I always seem to have the best timing with these blogs as the travel advice to Lanzarote has just changed again to “do not travel”. Well, I would absolutely recommend you to travel here, as we had a great time this past June. Lanzarote had only just arrived on my travel radar, as it has been one of the islands that was able to keep COVID out after a rough start and it was one of the first possible travel destinations of 2021. We were super happy with our choice, as we found Lanzarote an incredibly relaxed and diverse travel destination. Not only is the nature absolutely stunning, but you can also find many cute Spanish villages and immerse yourself in Spanish culture and cuisine. If you are into volcano hiking, you can do many stringent hikes on Lanzarote. We traveled with a baby that cannot sit independently, so we did very different activities and we found that you can experience a lot that Lanzarote has to offer even if you are traveling with a baby! I hope to have inspired you to visit this very underrated island.
You can arrive to Lanzarote by plane in Arrecife, or by ferry from the other Canary Islands. Fuerteventura is located south of Lanzarote and can be done on a day trip with the ferry. Lanzarote is the Canary Island that is located closest to Morocco, so you will find some Moroccan influences on the island, though it belongs to Spain. You will mainly find lodging in the coastal areas of the island. We decided to stay in Playa Blanca, in the South of the island, as it is easy to find a good deal in this area. I booked a holiday villa at “Villas Costa Papagayo” for € 100 per night. The villa could easily accommodate six adults as there were three bedrooms and two bathrooms, so it was way too big for us, but it was one of the cheapest villas with a private pool. The interior was a bit dated, but it was spacious and comfortable. I absolutely loved our pool, it had the perfect temperature even though Hugo found it too cold. Playa Blanca is a very touristy town, but when we visited in June 2021 it wasn’t very crowded. It offers a nice range of restaurants and the city center was cuter than I expected. I didn’t see a lot of bars, so I guess it’s not that kind of town. One reason why Lanzarote looks so clean and stylish is because of the influences of the designer Cesar Manrique.
Manrique started developing Lanzarote in the sixties. The vision of Manrique is one of the reasons why Lanzarote is beautifully balanced with volcanic grounds and whitewashed houses and why the coast has not been ruined with high-rise buildings. Manrique was an artist and painter and was able to use Lanzarote as his design studio. Even though he passed away in 1992 Lanzarote still uses his design rules when they are developing new areas. They even named the airport after him. Now, you can visit many of his designs as a touristic spot and I recommend that you visit at least a few. But even if you decide not to visit his sights, you will not be able to escape his vision and will still see his presence everywhere. We visited the Cactus Garden and the Mirador del Rio, which you can both visit for respectively € 6 and € 5. I am a big design lover and I loved how Manrique combined the volcanic rocks with round shapes. He designed both with respect for its natural surroundings.
Unfortunately when we visited Mirador del Rio it was a cloudy day, but the weather cleared a little bit when we went outside to take pictures of the view. From the Mirador del Rio you can spot the little island La Graciosa, which we unfortunately were not able to visit as it would be too much of a hassle with a baby, I did hear it’s really good! The inside of the Mirador del Rio provides sufficient reasons to visit, as it features an amazing spiral staircase and beautiful rounded windows in the restaurant. Luckily, Huug slept through this experience so I could fully take in the beauty of this place.
We decided not to visit one of Manrique’s most famous sights: the Jameos del Agua, because of the crazy amount of tour buses that we spotted in front of the entrance. If you are able to visit it first thing in the morning I am sure it is worth it though, but this was something that we were not able to do because of Hugo’s morning sleep.
Hidden gems on the island
I wrote a separate blogpost about the hidden gems of Lanzarote. You will find so many unspoiled spots in Lanzarote, the island is so naturally beautiful that they deserved their own blog post. If you have a drone, make sure to bring it as you will have so many great droning opportunities.
Other things to do
La Geria: The vineyards of La Geria are one of the reasons that we picked Lanzarote as our Canary island of destination. Just check out my pictures below to see what I mean 😉 The circles are made to shelter the plants from the strong winds and create a super unique landscape. We found the volcanic wine very tasty as well! We just drove up a road to take some pictures with our drone, as there were no visitors.
National Park Timanfaya: We didn’t officially enter the national park, but we just drove by. Because of safety (?) reasons you can only visit the park with a bus tour or on a camel back, which we were not keen on doing, so we drove by to get a little look. We were super impressed with the rock formations, so we were happy that we had a little sneak peak.
Charco de los Ciclos: This is a lookout over a beautiful black beach with a green lake inside it. You can usually access the beach, but not on the day that we visited. Would have loved to do some droning above these spectacular colors, but we ended up only visiting the lookout because of the restrictions. Just around the corner you will find the little town El Golfo, which is known for its many seafood restaurants.
Playa Papagayo: Playa Papagayo is one of the prettiest beaches of Lanzarote and it gets very popular. Surprisingly we were able to find a spot in the shade of the rocks on 4PM in a weekend. Beware that you have to drive on a dirt road for over 15 minutes before you get to the parking. The walk down the beach can be done with a stairs and is very easy.
Salinas de Janubio: The saltpans of Janubio are the largest in the Canary Islands. I have always had a weird fascination with saltpans and was able to carefully enter this one. You can hardly see me in the drone shots below, so you can understand how large they were!
Playa de Famara: This is the (kite) surfer’s beach where you will see a golden glow all day long. It somehow reminded me of South Africa. Gorgeous, but very windy spot and not suitable for babies.
Teguise: Teguise is the most beautiful town on Lanzarote, so we ended up visiting twice. During the weekends you can visit a very popular market and the atmosphere is really great. You will find lots of bodegas and specialty shops open on the weekends, but during the week lots of them are closed, so make sure to do some research if you specifically want to visit something.
Most of the cuisine on Lanzarote is typically Spanish, you will find many authentic tapas restaurants and bodegas. I found the cuisine on Tenerife a bit too British oriented, so I was pleasantly surprised by Lanzarote. Of course you can also stay in an all inclusive resort, it is much more fun to explore the local cuisine, which is exactly what we did. We headed out for long lunches as that was the time that Hugo did a long siesta. In the evenings we cooked a simple meal in our villa. I will highlight our favorite food experiences below.
La Bodega de Santiago in Yaiza: This is a bodega with a comfortable terrace situated under a large tree with excellent local food. The ceviche, lamb and chocolate desert were absolutely divine! This restaurant is very spacious, so we could easily park the stroller next to our table. It is a bit more pricy than most restaurants on the island, but worth it. I recommend reserving a table because it can fill up quickly.
El Recoveco in Teguise: This is a very popular tapas restaurant, which is perfect for a simple, yet delicious meal. It is situated on a very atmospheric square and was full with Spanish speaking people when we visited.
Wine tasting in La Geria: La Geria is the wine district of Lanzarote, where you will find the super impressive grape plants growing on volcanic soil. We stopped at Bodega La Geria for a cheese platter and wine tasting, which was very cheap and tasty. Sometimes tour buses also stop here, but you can visit many other bodegas in this area.