Perhaps the finest place in the Canaries to appreciate this fiery heritage is the island of Lanzarote, the most north-easterly island in the archipelago and one that boasts the most recent volcanic activity.

From home grown wine to geysers and lava tubes, Lanzarote is one of the world’s most distinctive travel destinations—a dreamlike island not to be missed.

If you planning a trip to Lanzarote here are some essential places to add to your itinerary.


1. Beaches

Playa de las Cucharas

Lanzarote welcomed around 2.7 million visitors last year, with summer holidays here being especially popular for people seeking sunny beachside breaks away.

Lanzarote is blessed with unique landscapes and a beautiful coastline and there are so many beaches worth visiting.

Playa Flamingo, Playa Blanca, Playa de Famara, Playa de Papagayo, Playa Chica, Playa de Famara, Playa Flamingo and Playa de las Conchas.

In Lanzarote you can also visit a few black sand beaches, one of the best being Quemada Beach.


2. Timanfaya National Park

Timanfaya National Park

Visitors to Timanfaya National Park in the west can intimately experience a surreally beautiful, lava-blasted landscape stemming from huge eruptions in the mid-1700s—the biggest in the Canaries during the historical era.

Landforms include numerous cones and craters as well as vast raw plains (called malpais) representing the magma sheets that spilled westward toward the coastline. Timanfaya is a stunning place, but don’t neglect a visit to the older volcanic countryside of northern Lanzarote. 


3. Monumento Natural de la Corona

The Monumento Natural del Malpais de la Corona is a preserve equally renowned for its own unique topography.

Eruptions from the broad, now-extinct Monte Corona volcano several millennia ago created extensive lava flows, the petrified remains of which now harbour one of the world’s grandest lava tubes: the Cueva de los Verdes.

This six-kilometre tunnel formed as the surface layers of a lava flow cooled and crusted around a molten interior. At nearly two dozen points along the tube, the crust collapsed, forming cavities—called ‘jameos’ here—which afford access to the subterranean channel.

Some of the jameos have been developed into unique tourist attractions. The Jameos del Agua, for example, has its own nightclub, while another section of the tunnel sports a concert hall—unforgettable destinations on Lanzarote holidays.

Remarkably, the Cueva de los Verdes continues under the coastal waters in the form of the 1.5-kilometer Tunnel of Atlantis. This mysterious extension of the Monte Corona lava conduit is the longest of the planet’s submarine lava tubes, and plays home to little-known organisms such as unusual annelid worms.

The terrestrial reaches of the lava tube are also notable for their specialized fauna, which includes a blind, ghostly white endemic species of squat lobster.


4. Arrecife

Arrecife, Lanzarote

Natural wonders anchor any visit to Lanzarote, but the human face of the island is also fascinating. The capital is the mid-sized city of Arrecife, which has an international airport.

Arrecife is located on the of Lanzarote and is full of tourist attractions, both historic and cultural, In the old quarter you can wander the sreets to see the 17th-century San Ginés Church and the Agustín De La Hoz mansion.

For beaches, check out Playa del Reducto with its golden sand.

If you are into art, a visit to the International Museum of Contemporary Art in San José Castle, an 18th-century fortress, is where you can see abstract works.


5. Countryside

Escpaing the tourist hotspots and renting a car is a one of the best ways to get off the beaten track and experience life in rural Lanzarote.

Agriculture and viticulture proceed here in a seemingly harsh landscape via ingenuity and long-honed practical traditions. One of Lanzarote’s defining sights is the vineyard studded with little arced rock walls, used to promote grapevine growth. 

You can revel in the mesmerizing vistas of Lanzarote while reflecting on its volatile past—one emblematic of the Canary Islands as a whole. Roads wind through rough lava flats and rolling volcanic hills, with elegant Canary Island date palms or wild olives scattered on the horizon.

Peer down at a dark boulder pile and you might spot one of the island’s endemic wall lizards – a lucky and sharp-eyed traveller could glimpse a high-soaring Egyptian vulture, which exists here in the form of a unique subspecies.


Plan a Trip to Lanzarote

I highly recommend visiting Lanzarote if you are keen on a summer holiday, or a European island break. There are lots more things to do in Lanzarote, and I recommend you research and appeals to you. From art, to restaurants, to volcano hikes - you won't be short of options.

To see more of the country search Spain tours - there are so many itineraries taking in the mainland and islands. If you are still researching ideas these pages will help you plan a trip: 

By Melissa Nash