Lanzarote holidays are more than just sun, sand and sea. A paradise for watersports lovers and an island of beautiful volcanic landscapes await.
Book your Lanzarote holiday and life will be a beach - literally - there are so many to choose from. An island largely unspoilt by tourism, you'll nonetheless find excellent hotels and places to stay in Lanzarote, with facilities and services befitting such a popular destination. If you haven't already, it's time to start thinking about your 2018 Lanzarote holiday now.
Make your base in one of our four favourite - very different - resorts at Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen and Matagorda. Sun yourself, letting life's cares drift away, enjoy the sumptuous cuisine of the Canary Islands, and pamper yourself with siestas and spa treatments. Then, when sun, sand and sea begin to pall - if they ever do - there is always the lunar-like landscape, and amazing national park, Timanfaya, to explore - a product of the volcanic history of this unusual island. Or the unspoilt towns, villages and lava-landscape of the northern coastline.
Get sporty with a wide range of facilities available on land and water, and breathe in the clean air as you hike or bike your way through exciting terrain. Whichever way you spend your time, you'll return from your holiday in Lanzarote having had the best time possible.
Lanzarote is a great choice for everyone; it offers the essential ingredients of reliable sunshine, a plentiful supply of fabulous sandy beaches, crystal-clear seas and tip-top accommodation. On top of that, there is plenty to see and do and an abundance of opportunities to stretch your fitness to the max. Couples and young families not tied to school holidays can make the most of its all-year-round appeal.
Say you are going to Lanzarote and, as if by reflex, someone will mention the black sands. What they probably don't know, and you are about to discover, is that this familiar feature is just one of many facets to this fascinating island. There is so much more to discover, if you know where to look.
It's true, many beaches have sand that defies the usual golden descriptions, but for thousands of tourists each year, this does not detract from the excellent facilities and dependable sunshine to be found in the host of popular resorts along the southeast coast. Combine this with a variety of panoramic vistas and stunning natural formations towards the north, and you have the perfect holiday destination in Lanzarote.
You don't have to try that hard to find beautiful golden fringed bays and attractive, unspoilt towns - particularly in the northwest. This is where the scenic beauty is at its height - land ravaged by nature to imbue a wildness as stimulating to the senses as it is unexpected to most visitors here. Archetypal Mediterranean whitewashed dwellings huddle among the volcanic landscape, a surprising green colour as if an enormous snooker baize has been draped for modesty over the helpless exposure of solidified lava. In pretty villages such as Haria, in a valley in the north-western tip, palm trees populate the view and eucalyptus trees line the town square. Understated seaside towns such as La Caleta de Famara offer spectacular cliff views and a good selection of worthwhile places to eat.
With the island under 70 kilometres - or an hour's drive - from tip to top, Lanzarote's treasures are within easy reach, and discovery is all part of the pleasure.
If, though, a taster is all you need before returning to the serious business of sun and fun, make it a trip to the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya for extraordinary out-of-this world sights. Formed by one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, which began on 1st September 1730 and which did not fully subside for six years, an area of 200 sqm, and 50 towns and villages were destroyed. At its centre are the Montanas del Fuego, or mountains of fire, so called because just four kilometres below the surface is a cauldron of magma which continues to bubble and boil, giving off an intense heat which can be felt through the ground underfoot.
Everywhere shows evidence of Lanzarote's most famous native, Cesar Manrique, an artist who certainly left his mark on his homeland: as well as carrying out seven major architectural and artistic projects on the island, Manrique campaigned for a ban on high-rise development and roadside advertising hoardings, along with protection of the natural environment. Initially successful, the rise of tourism threatened to undermine it, but since his death, an environmental group, El Guincho, has taken up the cause, making him their posthumous honorary president. The traditional green woodwork to white-washed buildings and their unusual shaped chimneys are an enduring testimony to his influence, along with the colourful artworks and metal sculptures to be seen around the island.
When you book your Lanzarote holiday with Olympic, you will have a choice of four resorts, each which with its own distinct flavour. Peaceful Playa Blanca at the southern tip, on the edge of the Timanfaya National Park, is a perfect spot to begin your exploration of the enticing coastline and exciting volcanic scenery, and a pretty place to return to for relaxation when required. The sand is white, and the beach has Blue Flag status.
Costa Teguise, a short transfer from the airport at Arrecife, is a purpose built resort, with a bustling atmosphere and excellent tourist facilities including an 18-hole golf course and aqua park. Watersports abound here on the wide expanses of sand. It is ideal for families and couples where the emphasis is firmly placed on having fun.
The five kilometres of sand, backed with shops, bars and restaurants, make Puerto del Carmen & Matagorda holidays among the most popular with British visitors to Lanzarote. The oldest purpose-built resort on the island, Puerto del Carmen hits the bullseye in catering for the home-from-home, super-sun seekers. Its close neighbour Matagorda, has a similar vibe but is a touch more laid back. The vast sweep of beach front and promenade are perfect for evening strolls and here you will find the island's only drive-thru for the world's most popular hamburger!
Simple wholesome food is the order of the day in the Canary Islands. One ingredient, Gofio - roasted maize or wheat meal - is found in the majority of dishes, served as a breakfast cereal, an accompaniment to stews, or in the preparation of local nougat. Many savoury dishes are often accompanied by a sauce, or mojo. Papas Arrugadas appears regularly on menus; simply boiled, heavily salted, locally grown Papas - potatoes with a sweet flavour, pink, bonita or black skinned - served with a mojo sauce.
Fish is a chief component in many dishes, and the colourful local catches bring in Vieja, an indigenous species, together with parrot fish and others such as sardines, wreckfish, damsel fish, dentex, sea bass, white sea bream and mackerel. They may be encased in salt, fried, baked or jareado (sunbaked). Fish stews are also frequently included on the menu of most restaurants, and shellfish, including limpets, clams and sea snails are popular. Favourite meats include beef, young goat and rabbit - often marinaded in Salmorejo, a thick, garlicky, gazpacho-like sauce which originated in Cordoba in Andalusia, southern Spain. For dessert, sweet pastries feature honey and almonds, or less common ingredients such as pumpkin or even potatoes. Indigenous tropical fruits, as well as bananas, include papayas, melons, pears, peaches, mangoes and pineapple. In the main tourist resorts of Lanzarote, there are a wide variety of restaurants including well-known hamburger take-aways. However, it would be a shame not at least to try the fabulous cuisine favoured by the islands natives.
Wine Tasting: An unexpected silver lining to the dark cloud of volcanic dust was that the soil deposited proved to be extremely fertile and suitable for the cultivation of vines for wine production. There are a number of wineries - or bodegas - around the San Bartolome/La Geria area, not far from Arrecife airport, which produce some very palatable wines, including the sweet wine, 'malvasia', once popular with European aristocracy. The vineyards are a revelation in themselves, with vines grown in volcanic craters within stone semi-circles know as zocos. There is also a wine museum nearby.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, the market in Marina Rubicon is the place to go for a good selection of arts and craft souvenirs; you'll find jewellery, toys and clothes. Bottles of the traditional mojo sauces or the excellent local olive oil, are a good choice, and local wines make great gifts and souvenirs.
Lanzarote holidays are ever popular amongst British holidaymakers and are available from a wide range of UK airports including London Gatwick and Manchester. Arrecife is the only airport in Lanzarote and is conveniently located for access to the popular holiday resorts. As well as package holidays to Lanzarote, Olympic Holidays has a great range of cheap flights to get you there.
The best beaches in Lanzarote
Playa del Reducto: The main town beach in Arrecife: lovely golden sand flanked by tall palm trees and boulevard. Not overcrowded, the beach is relatively clean and safe for children.
Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen: An organised beach popular with the tourist crowd. It is 1.2 kms long with sunbeds and parasols lined up along its sands. Showers, toilets and refreshments are all readily available.
Playa Quemada: Not far from Puerto del Carmen in Puerto Calero is this secluded, unspoilt beach of black volcanic sand. Come here to enjoy superb seafood in the nearby restaurants.
Playa los Pocillos: A little further round the coast, towards the airport from Puerto del Carmen, if you like to take life at a more relaxed pace, you will find Playa Los Pocillos, a crescent of sand a kilometre long, where the sea conditions are perfect for windsurfing: breezy but calm. There are a number of shops and restaurants close by.
Playa de Las Cucharas: This is probably the best beach on Costa Teguise as it is furthest from the port at Arrecife. The resorts focal point is the Centro Comercial Las Cucharas shopping centre.
Playas Caletones: More a string of beaches, the Caletones are an enchanting group of neighbouring, untouristy, natural white sandy coves with shallow lagoons, located on the north coast near the town of Orzola.
Playa de la Canteria: On the same stretch of coast as the Caletones is this lovely sandy beach thrashed by large waves - so it is a bit of a risky spot for swimming. It is backed by cliffs.
Playa Blanca: The main beach here enjoys pale sand and Blue Flag status. It also offers good facilities. Nearby, is Marina Rubicon with its arts and craft fairs.
Playa del Risco: A little-known white sandy beach at the bottom of the Mirador del Rio cliffs on the northern coastline, with amazing views. Worth a visit if you are up to the hike down and back up again.
Playa Mujeres: A secluded 90 metre long beach of pale sand, west of Punta del Papagayo, popular for snorkeling and surfing.
Beaches for Surfers
The Canaries are known as the Hawaii of the Atlantic for their excellent surfing conditions, and the island of Lanzarote is no exception. While surfing is an option on many, if not most, of the numerous beaches, the two below are renowned for their suitability to the sport.
La Caleta de Famara: A favourite spot of Cesar Manrique, this beach on the northern coastline does not get too overcrowded, in spite of it being a popular spot for kiteboarding, windsurfing and bodyboarding. It offers great cliff views and some good restaurants but is otherwise not especially geared to tourists.
El Quemao: This beach, with its huge breakers, due west of Caleta de Famara, is suitable for experienced surfers only, unless you are there as a spectator - an outing worthwhile in itself.
Things To Do
Lanzarote Holidays - Excursions
Make your Lanzarote holidays extra special and book one of our wonderful excursions. Carefully selected to cater for everyone's interests, here's just a few of our most popular excursions to tempt you:
Deep Sea Fishing: Not an obvious activity on holiday in the Canaries but very enjoyable, as Lanzarote is a deep sea fishing haven where the volcanic sea beds are at depths of up to 3500 metres. A great day out at sea.
Fire Walks in Timanfaya (Fire Mountains): Not to be missed - holidays to Lanzarote would be incomplete without a journey to the fire mountains where you witness volcanic action among the craters and lava fields. The two-hour guided walk is over 3.5 kms of fairly difficult terrain and so you will need to be moderately fit to accomplish it.
Punta del Papagayo: Visit this promontory, a protected nature reserve, by taxi-boat for a relaxing day out. Explore the picturesque coastline of pretty coves with golden sandy beaches.
Riding: What better way to discover the beauty of Lanzarote than on horseback? Guided treks are available, and, in some places you will also find camel rides, and pony rides for children.
Rancho Texas Theme Park: Live western music, line dancing, shows and great entertainment, the park is located just outside Puerto del Carmen. Western nights are legendary here, with great food and entertainment for the whole family.
Scenic drives: If you've hired a car for your holiday, or a taxi for the day, there are many amazingly scenic routes to be enjoyed, particularly in the island's interior around the wine country. Alternatively, driving west from Puerto del Carmen, pick up the LZ-702 just before Uga for a winding, climbing route through goat fields and green valleys. With the sea to the west, and low-lying mountains to the east, this route will take you to Femes, a great place to purchase some local goat's cheese and enjoy an incredible view out to the coast at the Balcon de Femes. The drive continues down to Playa Blanca.
Submarine safaris: Visit Puerto Calero, a few kilometres west of Puerto del Carmen, for this charming one-hour descent to 30 metres depth in the Yellow Submarine.
Wind Surfing and Watersports: With warm waters and steady winds, Lanzarote has some great surfing spots, attracting many water sports enthusiasts. World-class competitions are held in venues such as Costa Teguise. Jet skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving are available; there are a number of diving schools offering tuition from beginner to more accomplished, and from child to adult.
These are just a few of the exciting days and nights out available from your representative in resort. We strongly advise you to confirm your place at the Welcome Get Together as places are limited and we don't want you to miss out.
Things To See
Cueva de los Verdes: This is one eighth of an 8 km-long tube of lava from an eruption 5000 years ago. The roof of the chasm was formed when the lava hit the sea and the top layer cooled, allowing the liquid magma beneath to continue to flow. There are two chambers, an upper and lower, with structures resembling stalactites along their tops. Guided tours of around 45 minutes are available, but be prepared to stoop, and avoid if you are uncomfortable in enclosed spaces.
Fundacion Cesar Manrique: A few kilometres north of Arrecife, Manrique's former home is now an art gallery and cultural centre dedicated to him and his work. This extraordinary building features subterranean rooms formed in massive air bubbles in the molten lava, now frozen in time. As well as the Manrique gallery, lesser known paintings from Picasso, Miro and others can be seen. Manrique was killed nearby in 1992 in a car accident, just six months after the opening of the foundation.
Guinate Tropical Park: Situated in a village of the same name in the north of the island, this family attraction houses around 1300 rare and exotic birds, monkeys, meerkats and other animals. There is a penguin pool, a parrot show, botanical garden and glass-bottomed boat rides. Nearby is a fine vantage point to take in the view across El Rio and the islets.
Isla Graciosa: An island breakaway at the northern tip of Lanzarote, Isla Graciosa, along with a scattering of other small islets, forms part of a nature reserve and are known collectively as Minor Canaries. A trip here will provide a stress-busting opportunity par excellence far from the well-beaten tourist tracks. There are some lovely sandy beaches and five small volcanic peaks. The population numbers around 600, mainly in the harbour town of Caleta del Sebo. Bike hire is available to give you access to all the island's hidden secrets. The seas around the island are great for surfing.
Jardin de cactus: Nearly 1500 different species of cactus are on display in this botanical garden in a disused quarry. Some amazing-looking specimens are to be found, grouped like armies of aliens lined up for a battle to take place in a crater of the moon. A restaurant and bar offer refreshments if the parched scene takes its toll.
Lagomar: In the village of Nazaret between Tahiche and Teguise, a building carved into the rock face was designed for Omar Sharif by Lanzarote architect, Jesus Soto. It is now an exhibition gallery, small museum and restaurant and bar serving Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare.
Lanzarote Aquarium: The largest aquarium in the Canaries, there is an underwater tunnel from where you can see all manner of sea creatures and colourful fish. There is a shark tank and three touch pools, ideal for days out with small children.
Museo de Cetaceos: This is a natural history museum devoted to whales and dolphin, with particular information about the 24 species of whale to be found in the seas around the island¿s shore. Refurbished in 2012, it has reopened to offer audiovisual displays and life-size exhibits.
Parque Nacional de Timanfaya: The spectacular result of a six-year long volcanic eruption in which 50 towns and villages were flattened, this park is a wonder to behold with its extraordinary twisted formations in shades of grey to black and red to maroon, halting the downward flows of copper coloured, volcanic soil. There is a look-out designed by Manrique at Islote de Hilario, where there is a restaurant, gift shop and car park. Here you will see startling demonstrations of the temperature under ground, where magma continues to swirl and bubble to this day - a great opportunity for souvenir photos; make sure you have a camera. Take the bus trip along the Ruta de los Volcanoes for some spectacular landscape vistas. North of the park is the Mancha Blanca Visitors Centre where audio visual displays provide a wealth of information about the park and you can see a simulated a volcanic eruption.
Tiagua: In the centre of the island, the town of Tiagua is the location of Museo Agricola El Patio, a reconstruction of a 19th-century traditional farmer's dwelling. Here you will be able to sample the local goats cheeses and Malvasia and muscatel wines. Camels, donkeys, the odd windmill and traditional equipment and household items complete the scene.
Airport Transfer: Lanzarote has one airport at Arrecife, on the south-east coast. Olympic Holidays resorts of Puerto del Carmen and Matagorda are just five minutes drive away, and Costa Teguise a little further, approximately 15 minutes. Playa Blanca is the longest transfer, a drive or around 40 minutes.
By Bus: Buses are called guaguas and pronounced wa-wa. There is a frequent service around Arrecife and to Lanzarote's main tourist areas. However, services to other parts are minimal or simply don't exist. Car hire is therefore a good option in Lanzarote.
Car Hire: To see all there is to see, car hire is highly recommended; you will find all the names you would expect in car rental, as well as a few more local companies. You need to be over 21 and have a valid driving licence and credit card. Some of the smaller firms may not require the latter. Fuel is not heavily taxed and is therefore cheaper than on Mainland Spain. Driving is on the right.
Bicycle Hire: If you are fit and energetic, hiring a bike is one of the best ways to see the island, with maximum flexibility and minimum cost. Bike hire is readily available in tourist resorts, including helmet and basic equipment, at a rate of somewhere over £10 per day.
Ferry Boat: Travel between Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca by ferry bus - a free service run by the Fred Olsen line.
Island Hopping by Air: Each of the seven Canary Islands has its own airport and therefore island hopping is possible, with a handful of airlines covering all islands between them. One airline, Binter Canarias has flights to all islands.