Hot on the heels of 35 things to love about Lanzarote (part one), the much anticipated sequel! Let us take you back to volcanic vistas, beautiful beaches and the endless attractions and excursions of one of Europe’s favourite holiday hotspots. Discover for yourself why our very first destination delivered 35 years ago is as much the tourist treasure today as it was then.
Mirador del Rio
Another of famed local architect César Manrique’s masterpieces, the Mirador del Rio stands head and shoulders above the rest at the lofty height of 475m. This veritable vantage point is outwardly inconspicuous, clad seamlessly in dark volcanic rock of its surrounds. The interior too shouts César style. Curved white walls are a sculpture in themselves, illuminated by vast circular sky lights and floor-to ceiling picture windows. The most celebrated work of art however belongs to Mother Nature – that irresistible vista where sea meets sky, the only welcome interruption views of the island of La Graciosa.
Santa Bárbara fortress & Pirate Museum
Ahoy there land lovers! It’s time for a lesson on Lanzarote’s more heinous history. The Santa Bárbara fortress, once a look out post and protector from pirates, now stands in testimony to this old foe who ravaged the island for centuries, pillaging and slaving as they went. The fortress’ dark, grim façade is now filled with fascinating relics, replicas and exhibits to delight and inform all from the smallest buccaneer to the oldest sea dog.
Cueva de los Verdes
The Cueva de los Verdes have a pirate history of their own, with locals laying low in these ancient cavernous lava tunnels to escape the raids. Now it’s your turn to trace the steps of history as you take a tour to the centre of the earth. Watch in wonder as artistic illuminations reveal the grottos in all their glory. Lit with mineral tones of reds, ochres to orange, yellows and greens, the fissures, cracks and crevices show in sharp relief where lava once smelted stone. We think you’ll agree it’s an ‘ore’-some sight!
Villa Carlota, Puerto Calero
Sugar-cube white and equally sweet, you’ll find the Luxury villa Carlota in Puerto Calero, just west of Pureto del Carmen. In a resort typified by its exclusive yachting marina, here’s a property that serves up the same sophisticated style. A contemporary-chic interior complete with games room and a whole host of mod-cons is outdone only by the great outdoors, where a pool and Jacuzzi set in a lawned garden do their best to soak up those year-round rays. The showpiece – an alfresco kitchen and dining area of volcanic stone to marvel even César Manrique! Stoke the volcanic vibes by lighting up the coals of your barbeque and let your holiday haven hot up!
A trip to Teguise is sure to be on your island itinerary. This lovely Lanzarote town was once its capital – inland, strategically protected from plundering pirates! Today a visit on Sunday is anything but a day of rest with its popular, bustling market in full swing from 5pm-10pm. A magnet for musicians, attracting artisans and a home for handicrafters, it tempts tourists looking to bag a bargain with a spot of friendly haggling. Stroll the stalls and stock up on souvenirs – ceramics, leather, jewellery – the works – all amid a living evening ambience.
Not technically Lanzarote we know, but what Canarian quest would be complete without a boat trip over to little sister, La Graciosa. Born of a volcanic eruption and reputed ‘Treasure Island’ of buccaneer booty, its real prize cache runs from its ocean depths to its craggy peaks, a heaven for hikers, cyclists and divers – or for anyone chasing the desert island dream. This is truly the road less travelled – if it had roads that is, or cars for that matter. What is does have are scattering of secluded golden beaches, a handful of low key hotels and beauty by the bucket load.
Just when you thought you had discovered all of Lanzarote’s treasures, you come across this gem. Olivine, otherwise known as peridot, is a glittering green semi-precious stone that scatters the island’s volcanic beaches – and it’s yours for the finding. One happy hunting ground is the jet black beach of Playa de Janubio with tiny grains and jewel-studded stones aplenty. Even great pieces of black basalt can be cracked open to reveal lustrous lime centres. A proverbial diamond in the rough, let the treasure hunt begin!
El Golfo & the Charco de Los Clicos
The village of El Golfo might otherwise pass unnoticed if it wasn’t for its jaw-dropping jade-coloured lake. Its origins couldn’t get any more impressive – a semi-submerged volcanic cone retuning to nature – eroded by the sea – with what remains of the crater wall bordering a crescent-shaped luminous lagoon. It owes its oh-so-interesting hue to minerals and micro-organisms. In stark contrast to the olivine-strewn black beach and russet rocks, have your camera at the ready and forget about a filter! It’s the perfect place to pause and explore awhile before heading back to El Golfo for a fish dish at one of the reputed restaurants.
Jardín de Cactus
Crafted in an old quarry near Guatiza and overlooked by pretty whitewashed windmills, the Jardín de Cactus is home to over 10,000 of these prickly plants. This is certainly no English country garden with its deep charcoal tones and volcanic rock formations. Amphitheatre-like, the spikey species takes centre-stage, with winding pathways giving you front-row views from all vantages. If you think the place has the Manrique mark about it you’d be right. Careful cultivation took place under his watchful eye, with artistic flourishes a celebration of Lanzarote’s natural landscape. There’s a touch of the Charco de Los Clicos in the spherical pools, don’t you think?
If a Timanfaya trip has ignited your adventurous streak, a hike around nearby Montana Cuervo is in order. With less restrictions in place and trail that can be taken even by children, any budding volcanologist will erupt at the chance to hike the path that encircles then enters this volcanic crater. A centre-of-the-earth experience and certainly a core holiday highlight, don’t forget to look out for olivine as you go!
Pretty Playa Flamingo is one of the sweetest sandy spots you’ll find in Lanzarote. 200m of fine white sand and turquoise Atlantic waves tamed to a gentle lapping by two breakwaters make this is family favourite spot for a day of beach bliss. A nearby palm-strewn promenade of bars and shops, plus loungers, lifeguards and those must-have facilities demanded by civilisation-savvy sun seekers make for a full house in beach bingo.
This 18-holer designed by none other than Ron Kirby is anything but par for the course! Set between Puerto del Carmen and Tias, the deep blue Atlantic and rising volcanos are permanent spectators. Wide fairways and lush greens add fresh new hues to the island’s earthy colour palate, respecting the natural undulations and features of the landscape. Come summer sun and winter shine, everyday’s a golf day in Lanzarote – a hole in one for lovers of a round or two.
One of Lanzarote’s latest tourist treasures, the Atlántico Museum was opened in 2016 beneath the waves off the coast of Playa Blanca. This underwater sculpture spectacle of Jason deCaires Taylor is part museum and part artificial reef – but always a profound social statement. 12 metres down, its exhibits provoke thoughts much deeper. The Raft of Lampedusa is one of the most perturbing and powerful, probing the humanity behind the current refuge crisis. Visitors of the Jardín de Cactus and César super fans should also look out for cement sculptures in abstract human-cacti form – nature and man merging in harmony is a page right out of the Lanzarote legend’s book.