Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands

The subtropical Canary Island of Lanzarote is a special island, with a special colored landscape, volcanoes, craters and caves. Some caves are partly filled with clear (sea) water, the Jameos del Agua cave is very famous. Besides caves, there are many (different) beaches on Lanzarote, and the island has many tourist attractions. For the kids there is a Texas park, a water park, and a tropical park. The island, together with the six other Canary Islands La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and El Hierro, is part of Spain. Source: Anieto2k, Flickr (CC BY-SA-2.0)Source: Macnolete, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)Source: Penjelly, Flickr (CC BY-ND-2.0)

The weather in the Canary Islands (Lanzarote)

Temperature

The weather is almost always nice on the Canary Island and the average temperature is between 20 and 28 degrees. From January to May it is between 20 and 23 degrees Celsius, from June to October the average is between 25 and 28 degrees. The average minimum temperature is between 13 and 20 degrees.

Wind and rain on the island

It rarely rains in Lanzarote. The average number of days of precipitation per month is between 0 and 6 days. From May to September this is between 0 and 2 days per month. There is often a humid wind on Lanzarote, the trade wind. There is a very small chance that a wind current, the scirocco, will come from the Sahara in the summer. As a result, it can be around 40 degrees for a few days with falling desert sand.

Travel to the island

The location

The Canary Island belongs to Spain and is located near Africa. Lanzarote is the northernmost Canary Island and closest to Spain. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean and approximately 115 kilometers from the coast of Morocco. The small islands of Alegranza, La Graciosa, and Montaña Clara belong to Lanzarote.

By plane to Lanzarote

To reach this Spanish island you can fly from the Netherlands (Amsterdam) to the Canary Island of Lanzarote and this takes about 4 hours. If you fly from Amsterdam and have to transfer to Fuerteventura. Then you should count on 5.5 hours. Other departure points by plane are Eindhoven, Brussels, Charleroi, Weeze, and Düsseldorf (in 2016). As of 2016, there is only one airport on the island itself, and this is located in the capital Arrecife.

By boat

In addition to by plane, you can go to Lanzarote by boat. The boats sail from the Spanish coast, from the town of Cádiz to the Islands. The boat trip is relatively expensive, takes longer than 15 hours and you have to make a transfer on the island of Gran Canaria. From West Africa there is a ferry to Gran Canaria that sails for about 18 hours (in 2016).
Source: Torkil storli, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)

Beach on Lanzarote

Puerto del Carmen

The island of Lanzarote has a number of beaches. Every beach on Lanzarote has its specialty. One beach is more suitable for the family, the other more for young adults, surfers, divers, etc. Seaside resort number one is Puerto del Carmen, a place eight kilometers along the coast, with many light brown sandy beaches. Many sports are possible here and there is a lot of entertainment for tourists.

Playa Blanca

If you are looking for something for the family, the seaside resort of Playa Blanca, located on the south side of Lanzarote, is more suitable. There is no long path along the beach, like on Puerto del Carmen. Most catering establishments are located on the Avenida Maritima walking boulevard and you are not allowed to drive near the shops in the Zona Peatonal Los Limones. All this makes Playa Blanca on Lanzarote more pleasant than Puerto del Carmen. There are still a number of bungalows, villas and villa parks in and around Playa Blanca.
Source: Sparksemma, Flickr (CC BY-SA-2.0)Between Playa Blanca and El Papagayo, there are beaches that you cannot quite reach by car. Here are the necessary beaches with little to no people. Some people go swimming naked.

Playa de los Pocillos

Another beach suitable for the family is Playa de los Pocillos. This is the widest beach in Lanzarote (about 1 kilometer wide) and it is an extension of Playa del Carmen. The water is relatively shallow and suitable for the young family. There is also surfing. It is a 15 minute walk to Playa del Carmen, where there is a more vibrant nightlife. Matagorda is an extension of Playa de los Pocillos, where there are many surfers.

Playa de Famara

If you want to surf, you can go to Playa de Famara. Playa Farmara is suitable for novice and advanced surfers. This beach is located on the north side of Arrecife. The wind (trade) and strong surf cause many waves. The wind carries the necessary amount of sand, creating sand hills in the streets and gardens of the city. Sunglasses against the blowing sand can’t hurt.
Source: VIK hotels group, Flickr (CC BY-ND-2.0) La Graciosa
From Playa de Famara you can see the island of La Graciosa. This island, which belongs to Lanzarote, is the best place for fishing, diving or just relaxing. The island has a sandy beach with dunes, some volcanoes, and views of the uninhabited islands of Roque del Este, Alegranza and Montana Clara.

The landscape on the Canary Island

The size of the island

The island has an area of 845 square kilometers. For comparison: the Dutch Wadden Island of Terschelling has 674 square kilometers. Because the island is not too big and the roads are of excellent quality, you can easily visit several sights in one day.

Soil on Lanzarote

Lanzarote, a not very large island, is a volcanic island with about 300 volcanoes. The island is covered with solidified lava, causing the colors ochre, black, pink, and purple to predominate. The lava is covered with many types of lichen.
Source: BlackmanVision, Flickr (CC BY-2.0) Buildings
On the small volcanic island, most houses are white, and the doors and frames are green, blue or brown. The buildings are no higher than four floors. This has to do with the artist César Manrique who influenced the island’s building regulations.

Plants and animals

In terms of plants, you will mainly find cacti and the Canary Island palm in the landscape. The southern part is significantly drier and barer than the northern part. In the south, almost only spurge plants and boxthorn shrubs grow. In the north, especially near Haria, there are many date palms and many other green vegetation. In the north, fleawort (especially on the cliffs of Riscos del Famara), snakeweed, retama (broom) and tabaiba (king juba spurge) grow, among other things. The passion flower still grows on Los Lobos, in the La Bocaina strait. The animals on the island include thousands of goats, many dromedaries, and yellow finches. For the rest there is the occasional bird of prey or sea bird, there are pigeons, and feral pets.
Source: OxOx, Flickr (CC BY-SA-2.0) Cactus garden Jardín de Cactus
The cactus garden Jardín de Cactus is located near the village of Guatiza. It is constructed in the shape of an amphitheater and is a project by artist César Manrique.

Transport on the island of Lanzarote (one of the Canary Islands)

The bus trips are good and relatively cheap. Keep an eye on the departure times because they change frequently. Taxis are affordable, but avoid surprises by asking for the price in advance. Rental cars are also affordable. Please note that you are not allowed to drive on unpaved roads with this.
Lanzarote is a great place to go for cycling. The small size of the island of Lanzarote makes cycling popular. Especially in the winter months from November to May. Companies organize bike tours for different ages and different levels. Because the island of Lanzarote is not too large and diverse, several things can be visited by bike in one day. Nevertheless, the island is 845 square kilometers, and therefore 175 square kilometers larger than Terschelling, and not flat. For most people, a bicycle is therefore not enough to see the entire island. A combination of bicycle and bus will probably provide a nice solution.

Food and drinks in Lanzarote: tapas, papas arrugadas and mojo, mojito, water and wine

To eat

On Lanzarote you can eat tapas all day long in tourist places. In the pubs of villages the tapas is on the counter and it is often sold out before 4 p.m. In general, a lot of fish is eaten. Two other menu variants that you often encounter are: papas arrugadas and mojo. Papas arrugadas are boiled potatoes with the skin on. Add coarse sea salt if desired. Mojo is the sauce. Usually you get a red spicy and a green garlic sauce.
In addition to tapas restaurants, there are a number of international restaurants where you can eat whatever you want. Sticking to a diet is rarely impossible. So much for dinner. As for breakfast: the population hardly eats breakfast, just a sandwich and a coffee. But in the afternoon, after 1 p.m. and in the evening, they eat a three-course dinner. Their dinner starts around 7pm.
Source: Jordi Payà Canals, Flickr (CC BY-ND-2.0) Drink: wine and mojito
In general, in terms of drinks, everything we have in the Netherlands is available. When eating, people mainly drink water and wine. Lanzarote wine is not for sale in the Netherlands (in 2016). This is because production on Lanzarote is insufficient to export. A popular drink is the mojito, which is available almost everywhere on Lanzarote.

Wine region

The wine region on Lanzarote is La Geria, where you can taste wines. Due to the drought, grape plants are difficult to maintain. The residents have built walls around the plants to block the (trade) wind and retain moisture (from the trade wind). In La Geria you can taste wines and visit a wine museum.
Source: Mon Labiaga Ferrer, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)

Sights: volcanoes, caves, and beautiful views

Timanfaya National Park

In the Timanfaya National Park you will find volcano craters and lava fields. You can smell the sulfur from the underground active volcano Montanas del Fuego. A number of sights have been created for tourists. Volcanic geysers are shown, among other things, by pouring water into the bottom. In a magma chamber they show that gravel at a depth of 10 centimeters cannot be held by the heat, and straw at a depth of 1 meter catches fire. In the El Diablo restaurant, cooking is done on volcanic heat. To see all this you can take a ride on a camel.
Source: Jordi Payà Canals, Flickr (CC BY-ND-2.0) Largo Verde
This is a black beach, with poisonous green water, and is located at the bottom of the El Golvo crater. It is assumed that unique micro-organisms live in the poisonous green pool, with volcanic minerals. You can look for mineral stones among the black stones of this beach on Lanzarote. The fishing village of El Golvo is located near the El Golvo volcano, both are located in the Timanfaya National Park.

Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo

More paintings by Cesár Manrique (and paintings by Picasso and Miró) can be found in Arrecife, at the Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo.
Source: Dario Garavini, Flickr (CC BY-SA-2.0) Mirador del Rio
This is a viewpoint (cafe) built from lava stones with a good view of the island of La Graciosa. The roof terrace consists entirely of lava stones and there is no fence. The design is by César Manrique.

Jameos del Agua

In the caves of Jameos del Agua you will find an underground swimming pool that was created by a lava flow. There is a restaurant and a small seawater lake with albino lobsters. There is a concert hall that can accommodate 600 people, and the cave regularly serves as a nightclub. The cave is part of a tunnel that connects to the Atlantic Ocean.
Source: Loresui, Flickr (CC BY-SA-2.0) Fundación de César Manrique
The artist César Manrique lived in a lava cave and this house can be visited. He has interwoven nature with the house. It is a special house and there are works of art by César Manrique

La Cueva de los Verdes

La Cueva de los Verdes, in the town of Haria, is a cave on Lanzarote that leads down into the depths of the globe, to a collection of volcanic caves. It takes some stability, strength, fitness, and agility to get there. The cave system is approximately 7 kilometers long, of which 1 kilometer is walkable. In the cave there is a concert hall with good acoustics. The cave is not green (verde), but Verdes was the family name of the original owner of the land, at the entrance to the cave.

Activities on the Canary Island

Glass bottom boat (catamaran) and submarine (Yellow Submarine)

With a glass bottom boat (a catamaran boat) you can sail from Puerto del Carmen, around Isla de Lobos, to Fuerteventura. Along the way there is a good chance that you will see dolphins, whales and flying fish.
In addition to looking through a glass bottom, you can go deep underwater yourself with a submarine, the Yellow Submarine Lanzarote. The Submarine has 22 large viewing holes so you can see special fish and divers at a depth of 30 meters for 45 minutes. There are also three shipwrecks. You can show a diver a card with a text of your choice, for example, congratulations on your birthday. The submarine departs from the port in Puerto Calero.

Costa Teguise water park

There are many things to do in Lanzarote, such as go-karting, diving, golfing, renting bikes, buggy riding, jesky riding, and riding a Segway. A standout is the Costa Tequise water park. You don’t see them like that much.

Rancho Texas Park

This is a park with animals and a swimming pool next to it. It is located near Puerto del Carmen. During the day there are a number of performances with parrots, sea lions and birds of prey. You can canoe, pony ride, visit a gold mine, or take a walk through the garden with waterfalls. In the evening and night there are country and western nights with cowboys, saloon ladies, and Indians. If you want you can barbecue unlimitedly.

Guinate Tropical Park

The Guinate Tropical Park is located in the northeast of Lanzarote, at the bottom of the Monte Corona volcano. There are many streams with fish and waterfalls, and many birds. There are more than 1,300 exotic animals, and animal shows are held with parrots and penguins, among others.

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