9 reasons to visit Lanzarote
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Ever been to Lanzarote? If you have, you'll know what a glorious Canarian island it is. If not, I'm about to reveal why you really have to jet off to this Macronesian charmer.
Lanzarote* is one of the most popular of the Canary Islands*, known for its rugged volcanic landscape and reliable holiday weather. So join me now as I reveal the nine reasons that you should book a break to the classy, ever-surprising, sunshine isle of Lanzarote.
1. Great beach resorts
Lanzarote boasts a swathe of ace beaches along with a collection of resorts that makes the most of them. The biggest is Puerto del Carmen, with its tempting wide stretch of sand.
Costa Teguise works especially well for families. Kids love the laidback atmosphere and choice of beaches too.
In the south, there is the resort of Playa Blanca. There are good beaches in town, but even better ones at Punta del Papagayo, a short drive, walk or boat trip away along the coast.
2. Manrique's magic
Seldom has one man had such a dramatic effect on one island. Visionary modernist architect César Manrique led a single-handed crusade to make sure the architecture on Lanzarote remained true to its roots, low rise and not blighted by skyscrapers.
His organic, eye-catching work can be enjoyed all over Lanzarote, from a slew of buildings through to spectacularly placed viewpoints. His most remarkable work is perhaps the breathtaking studio he built for himself, which is now home to the César Manrique Foundation.
3. Vaulting volcanoes
Lanzarote does not just boast one volcano. The whole island is sprinkled with volcanoes of all shapes and sizes, as well as lava flows and myriad other volcanic features that constitute one big geography lesson.
The best place to get a real feel for the sheer drama of the island's volcanoes is in the Timanfaya National Park. You'll find a visitor centre with plenty of information for exploring as well as a restaurant where you can enjoy steaks cooked on volcanic stone.
4. Fantastic food
Lanzarote has it all: the resorts offer excellent value set meal deals and specials alongside tapas bars and more authentic eateries. Head out of the resorts in search of more local restaurants where you can enjoy the island's rich bounty of seafood.
Check out El Golfo for a stunning seafood lunch right by the ocean. Local fish and huge grilled Atlantic prawns (cooked with garlic) are the stars at Costa Azul. Make sure to try the seafood with some of the excellent local wines, talking of which...
5. World class wines
Shakespeare once eulogised 'Malmsey' in his plays so it's a grape that obviously has a serious amount of heritage behind it. Today it is known as Malvasia, and vineyards harvesting this glorious white grape are dotted all over Lanzarote.
Some of the vines recline in little volcanic craters to help protect them from the wind and gather water. Two of my favourite wineries are El Grifo and Bermejo. You can easily visit both, where you can stock up in the shop in one seriously fun wine tasting day.
6. Charming capital
As capitals go, Arrecife is a laidback island charmer. It feels more like a relaxed town than a capital city, though its port is pleasantly busy with ferries buzzing around.
It doesn't take long to explore, so a day is enough, perhaps with a session on the city beach at the end of the afternoon. For dinner, slip round to picturesque El Charco de San Ginés, which still feels like a little fishing village.
7. Wonderful walking
Lanzarote is not as well as known as some of its siblings as a walking destination, but those volcanoes are brilliant fun to hike up and the national park has some excellent trails to explore.
Swirl in forays along the coast and some high ridge walks that offer splendid views, and Lanzarote really stacks up as a walking destination. Cicerone publishes a great walking guide* to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura with various suggested routes and maps.
8. La Graciosa
Look north and you can't miss the offshore island of La Graciosa - catch a ferry across the Atlantic swell and you won't regret it.
The 'streets' are made of sand and the main village is little more than a hamlet, though it does have a couple of decent restaurants and cafés.
The island is superb for hiking or cycling. Head out on your own and you can enjoy its beaches to yourself or hike up some lofty volcanoes for views back to the main island of Lanzarote.
Ok, so Fuerteventura* is another island altogether, but as it's only half an hour by ferry from Playa Blanca, and we think we can count it as a reason you should visit Lanzarote. The ferry arrives at Corralejo, a great place that is a tourist resort, but also still a fishing village with plenty of Spanish visitors.
It's ideal day trip territory with plenty of restaurants, cafés and bars on hand. And at the end of the day, you can enjoy a cruise back across the water admiring Lanzarote looming up in welcome ahead of you.
Weather in Lanzarote
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