Lanzarote is the easternmost island of The Canaries, just 100KM from the Saharan coast of Africa. All the islands enjoy a fabulous climate – despite their proximity to Africa, they are right in the path of the trade winds which provide cooling breezes in summer. Swimming and sunbathing is an all year round activity in Lanzarote!
The island was shaped by a series of volcanic eruptions as recently as the 1800’s. It has created a place of stunning beauty, and there are over 70 volcanic coronas to explore and enjoy. The landscape can look like another planet at times, and several films have been made on the island over the years, making use of this effect. Nasa even used Lanzarote to test the lunar rover back in the 1960’s.
You can’t mention Lanzarote without referring to Cesar Manrique, the well known painter and architect. A native of the island, he spent his last years there and had a huge impact on the move into tourism, coining the phrase “Sustainable Tourism.” Thanks to him, you won’t find any high rise buildings on the island, and every single dwelling is built in the traditional Canarian style with white walls and brown, green or blue windows and doors.
The island, whilst a member of the EU enjoys a special economic status and is therefore free of duty on perfume, tobacco and alcohol products.
Lanzarote is also a Biosphere Reserve and a place of special scientific interest thanks to the ever evolving volcanic landscape.
Tourism arrived in the 1970’s, and today there are three main resorts:
Puerto del Carmen
The original and largest resort, it stretches 8KM alongside a golden, sandy beach, and is packed full of shops, bars and restaurants. Carmen is based around the original old town and it’s small harbour, but has now stretched all the way to Matagorda, with a big choice of complexes, apartment blocks and hotels. People of all ages enjoy Puerto del Carmen, but it’s also aimed partially at the younger set, with Centro Atlantico being the nightspot venue on the island.
Just down the road from Puerto del Carmen, you’ll find Puerto Calero, which is now one of Europe’s premier yacht marinas, and one which provided a perfect stop off for large and small yachts prior to an Atlantic crossing.
A man made resort, which was created in the late 1970’s, the King of Spain has a holiday home here. Once again, it’s centred around Las Cucharas beach, which is in a sheltered golden sandy bay. Costa Teguise attracts families and sports people, as it’s position puts it directly into the trade winds and makes it a perfect place for windsurfing.
The newest resort and the most upmarket on the island, Playa Blanca consists mainly of high quality hotels and private villa accommodation. There are two town beaches, but less than 5KM from the town centre you’ll find the famous Papaygayo beaches, which are the best on the island. Also in Playa Blanca, you’ll find the world class Marina Rubicon, which has a huge shopping area with restaurants and bars. Playa Blanca is also a short ferry hop from the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura.
The capital of Lanzarote is Arrecife, and it’s a totally authentic Spanish town. You’ll find the island’s parliament building (Cabildo) here, as well as larger shopping centres and offices.
Rural Lanzarote is amazing, and some places haven’t changed in a century. The island abounds with small white house villages, little fishing harbours and with the land being worked by donkeys or camels.
Lanzarote really is a holiday destination for everybody, and promises good weather, great food and excellent memories.
Recently my friends from Cultured Kiwi visited the island and put their digital pens to paper while capturing great images of every corner of Lanzarote. They were kind enough to allow me to share this with you here.
You can find more detailed information about Lanzarote and what’s happening there right now from our friends at Lanzarote Information