Lanzarote is one of the seven small specks of Spain that comprise the Canary Islands and is a popular holiday destination located close to the Tropic of Cancer. The archipelago is often referred to as the Hawaii of Europe thanks to its volcanic origin, great beaches, and temperate climate.
Lanzarote is the fourth largest and most easterly of the Canary Islands. It attracts around 1.5 million tourists annually, the majority of them from sun-starved northern European nations. But despite the island’s popularity as a year-round holiday destination, it remains surprisingly unspoiled, unlike other Canary Islands such as Tenerife where large swathes of land were sacrificed in the 1970s to make way for hotels, apartment complexes, and theme parks.
Indeed the island retains a tranquil, rural air, especially away from the three main tourist resorts, which are all very well contained. High-rise buildings and advertising boards are banned, leaving Lanzarote largely as nature intended.
The island boasts a lot of natural, if unconventional, beauty thanks to the series of eruptions that rocked Lanzarote during the 18th and 19th centuries, enlarging the surface area of the island by around one quarter and creating over 300 new volcanic peaks.
The Timanfaya National Park, located at the heart of these eruptions, is the most popular visitor attraction on the island, drawing close to one million tourists a year with its raw and eerie Martian terrain. Black twisted lava fields stretch for mile after mile, punctuated by spent volcanoes. At the heart of the park lies the Devil’s Diner, where visitors can watch their food cook on a giant grill powered by the heat emanating from miles beneath the earth’s surface.
Lanzarote is a beautiful island to explore and escape to for a nice, relaxing holiday. You’ll find beautiful beaches, amazing hiking and volcanoes, and great food, all while escaping the crowds. Here are some tips for the next time you visit the island:
Places to Stay
The island offers visitors all types of holiday accommodation—from cheap and cheerful one-bedroom apartments starting from as little as €20 per night to budget-busting, chic, rural hotels.
The five-star Gran Melia Salinas in Costa Teguise is widely regarded as the best hotel on the island and was created with design input from ubiquitous artist César Manrique. Boasting a stunning swimming pool and many of the artist’s original works adorning the walls, it’s not a cheap place to rest your head.
But those on a budget should head for one of the very reasonably priced small, rural fincas dotted around the island, where double rooms in picturesque locations are available from as little as €25 per night.
It’s difficult to tour Lanzarote without hiring a car as local bus services are infrequent and the volcanic terrain makes bike hire or hiking something of an endurance test.
Fortunately, both car hire and petrol are inexpensive and the island is very small, only 59km by 40km, so it’s possible to drive from one end to the other in an hour or so.
Lanzarote is a wonderful place to visit. You’ll be able to see all the beauty of the Canary Islands without any of the crowds or cost.
Nick Ball is the editor of Lanzarote Guidebook, the in-depth information guide to Lanzarote. Visit the Lanzarote Guidebook website and download a comprehensive 96-page guidebook to the island free of charge.