic island of La Graciosa, where crystal clear seas and white sand beaches await.
Delve into Lanzarote’s pirate history
The oldest fortification on Lanzarote, Santa Barbara Castle was built in the 16th century to keep pirates at bay. Today it houses the Museo de la Piratería (www.museodelapirateria.com), which offers room after room of exhibits about Lanzarote's cursed relationship with pirates over the centuries. The views are spectacular, too.
Eat volcano-roasted chicken
Lanzarote's most popular tourist attraction, Timanfaya National Park is a protected volcanic reserve formed during a mega eruption in 1730. The volcanic activity continues to this day, much to the delight of diners at El Diablo, whose chefs cook chicken and other Canary island specialities over a geothermal barbecue. If you're not feeling peckish you'll soon work up an appetite hiking in the national park, which features geysers and a unique variety of flora and fauna.
Explore the cosy capital
The capital of Lanzarote, Arrecife is a small port city, North African in style. Kick back on the lovely and uncrowded Playa Del Reducto beach; head to the pretty Charco de San Ginés for a waterfront stroll and visit Castillo de San José for modern art installations in an incongruously kitsch castle.
Go underground at Cueva de los Verdes
Explore the rabbit warren of subterranean caves and grottos at Cueva de los Verdes, where visitors will find caverns the size of cathedrals and secret Lord of the Rings-esque passageways. An underground world of extraordinary beauty, do expect crowds during peak season.
Marvel at the green lagoon of El Golfo
One of the most photographed geological sights on the island, Charco de los Clicos (green lagoon) is a natural, ochre-coloured pool made all the more spectacular by the black volcanic backdrop. The lagoons is located a short walk from the town of El Golfo, which is well-known for its delicious fish lunches.
Ride the waves
Lanzarote's golden sands are not just for sun-seekers, you know; the island's windy coastline makes it a magnet for water sports enthusiasts. Playa Las Cucharas in Costa Teguise is a favourite with windsurfers and La Famara is where to go if you like kitesurfing. Surfing is also popular around the island.
Slip into a different world at Jameos del Agua
More César Manrique magic is woven into this natural underground lagoon, which has been landscaped into a fairy grotto. Spiral staircases and palm fronds lead to the shimmering, sapphire pool where tiny, blind crabs live. Tropical gardens, volcanic sculptures, an auditorium and a nightclub add to the appeal of this otherworldly attraction.
Stroll around Jardin de Cactus
Designed by Cesar Manrique, the Jardín de Cactus (Cactus Garden) is home to an astounding 1,420 species of cacti, which raise their spiky arms to the sky and punctuate the barren volcanic landscape. A restored windmill gives a window onto the surrounding landscape and there's a pretty café overlooking the thorny garden.
Take in the Timple Museum
At Casa Spinola in Teguise, there's a museum (http://casadeltimple.org) dedicated to the humble timple, a small guitar, a bit like a ukulele, that has been a traditional instrument on Lanzarote since the 18th century. The timple's greatest moment came in 2009 when musician Benito Cabrero performed a show with one at The Carnegie Hall.
Visit the former capital
The island's original capital, Teguise is an archetypal Lanzarote town. Uniform white, single storey cottages line narrow, bougainvillea draped alleyways, and tinkling fountains adorn cobbled plazas. Excellent artisan shops and good tapas bars abound. Join the hordes on Sunday mornings for Lanzarote's largest flea market; avoid Sundays if you'd prefer to experience the real Teguise – quiet and traditional.
Spanish Tourist Office in the USAAddress: 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 5300 (53rd Floor), New York City, NY 10165-0039
This office is not open to the public; enquiries via the website only.
Spanish National Tourist Office in the UKAddress: 64 North Row, London, W1K 7DE
Telephone: +44 20 7317 2011.
By appointment only; open 0900-1600 Mon-Thurs, 0900-1400 Fri.
Tourist Board of LanzaroteAddress: Triana 38, Arrecife de Lanzarote,
Telephone: +34 928 811 762.