5 years, 6 months ago
The most eastern of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is somewhat distinctive from its neighbours thanks to its incredibly rich biodiversity and miles of dark sand beaches, both a direct result of volcanic activity that created the island. While the beaches are lovely to lie on, there is more to this island and much of it can be explored in many different ways. Here are just some of them.
Lanzarote by bike
It’s possible to traverse nearly the full width of Lanzarote by bike, taking in much of the TimanfayaNational Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Home to the only active volcano on Lanzarote – the area is also called the Montañas del Fuego (“fire mountains”) – and hundreds of different species of flora and fauna, a guided mountain bike tour will help you see why this area has been used to depict the moon or otherworldly universes in films and music videos. If you choose to hire bikes and explore on your own two wheels, make sure you incorporate a quick stop at El Diablo, a restaurant in the National Park which serves up Canarian dishes that have beenn cooked using geothermal heat. For more information go to Lanzarote-Cycling.com.
Lanzarote by camel
Yes, really. You can also tour TimanfayaNational Park on camel if you take part in the famous Camel Train, or the Echadero de los Camellos which takes about 30 minutes and costs 12 Euros per camel.
Lanzarote by foot
For such a small island, Lanzarote has much to offer the eager rambler with trails taking you through vineyards, along lonely beaches and across lava fields. Popular (and very manageable) hikes include the Malpaiso Way, a steady uphill walk through Lanzarote’s famous exotic fauna and past the house where the island’s most famous resident, artist and architect César Manrique used to live. Olita Treks offer daily guided excursions or check out the coastal, volcanic and countryside walks recommended on this site, all of which promise stunning views and varied scenery.
Lanzarote under water
There is another world in Lanzarote but few will see it because it lives under water. Lanzarote isn’t particularly famous for its diving. But it really should be, seeing as there is the potential to spot turtles, manta rays and a wide variety of tropical fish. There are also a number of wreck sites worth diving and there is The Cathedral, an underwater cavern famous among experienced divers because it is quite deep at 25 – 30 metres below sea level and full of colourful coral (make sure you take a torch!). Local divers who take you here should introduce you to Felix, a large crouper fish who has been living in the nearby reef for over ten years.
Because much of Lanzarote is volcanic mass, some of it still bright red and warm to touch, a lot of the landscape isn’t easily or safely accessible by bike or foot and especially not by a normal car. The best way to explore the rolling hills and lava landscape is by 4×4. You can hire your own, but perhaps the best way to get the most out of your day is going on a guided “Jeep Safari” tour through Timanfaya. Alternatively if you don’t mind getting sand everywhere, Lanzarote Caballo (who also offer horse trekking tours) will let you play around in a sand buggy for 40 minutes for 45 Euros on Playa Quemada beach.
Lanzarote by boat (and Land Rover)
Just off the northern coast of Lanzarote is the small island of Graciosa. With a population of only 700, Graciosa is a very peaceful place to visit for a day and is just a short boat ride away from the port in Orzola. Thanks to its wild volcanic landscape, over 70% of the vehicles driven on the island are Land Rovers and you can get a quick taxi tour of the island in one of these vehicles easily. Or if you came to escape it all, they’ll gladly take you to one of the island’s beautiful beaches for a few hours.
If you’d rather stay on Lanzarote for the duration of your visit, it’s still worth considering leaving it by boat to explore the nearby waters on a dolphin safari. With over 30 types of dolphin living in this part of the Atlantic, the odds of you seeing a shoal leaping out of the water close by are decent. Alternatively, if you’re feeling brave try riding the waves in a 600 horse power speed boat tour of the island’s waters, that’s if you can keep your eyes open long enough to enjoy the views and possible dolphin sightings.
Have you taken advantage of the Canary Islands’ winter sun and explored Lanzarote recently? If not, it’s not too late to take advantage of the year-round sunshine and a wide range of luxury apartments available now on Lanzarote.
Featured image by marcp_dmoz