According to A Country Blog, the island of Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands; an archipelago located about 200 kilometers west of the Moroccan coast. Thanks to its mild climate, Lanzarote attracts many tourists throughout the year. They mainly stay in the large seaside resorts of Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise. In addition to sun and beach, the island also offers quite a few interesting sights. The unique volcanic landscape is a special attraction in itself. Volcanism manifests itself in different ways. The Fire Mountains (Montañas del Fuego) are perhaps one of the best places in Europe where you can see how volcanic activity has led to desolate rugged landscapes.
Most excursions you can make on Lanzarote are based on what we consider to be beautiful landscapes, special natural phenomena and the artist of the island César Manrique. Because the island is not too big and the roads are of excellent quality, you can easily visit several sights in one day. This is most efficient with a rental car. If you don’t like driving yourself, you can book an organized excursion.
If you do not have the time or desire to visit the entire top 10 sights of Lanzarote during your holiday on Lanzarote, we would recommend that you at least plan a visit to the Timanfaya National Park and also one of the César Manrique created places of interest. Then you have discovered at least two of the most important elements of Lanzarote. If we look purely at our own taste, a visit to the Lago Verde could be added to this. This green lagoon provides an almost surrealistic setting.
Top 10 things to do in Lanzarote
#1. Timanfaya National Park
The absolute highlight of Lanzarote is the Timanfaya National Park. This national park covers more than five thousand hectares in the western part of the island. It is situated around the volcano Timanfaya. The volcanic land formed here is the result of a day-long volcanic eruption in the year 1730. The volcanic origin of Lanzarote is visible here in the best possible way. The Fire Mountains (Montañas del Fuego) show through their colors that during a volcanic eruption different elements come out from our planet, such as flowing lava and ash rains.
The way to discover Timanfaya National Park is through the coaches that depart from the visitor center. You cannot drive through the Timanfaya National Park yourself, with the exception of the part from the entrance to the visitor center. The tour is included in the entrance fee.
#2. Fundacion de Cesar Manrique
The island of Lanzarote is inextricably linked to Arrecife-born artist César Manrique. This all-rounder is described as a painter, sculptor, architect and building consultant. You will find his work in various places on the island of Lanzarote. For example, many a roundabout has been decorated with works of art by this celebrity. In almost all of his work, Manrique has tried to integrate the nature of the island into his work. As a committed activist, he was aware that tourism was the future, but he also wanted to protect the island from the influx of tourists that the popular island attracted year after year.
The former home of the artist Manrique is open to the public. This house, built in a lava cave, shows how the residence and nature almost form a whole, with every room being designed in a fantastic way. Within the house you will find various works of art by Manrique.
#3. Lake Verde
Just south of the western village of El Golfo is a green colored lake: Lago Verde. If you arrive from the parking lot, you can follow a narrow footpath that will automatically lead you to this green lake. Because erosion is everywhere, it sometimes happens that the access road is closed. Lago Verde is separated from the sea by a black beach. Rock formations created by lava flow can be found around the green lake. This gives Lago Verde a somewhat surreal appearance. The water in this green lake always remains at the right level, as it is naturally supplied from below the ground.
The green color is caused by a large dose of salt and algae that live in the water. Lake Lago Verde is cordoned off with rope. So it is not the intention to dive into it. The beach and the sea are otherwise accessible. The sea can be quite rough on this side of the island. If you continue to follow the hiking trail, you will automatically reach a large cave. All this is a remnant of the remains of the volcano El Golfo.
#4. Cueva de los Verdes
The next attraction on Lanzarote is also a special natural phenomenon. The Cueva de los Verdesform a cave system that you can visit with a guide. They are not green caves. The name ‘Verdes’ is interpreted that way by some. However, that is the name of a family that owned the caves. During the viewing, the accompanying guide will show you something phenomenal. What that is, we will not explain further here. That would take away the surprise effect. You will also find stalagmites and stalactites in all shapes and sizes in the Cueva de los Verdes. Within the caves, a natural concert hall has been built with unprecedented acoustics.
#5. Jardin de Cactus
Botanical gardens, subtropical gardens and cactus gardens are sights that you will find at quite a few holiday destinations. However, the Cactus Garden in Lanzarote differs from many other similar attractions in two ways. First of all, the location itself is quite special, because the cactus garden is laid out in the shape of an amphitheatre. Secondly, Jardín de Cactus is also a creation of César Manrique, which has resulted in a sometimes very idiosyncratic way of presenting the plants and incorporating works of art within the garden. We think Jardín de Cactus is worth seeing enough to give it a place in our top 10 highlights for Lanzarote.
#6. Mirador del Rio
On the northern tip of Lanzarote, west of Órzola, you will find a beautiful viewpoint designed by César Manrique: Mirador del Rio. From this location you have a beautiful view of the island of La Graciosa from an altitude of about 475 meters. At least, if the weather conditions allow it. Because the location on the north side of Lanzarote ensures that clouds can arise due to rising air. It can be quite stubborn at times. The arid climate of Lanzarote ensures that you have a great view most of the time.
You have to pay an entrance fee to visit Mirador del Rio. In addition to the phenomenal view, you also have access to the spaces created by César Manrique. Within the landscaped cafeteria you can then enjoy a drink or a typical Canarian delicacy. The cafeteria is an attraction in itself. Do you want to look at La Graciosa for free? You can do that west of the viewpoint. Even better is the free viewpoint Mirador de Guinate, which is a few minutes’ drive from Mirador del Rio ( view location on Google Maps ).
#7. Playa del Papagayo
Sometimes people think that you only have dark volcanic beaches in the Canary Islands. That is not true. Most islands, including Lanzarote, have some beautiful beaches. In the case of Lanzarote, Playas del Papagayo can even be counted among the main attractions of the island. Sometimes you come across the names Playa Papagayo or Papagayo Beach, but those names are a bit misleading. After all, it concerns several beaches that are located on the southern tip of Lanzarote, instead of one beach.
The largest beaches here are Playa del Papagayo, Playa de la Cera, Playa del Pozo and Playa Mujeres. They are all beautiful white sandy beaches that lie on a fairly intense blue colored sea. The combination with the volcanic rocks make for a wonderful place for sunbathing and swimming. Best of all, this special place on Lanzarote is not marred by hotels, shopping centers or large-scale catering. The only facilities are formed by two restaurants located close to each other. There you can get cold drinks, eat something or go to the toilet.
To visit the area you have to pay a few euros toll at the entrance which is along the only access route. The money is used to maintain the area and keep it clean.
#8. Wine region La Geria
Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil and the rather warm climate on Lanzarote, La Geriaa successful wine region. Grapes are grown here in a very specific way: the grapes are grown in pits with a small wall around it. In this way the fruits are protected against the wind and on the other hand it ensures that sufficient moisture is absorbed from the soil. The vineyards themselves are already a special picture, the wines themselves are also very worthwhile. The reason why we do not find Lanzarote wines in Dutch shops is that too little is produced to be able to export. The local market needs all the wines. At a number of bodegas, such as Malvasia and El Grifo, you can taste wines and get a tour.
#9. Picturesque villages
In the interior of Lanzarote, a number of picturesque villages await you. The most beautiful village of Lanzarote is Teguise. Not to be confused with the coastal urbanization of Costa Teguise is the inland village of Teguise. The village is designed in atmospheric Andalusian style. On Sundays, the busy market is held here, where, in addition to regional products, you will unfortunately also increasingly find stalls with (counterfeit) bags, sunglasses and other junk.
A village that competes for the title of ‘ most beautiful village in Lanzarote ‘ is Yaiza. The combination of impeccably maintained white houses, which are completely in line with the architecture of Lanzarote, and the streets lined with beautiful palm trees create an idyllic atmosphere within the volcanic landscape of Lanzarote.
A third place that we would like to mention is Haría. The uniqueness of this village in the north of Lanzarote lies mainly in its location in the middle of more than a thousand palm trees. It’s not for nothing that this place has been given the fairytale name ‘Dal of the Thousand Palms’. If you want to discover Haría in peace, it is better to avoid Saturdays. The weekly market then provides an extra influx of locals and tourists.
#10. Camel ride
Lanzarote is the only place in Europe where camelids live in the wild. The Majorero dromedary living on this island is mainly used for so-called camel rides, although there are no camels because these animals only have one hump. It is actually a dromedary ride. You can do a camel ride in the Timanfaya National Park or outside the park, where you will travel through the beautiful landscape of Lanzarote in about half an hour.