““I’m going to Lanzarote! I’ll be staying on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. What do you recommend? 😎🌊🌞”.
I was awoken by a message from a friend at seven in the morning on Saturday. I’m not blaming her: we live in different time zones, and I too would be excited if I had the chance to visit this volcanic island within 72 hours’ notice. In fact, I’d go within 48 hours’ notice.
Volcanoes, beaches, the must-visit Art, Culture and Tourism Centres, restaurants, a concert, trekking tours, a boat trip…If you’re going for a weekend in Lanzarote and you are only half as organised as my friend, these tips for making the most of the island will come in very handy. Stress-free and without spending the entire day at the wheel of a car.
Start packing your cabin bag with:
- Sunglasses, beachwear, sunscreen and flip-flops (known as cholas in Lanzarote). Got a snorkel? Pack that too or buy one on arrival: swimming on Lanzarote beaches is like diving into an aquarium.
- Walking shoes and a windbreaker (or lightweight fleece). You might feel surprisingly chilly in the persistent trade winds at sunset.
- A couple of comfy yet stylish outfits for going out to eat, for a drink, a concert or visiting museums.
Take a few tips Marie Kondo and you’ll squeeze it all in your hand luggage. 😉
Must-see places in Lanzarote
- Lanzarote’s lava landscape. They’re awesome. You’ll never cease to be amazed, no matter how many times you see them. The Volcano Route is designed to provide maximum visual impact with the minimum possible effect on the environment: you will see pyroclastic flows and undisturbed mantles of ash. The icing on the cake has to be a meal at El Diablo restaurant overlooking amazing panoramic views with chicken roasted over a natural volcanic furnace. An obligatory stop if you’re in Lanzarote for two or three days.
- Evening in La Geria Savouring a glass of local wine surrounded by magnificent patchwork of vineyards is a luxury considering it’s only €3.50 a glass. The green vines protected by semi-circular lava stone walls that you see today would have been a devastating sight in the 18th century. These award-winning wines are the product of pure genius: at a time of despair, Lanzarote farmers used their knowledge of nature, realising that volcanic ash cleverly retained humidity and was a canvas for cultivation. La Geria is home to 11 of the 14 wineries that hold the prestigious Denomination of Origin Wines of Lanzarote seal. El Grifo is one of these, and is the oldest winery in the Canary Islands.
- A stroll along Famara beach The magnificent Famara cliffs were created in the Pliocene period (around 4,000 years million years ago). Its clifftops were once covered in Laurisilva forests, but have since disappeared due to erosion. A 3-kilometre sandy beach lies at their feet, lapped by the wild Atlantic waves. The perfect place to inhale the ocean breeze, read and reconnect with your soul. Always respect the lifeguard flags (usually red or yellow): the current is very strong.
- The island’s famous monuments: the Art, Culture and Tourism Centres. Just like Timanfaya, all the centres were designed with a perfect balance between art and nature. You’re unlikely to experience this anywhere else. Scientific research and leisure live in harmony at Jameos del Agua and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world; Cueva de los Verdes will leave you speechless; Mirador del Rio (embedded into the cliff face with awesome views over the Chinijo Archipelago); the vibrant Cactus Garden (check out their cactus burger); Casa-Museo del Campesino (traditional architecture, volcanic swirls and handicrafts market); Castillo de San José (home to MIAC-International Contemporary Art Museum); the Museo Atlántico underwater museum (and see how marine life changes Jason deCaires’ sculpture collection) and Casa Amarilla with its exhibitions based on the island.
What are the best excursions on Lanzarote?
If you want to know what else there is to see and do in Lanzarote, read on:
- La Santa: aromas of the ocean and prawns Quaint and simple, one thing that this fishing village is known for is it’s world-class wave – El Quemao – (a mecca for international surfers), as well as for its prawns. Order a delicious portion of prawns (camarones soldados). Take a walk along the waterfront, it’s the perfect way to relax and disconnect during your weekend in Lanzarote.
- César Manrique FoundationCésar Manrique built his house – the Taro de Tahiche – inside a volcanic bubble. It attracted a lot of attention from national and international architects during the 80s. Today it is a museum visited by millions, famous for it’s ingenious design and works of art. You’ll also find works of Picasso, Táples, Miro and Chillida in the collection. It’s well worth a visit.
Do you want to know about the artist’s work in Lanzarote? Visit the -> ROUTE BY THE NORTH OF LANZAROTE AND WORKS OF CÉSAR MANRIQUE <- which also includes lunch.
- Stop: Chickpea stew (on your way to Los Hervederos or Papagayo) If you’re passing through Yaiza, then pull over when you see the wooden sign at the doorway of sign for Bar Stop: “Tapas y vinos desde 1890” (Tapas and wine since 1890). It’s where the locals eat. The portions are generous and dishes are simple but of excellent quality. People come from far and wide to eat their chickpeas. There’s no PR on the door and don’t wait for them to come out and greet you. Here everything is refreshingly bish bash bosh. Afterwards head down to Los Hervideros (impressive cliffs pounded by the Atlantic) or for a dip in the paradisiacal beaches of Papagayo.
- Enjoy a gourmet sailing experience. How about a day aboard the two-masted sailboat, Ibero Uno? You know you want to 🙂 Make your way to Marina Rubicon, embark and discover Lanzarote’s southern coastline while you taste local wines, a variety of local cheeses, Canarian potatoes with mojo, salad from Tinajo and a range of tapas made with fresh local ingredients. Listen to smooth background music while you relax in the sun. If you’re the fidgety type, then chat to the crew, they’ll be happy to share interesting facts and stories. Your conversation might just be interrupted by dolphins swimming alongside the boat. The perfect day out to get the most out of your weekend.
- Hiking around Volcán del Cuervo. One of the most straightforward and accessible routes for all fitness levels, but also one of the most spectacular. This was the first crater to erupt in 1730. You’ll see twinkling olivine stones along the way (removing them is prohibited as they form part of the island’s geological heritage).
Leisure activities during the weekend
How can you get around Lanzarote without a car? This website will help you to plan your trip using public transport. If you don’t fancy that, then hire a car and park up to refuel your energy levels:
- Jameos del Agua concert and dinner. Jameos magically transforms at night. Relax with a beer or wine under clear, unpolluted night skies while listening to acoustic timple and guitars, expertly played by Lanzarote musicians. César Manrique experienced the heyday of New York disco, the Apollo, and wanted to create the world’s best dance floor in Jameos del Agua. He really outdid himself.
If you want to know more about this night, visit our —-> JAMEOS DEL AGUA DINNER AND CONCERT <—– with live music and DJ session.
- Brunch at Arrecife market and lunch at El Charco. Saturday mornings are perfect for buying fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and homemade bread at Arrecife market, in Las Palmas square. Your shopping basket is full and it’s time for some brunch. Take a break at La Tentación (the fried cassava and Cuban ground beef are highly recommended, as well as the Serrano ham mini-rolls) or at Strava (fried squid and croquettes of the day). The market shuts down at 14:00 and the city goes to lunch. Many head to El Charco de San Ginés, a marine lagoon in the heart of the port. Try the fried fish at Casa del Miedo, delicious rice dishes at Naia, fresh pasta at Divina Italia, an amazing range of charcuterie at La Puntilla or the best fish sandwich (delicious breaded sea bass) at Casa Glory, where César Manrique was born.
- Gastronomy for all tastes. You’ll find all kinds of cuisine in Lanzarote (from Greek to Venezuelan or Peruvian to Thai and vegan), a selection worthy of an island that’s home to more than a hundred nationalities. But if it’s memories of the flavoursome, healthy and simple Canary Islands cuisine you want to remember from your weekend in Lanzarote, then try the goat stew at Mirador de los Valles, goat meat at Casa Marcos (Las Breñas), fresh fish at El Risco (Famara) or at El Amanecer (Arrieta), a paella at Nasa (Arrieta) or octopus carpaccio with cockles at Bodegón Los Conejeros (Arrecife). It’s enough to make your mouth water.
Cultural events and activities
Many people are taken aback by just how many things Lanzarote has to offer. Here are some of the main cultural activities, in date order:
- Carnival! Throughout March and February. Let your imagination flow, pull on your mask, head out onto the streets and join in the fun. Good vibes guaranteed! You’ll find the best parties at El Almacén in Arrecife and the traditional Haria Carnival.
- Sonidos Líquidos. A festival that combines indie rock music and Lanzarote wines with a series of spring concerts at several island wineries, rounded off with the Malvasia Volcanic Weekend at the beginning of June. This year bands like Viva Suecia, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) and Delaporte.
- Lanzarote International Film Festival The festival will take place between the 10-18 May this year and is a great opportunity to see a range of interesting short films produced in several countries. Films will be shown in original version and with English subtitles. Based in Arrecife.
- Lanzarote Wine Run. Run through the vineyards of La Geria, top up at wine stations and enjoy tapas and gourmet tasters at the finish line…sounds like fun huh? Oh yeah. This is the island’s most popular race. It takes place on the 15-16 June 2019. If you’re not a runner, then you can join the trekking category instead and go at your own pace with your friends or family.
- Arrecife en Vivo. What if I told you that Arrecife becomes an enormous stage every Autumn? And that for four consecutive Fridays you can see bands like The Toy Dolls, Rinôçérôse or La Pegatina? Oh, and it’s also free? A musician dressed as Elvis points the way yielding a gigantic finger, leading you to the next concert. A highly recommendable and truly unique experience. More and more people are booking their holidays to coincide with the festival (20 & 27 September and 4 & 11 October 2019 from 18:00 onwards).
- Palabras al Vuelo Narrative performances in several languages at different venues around Lanzarote. Each one as charming as the next: under a dragon tree, in a winery, in an artist’s workshop, aboard a catamaran, in theatres or village squares. This is an irresistible festival organised down to the last detail, which will be held from 18 to 27 October this year. The poster is always designed by a internationally renown designer and who also exhibits their work at this festival.
- Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote. Had enough of blockbusters? Want to see films with a difference, that raise questions within and revolutionise your thoughts? This is the place. Held in December, this festival is a window for the Lanzarote’s finest films every year. It has its own Official Section and increasing international publicity and you could easily watch Abbas Fahdal and Thoas Mauch in the same space.
- Quemao Class. The best waves are towards the end of the year, when many are keeping their eye on the surf forecast waiting for the famous wave at El Quemao to break. Enter some of the best surfers from Europe and the world. The atmosphere is amazing. Remember your binoculars to get a close-up of some awesome tube riding.
- Lanzarote Visual Music Festival. “The creative processes in Lanzarote are more clearly visible than anywhere else. The island inspires artistic behaviour,” said Brian Eno some years ago, when he played inside the crater of Volcán del Cuervo. A globally-unique festival directed by artist and audio-visual innovator.
One thing is clear, you can’t see it all in a weekend.
What to do in three days? Prioritise and relax, whatever you choose. You can’t go wrong in Lanzarote!