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Lanzarote

In the Canary Islands the weather is spring-like every single day and on the island of Lanzarote you will find indescribable volcanic landscapes. Lanzarote’s landscapes attract the eye. The volcanic eruptions of the 18-19th centuries have given it a spectacular appearance of singular beauty. White-sanded beaches and transparent waters are to be found beside strange and unusual landscape, formed by volcanic grottos, lakes of lava and craters.

El Golfo Lanzarote
El Golfo Lanzarote by Luc Viatour (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Car Hire at Lanzarote Arrecife Airport (ACE)

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When visiting Lanzarote don't forget to see and experience the museums, galleries, Bars, Lounges, Restaurant and vibrant cafe society of this area!

Top Places to Visit

Arrecife, the capital of Lanzarote, is an enticing town where holidaymakers can spend the day exploring historic sites or enjoying the beautiful beaches. After dark, visitors can relax over tapas then party the night away in one of the city’s many clubs or bars.

About 13kms from Arrecife is Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote’s original tourist town, built around an old harbour and renowned for its pubs, restaurants, nightlife and annual Carnival. With over five kilometres of golden sandy beaches, Puerto del Carmen is the ideal host for the yearly Iron Man sporting competition.

Next is Playa Blanca, literally ’white beach’, one of Lanzarote’s newer tourist resorts. Originally a small fishing village, Playa Blanca is particularly popular with British tourists looking to relax or visit nearby natural wonders such as El Golfo’s green lagoon or the cliffs at Los Hervideros.

Dominated by its luxury yacht marina, Puerto Rubicón is located in the resort district of Playa Blanca. Home to five-star hotels, restaurants and upmarket shopping, this is where the rich come to play. Alternatively, visitors can sample traditional Canary Islands favourites or pick up local handicrafts at the Wednesday or Saturday markets.

Costa Teguise is a purpose-built resort attracting visitors keen on recreation, particularly water sports or golf. Tourists can enjoy the seafront promenade or fine dining in the Playa Bastian area, home to a calm water beach which is popular with families. Costa Teguise also hosts music festivals and a windsurfing competition.

The north of Lanzarote is known for its many islets, particularly Isla Graciosa, which can be reached by boat from Orzola harbour, Lanzarote’s northernmost town, famed for its seafood. Dotted with attractive cottages and without paved roads, Isla Graciosa makes a great daytrip for walkers.

What to see

Arrecife has two castles: the larger Castillo de San José overlooking the harbour and the older and smaller Castillo de San Gabriel, on an island at the harbour entrance. The former is home to the International Museum of Contemporary Art, boasting works by artists such as Miro, Picasso and Lanzarote-born sculptor and architect César Manrique. The museum can be reached by causeway and houses both an archaeological and ethnographic museum.

Dominating the square of Arrecife old town is the attractive two-tone parish church of San Gines, named for the city’s patron saint. The photogenic building is the focal point for religious festivities, and daily fruit and fish markets can be found in nearby streets.

Easily accessed from Puerto del Carmen, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Timanfaya National Park is a must for visitors. The multicoloured volcanic landscape, which can be explored by bus, camel or on foot, is an otherworldly experience and a photographer’s dream. Another volcanic attraction is the cave system in the north, which includes underground lakes, lava tubes and grottos at Jameos del Agua and the famous Cueva de Los Verdes (Green’s Cave).

In Lanzarote’s far north lies the domed scenic lookout of Mirador del Rio, designed by late local artist and architect César Manrique on a site used historically to watch for unwanted boat landings. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of Isla Graciosa and the straits of El Rio from here.

Another project of the visionary Manrique, the Jardin de Cactus (Cactus Garden) near Gautiza displays over 1,000 varieties of cactus against a volcanic landscape complemented by sculptures, fishponds and a restored windmill, views of which can be enjoyed from the garden café.

Entertainment

Lanzarote offers the expected range of resort style entertainment, from upmarket bars and fashionable nightclubs, to traditional bars frequented by locals. In addition to the usual nights out enjoyed by holidaymakers, the whole island regularly comes to life during the many local and regional religious celebrations, which often feature colourful costumes, parades, music, food and fireworks.

The Spanish love to dance and the capital city, Arrecife, has some of the liveliest entertainment on Lanzarote. Calle José Antonio is the main nightclub street with most of the hippest venues. Like in most of mainland Europe, people in Lanzarote tend to dine late, so dancing and partying also tends to start late, from 23:00 onwards. Le Calle Disco (Puerto del Carmen) pub has live music and Discotecas Tropicana (Arrecife) is popular with dancing locals.

Puerto del Carmen is probably Lanzarote’s busiest nightspot, catering largely to the preferences of visitors. This means a large selection of nightclubs playing everything from old rock to techno as well as sports pubs and trendy bars, restaurants and cafés are on hand.

A quieter scene exists at the resorts of Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise but there are still loads of options, and evenings along the beaches are usually bustling and vibrant, especially during the peak seasons.

The small casino at Puerto del Carmen has gambling, restaurants and bars like Ned Kelly’s Irish bar, which often feature live music. Unique music venues like the Jameos del Agua and Cueva de los Verdes auditoriums, both set in volcanic caves, offer a memorable night out.

Eating Out

The cuisine of Lanzarote is an inviting combination of North African, Latin American and Spanish influences which reflect the island’s location and heritage. Seafood, stews and spicy sauces feature heavily, as well as local meats such as goat and rabbit. For those who prefer something apart from traditional Canarian fare, the many restaurants cover most options, from European to Mexican, Thai and Chinese.

A typical meal on Lanzarote begins with the famous papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes) which are small, skin-on potatoes cooked whole in sea water. This dish is typically served with mojo, a garlic, vinegar and olive oil based sauce that comes in the milder green parsley and coriander version (mojo verde) or the hotter chilli and pepper red form (mojo rojo). Gambas al ajillo - prawns served sizzling in garlic, olive oil, herbs and chili, is another popular starter.

Traditional main dishes include vieja al la plancha, which is a grilled local fish, and puchero, a meat, potato and vegetable stew thickened with chickpeas or lentils. Vegetarians may encounter some difficulty as even safe sounding options like vegetable soup could contain bacon. However, Lanzarote produces high quality goats’ cheese which is well worth a try. Spanish tortillas and paellas are also common fare.

Gofio is a flour made from ground maize that often features as a dough like accompaniment to main meals or is sweetened as a dessert. Another traditional dessert is bienmesabe, a type of almond and honey flan. Lanzarote also produces its own high quality wines and many menus prefer to focus on local and mainland Spanish wines than their better known French counterparts.

Facts

Lanzarote, a Spanish island, is the easternmost of the autonomous Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 125 km (78 mi) off the coast of Africa and 1,000 km (621 mi) from the Iberian Peninsula. Covering 845.9 square kilometers (327 sq mi), it is the fourth largest of the islands. The first recorded name for the island, given by Angelino Dulcert, was Insula de Lanzarotus Marocelus, after the Genoese navigator Lancelotto Malocello, from which the modern name is derived. The island's name in the native language was Titerro(y)gatra, which may mean "the red mountains".

As of 2010, a total of 139,000 people live on Lanzarote which is an increase of 9.4% from 2006 (127,000). The seat of the island government (Cabildo Insular) is in the capital, Arrecife, which has a population of 59,000. The majority of the inhabitants (73.9%) are Spanish, with a sizable number of residents from other European nations, mainly British (4.0%), Germans (2.6%) and Irish (2.5%). Other populous groups include immigrants from Colombia, Morocco, Ecuador, Western Africa, China and India, which constitute a large proportion of the remaining 15.6% of the population.

The island has an international airport, Arrecife Airport, through which 5,438,178 passengers travelled in 2008. Tourism has been the mainstay of the island's economy for the past forty years, the only other industry being agriculture. The emblem of Lanzarote is a demon because the early settlers interpreted their first experience of a volcanic eruption as the work of the devil.

Useful Links

Aeropuerto de Lanzarote (ACE) / Car Hire Pickup Location
Tenerife Tourism Corporation

Video Intro


"LANZAROTE | La isla diferente" by Simone Lucchini is licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0

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