Last week I went on a short vacation to Lanzarote, Canary Islands. The island is quite small, but for 1-2 weeks it has plenty of activities to do, so here I will share some ideas that I enjoyed in case anyone else wants to go to Lanzarote as well.
Fligts, maps, car rental, hotels
Cheap flights: highly recommend to check out airixo.com – easy & fast to find dates and places that you might be interested in. We got our flights for only 125EUR/person in both directions.
Car Rental: avoid big brand companies – they have very bad reviews, instead try out a local company called AutoReisen – very good service, prices & reviews. And that was our experience as well – 100EUR for car rental for 7 days, no security deposits, insurance included, no issues with the car.
Hotels: you can check out airbnb.com or if you find something interesting in booking.com – try to book the same place directly, that will be 10% cheaper. We changed places almost every day, but the island is quite small and if you have a car, you can easily stay in the same place all the time.
1. Risco de Famara
Risco de Famara is about 15km long cliff with an average height of 550m. You can park at a small church Ermita de las Nieves, and then start walking north. I would recommend to go at least till Mirador del Bosequecillo, which is 3km in one direction, but you can continue further as well.
Hiking here is not difficult, but it can be very windy and there are no security barriers, so it would be a good idea to have proper clothes and be careful not to fall down somewhere.
From the top you can see Famara beach and as you go along, you will pass an observatory and some farms. The sights are breath taking and if you manage to get up early to see everything while sun rises, you won’t regret it.
The road is not marked in Google Maps, so I would suggest to check maps.me application if you want to look at the route.
2. Caldera Blanca volcano crater
The route starts just outside a small village called Mancha Blanca. There is an info sign on the road and also a special parking spot. From there it is about 3km till the volcano crater.
Unfortunately we started quite late in afternoon, so we only managed to climb up the crater just before it was getting dark, but the views were very cool and I would highly recommend to also go around the whole volcano crater. That should take 4-5h.
To check the route on phone, also look at Maps.me app – it is marked there in detail and not available on Google Maps.
3. Cueva de Los Verdes
I’m not a fan of guided tours, but that was the only option here. The 1km long tour takes around 45 minutes and costs 9EUR/person. In some places it is so narrow you have to keep your head down, in others the ceiling is 10-20m above you, and there is even a concert hall, but the most impressive part is in the end.
At first sight everyone believed that they are looking down to another cave. Our perception was changed only after the guide asked to throw a stone there. And even when you are 100% sure you are looking at water, the reflection is so good, you just cannot believe it. This is the best optical illusion I’ve seen!
And if you want to see more caves afterwards, you can also check out Jameos del Agua caves that are just 1km away.
4. El Golfo & Laguna Verde
This was my favorite village. On the way to El Golfo you can stop in several places to check out the cliffs and waves crashing against them.
El Golfo is a very small place, but full of many fish restaurants and some of them are so close to the sea, you can hear the waves in background and have very nice views. The food was good as well.
And if you go there, you also need to visit Laguna Verde – green lake with red cliffs around it.
5. Playa Famara
Famara is a very isolated and small town, so don’t expect fancy restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops here, but instead you get to see one of the best beaches on island.
If you are interested in surfing, this is the perfect place to do that. You can rent out any equipment needed or sign up for surf classes in several places. It has also the nickname “European Hawaii”.
And even if you don’t surf, you can just walk along the 3km wide sandy beach or lay in the sun. If most of other beaches are quite small and crowded, then here you will have plenty of space.
6. Playa Mujeres & Playa de Papagaya
The beaches are located in the Natural Park Los Ajaches and on the way there you have to use a bumby dirt road and pay 3 EUR park entry fee per car. But it certainly is worth it.
The first beach is called Playa Mujeres, it is the widest one – about 400m. We spent most of our time here, but the other beaches are very nice as well. And you can do a small hike and visit other beaches on foot by crossing the park hills.
Note that in Playa Mujeres there are no shops or cafes, only near Playa de Papagaya beach you can find 2-3 cafes on top of the hill where you can have lunch or a drink.
January is not the best month for fishing, but we still managed to catch 2 tunas, 1 barracuda and about 10-15 smaller fishes and it was lot of fun.
In the winter the experience can depend a lot on luck, but if you would go to Lanzarote in May-Oct, I would highly recommend to plan a fishing trip as well.
We did some bottom fishing, but the best part of course was trolling and trying to catch tunas and other bigger fish. At first I was quite surprised how hard it is to pull back the line while trying to keep it in constant tension. And some of the lines were so long, it can take 10-15 minutes to actually find out if the fish is still on the hook. But when you finally catch the fish, it is worth it.
In the end we let the Barracuda free, but the other fish were divided among those who wanted to grill them later.
One of the crew members also showed us the biggest tuna they had caught. About 14 guys rented out the boat for 2 days and with the same rods and lines that we used they managed to catch about 600kg tuna. In total they lost 5 similar size tunas, and it took them 6 hours to catch this one. The photo was very impressive.
8. Rent a quad or motorbike
On Lanzarote you can rent almost any kind of transport – cars, camels, buggies, bikes, boats, motorbikes, boats, submarines, but most of them are organised as group tours and might be boring with few exceptions:
a) rent a quad without a guide. Quad Lanzarote offers a 500cc quad for 24h for 85EUR with additional 200EUR security deposit. We were asked to not switch to 4×4 mode, but otherwise it seemed to be in good shape. And it was fun to visit Playa de Papagaya and El Golfo with a quad.
b) If you have A category, rent a motorbike – I considered to get a Kawasaki enduro bike and would do that in Blue Speed, but I was a bit ill and our schedule was full, so maybe next time 🙂
Another option would be to use endurolanzarote.com service – they offer 3h guided enduro tour with full equipment for 160EUR. Much more expensive, but might be a good adventure if they show some interesting roads and hills.
9. Playa de Janubio
This beach is made from small, black rocks and has huge waves. I read somewhere that it is not allowed to swim here, but if you want to see a bit different beach or lay down on hot rocks, you should check it out. There are also sea salt mining fields nearby and many visitors walk along the beach to find peridot crystals.
10. Montana Blanca
This is one of the highest volcanoes on Lanzarote. It is quite steep and was not easy to climb up, but we enjoyed it a lot. In some places you also can see small caves and rifts.
It took us about an hour to get to the top and of course – it was windy there. The views were nice and someone had also managed to bring a cross there, so we had to take a photo with that as well.
You can also have a 360 view from the top of Montana Blanca on Google Maps.
P.S. Also consider diving – many offers available, but we did not do it, so don’t have any recommendations. Would love to see the first underwater museum in Europe that is now being built in Lanzarote.
4 places to avoid
Mirador del Dio – it looks nice in photos and the views are great, but in real life the cafe is quite cold with limited selection of food and the place outside is quite small. It might be suited for old people, but for others I would suggest to do the hike to Mirador del Bosequecillo mentioned above instead.
Timanfaya National Park – again, if you are old and don’t like to walk around, this might be fun, but otherwise – stay away. Entrance fee is 9EUR and after waiting in line for a free parking spot, you can start a bus tour. It goes around the park with audio guide in English, German and Spanish. You get to hear a bit about history and the sights are cool, but looking at them from bus – not at all. And it is not allowed to walk around on your own. Don’t waste your time here, go to Caldera Blanca – much more fun.
Arrecife – this is a city near airport, it has a beach and park, and we stayed here for couple of nights, but would not do it again. Would recommend Playa Blanca or Puerto del Carmen if you like bigger places or El Golfo – if you prefer a beautiful, small village. Or if you feel like a hippy, love sun & surfing, then – Famara.
Museo de la Piratería – this is a pirate museum near Teguise on top of a hill with 3 EUR entry fee. Sights are good, but it is not the highest hill, widest volcano or the most interesting museum. There are better places where to spend your time.