Lanzarote is the perfect destination to escape the British weather and get some much needed winter sun. Situated 78 km off the north-western coast of Africa, Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands, which you can visit with Jet2holidays, and is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago. It is known for its year-round warm weather, beaches, wine, and volcanic landscape.
Lanzarote was never a place I thought about visiting, due to the common misconception of it being a ‘pensioners paradise’. Having just returned from a press trip to Lanzarote with Jet2holidays, I was pleasantly surprised at how many things there were to see and do there regardless of age.
So, whether you’re 22 or 82, here are my top tips for visiting the island.
Airport: The main airport in Lanzarote is Arrecife Airport, located on the eastern coast; a ten-minute drive from Puerto del Carmen. Jet2holidays has direct flights from London Stansted, with a flight time of approximately 4 hours from London.
Public Transport: Lanzarote has limited public transport, so the best way to get around the island is by car. You can hire one from the airport, or in one of the towns. There are also ferries connecting Lanzarote to other nearby Canary islands such as Fuerteventura and Tenerife.
Where to Stay
I’d highly recommend staying in the beautiful 4-star hotel ‘Seaside Los Jameos Playa’, which you can book with Jet2 Holidays. It is situated a short taxi ride away from the buzzing town of Puerto del Carmen; filled with bars, restaurants, and shops. For me, this was ideal, as you were able to enjoy the nightlife and atmosphere of Puerto del Carmen, then head back to the hotel for a quiet night’s sleep! If you have the budget, I would suggest upgrading to one of their sea view rooms. The rooms face east, meaning you’ll wake up every morning to the sun rising over the ocean!
The rooms themselves are a good size, with comfy beds, a reasonably sized bathroom, and a balcony/terrace area. Every room comes with air conditioning, satellite TV, free WiFi, a hairdryer, and safe. The hotel lobby is absolutely stunning, and the pool is its own oasis, surrounded by palm trees and fuchsias. I spent a couple of mornings by the pool as I ate breakfast. Talking of breakfast, at Seaside Jameos you are spoilt for choice. There is your traditional full English, lots of fruit, and a variety of cereals, and breads. The hotel also boasts four tennis courts, a gym, a spa, and a Turkish bath; you’ll need a week just to enjoy the hotel!
The only downside to this hotel is how big it is! I spent many mornings getting lost on my way to the lobby, so make sure you memorise the route to your room!
What to do
Visit Timanfaya National Park
Timanfaya National Park is the top attraction in Lanzarote and is something you HAVE to visit. The absence of vegetation, the ruggedness of the terrain, the variety of colours, and silhouettes of volcanoes, make Timanfaya extraordinarily beautiful. In addition to the spectacular landscape, there are some impressive demonstrations that you can watch and marvel at while you’re there. My favourite were the geysers; which saw one of the rangers pour cold water into a hole, before it exploded into the air as steam. You also have the opportunity to feel the intense heat for yourself, by asking a guide to dig a small hole for you, and handing you a small pile of gravel 10cm below the surface. The gravel is so hot (300 degrees to be exact), you can’t hold it in your hand for more than a few seconds.
Another favourite of mine were the small craters that offered a sneak peak into the depths of the volcano. Guides threw straw bales into the craters, which ignited within minutes! Before you leave, make sure you grab something to eat at El Diablo restaurant. The restaurant uses the geothermal heat from the volcano to cook the food, and you can even go outside and see the natural grill for yourself. If you can only visit one place while you’re in Lanzarote, make sure it’s Timanfaya National Park.
Walk through lava tubes at Cueva de los Verdes
Cueva de los Verdes is one of the most impressive hidden wonders that Lanzarote has to offer. It is a six kilometre lava tube that runs from the volcano’s crater, all the way to the sea. The eruptions of La Corona volcano created an intricate labyrinth of tunnels and caves, carved out by the magma that once filled them. This journey to the centre of the Earth is truly a once in a lifetime experience, and the geology is stunning! Interestingly, during the 17th century, the tunnels were used as a hideout, when locals were under attack from pirates.
Taste the local wines & visit the vineyards
Despite its arid conditions and rocky landscape, Lanzarote is famous for its vineyards and wine production. We visited three vineyards with Wine Tours Lanzarote and learnt about the different cultivation methods on the island. Although there is very little rainfall, the volcanic soil is able to trap the moisture from dew and mist, supplying the vines with water, helping them to grow. Additionally, small stone walls called ‘zocos’ are built around the vine, protecting it from strong winds. Over 75% of the wine produced on Lanzarote is white, with the vast majority coming from the Malvasia grape. This sweet dessert wine was once the preferred choice of the European aristocracy and was one of my favourites.
Try a Cactus Burger at Jardin de Cactus
Located in the village of Guatiza, Jardin de Cactus was an old quarry that was revamped into a botanical paradise by Spanish artist and sculpture Cesar Manrique. Jardin de Cactus has around 4,500 specimens of 450 different species of cacti (I had no idea there were that many!) It’s very picturesque and a great way to spend your morning, walking around the garden. Be sure to stop at their restaurant for lunch, where you can try a cactus burger and some cactus juice. The juice tasted similar to Aloe Vera and was quite refreshing, but the burger was hard to stomach! Still, it’s pretty cool to say you’ve tried cactus right?
Cycle around the volcanoes
One of the best ways to visit the volcanoes is to book a cycling tour with Papagayo Bikes. It’s a great way to explore the area while keeping fit. We opted for the 2 hour morning tour which led us around the bases of some of the dormant volcanoes, taking in the surrounding landscape as we went. We ended up parking up our bikes and heading onto one of the craters, which was amazing. Luckily it didn’t erupt! The ride itself is pretty tough, and you spend half of your time pushing your bike through volcanic ash, but anyone of average fitness will be able to do it.
Take in the views at Mirador del Rio
I love a good viewpoint. Whenever I travel, I always try to find the highest hiking point, so I can take in the city and surrounding landscape from above. Mirador del Rio is the place to do just that. It is one of the most unique architectural creations by Cesar Manirque, and offers the most spectacular panoramic views of the archipelago.
Where to Eat
Jameos del Agua
This has to be my favourite place to eat in Lanzarote. Not only is the quality of food here amazing, but the restaurant is situated in a cave! Three times a week, the area is transformed into a popular evening venue, where you can dine on an a la carte menu and enjoy some traditional folk dancing, while marvelling at Lanzarote’s stunning geology. Make sure to wear some sensible shoes – I decided it would be a great idea to turn up in wedges, which proved quite the challenge as I scrambled down rocks to my table.
La Cascada del Puerto
Cascada del Puerto is a family grill located in a rural Lanzarote house in Puerto del Carmen. It is one of the best grills in the Canaries with many creative and innovative dishes. The interior is traditionally Spanish in design, and the ingredients are locally sauced. It even has its own ecological farm!
Located in Lanzarote’s newly built marina, Lilium is a beautiful contemporary restaurant overlooking Arrecife harbour. The menu specialises in Canarian cuisine, with local wines to pair each course with.
Sat on the waterfront edges of the 5* Marina in Puerto Calero, Amura is a luxurious Michelin star restaurant, which boasts spectacular views of Lanzarote’s ‘superyacht zone’. The food at Amura is exquisite, offering a unique gastronomic experience that focuses on the best market cuisine and signature dishes from the local area.
I hope you have found this guide useful, and have an amazing time in Lanzarote!
Disclaimer: I was invited to Lanzarote on a fully funded press trip, in partnership with Jet2 Holidays.