Heading to the Canary Islands? Looking for the best things to do in Lanzarote, Spain? We’ve got you covered.
The easternmost of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote has recently become a trending destination among those looking for a touch of sophistication. The island doesn’t certainly lack dreamy beaches or great food culture, but there are other elements that are attracting travelers to this area of the Spanish Arcipelago.
For many, it’s the architecture scene – the influence of artist and architect Cesar Manrique can be admired nearly anywhere. For others, the unique, roaring, volcanic landscape is just begging to be explored. There’s even a strong presence of wine tourism in Lanzarote, thanks to the incredible 100-year-old volcanic vineyards scattered along the island core.
Eventually, everyone finds a reason to fall in love with Lanzarote. And to help you find yours, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best things to do in Lanzarote, Spain.
Best Things to Do in Lanzarote, Spain
1. Sunbathe at Playa Papagayo
Let’s start with the beaches – after all, we’re sure you chose Lanzarote to enjoy some sun-kissed relaxation too. Located on the southern tip of the island, Playa Papagayo is the most photogenic beach in Lanzarote. Papagayo is actually part of a natural reserve that comprises several beaches, all sheltered from the winds thanks to the presence of massive volcanic cliffs. Here you can relax, go for a swim, or even walk up to the clifftops to admire the jagged volcanic coastline.
For a delicious drink with a view, you can stop at the chiringuito that sits right above the beach.
2. Chill at Playa de Famara
The second beach we’re recommending is located on the northwest coast of Lanzarote.
Six kilometers of sand dunes against a stunning backdrop of rugged cliffs make Famara the ideal beach for strolling. Famara is also considered to be the best beach for surfing and hand gliding in Lanzarote, mostly due to the very strong winds ever-present in the area. The most intrepid travelers can really have a jam-packed day of thrills in Famara, while the less daring ones can enjoy watching the pros showing off their skills.
3. Explore Timanfaya National Park
The Timanfaya National Park is a highly volcanic area in Lanzarote which spans about ¼ of the island. Timanfaya counts 25 volcanoes in its extension, and although there are no actual eruptions or flare-ups nowadays, there is still latent volcanic activity. There are two ways to explore the Timanfaya National Park.
The best one is obviously to walk and hike through it. There are several safe routes you can choose from, but the best one in our opinion is the one that combines the Montaña Negra hike with the Volcan El Cuervo hike. Exploring on foot this area is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting things to do in Lanzarote.
Another popular but certainly more touristy way to visit the park is to drive through it and then visit the Montañas del Fuego tourist center. Here, every few minutes, a guided bus tour departs to show you some areas of Timanfaya where volcanic activities are so strong you cannot reach them on foot. The landscape – or better the lava scape – is surreal. It’s a pity you can never get off the bus, though.
4. Visit Lagomar
As briefly mentioned in the introduction, one of the best things to do in Lanzarote, Spain, is to discover its architectural marvels. When in Lanzarote one notices almost immediately how the island has a very well-defined aesthetic and visual identity.
This perfect, cohesive meeting between nature and design is not casual at all but is on the contrary largely thanks to one man: Cesar Manrique. Manrique did not just define the architectural style of the island but also created many of the island’s top attractions. There are several structures designed by Manrique you can visit, like Jardin de Cactus, Jameos del Agua, or Monument to Farm Workers, to name a few.
Our favorite among all is certainly Lagomar. Built right within the heart of a volcanic quarry, this house museum perfectly reflects Manrique’s artistic philosophy. White walls are carved into volcanic stones, while lush flora is scattered in every corner.
5. Visit Mirador del Rio
Mirador del Rio is another incredible work of art designed by Cesar Manrique.
Located on the summit of the Famara mountain range, Mirador del Rio can be described as a panoramic balcony, café, and concept store overlooking the ocean. From this lookout, you can enjoy incredible bird’s-eye views of the nearby island La Graciosa and of all Lanzarote’s unique landscape.
In typical Manrique fashion, the building is barely perceptible from the outside, as its stone structure is perfectly camouflaged with the surrounding cliffs. On the inside, César Manrique’s characteristic white walls and curved silhouettes create an ambiance that is very chic, yet welcoming. The main hall houses a cafè, where you can taste some local products while enjoying the incredible views through the enormous windows. There is also a concept on the upper floor, which can be accessed by a beautiful curving staircase.
6. Discover Charco de los Clicos, aka the Green Lagoon
On the west coast of Lanzarote, in a small fishing village called El Golfo, lies a very bizarre wonder of nature. It was in this area that, around 1730, a volcanic eruption caused the formation of a large crater. Over the years, the crater of the volcano plunged into the ocean and created a permanent lagoon known as the Charco de los Clicos. A volcanic lagoon wouldn’t be necessarily newsworthy in Lanzarote, except that this one is not only located right on the shore of an incredible black sand beach but its water is vividly colored in bright green – hence its second name, the Green Lagoon. It’s truly a spectacle you simply cannot miss while visiting Lanzarote.
To get to the lagoon you must drive toward the village of El Golfo, where you’ll find parking about 150 meters from the Green Lagoon viewpoint. The fishing village is worth a visit too, and there are some great places to have some drinks or a nice seafood dinner by the sea.
7. Explore some volcanic Vineyards
This may sound obvious to the experts among you, but nutrient-rich volcanic soil is ideal for cultivating wine. Its porous consistency allows for fast water absorption and retention, while the ashes tend to act like an insulator, for great temperature consistency.
The only obstacle to winegrowing in Lanzarote is the strong wind – as great as it can be for surfers, it can be pretty disruptive on young vines. However, local farmers have been able to perfect their methods over the centuries and developed an alternative technique for shielding grapes. Basically, instead of being supported by the wooden stakes, plants are placed directly on the ground, inside a shallow man-mad hole, which is then surrounded by stones acting as a barrier.
Lanzarote vineyards are all scattered with these holes and walls, and it’s quite a spectacle to ride through them. All kinds of wine are produced in Lanzarote – red, white, rosé, and even sparkling wines. However, the most famous and exported wine is the Malvasía Volcánica white wine.
The main wine-growing region is called La Geria, which is located in the middle of the island. Almost all the wineries here bottle their own wine and sell it directly in adjacent bodegas. The oldest winery in Lanzarote, dating back to 1770, is called El Grifo, but there are many other incredible wineries you can visit.
8. Stroll in Teguise old town
Located in the northeast of Lanzarote, Teguise is one of the most ancient settlements in the Canary Islands. This town was the capital of Lanzarote until 1847, which is why here you’ll find a substantial number of historical buildings and museums. You must stop for a visit at the ancient church of Guadalupe and San Francisco’s convent, and at the Spinola Palace.
A stroll through the town of Teguise allows travelers to really get a feeling of what the island’s inhabited areas looked like during colonial times.
9. Visit La Graciosa on a daytrip
One of the best things to do in Lanzarote is also to leave it, but just temporarily, to explore its outskirts. La Graciosa is a truly unspoiled paradise located off the northern coast of Lanzarote and makes for a perfect day trip from the island. Picture a series of white sandy beaches, red volcanoes all around, a sparsely inhabited port, and not a single paved road. It’s idyllic.
La Graciosa can be easily reached by taking the ferry from Orzola port in Lanzarote. Cars are not actually allowed in La Graciosa, except for a handful of 4×4 taxis that you might want to book in advance.
10. Visit Fuerteventura on a day trip
Do you want to see more of the Canary islands while visiting Lanzarote? A Fuerteventura day trip is a great option to see a completely different landscape and spice things up.
It takes only 30 minutes by ferry to get from Playa Blanca in Lanzarote to Corralejo port in Fuerteventura, with several boats departing each day. There are actually 3 companies operating on this route: Líneas Romero, Fred. Olsen Express, Naviera Armas, with ticket prices ranging from 17€ to 40€.
If you are renting a car in Lanzarote (as you should), you could leave it in Playa Blanca, take the ferry on foot, and rent another car in Fuerteventura. Fuerteventura is quite big so obviously you won’t be able to see it all in one day, but you could focus on the North Coast where the famous dunes of Corralejo are located. You could also join one of the many Fuerteventura day trips that are organized by Lanzarote companies, as this would allow you to just sit back and relax.
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