This beautiful Canary Island is unlike the rest. While it has the golden sand beaches and quaint little towns, in Lanzarote, they’re set against a volcanic backdrop, with rocky cliffs soaring high above the ocean and an otherworldly landscape that will make you feel as if you’ve just landed on the moon.
There are plenty of places to explore and tons of things to do in Lanzarote, which is why we put together this list. See the best of the island, from the beaches to the volcanos, to the caves and everywhere in between.
Lanzarote is one of the most unique vacation destinations, so be sure to check out all that it has to offer!
- 1 Wander Around Costa Tequise
- 2 Take in Views from Hilly Haria
- 3 Dance the Night Away in Puerto del Carmen
- 4 Chill Out in Arrieta
- 5 Take a Tour of Timanfaya National Park
- 6 Weave Through Cueva de los Verdes
- 7 Spend a Day at Jameos del Agua Caves
- 8 Snap Some Pics at Jardin de Cactus
- 9 Get to Know Cesar Manrique at the Lagomar Museum
- 10 Bask in the Sun in Playa Blanca
- 11 Marvel at Magical Playa de Papagayo
- 12 Paddle to Papagayo in a Kayak
- 13 Attend a Surf Camp at Caleta de Famara
- 14 Watch Crashing Waves at El Golfo
- 15 Travel to Another World at Los Hervideros
- 16 Dive Down to Museo Atlantico
- 17 Explore Janubios Salinas
- 18 Take in Views from Mirador del Rio
- 19 Visit La Graciosa
- 20 Go Wine Tasting in La Geria
- 21 Explore the Best Volcanoes and Caves on a Full-Day Tour
- 22 Enjoy a Day Trip to Fuerteventura
Wander Around Costa Tequise
As the oldest settlement in the Canary Islands, it’s only right to start off this list with Costa Tequise. Founded in 1402, Tequise remained the capital of the island for 450 years due to its strategic position atop a hill, looking over the rest of Lanzarote.
Today, Tequise is a beautiful place to visit with stunning white buildings, sprawling palm trees, charming city squares and plenty delectable places to eat. In between meals, spend time wandering the city and popping into fun craft shops.
There’s also an awesome market in Tequise on Sunday mornings in the Plaza Clavijo y Fajardo. You can find pretty much everything here and it gives visitors a great glimpse into local life. Be sure to try some local cheese and pick up souvenirs on a visit here!
If you’re looking for some sunshine, head to Playa de las Cucharas, which is thought to be one of the best beaches in all of Lanzarote. Beware though, it can get quite windy here!
Take in Views from Hilly Haria
Another lovely hilltop town to visit is Haria, a small village that comes after a treacherous drive of twists and turns.
It takes some effort to get here, but it’s totally worth it when you’re surrounded by whitewashed homes and tropical plants that will transport you to the days of Arab kings and queens.
Haria has a distinctly exotic vibe, different from the rest of the island. It’s also much quieter than the resort towns in the south, making for the perfect little getaway. While in the village, be sure to visit Casa de Cesar Manrique which is set in a glorious palm grove with plenty to look at.
Dance the Night Away in Puerto del Carmen
To be in the midst of the action in Lanzarote, make a beeline for Puerto del Carmen, the largest resort area on the island.
Here, you’ll find several glorious beaches, plenty of shops and bars galore. In fact, this is the place to be if you’re looking for the best nightlife. Besides bars and restaurants, there are a handful of nightclubs in Puerto del Carmen that are blasting music until the wee hours of the morning.
Since Puerto del Carmen is located in a central area on the island, if you’re staying here, it’s super easy to take day trips to anywhere else you’d like to visit. Plus, it’s super close to the airport, making for an ultra convenient transfer when it’s time to go home.
Chill Out in Arrieta
Things are a little quieter as you head to the northeast of the island where the town of Arrieta lies.
This little village is alluring beyond belief, making a visit here one of the best things to do in Lanzarote. Playa de la Garita, a perfect white sand beach, is one of the most lovely places to relax without being disturbed, and the Arrieta harbor holds some of the freshest seafood restaurants imaginable.
Spend your days walking along the coast and dining on just-caught fish. Can it get any better?
Take a Tour of Timanfaya National Park
Besides the pretty little villages and bustling towns, Lanzarote is home to some of the most thrilling natural wonders and captivating parks on earth.
Timanfaya National Park is one of the main attractions on the island as it’s home to an abundance of rocky volcanoes. Not to worry though, most of them are dormant and haven’t erupted since the early 1800s. Still, it’s an amazing place to explore as the massive eruptions in the 1700s created a sprawling volcanic landscape that spans for nearly a quarter of the island!
Pretty much the only way to explore the park is via a coach tour as the otherworldly landscape is rather dangerous and fragile. But even from inside the bus, you’ll feel as if you’ve just landed on Mars… You’ll hardly be able to believe your eyes!
One thing you don’t want to miss at the park is the restaurant which uses geothermal heat from the volcanoes to grill your food! Talk about dinner and a show.
Weave Through Cueva de los Verdes
Another unbelievable natural wonder in Lanzarote lies below ground and offers a stark contrast to Timanfaya’s volcanic landscape.
Cueva de los Verdes is an underground network of caves that were once used by Lanzarote residents to escape from pirate attacks in a time long ago.
Today, there are far fewer pirates to escape from, but you can still visit the caves to seek refuge from the beating sun that covers the island. Spend a few hours squeezing through narrow passages and weaving around rocky structures.
The walk isn’t a long one but along the way you’ll make your way through the cave’s auditorium, where concerts are still held today! Can you say dream acoustics, or what?
Spend a Day at Jameos del Agua Caves
Caves of a different kind, Los Jameos del Agua is a masterpiece by the late and great Cesar Manrique, Lanzarote’s most famous artist.
Manrique had a unique and funky style which is evident in all of his works — especially here. He turned a system of collapsed volcanic caves into a center for culture and art with a restaurant, pristine pool, underground lake, and an auditorium with seats built right into the rock.
One of the most interesting parts of Jameos del Agua is the underground lake. While admiring the beauty between the natural and the man-made, keep your eyes peeled for a special species of albino crabs that have made the lake their home. These crabs are extremely rare so look extra carefully for a once-in-a-lifetime sight!
Snap Some Pics at Jardin de Cactus
Another gorgeous Lanzarote creation that we can thank Manrique for is Jardin de Cactus, possibly the most Instagrammable place on the island.
Jardin de Cactus is exactly what it sounds like: a garden full of cacti. Besides the 450 species of these desert plants and cute little succulents, there are also mesmerizing ocean views that will keep you entranced for a couple of hours.
When you get hungry, head to the cafe which has fresh juice and burgers made from cactus and potato!
Get to Know Cesar Manrique at the Lagomar Museum
Another Manrique work that can’t be missed is the Lagomar Museum, located in Nazaret near Tequise. While Cesar Manrique dreamed up this wild area, it was fully designed by Jesus Soto.
So what exactly is Lagomar? Imagine a compound created from a volcanic landscape, built into the side of rocky crags. The quarry is full of naturally-formed mazes and caves, perfect for the hidden rooms and corridors meticulously created by the artists and architect.
You’re free to explore the entire area, including the homes created from caves and lava that have been furnished with bits and pieces of shipwrecks. There’s plenty of local flora and fauna to enjoy in the area as well, like cacti, palm trees, and massive aloe plants which round out the rocky landscape.
The final product is a museum which has an interesting contrast between the whitewashed, man-made facades and the red/brown rock that formed hundreds (if not thousands) of years ago. This is seriously one of the best things to do in Lanzarote!
Bask in the Sun in Playa Blanca
Now, for what you really came for: the beach!
Playa Blanca is certainly one of the most beautiful beach areas in Lanzarote and one of the most popular. This is the place to come for ultimate sunshine socialization, as the sandy shores are generally crowded with vacationers getting their tan on.
The entire area is filled with resorts, and there’s a lovely boardwalk behind the beach where you can find restaurants, stores, and bars. There’s also a really nice market near the marina filled with a rotation of stalls selling handicrafts and yummy snacks.
Marvel at Magical Playa de Papagayo
Near to Playa Blanca is the real crown jewel of Lanzarote: Playa de Papagayo.
Papagayo Beach is the most famous beach in Lanzarote, with its iconic image plastered across postcards and other island paraphernalia. With good reason too, as the picturesque turquoise waters sit inside a protected area, creating a gorgeous bay with golden shores surrounded by rocky masses.
There are no shops or restaurants in this natural park, so be sure to bring along a picnic lunch and a towel for lounging around on the soft sand.
It can be kind of tricky getting to Papagayo as there are no paved roads leading to the beach. Your best bet is to walk from Playa Blanca along other beaches until you reach Papagayo, or take a waterbus from Playa Blanca that will drop you off right on the sandy shores.
Paddle to Papagayo in a Kayak
One of the best ways to reach Playa de Papagayo is by kayaking across the sea!
On this excursion, you’ll set off from Playa Las Coloradas and paddle past cliffs, caves, and through glimmering waters until you reach Papagayo Beach. After a picnic lunch, wander around the sandy shores, take a dip in the ocean, and snorkel to see what lives below before continuing on your adventure.
Once you’ve finished at the beach, you’ll head up to Papagayo Cape, where you’ll get to feast your eyes on some of the most impressive cliffs on the island as they tower far above you.
You’ll get to make a few more stops before returning to the kayaking center. But let’s just say that as far as things to do in Lanzarote go, this is one of the most exciting, for sure!
Attend a Surf Camp at Caleta de Famara
Another great way to enjoy the waters around Lanzarote is to embark on a surfing adventure.
The waves are killer at Caleta de Famara, so you’ll have your fair share of surfing classes to choose from. Whether you’re a beginner just looking for a single-day session, or looking for a week-long surf camp to hone in your skills, there is definitely something for everyone here!
Enjoy the waves slapping over you as you catch your balance and then chill out on the beach when you start to tire. There’s nothing like some good old blood-pumping, adrenaline fun while in Lanzarote!
Watch Crashing Waves at El Golfo
If you’d rather see waves smashing over rocks rather than feel them over your head, enjoy the sea at El Golfo.
El Golfo is where the Atlantic breakers come and smash up against the volcanic coast, sending seaspray splashing everywhere. You can really feel the powerful forces of Mother Nature here as you teeter along the edge, with seabirds soaring overhead.
If you’d rather watch from the comfort of a restaurant, there are plenty of places to eat with stellar views of the crashing waves, just without the constant splashing and soaking that comes along with being outside.
Travel to Another World at Los Hervideros
Another amazing place to see the waves crashing into the earth is Los Hervideros.
The landscape here is a bit more rugged than at El Golfo, creating an even more thrilling experience as the giant waves roll in and then smash with full force against the dark, volcanic rock.
What’s so interesting about Los Hervideros is you can really see how the waves have eroded the seaside cliffs. There are dents and small coves at the foot of the rock formations that have been created by the constant beating of the sea.
Behind the rocks, you can see dormant red volcanoes set against a blue sky creating a mishmash of landscape that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s really another world at the Los Hervideros Cliffs, which is why a visit here is one of the best things to do in Lanzarote.
Dive Down to Museo Atlantico
Some of Lanzarote’s greatest marvels lie below the surface of the ocean, such as Museo Atlantico.
Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, Museo Atlantico is Europe’s first underwater sculpture museum and sits at 14 meters deep, near Marina Rubicon. This 2,500 square meter underwater area is filled with cement sculptures that have slowly been taken over by sea creatures and barnacles.
This is one of the most interesting museums you can visit, not only in Lanzarote, but in all of Europe and continues the trend of showing interactions between man-made structures and nature taking its course.
You’ll have to dive to visit this museum which can be intimidating if you’ve never dabbled with scuba before. Not to worry, this awesome full-day diving experience will get you comfortable with the equipment and sport with two beginner dives before ending your day at the Underwater Museum.
Explore Janubios Salinas
Sitting on the west coast of Lanzarote are the Janubios Salinas: jumbo salt pans of all different colors stretching for as far as the eye can see. Surrounding the pans is a rough volcanic landscape with mountains in the distance and the sea at the forefront.
Salt was central to the Canary Islands for more than 100 years, with the largest remaining flats still productive in Lanzarote.
Besides the salt, the sheer beauty here is enough for a visit.
The Janubios warehouse is open everyday from 7.00am to 2:30pm and you can buy salt for yourself here. Otherwise, you can enjoy views of the flats from the Mirador de las Salinas restaurant while munching on a delicious meal.
If you’re just looking for some great views, there are a bunch of spots along the roads around the flats where you’ll get to capture the panoramic landscape on camera.
Take in Views from Mirador del Rio
Speaking of panoramic views, Mirador del Rio is the place to be for some of the best.
On a clear day, you’ll have the most amazing view of Archipelago Chinijo Nature Park, the neighboring island of La Graciosa, and beyond.
The easiest way to get to Mirador del Rio is by car from Arrieta, up LZ-201 road. Park your car and go inside; it’s well worth it to see more than just the view from the parking lot!
Visit La Graciosa
After seeing it from Mirador del Rio, it’ll be nearly impossible to resist the temptations pulling you over to La Graciosa.
This island is one of the most peaceful places in the entire world! There are no roads – the only way to get around is on foot or with a 4WD taxi, so you don’t have to worry about insane traffic or playing frogger every time you want to cross the street.
Instead, you’ll have wide sandy expanses in front of an everlasting ocean all to yourself. Chill out on the beach without being disturbed by the tourist crowd, or go exploring to discover the volcanoes and basalt columns that also reside on this island.
You can easily take a ferry over to La Graciosa which will also provide great views of the Famara cliffs along the way. Purchase round-trip ferry tickets here or opt to sail over in style on this six-hour sailing trip across the Lanzarote waters!
Go Wine Tasting in La Geria
Since a trip to Spain is all about eating and drinking, you should really consider rounding out your trip to Lanzarote with a wine tasting in La Geria.
I know what you’re thinking: growing wine in a volcanic area? Yeah, right.
But you better believe it! In fact, the volcanic soil offers unique properties to the grapes and creates some killer wine… Yum!
La Geria is the most famous bodega on the island, so take a visit to tour the vineyard and taste some delicious Lanzarote wines.
Explore the Best Volcanoes and Caves on a Full-Day Tour
So by now you’ve probably realized that there’s a lot to see in Lanzarote and navigating between sites may be a little bit tricky, especially without a car. But worry not! There is a solution to allow you to conveniently see the best of the island: a full-day tour.
This full-day tour brings you the best of the best when it comes to Lanzarote. You’ll start with a trip to the village of Yaiza, where you can admire the massive crater in Timanfaya and sip on a warm cafe con leche.
Then you’ll move west towards the giant rocky coast to visit sites like Los Hervideros, Lago Verde (a green lake at a black sand beach), and El Golfo.
Afterwards, you’ll travel deep into the heart of Timanfaya National Park where you’ll have the chance to ride a camel and experience the volcanoes from their humps. How fun! Then make your way to Montanas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) to learn about geothermal energy and tour the national park.
You’ll continue your tour with some culture in Mancha Blanca before visiting the wine-growing region of La Geria to taste local specialties.
You’ll also get to visit the Valley of 1,000 Palms where you’ll get to wander among lush greenery, providing you with a starkly different landscape from the ones you’ve experienced so far. Then finally, you’ll finish your day at Jameos del Agua to enjoy the amazing work of Cesar Manrique.
To truly see it all, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Lanzarote.
Enjoy a Day Trip to Fuerteventura
One final way to make the most of your time in Lanzarote is to take a day trip to nearby Fuerteventura.
Only a quick ferry ride away, Fuerteventura offers visitors a completely different experience than one in Lanzarote. The town of Corralejo, where the ferry drops you, is a modern city center with tons of bars, cafes, shops and restaurants where you can enjoy a full meal of tapas or a hefty serving of sangria.
There are plenty of beaches nearby, perfect for a day of lounging in a different environment, and there are lush sand dunes perfect for rolling over and enjoying views from.
The ferry ride only takes 25 minutes and it departs from Playa Blanca. If you’re not staying in this popular resort area, consider purchasing this ferry transfer which includes transportation to and from the ferry from your accommodation, as well as round-trip tickets for the boat. Doesn’t get easier than that!
For a fun-filled, action-packed, sunbathing holiday in Spain, Lanzarote is the place to be. Being such a unique island, you’ll find yourself quickly falling in love with the diverse atmosphere of this island.
There are so many things to do in Lanzarote that you will never feel bored, so whether you’re in it for the beaches or the towering volcanoes, this is the ultimate vacation destination.
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