Lanzarote, a natural playground

I am not sure about you, but when thinking of Lanzarote, or Canary Islands, those unappealing built up resorts areas often come to mind, probably because that’s what’s often advertised at home. However that’s just a small part of Lanzarote, and as you may already tell, not one I’m interested in. If you have this opinion about Lanzarote and/or the Canary Islands in general, I hope this post changes your mind and encourages you to visit. In 2010 and in 2017 respectively, I traveled to Tenerife and Gran Canaria and the same opinion stands for them.

But Lanzarote totally stole the spotlight. I wonder if it’s because this holiday was much more needed than others, or/and because we are staying at a small unpretentious villa, for how much unpretentious a villa can be, or maybe a combination of both! One thing is for sure, this is adventures paradise!!

We have now been here for five full days, and we experienced so many sides of this vulcanic island. First of all, Lanzarote is the northernmost of the Canary Islands, and the closest to Africa, with just 140 km distance. There are around two-hundred vulcanos and the whole island is a Biosphere Reserve, allowing this unique geological and not only territory to be preserved.

As far as I now understand it, having driven around and cycled a bit, there are a couple of important resort towns, Playa Blanca in the south, just in front of Fuerteventura, the sister Canarian island, Puerto del Carmen and then Teguise a bit further up on the East side, a few kilometres after Arrecife, the 60 thousand inhabitants capital. The west side main actor is Timanfaya National park, with the major concentration of volcanoes and lava seas. The interior is covered by vineyards, with La Geria being the main wine region, and the North is characterised for natural marvels such as Cuevas Verdes, the idyllic fishing village Punta Mujeres, with its natural pools, and superb views on La Graciosa, a small car free island you can only reach by ferry. There are also natural man-modified beauties, most specifically Manrique’s (an artist, architect, naturalist from Lanzarote) artefacts such as Jameos del Agua, a vulcanic tube with blind white small crabs, a unique species to this island, and the Cactus Garden. And yet I have not named all the places this eight-hundred squared metres island offers! Can you feel the excitement?

I should have mentioned straight away that hiring a car is a must, if you think you can’t afford it, I would suggest to save on accommodation, which can be pretty cheap already, but hire that car!

For accommodation, we are staying at the Vik Coral Beach villas, an oldish resort with individual little villas beautifully placed around a common swimming pool, a restaurant which offers simple decent food, a 60s pool table and straight access to cliffs. Pure bliss. The place is no frills, and I prefer it to the conglomerates we have seen in Playa Blanca the other day. This is wild, quiet, no shops or restaurants right next, a total disconnecting experience, except me writing my blog right now hehe but it’s just coming out!

I will now go with the list of things recommended to do/see.

Timanfaya Park

Hike to Caldera Blanca, it will take you 3 hours return including lots of stops for pics taking. Fun fact is that the diameter of this crater is 1200 metres. I did get vertigo once up there and could not walk around it unfortunately. Still it was incredible!

Cycling around Costa Teguise

Cycle from Fliston’s Hire shop (amazing bycicles for a good price) to Klippen with lunch in Arrecife or along the coast. Playa Honda looked absolutely stunning!! And the restaurant Tere was packed, usually a good sign.

A chilled day around the most incredible beaches

Hike around Papagayo Beach and Playa Mujeres. The whole area, in the Natural Monument of Los Ajaches (accessible for three euros) is breathtaking and you may want to choose one beach rather than hopping on and off. I hear summer starts in June so even though lots of people are swimming, we didn’t as it’s a tad too cold for me. And the winds are quite strong. Another reason for me to come back as I still want to snorkel. Tip: apparently Playa Chica is one of the best places for snorkeling as it’s repaired and safe, drafts can be strong as we’re by the ocean.

The North and César Manrique

Drive to Cactus Garden, then Cuevas Verdes and Mirador del rìo. On the way back stop at Punta Mujeres and have lunch at Bar Piscina or Bar Palenke. You can’t miss the natural pools here.

Visit one of the wine bodegas, we are going to Bodega Vega de Yuco tomorrow, but have been having their white and rose wines already at the hotel and we are totally sold already!

Take the ferry to La Graciosa and spend the day cycling or chilling by the beaches, or hiking. You can also spend the night, that must be incredible.

Some of the things that will stay with me are looking at the stars from the swimming pool at the hotel at night. Living in Barcelona I do appreciate a clear sky like this! Drinking volcanic wine by the swimming pool, I do make my resolution to treat me more in terms of accommodation when I travel, it must be age but it’s just so worth it!

Another dreamy souvenir will be walking on Lord of the Rings-like lava paths. Our hike to Caldera Blanca was not that far off!

This is also the confirmation of a bye bye/adiòs weekend gateaways for me! I’m officially transitioning to ‘if it’s not a full week holiday I’m not going’ new chapter!

This is it for now but I’ll edit the post soon with our two last days adventures.

I would be curious to know if you’ve ever been and what you liked the most.

You may find the below post about Gran Canaria worth a read too, enjoy!

6 comments

  1. I’ve been visiting Lanzarote for the past few years. We always try to rent a villa within walking distance of the marina rubicon. I love the restaurants there and even 15 minutes away it’s lovely and peaceful. I don’t explore much, I spend the day reading, writing and swimming and in the evening we usually barbecue or walk down the the marina. Hope you enjoy your stay,
    Best wishes, Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing Steve! We haven’t been to Marina Rubicòn yet but have read about its market. Lanzarote is definitely the place to chill out though, I wish it was bit warmer or not as windy to be able to swim but can’t complaint otherwise. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A thorough guide with great photos to boot. You’re right, these kinds of islands seem to get a bad reputation because people only know about the tacky party zones. Growing up, people used to call this island “Lanza-grotty”. Would love to go myself one of these years and see the parts you’ve mentioned. Thanks for following Leighton Travels, I have followed back and am looking forward to your future posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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