Lanzarote and the Canary Islands Spain

This time last year we had started lockdown after an incredible vacation in Lanzarote. We almost didn’t go in the beginning of March 2020, but as the bleak weather during our winter break continued, we decided to go for it. The word pandemic was in our minds, but France seemed to be trucking along and part of me certainly hoped it wasn’t real. I’m glad we went because even now when we ask the girls their happiest moment is, they agree it was our time spent in Lanzarote. For the entirety of the first lockdown, they would pack their suitcases and pretend they were going back.

HOW TO GET THERE :

Our EasyJet flight to Lanzarote was about three hours non-stop from Bordeaux. After flying over the Atlantic, you eventually see this barren island in the middle of nowhere, we landed with clear skies and were excited about our adventure. We collected our car, heading straight to our apartment in the North with incredible views of the coast. The North part of the Island is rather windy, and while it was warmer than France, it wasn’t really swimming weather (to me).

What is great about Lanzarote, most everything you’ll want to see is outside and the wind blows year round so it’s fresh air all the time. It is a rough, moon-like landscape due to a large volcanic eruption almost three-hundred years ago (smaller one since). It’s not a tropical island, but it has its own wild beauty. The culture is a mix of Spanish, but also African, as it is off the coast of Morocco. In fact, the first inhabitants were thought to be Berber in origin.

TIPS :

Call in advance, book in advance, be really cognizant of restrictions due to covid, and mask up. Wear plenty of sunblock and always have a sweater and windbreaker unless you are there in the height of the summer as the wind can make some days really brisk even when temperatures seem warm. As it is a desert climate, the events are also much cooler than during the days. If you have water shoes available, bring them to help you navigate rocky shores.

WHAT TO SEE :

BEACHES You’ll want to go to one of the many beaches. There are a large selection but I would have to say we preferred the rockier coast on the Eastern shore as it was less touristy and more wild with less wind. The views were incredible as well. Most of the beaches are without services unless you are in town, so be sure to pack everything you need before going. Some are down rough roads, so keep that in mind when renting your car.

Playa Blanca is a resort town in the Southern-most part of the Island with beaches in town and surrounding. They have a weekly market, not particularly filled with local goods, but it’s a fun place to be, the port is pretty and there are plenty of places to shop and eat at. The beach is a basin in the center of town, but further South by car you will find Playa Mujeres with more wild, sandy places to swim.

Playa de la Canteria is the place on the Eastern side with lots of rocks and little nooks, with shallow pools of water and was really rather empty. There were no conveniences like bathrooms or food where we were.

VOLCANO In the Timanfaya Nation park you will find the main volcano, which is both terrifying and fascinating, if you take a drive to the top and enjoy one of their bus tours be sure to take an inside seat if you get vertigo. The driver was, thankfully, not driving too quickly and was cautions. Don’t miss the animation when they throw water into the volcanic holes and the heat makes the water explode! If the museum is open, this is another great stop with kids (including a rather kitsch volcano eruption ‘ride’), and don’t pass up on a camel ride around the base of the volcano, it’s a short trip but great fun (cash only) / 35560 Tinajo – Lanzarote / Visiter le parc national de Timanfaya – Turismo Lanzarote / Timanfaya: Centro de Visitantes e Interpretación de Mancha Blanca (miteco.gob.es)

WINE The volcanic soil makes for some very interesting looking vineyards, with stone walls (zocos) surrounding each vine to protect them from the intense winds in the La Geria valley. The wines also inherit a unique mineral flavor profile from growing in such terroir. Book a visit in advance if you would like commentary, otherwise self guided tours are generally available all day. Some vineyards have restaurants for lunch as well. We went to Bodegas Rubicon which is rather touristy, but offered a nice visit / +34 928 173 708 / rubicon@bodegasrubicon.com / Crta. Teguise-Yaiza, 2. La Geria, 35570 Yaiza. / Bodegas Rubicón | Lanzarote XVII (bodegasrubicon.com). Read more on wine culture and history in Lazarote <a href=”http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>WINE The volcanic soil makes for some very interesting looking <strong>vineyards</strong>, with stone walls (<em>zocos</em>) surrounding each vine to protect them from the intense winds in the <strong>La Geria valley</strong>. The wines also inherit a unique mineral flavor profile from growing in such terroir. Book a visit in advance if you would like commentary, otherwise self guided tours are generally available all day. Some vineyards have restaurants for lunch as well. We went to <strong>Bodegas Rubicon</strong> which is rather touristy, but offered a nice visit / <a href=”tel:+34928173708″>+34 928 173 708</a> / rubicon@bodegasrubicon.com / Crta. Teguise-Yaiza, 2. La Geria, 35570 Yaiza. / <a href=”https://bodegasrubicon.com/en/”>Bodegas Rubicón | Lanzarote XVII (bodegasrubicon.com)</a>. Read more on wine culture and history in Lazarote here / <a href=”https://www.lanzaroteguidebook.com/information/food-and-drink/lanzarote-wines”>Lanzarote Wines (lanzaroteguidebook.com)</a></p> here / Lanzarote Wines (lanzaroteguidebook.com)

MUSEUM The ecomusem showing farm life one hundred years ago was beautiful, filled with authentic furniture and everyday items. It’s incredible how people were able to survive and thrive in a land without much rain yearly and very little vegetation. Kids will love seeing the animals, which range from chickens and goats to camels!

FARM VISIT Aloe Vera farms are one of the main crops and they’re a beautiful place to walk around with shops selling locally products from creams to drinks. We brought a plant home that has actually been thriving indoors, they’re very low maintenance so a great plant for those of us with black thumbs! / Plantación propia de Aloe Vera ecológica Turismo Lanzarote (lanzaloe.com)

ART Historic home of Cesar Manrique (from Lanzarote) and Jamos del Aqua are only a few stunning locations associated with the artis. Jameos del Aqua is carved into the volcano and has a really unique concert hall inside one of the caves. The lake inside the caves is home to a rare variety of tiny white crabs. The restaurant is more interesting because of it’s location and scenery, but the whole location is worth a visit / 10 EUROS adults / Calle Triana, 38, 35500 Arrecife, Lanzarote / info@centrosturisticos.com / Jameos del Agua – Turismo Lanzarote /Jameos del Agua – CACT Lanzarote. If you want to see more of Cesa Manriques work on the island, check here. La route « César Manrique » à Lanzarote: routes culturelles sur Spain is Culture.

WHERE TO EAT :

Typical food on the Island is very Spanish, with some unique items like moray eel which we tried and I liked (but what isn’t good fried). There are some great sauces made from prickly pears or barbary fig (which were also farmed for beetles to make a red dye), like

Our first meal was in San Bartolome, at a restaurant serving mostly touristic faire and tapas style foods, but good and in a really stunning setting with the colonial white and green architecture designed by César Manrique. There are a few cute shops selling handmade items from soaps, to salsas, to paper-flower headbands. Reservations recommended / Carretera Arrecife Tinajo, 35500  San Bartolomé, Lanzarote  (Canaries) / Casa-Monumento del Campesino – Turismo Lanzarote

Cantina was one of my favorite places we ate at, the dining room and service were wonderful but the food was also excellent – light, healthy, local produce fare that made parents and kids happy. It’s located in the oldest town on the island, Teguise, with its colonial architecture and cobbled streets. Parking can be tricky, especially on market day, so give yourself time and be sure to make reservations / +34 928 84 55 36 / C/Leon y Castillo 6, 35530 Teguise / Cantina Teguise (facebook.com)

The Restaurante Mirador El Roque was in Orzola, a sleepy little port town, near to the Playa de la Canteria beach. The outdoor dining was great, service efficient but the fresh seafood was my favorite part and why we went. Easily the freshest fish we had while on the island, simply cooked fish and octopus and at good prices / Calle Peña de Señor Dionisio, 35541 Orzola, Las Palmas /+34 928 84 26 32 / Restaurante Mirador El Roque – Home (facebook.com)

WHERE TO STAY :

Casa Cabrera is the two bedroom apartment we stayed at on the North Coast. It was a perfect escape from the world and while you’ll need to drive to get food and see many sites, it’s a great base as the island is small. The owner was really nice and it was clean and well stocked. Besides, the view is incredible and a great way to start the day! / 36 Calle Núñez de Balboa, 35560 Caleta de Caballo, Espagne / casa cabrera, Caleta de Caballo – Tarifs 2021 (booking.com)

H10 Suites Lanzarote Gardens was the first time we have stayed at an all-inclusive. If it hadn’t been for covid, it would have been perfect. Plenty of activities for kids, great buffet food, day-care, multiple pools and clean lodging. You could walk to a beach and there were plenty of nearby restaurants, from Indian to American. The hotel were in the process of updating many rooms as well, so it will only get better. The staff were excellent and the evening dance and trivia for the kids was great fun! / 13 Av. Islas Canarias, 35508 Costa Teguise / H10 Suites Lanzarote Gardens – Guest Reservations

There is still so much more we wanted to see and do, a week is really not enough! Have a great time if you go! Feel free to send any questions or comments to aquitaineguide@gmail.com

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