A landscape of contrasts is what made me fall in love with Lanzarote. It’s a land of volcanoes and fire, but also of crystalline and turquoise beaches. Today I will share with you 6 irresistible plans to do in Lanzarote. I am not going to tell you what you should do each day, or how much time you should dedicate to each place. Every traveler is a completely different story 🙂 I want you to go at your own pace and all the places listed below can be visited from 3 to 5 days. If you can dedicate a full week to this beautiful volcanic island, even better!
Parque Nacional de Timanfaya
Timanfaya National Park is unique in its kind and for me undoubtedly one of the most spectacular national parks in Spain. I felt like if I were traveling to the moon. The park is strongly protected which means tourist visits are restricted to three options: a bus route, guided hiking routes or free trails around the outer perimeter of Timanfaya.
Its original landscape that we can admire today was created due to a multitude of continued volcanic eruptions during the 18th century. The entire panorama literally left me speechless : an infinite sea of lava dotted with dozens of craters and volcanic cones. But the best are the colors, very intense black, red and yellow tones that convert your visit into a piece of art, and believe me, no Photoshop is needed for pictures taken there.
The bus tour, known as the Route of the Volcanoes, will transport you to the heart of the National Park. Not only is the landscape impressive, bu checking how temperature exceed 500 grades just in a few meters from the surface is a once in a lifetime experience. The demonstration is done by park stuff who throw water through an opening in the ground and in a matter of seconds the same water returns to the surface in the form of a geyser. There is no need to make a prior reservation. Buses run very often, but you may have to wait a bit in line on busy days. There is also the possibility of booking guided tours of the area and making the most of your time. Prepare yourself for one of the best experiences in your life!
Los Jameos del Agua
Located inside a volcanic tunnel produced by the eruptions of the volcano La Corona, los Jameos del Agua owe their name to the existence of a subterranean salt lake originated by marine infiltrations. It is also an art, culture and tourism center, created by local artist and architect, César Manrique, consisting of a restaurant, gardens, emerald-green pool, museum and even auditorium.
The visit starts at Jameo Chico, from where you can see the Tunnel of Atlantis, passing through the lake where endemic tiny albino crabs are found, a unique species in the entire world. The tour continues through Jameo Grande, and then Jameo de La Cazuela, which is accessed by crossing the imposing stage of the Auditorium. “La Cazuela” is a special place that opens for the public exclusively for private events, where you can contemplate two interior waterfalls and enjoy the peace and tranquility of this hidden area.
The most impressing part inside the cave was to discover a natural lake with clear and transparent waters that is home to more than a dozen endemic species of great scientific interest, among which the famous blind crabs that I mentioned before. The darkness of the cave causes the lack of pigmentation of this rare specimen, whitish in color and barely one centimeter in length. Also known as “jameitos” they are the symbol of the Jameos del Agua.
Cueva de los Verdes
At this point you will probably ask if there is anything to see in Lanzarote that is not related to volcanoes? This time I encourage you to enter a 5,000-year-old volcanic tube. The visit is possible only with a guided tour and cannot be done on your own, and it takes you between galleries and rooms at different levels. It truly is a wonder of nature. There is also a surprise that you must discover on-site at the end of the tour!
Formed as a result of the eruptive activity of the Corona Volcano as well, Cueva de los Verdes was used as a hiding place for the population against the attacks and invasions of pirates from North Africa during the 16th and 17th centuries, but it was from the 19th century that it became a must-see for European travelers and scientists fascinated by its unique volcanic formation. It’s been said that name of the cave is due to the surname of a family that kept their livestock in the surroundings.
The mix of ocher, gray, black and reddish take a complete leadership in this paradise of darkness and are mimicked by the effect of light to draw grotesque landscapes and spectacular rocky structures. Entering the Cueva de los Verdes makes you feel as if you were taking an initiatory journey to the center of the earth. Another curiosity is that now in October the concert season begins in its interior auditorium. Yes, another auditorium underground!
Viñedos de la Geria
Visiting Lanzarote wouldn’t be complete without trying its unexpected sweet white wine that was born from volcanic ashes. In 18th century Lanzarote suffered the longest eruption recorded in the Canary archipelago. The Fire Mountains covered the most fertile area of the island in black, leaving an inhospitable terrain. No one could imagine then that the explosion would give way to a unique wine-growing environment where the volcanic ash would serve to preserve the humidity of the crops.
It was the country people who, with their own hands or with the help of camels as the only tool, began to dig holes to access the topsoil and thus be able to cultivate in it. Measuring six meters in diameter and up to three meters deep, the holes are, for the most part, surrounded by stones in a circular or crescent shape that act as a shelter against the wind. The temperature of the volcanic ash helps the grape to raise its level of sugars, and as a consequence, of alcohol.
El Grifo is the archipelago’s oldest winery founded in 1775, and one of the ten oldest in Spain. Knowing it is essential to get an idea of the history and importance of La Geria. The El Grifo farm is made up of 40 hectares among which are distributed the vineyards, the winery, a museum and the cactus garden that welcomes visitors in front of the imposing Colorada Mountain.
Jardín de Cactus
Something that maybe won’t be a must for many people but definitely called my attention in Lanzarote was Jardín de Cactus. It was a ver nice experience for a Polish girl who grew up in a cold country and wasn’t used to this kind of flora. The Cactus Garden is home to around 4,500 specimens of 450 different species of cacti from all over the world, for example from America, Madagascar, Morocco, apart from indigenous species from Canarias.
On the other side, on the top of a small hill, remains one of the last mills of millet that remains standing on the island. You can easily access there to learn about the operation of the mill and see how it was ground in the past, and you can also climb the internal staircase and contemplate the views from above.
Jardín de Cactus was the last artistic intervention of César Manrique in Lanzarote. Finding this garden is very easy since the entrance is marked by a sculpture by the architect of a gigantic cactus over 8 meters high and bright green in color. My advice is to visit the Cactus Garden, la Cueva de los Verdes and los Jameos del Agua in one day because they are pretty close to each other.
Isla de La Graciosa
Taking a ferry to La Graciosa was definitely the best decision I made during my stay in Lanzarote. This small island is an authentic paradise characterized by wild beaches, volcanoes and unpaved villages of white houses. There are no roads, no cars and motor vehicles are strictly limited to some licensed vehicles for special purposes. Tourists move on foot or by bicycle, and the landscapes looks like from a movie.
This small volcanic island is located 2 km north of Lanzarte and is probably the less known island from the entire archipelago. Three years ago it was officially called the eight Canary Island but still many people have no clue about this beautiful place. The only way to get there is by taking a small ferry which leaves from the port of Órzola, in the north of Lanzarote, and there are just two settlements on the whole island inhabited by people.
For those who come to spend the day on the island, I recommend getting up early and coming in the first boats that leave from Lanzarote, being able to enjoy the entire day on the island. You can explore the island by renting a bike or 4×4 taxi. If you are one of those who like to walk and enjoy the landscape, you must come early, as there are no shadows on the trails.
Many tourists choose the route that goes to Las Conchas beach and spend the day on the beach there, but be aware that this beach is dangerous to bath as there are enough currents and waves and a red flag. You can sunbath instead and then climb to the top of Montaña Bermeja where you will have a fantastic view that will leave you speechless. Staying in Las Conchas is one option, the other is to continue towards Caletón de los Arcos and Lambra Beach, or if you prefer, return to Caleta. Whatever you decide, La Graciosa is an oasis of tranquility and relaxation where you can breathe nature on all sides, and from where you will not want to return!
Lanzarote stole my heart from a very beginning when I saw the white houses scattered between the hills of its unique landscape. For me this visit was focused mainly on volcanic routes, but there are plenty other things to do. You may not associate Lanzarote with paradisiacal beaches but believe me, there are some and you will find them in the south, in an arid and desert area known as Punta del Papagayo. The most famous and spectacular is Playa de Papagayo. If you want to go shopping and enjoy a little bit of citizen life, I recommend you Puerto de Carmen, situated only 10 minutes from the airport. Puerto de Carmen was my choice for accommodation because it was very well connected with all my destinations. You can also book a boat to la Isla de Lobos, practice windsurf or kite surf, or simply walk the promenade and have some drinks. Lanzarote has absolutely everything you need to spend amazing few days. Would you sign up for some of those 6 irresistible plans?