My name is Niccolò. I’m 26 years old and live in Italy. Welcome to my guide on the best things to do in Lanzarote – the incredible Canary Island.
I have been travelling through Europe for over 5 years now, taking photos of amazing places where I can. My passion for travel grew with age. In the past, I devoted my entire life to sports such as mountain biking. Today, I work with cars and as soon as I have free time I spend it travelling.
I’m a self-taught photographer. I have never attended courses or gone to photography school. Around three years ago I started sharing my photos on social media. Despite having always pursued photography as a hobby, who knows – maybe one day things will change and I will turn professional.
My approach is to take everything with positivity and light-heartedness when I travel. Even though unexpected events can happen, I always try to enjoy the moment. It’s in these moments of freedom where I feel alive.
Exploring Lanzarote in 5 Incredible Days
I choose to travel to Lanzarote in the summer holidays of 2019. It was my first time visiting this amazing island. Having seen photos online and on social media, Lanzarote seemed like this incredibly wild and Jurassic island. I immediately fell in love and wanted to visit as soon as possible.
Since Lanzarote is a geographically small island, I decided that 5 days would be enough time to see everything. From Italy it was a relatively easy 4 hour flight and I had arrived. You definitely need to rent a car once you arrive so you can fully enjoy the most remote corners of the island.
Although it was a short 5 day trip, it turned out to be enough time to explore Lanzarote. This included hidden gems and the most famous points of interest such as Papagayo Beach and Timanfaya National Park.
Without a doubt, this island is a destination for lovers of extravagant landscapes. The terrain is totally ‘out of the ordinary’. It’s a destination that immerses you in a volcanic atmosphere – with craters that pop up out of nowhere, desert landscapes and rugged, winding roads.
Kissed by the ocean, the water is freezing and the wind is chilly and never fails. The temperature changes can be just as swift and dramatic as those of a desert. Since I was accustomed to the Mediterranean climate, I suffered a bit from the cold even though it was the end of July.
One of the things I loved to do in Lanzarote was to follow random paths near Mirador del Río in the northern part of the island. I loved finding new panoramic viewpoints not marked out on Google Maps or other apps. Taking photos of the craters from new perspectives was amazing.
From the top I could admire the craters without a drone. We could even see the island of La Graciosa. In these days, I managed to explore the hidden gems of the island rather than just the popular tourist spots.
Favourite Place in Lanzarote – La Geria
All of Lanzarote was special to me. I think La Geria was my favourite. It’s an area of the island where the land is entirely black. Inhabitants grow wine by digging holes for the plants which defends them from the wind.
This farming technique guarantees that plants survive and that the people see the benefits of wine production. In my opinion, La Geria is totally unique and unlike anywhere else on earth. From above it seems like the landscape is of the moon or something. I have never seen anything like it.
10 Best Things To Do in Lanzarote
Lanzarote is one of those unique places in the world that you have to see to believe. The landscape is utterly extraordinary with over 300 volcanic cones emerging from the island. There is so much to see and do here. From my 5 days in Lanzarote, I can recommend the following experiences:
1. Cycle or Mountain Bike across the Island
Lanzarote is an island tailor-made for sports lovers. In particular, the island is famous for cycling. Each road has its own cycle path and outside of these are paths suitable for mountain biking. The air is fresh and the trails are fantastic. Add in the jaw-dropping landscapes, and this is one epic activity.
2. Road Trip through the Desert Roads
Driving through the roads of Lanzarote is an incredible experience. You can take in the scenery from the main roads or venture down unknown dirt roads that take you off-the-beaten-path. The feeling of isolation from the human world and the close contact with nature is surreal.
3. Stargaze in the Deserts of Lanzarote
One of the things that I absolutely recommend in Lanzarote is to go stargazing in the desert. Since the island is so remote and doesn’t have any light pollution – there is always a great chance to observe the stars and the Milky Way. Move away from the inhabited centres and seek the darkness.
4. Enjoy the Spectacle of a Lanzarote Sunset
Every sunset in Lanzarote is unique. Imagine being on a volcanic island where the earth and everything around you is blanketed in shades of red. All of nature is reflected which generates a surreal lightshow. You have to sit back at least once on your visit to Lanzarote to appreciate a sunset.
5. Explore the Incredible La Geria Natural Park
As I said, this place is a massive attraction for travellers and locals alike. The 5225 hectares at La Geria Natural Park are some of the most characteristic landscapes on the island. Just one visit is enough to understand the sheer uniqueness of this spot with its black earth, craters and vines.
6. Visit the Stunning Jardín de Cactus
Jardín de Cactus is one of the island’s main attractions with 4500 individual examples of 450 different species of cactus. This place offers visitors the chance to explore a garden completely filled with cactaceae flowers from all over the world. Those who appreciate landscaping and design will love it.
7. Discover the Beauty of Timanfaya National Park
Timanfaya is the main attraction of Lanzarote. It’s home to some of the most extravagant landscapes on earth. Located in the heart of the island, visitors must pay around €10 Euro to enter the park which includes a bus tour, camel rides and a geyser show.
The coach tour is probably the best inclusion as it takes you inside the national park and allows you to enter craters, overcoming lava crests accompanied by a guide who explains the history of the island and volcanoes. They take you to areas that you can’t see without a ticket.
Then the geyser show demonstrates the fact that the soil below you is volcanic and active. A boy from the park team pours a bucket of water into these holes that go down deep into the earth. This generates the natural reaction of the geyser which is beautiful to watch.
Personally, I found the terrain of the national park absolutely unique and beautiful to see. It’s a little bit of a shame that you can’t explore it on your own as you do feel a bit like you’re at an amusement park with the tour. I don’t resonate strongly with these types of tours but many others do.
In terms of the camel rides, I didn’t want to partake in this activity because I am opposed to the use of camels in this way. I feel sorry for the animals. I’m glad I didn’t feed into that type of unjust attraction.
With all that being said, the tour to the Timanfaya National Park is absolutely worth it just to see the incredible landscapes on offer.
8. Relax and Swim at the Papagayo Beach
Papagayo Beach is the most famous beach in Lanzarote to go sunbathing and swimming. The water on this coast is a crystal-clear emerald green and (despite it being freezing cold) makes for a perfect place to cool down on a warm summer’s day. From above, the shape of the beach looks like a shell.
9. Marvel at the Green Lagoon at El Golfo
The beach at El Golfo is certainly one of the must-see spots of Lanzarote. A volcanic beach with unreal colours where inside there is a small volcanic lake – acid green in colour. It looks fake in photos until you see it with your own eyes. The colour is caused by algal phytoplankton that thrives here.
10. Get Lost in the Cueva de los Verdes
A tour of the Cueva de los Verdes allows you to walk below the surface of the island many metres below the earth. The temperature here changes on a regular basis and you will be surrounded by places that go back millions of years. It’s one of the most impressive wonders of Lanzarote.
Spectacular Moments at Papagayo Beach
Since Lanzarote is such a small island nothing is kept secret for too long. This is definitely the case with Papagayo Beach. It has become extremely popular for Spaniards and tourists as it is one of the most advertised places of the island. The result is that the beach is always full of people.
I think many beautiful places on earth lose their charm once they’re swarmed with crowds. Without people they are incredible attractions. One morning I decided to wake up early to see Papagayo. The beach was deserted and everything was surreal. I’ll never forget that moment.
Having Fun with the Friendly Locals of Lanzarote
I didn’t get the opportunity to meet many locals in a personal way. Going in the summer means the island is full of tourists. It made it hard to know who was a native of the island or who was just a tourist.
In Arrecife, I frequented a small breakfast bar. I felt welcomed by the locals working and the helpful atmosphere of this place. If we wanted to speak Italian we could because Spaniards and Italians understand each other’s languages. It was fun to speak two different languages.
Diverse and Delicious Cuisine of Lanzarote
The food in Lanzarote is not to be underestimated. I immediately think of a meal we had at La Cantina in Teguise. They have super friendly staff and a welcoming environment. It was like eating at our own house. The prices were fair and the food was excellent.
On that occasion, I ordered some mixed tapas and a massive main meal with baked potatoes, fried fish and rich sauces. The dish was surrounded by olives, avocado, peppers, local cheeses and fresh fruit.
There are quite a few typical dishes that you should try in Lanzarote. One is called “Sancocho Canario” – a dish with boiled salty fish, spices and sweet potatoes. Then there are deserts like “Frangollo Canario” which contain millet flour, almonds, lemon zest and raisins.
Being a Spanish island, Paella is never lacking. They prepare it in all kinds of ways, both with meat and with fish. I managed to try all of these aforementioned dishes in the end. They may seem like only a few but they all went down like a treat. The food in Lanzarote doesn’t disappoint.
Best Place to Stay in Lanzarote – Playa Blanca
I recommend an uncommon residence. Playa Blanca is full of hotels, luxury bungalows, B&B’s with gardens and swimming pools, and much more. Prices differ but there is a lot of choice.
Playa Blanca is the southernmost town of Lanzarote and is a village with many white villas that have their own pools. From here, there is a small beach called Playa Flamingo where families and couples can relax.
I think this location is quite strategic because it attracts all types of people. There are a lot of accommodation options in Lanzarote but Playa Blanca is located in a favourable position in my opinion. It’s located very close to Papagayo Beach and has its own port for the movement of ferries.
Having booked my trip very last minute, I only discovered this area of Playa Blanca on arrival. So I made my base in Arrecife which is the main city. I booked a cheap but quality Airbnb for my 5 day stay in Lanzarote.
In any case, the island is well designed with roads. Everything is well connected. Therefore, worrying too much about your location is sort of pointless because the island is small and easy to get around.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Lanzarote is a unique island. Landscapes like this are hard to find anywhere else in the world. Those who come here mainly do so to immerse themselves in the Jurassic and volcanic environment. I think it’s a must-visit destination for travelers, adventurers and photographers/filmmakers.
Certainly for sports enthusiasts too. There are ample possibilities to pursue your passions whether it be running, cycling, hiking, surfing or water sports. This means that you might want to stay longer than 5 days. But it’s totally up to you and how you decide to spend your time.
In addition, the other Canary Islands are well connected to Lanzarote. You can easily take a ferry to explore the other islands. A bonus feature is that car rental companies often allow you to move from island to island and take your car with you. This makes road-trippin’ easy between the islands.
I visited Lanzarote towards the end of July and the climate was starting to get a bit chilly. I suffered a bit from the cold at different times of the day. It’s a windy island so make sure you take appropriate clothing.
The best time of year to visit Lanzarote is in the summer for the warm weather. However, if you want to avoid the crowds then go outside of summer. The beaches will be less busy and the tours will be less crowded.
I highly recommend visiting Lanzarote for its uniqueness and utter beauty of the landscapes. Feel free from the attachment to civilisation and immerse yourself in nature. Until visiting Lanzarote, I never felt this strong connection to the natural world but now I understand.
Without a doubt, I will be back to Lanzarote soon.