A week in Lanzarote

Los Hervideros

I've got to admit, when I thought about Lanzarote I thought it would be all Brits eating fry ups and drinking lager all hours of the day and turning into lobsters on sun loungers by the pool.

Don't get me wrong, if that's your cup of tea then who am I to judge? Each to their own! But it's not really my kind of holiday.

Me and Phil were in real need of a holiday, but neither of us felt like a chilly Northern European city break, so we looked for somewhere cheap and cheerful in The Canaries where the sun would hopefully shine and we could get some relaxing done and spend some time reconnecting.

We found a bargain flight and hotel combination on the volcanic Spanish Island and soon after I started researching the place, not really knowing what was on offer!

Cheap but cheerful: Hotel THB Flora, Puerto del Carmen

I started on Tripadvisor, where someone who had recently stayed at our hotel praised its location in Puerto Del Carmen next to a shopping centre, complete with a McDonalds and crazy golf. Now I love my chicken nuggets but there is literally a McDonalds half a mile from my house haha! I always want to try local cuisine on holiday...

So I tried researching on my old favourite: Pinterest. And I soon found out there were so many places to visit! We had hired a car so we knew we could visit all these magical places right across the island we'd seen pretty pictures of.

Needless to say, Lanzarote was an absolute revelation. There was so much to see and do and so much to enjoy. It was so much nicer than I had imagined and I’m so glad we took a gamble on a sunny break rather than a freezing cold city break!

Here are a few of the favourite places we visited:

Timanfaya volcanoes

Timanfaya National Park: Lanzarote is a volcanic island and as recently as the 1800s its volcanoes were spewing out lava, so there's lot of interesting things to see, from the dormant funnels of hundreds of volcanoes which make up the island, most of them thousands of years old, to the lava fields, dramatic landscapes and cliffs. At the national park, you park up at the 'El Diablo' visitor centre on the edge of a mountain and take a tour bus through the stunning landscape. It's €10 but so worth it! It's also slightly hair-raising for chickens like me who are scared of heights though! Also: the chicken cooked over the volcano heat in the restaurant is amazing. It's like Nando's but sooo nice and juicy. Well worth a visit.

Foundation of Cesar Manrique

Fundacion Cesar Manrique: This is sculptor, architect and artist Cesar Manrique's amazing house, built in the 1960s in a series of volcano lava bubbles. It's mind blowing. It's like a very well designed bond villain's house. We loved the designs of the rooms and gardens and found it an interesting walk round.

The stunning Cueva de los Verdes

Cueva de los Verde: This lava tunnel provides a 1km tour through the caves, stopping at different galleries along the way. There is also an amazing optical illusion at the end that I don't want to spoil if you're ever going to visit! It was a really stunning place and worth the €9.50 fee for the tour. It's also not too claustrophobic for those who don't fancy caving, there is some ducking down but no crawling is required and there aren't too many steps for those people who are worried about mobility.

Jardin de Cactus

Jardin de Cactus: This is a small but beautifully designed garden, an old quarry converted into a haven for 10,000 cacti by Cesar Manrique. We spent ages walking the terraces looking at all the different plants, before walking up the hill to the spectacular windmill overlooking the site and stopping for a drink on the terrace - a cafe with a view! Well worth the €5 entry fee.

A panoramic view from Mirador del Rio

Mirador del Rio: Another Cesar Manrique design, similar to El Diablo, is this look out point overlooking the island of La Graciosa. Again, it's not one for those who are scared of heights! But the views are breathtaking. There's also a cafe with another brilliant view here.

The harbour at Puerto del Carmen

In terms of the resorts we visited, they all had something different to offer. I mean Puerto del Carmen had more Irish bars than Dublin, but it also had affordable restaurants, miles and miles of beaches and all the facilities you could need. We stayed near the old port and it was lovely there. Playa Blanca was sheltered and warm, with plenty to offer families, while we enjoyed a day at the beach in Costa Teguise and loved the modern feel of the restaurants and the calm waters of the harbours. Puerto Calero, with its pretty port and rows of fancy shops and restaurants, made a great lunch stop, even though it didn't have a beach.

El Golfo green lake

Other places we loved included the Los Hervideros cliffs and caves, the Jameos del Agua gardens and the El Golfo phenomenal green lake.

Other hints, tips and observations: 

Hire a car - the roads were quiet and everywhere was signposted well. Petrol is cheap and nowhere is more than 45 minutes away.

Yummy volcano cooked chicken at El Diablo

Food is cheap, but not always that good quality - we were a bit disappointed there wasn’t really much of a Canarian cuisine - lots and lots of meat and fish and nothing for veggies! We tried some native dishes - rabbit and gofio weren’t that great! Though the Canarian potatoes and mojo sauce were a nice alternative to chips, which were mainly served with meals. Worth driving out of Puerto del Carmen if you’re not into €2.50 fry ups!

The La Geria volcanic vineyards were interesting!

Weather was windy and sometimes really cloudy in January - then sometimes really warm and sunny so pack a wide selection of stuff! We even got rain one night, and had nothing to stay dry.

The traditional town of Haria

Go to the smaller villages inland for a better view of how Lanzarote locals live

A few Spanish phrases go down quite well and people always appreciate a please and thank you

Don’t fly Ryanair - The seats are so uncomfortable for the long flights (around 4hr30) and it’s not good value to pay extra to check in bags!

Make sure you aren’t staying next to the airport - it was really noisy at the other end of Puerto del Carmen near Arrecife!

We loved Lanzarote - hopefully you will too!


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