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A Lanzarote travel guide – sleeping volcanoes, bone-white villages and Atlantic beaches

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Basking on the beach in December and moon walking across dormant volcanoes makes holidays in Lanzarote memorable. Book a Lanzarote hotel to find your muse on this island of Atlantic rollers, luxuriant palm valleys and surreal lava landscapes.

Get your bearings

Stranded off the coast of West Africa, Spanish-speaking Lanzarote is a volcanic smudge of a Canary Island pummelled by the cobalt Atlantic. The sandy south is strung with lively, family-oriented beach resorts like Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen and windsurfing mecca Costa Teguise. Camels sway graciously across the lunar Timanfaya National Park in the north-west, close to El Golfo’s dazzling crater lagoon. Edge north-east for giddy views at Mirador del Rio and secluded sunbathing on surf-magnet Playa de Famara.

Lanzarote beaches

With black-sand beaches and winter sunburn, Lanzarote defies the rulebook. Sun-seekers looking for a family welcome, activities and upbeat nightlife choose Lanzarote hotels on the south coast. Flop on the soft golden sands of breezy Costa Teguise, crescent-shaped Playa Flamingo in Playa Blanca, and palm-backed Puerto del Carmen where brightly painted fishing boats bob in the harbour. For more peace, head to Papagayo’s half-moon bay to dig your toes into sugar-fine sand and snorkel in the turquoise water. Clifftop lookout Mirador del Rio affords vertiginous views of the north coast’s salt plains and Isla Graciosa. Nowhere is the lure of the sea more powerful than at isolated Playa de Famara, an 8km ribbon of sand backed by volcanic cliffs.

Extraordinary landscapes

Millennia of volcanic eruptions have given Lanzarote its otherworldly look. Top of the must-see list is the Timanfaya National Park, a moon-like landscape of craters, hissing geysers and rust-red sands. Explore it by coach or camel hump. Take an eerie stroll through one of the world’s longest volcanic tunnels at Cuevas de los Verde, where locals hid from pirates in the 17th century. Shimmering in a crater, El Golfo’s algae-rich, bottle-green lagoon will have you lunging for the camera, as will La Geria’s bizarre volcanic vineyards. Artist César Manrique’s final masterpiece was the Cactus Garden, bristling with 10,000 cacti. 

 

Family holidays

The south coast’s broad sandy bays are great for bucket and spade fun on family holidays to Lanzarote. Spot neon fish and coral through the port holes on a submarine safari in Puerto Calero. Nearby, little ones can saddle a pony or take a bumpy camel ride at Lanzarote a Caballo. When temperatures soar, cool off on the slides and splash pools in Aquapark, Costa Teguise. Kids love the penguin feeding and parrots at Guinate Tropical Park, set in 11 acres of cactus-studded gardens in the Valley of a Thousand Palms. Teens can let off steam hurtling around the tracks at Gran Karting Club in Puerto del Carmen. 

Outdoor action

There’s more activity on Lanzarote holidays than just the volcanic kind. In winter, surfer dudes to ride Atlantic swells off Playa de Famara. The Costa Teguise draws windsurfers to its waves and divers to its lava caves and multicolored reefs teeming with barracuda and harmless angel sharks. Swaying palms and volcanoes create a striking backdrop to Costa Teguise’s 18-hole, 72-par golf course. Come in early spring to walk amid the wildflowers in the oasis-like Valley of a Thousand Palms.

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