If you’re wondering what to do in Lanzarote, read on for an impressive list of things to do. For such a small island has plenty of tourists’ attractions as well as spectacular off the beaten path places.
Lanzarote is one of the Spanish Canary islands, close to the coast of Africa. It isn’t a large island but read on to find out why I say it’s a magic place. Lanzarote has it all: beautiful ocean resorts, volcanic landscape, and amazing architecture. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. You will also find plenty of outdoor and family activities, and some incredible places like a black beach, vineyards in the volcanic soil, or an underwater museum.
So, here it is!
Top 10 on your “what to do in Lanzarote” list
Off the beaten path attractions in Lanzarote
What to do in Lanzarote – Top Attractions
There are a few major attractions most visitors are keen to see in Lanzarote. Among them, a visit to the volcanic part of the island, Timanfaya National Park, the Culture, Art, and Tourism Centers (CACT), and the wonderful works of the man who redesigned Lanzarote, Cesar Manrique.
Timanfaya National Park – The Top Attraction in Lanzarote
The main attraction in Lanzarote is Timanfaya National Park or Las Montañas del Fuego (The Fire Mountains). Timanfaya park has no less than 25 craters spread in a lunar landscape. It is also a Unesco Biospheric Reserve.
You are not allowed to hike in the area, but you can take one of the shuttle buses which drive on Ruta de Los Volcanes. That is a one-way route through the volcanoes, which will allow you to see a lot of the area. To make things more interactive there are two experiments you can see near the restaurant. The steam geyser and the fire pit will give you an idea of the volcanic activity just under the surface.
That same volcanic heat is also used to cook your lunch. Yes, you can have a “volcano barbecue” at El Diablo Restaurant in the park. The restaurant was designed by the same Cesar Manrique, who left his legacy all over the island. He used the volcanic heat as a natural furnace for the most popular dishes in El Diablo’s Menu.
Timanfaya National Park is open every day from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM, and the entrance fee is 12€, which includes the bus tour.
Los Jameos del Agua – One of the Best Things to do in Lanzarote
The second on the usual what to do in Lanzarote list is Los Jameos del Agua. This is quite a unique attraction. The final part of a lava tube going into the ocean, with a collapsed roof. It doesn’t necessarily sound like a place to visit, right? However, the genius of the local artist, Cesar Manrique, turned this place into something special.
It is a space where you can relax and admire the very essence of nature. The artist intervened as little as possible, only to bring out the beauty of the space. Los Jameos del Agua was the first CACT center designed by Cesar Manrique in Lanzarote. It encaptures best his vision of bringing nature and art together. It has a small restaurant, a striking turquoise pool against the black lava walls, and a crystal clear lake where a blind crab lives. Another unique feature is the 600-person auditorium inside the lava tube.
At the ground level, you will find Casa de Los Volcanes, a vulcanology center where you can find out a lot about these natural wonders.
Los Jameos del Agua is open every day from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The entrance costs 10€.
Cueva de los Verdes – A Lesser Known Attraction in Lanzarote
The next attraction is part of the same lava tube as Los Jameos del Agua, Tunnel of Atlantis. The lava tube formed about 4000 years ago when Mount Corona erupted. As the lava hardened on the surface, it continued to flow underneath, into the sea.
Another amazing artist, Jesus Soto, designed Cueva de Los Verdes. He created the inner path, the lighting system, and ambient sound.
You can visit one kilometer of the tube, and at some point, the galleries are spread on three different levels. The guided tours start every 20 minutes, and the whole tour takes 50 minutes.
The lava layers have rich colors and different shades of reddish colors. The temperature inside is a pleasant 19ºC.
Cueva de Los Verdes is open every day from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The entrance ticket costs 10€, and the tour ends with a nice surprise.
LagOmar is a private museum, a unique example of architecture perfectly integrated with the environment. It’s a house built inside a quarry, designed by Jesus Soto again. The house is a labyrinth of corridors, and staircases, with a living apartment on the top floor and a volcanic garden at the ground level.
I guarantee it will be unlike any house you’ve ever seen before. You can visit LagOmar in about an hour or spend a little more time relaxing at the café inside. You will just love the views from the higher levels.
Omar Sharif owned the place for a little while but sadly lost it in a game of cards. The colors here are the same as everywhere on the island, dark lava, white walls, greenery, and the blue sky.
LagOmar museum is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and the ticket costs 6€.
Jardin de Cactus
Another great attraction in Lanzarote is the Cactus Garden, the last completed work of Cesar Manrique in Lanzarote. He transformed an old quarry into a garden holding 450 different cacti species. Therefore, the garden is shaped like an amphitheater, on the old quarry structure.
A restored windmill sits above the garden and attracts visitors passing by. The white windmill perfectly completes the green plants, blue sky, and volcanic soil. You can climb to the top level of the windmill for some great views of the area. Inside the mill, you will also get the chance to see how gofio was made, a flour of roasted grains still used in the Canarian cuisine.
The Cactus Garden is open every day from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The full ticket costs 6.5€.
El Mirador del Rio
Another incredible project of Cesar Manrique, El Mirador del Rio sits at more than 400 meters altitude on the Risco de Famara Massif. The architect transformed the remains of an old military base into a camouflaged viewpoint. From El Mirador you will have the best view over El Rio, the strait between the main island and the smaller Graciosa island.
From the outside, it doesn’t look like much because it is almost perfectly camouflaged in the volcanic rocks. However, once inside, you will have an incredible view through the glass windows over la Graciosa and the rest of the Chinijo Islands.
El Mirador del Rio is open every day from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and the access ticket costs 5€.
Fundacion Cesar Manrique – Nature and Design Together
The place that is now the Cesar Manrique Foundation used to be the artist’s home and studio for 20 years. He designed and built the place on a lava field in Tahice. The rooms and inner garden are inside volcanic bubbles, connected with tunnels. Of course, the place has a beautiful pool as a central feature of the garden.
My favorite place in the house is the window of the studio, where the lava flow is part of the design. It is an incredible example of Manrique’s main concept of art and nature intertwined. You should also pay attention, in any of his projects, to the sculptures and different elements in the garden.
The Foundation is open every day from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and the entrance costs 8€.
The Beaches of Lanzarote
I don’t need to tell you this – I’m sure spending time at the beach was already on your list of things to do in Lanzarote. If you stay in Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen, or in Costa Teguise, you’ll have pretty beaches very close to home.
However, there are more beaches worth exploring in Lanzarote, the beaches of Papagayo, Playa Caletón Blanco, and my favorite, Playa Famara.
One of my favorite spots in Lanzarote is Famara Beach. It’s a surfers paradise on the north side of the island. It is also a beautiful spot with great views over La Graciosa island and a five kilometers long golden sand beach.
The beach starts in the small fishing village, Caleta de Famara. This is where you’ll find the surf schools, as well as a few fish restaurants. Behind the beach, the wind forms sand dunes. The scenery is spectacular, with Risco de Famara Cliffs in the background. At low tide, the cliffs reflect in the wet sand below.
Another moment of the day to enjoy the scenery is at sunset when the sky and the sand below turn orange.
Arrecife is the capital city of Lanzarote. This is where the airport is, but most visitors drive directly to their accommodation and ignore Arrecife for the rest of their trip.
However, there are plenty of things to do in Arrecife and you should spend at least one morning exploring the largest city in Lanzarote. You can enjoy El Reducto beach, walk around El Charco San Gines, see the two castles of the town, and find the cafes and shops on the pedestrian street.
Every Saturday morning, there is also a handicraft market in Arrecife around El Charco San Gines. If you want to see Lanzarote from above, you need to have a drink on the top floor of Arrecife Gran Hotel, the only tall building on the island. Sunset is a good time for a good view.
San Jose Castle
The castle on the waterfront of Lanzarote was built by King Carlos III in the 18th century. Its role was to look out for pirates but the local name was The Fortress of Hunger because construction provided employment and food. There was hunger on the island after 6 years of massive eruptions in Lanzarote starting in 1730.
San Jose Castle is now the home of the International Museum of Contemporary Art. You can visit the castle every day from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and the entrance fee is 4€.
You can see some of Cesar Manrique’s work inside the Contemporary Art Museum. The Castle also hosts Qué Muac restaurant, a great place to enjoy lunch or tapas with a view.
Lesser-Known Things to do in Lanzarote
While I listed above the most well-known and visited attractions in Lanzarote, some of my favorites places to visit in Lanzarote are below, lesser-known and sometimes off the beaten path. You won’t run into crowds in any of these places (except the weekly market in Teguise) and most of them are free to visit.
Playa Quemada means The Burned Beach. The pebbled beach is black here, and it looks quite spectacular against the blue sea.
There are also a couple of very good restaurants right on the beach. Even if you’re not here for a swim, you can still have a great lunch and admire this amazing landscape.
Cesar Manrique Museum House
If you’re a fan of Cesar Manrique’s work, you might be interested in seeing his second home in Lanzarote, where he lived his final years. He built a farmhouse in a Haria, the village in the Valley of the 1000 palm trees.
The house is today a museum, where you have a glimpse into Manrique’s private life. The house and studio are being kept exactly as he left them.
Still, if you have to choose between the museum house in Haria and Fundacion Cesar Manrique in Tahice, I would go for the latter.
The house is open for visiting every day from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM. A standard ticket costs 10€, and there’s also a 15€ combined ticket to visit the house and the foundation.
El Bosquecillo (The little forrest)
El Bosquecillo is a natural viewpoint on the Cliffs of Famara. The belvedere is a great place to see Caleta de Famara, La Graciosa island, and the rest of the Chinijo Archipelago from above.
The name refers to a few trees and shrubs, don’t expect a real forest. However, El Bosquecillo is a great destination for a hike from the village of Haria. It’s a 7 km hike upwards, with little or no shade so bring water, sunscreen, and a hat.
You will find a picnic area at El Bosquecillo, it’s a great place for lunch or a snack after a good hike. If you’re driving, parking is available and free at your destination.
The views from the edge of the cliff will take your breath away.
El Charco del Palo
El Charco del Palo is a naturist village on the eastern coast of Lanzarote. Even if the coast is high, the village has a beautiful natural pool that fills during the tide. Nudity is permitted everywhere in the village, not only on the beach. It is not uncommon to see naked people at the restaurant either, so be advised if you plan to explore the island with the family.
That being said, El Charco del Palo is the place to be if you’re into a naturist lifestyle. At the end of a 3 km road, the village has its share of privacy, as well as a beautiful lava coastline.
One of the most picturesque places in Lanzarote is one of the salt flats on the island, Las Salinas. Not too long ago, salt was very important to Lanzarote. As an island in the Atlantic, Lanzarote was on the route from Europe to the Americas. Ships passing through needed a lot of salt to conserve the fish for their long journeys.
Las Salinas del Tio Alberto are one of the salt flats still working. They are close to Los Cocoteros village, where you can take a bath in the natural pool. Los Cocoteros is also close to El Charco del Palo village, so you can combine exploring both places in one afternoon.
The most important salt flats in Lanzarote are Las Salinas del Janubio, close to Playa Blanca in the southwest of the island. You organize guided tours in English Monday to Friday from 10:30 AM. The tour lasts about 90 minutes, costs 12€ and includes a tasting.
Las Salinas del Janubio are close to Los Hervideros, our next stop.
Los Hervideros means Boiling Water. A portion of the western coast has a series of caves formed into the solidified lava flow. The views are spectacular, and there are plenty of opportunities to take photos of the waves crashing onto the coast.
You can stop along Los Hervideros on your way from Las Salinas del Janubio to El Golfo village and the Green Lagoon. They are all on the coastal road LZ-703.
The Green Lagoon (El Lago Verde)
El Golfo is a village by the sea, popular with locals in search of rustic fish restaurants. Just by the village is The Green Lagoon or El Lago Verde. The green water is trapped in what remains of a volcanic cone. The sea eroded part of the cone to what is left today. The bright green color is given by an alga that feels very good in that environment.
You are not allowed to go inside the crater, but you can see the Green Lagoon from above. The colors are incredible: the sea on one side, the black beach, then the green water, and all the shades of the solidified lava.
The Volcanic Vineyards in La Geria
You wouldn’t think something grows here, as you pass by the 50 square kilometers of black soil. However, La Geria is the wine county of Lanzarote. The islanders are resourceful people and they came out with a way to turn the lunar landscape into a vineyard. They dug “gerias” – cone-like hollows in the volcanic gravel and planted only one vine in every hollow. The porous volcanic soil is ideal to keep the humidity and hydrate the plants. In addition, they built a low semicircular wall to protect each vine from the wind.
It is quite a unique landscape and if the views are not enough to get you there, the prospect of a wine tasting should do the trick. There are many wine shops in the area offering tastings, and the wines of La Geria are excellent.
Image by Matt Cody from Pixabay
Teguise is a quiet little town in central Lanzarote. It used to be the island’s capital, and it has all the charm of a traditional village in Lanzarote. White houses, a beautiful church with a brick tower, and huge empty parking spaces are the first things you notice if you pass through Teguise on a weekday.
However, every Sunday morning, the scenery changes dramatically. Teguise Market is the largest in Lanzarote and is open every Sunday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Hundreds of stalls sell anything and everything in Teguise. Food, souvenirs, jewelry, and accessories are everywhere you look. However, try to look for local products. You won’t necessarily find any bargains here, but the atmosphere is great and it will be a fun morning out.
If you get hungry, there are plenty of choices at the food stalls and cafes around the market.
The Atlantic Museum
Museo Atlantico is one of the most unusual attractions in Lanzarote, the only underwater museum in Europe. The museum is near Playa Blanca, about 14 meters underwater. The unique museum displays 10 groups of sculptures. The artist, Jason deCaires Taylor previously created underwater sculptures in the Caribbean and the underwater museum in Cancun, Mexico. He uses residents of Lanzarote as models for his sculptures at Museo Atlantico.
The underwater museum is thought out like a reef where nature will complete the artist’s work. This concept fits perfectly in Lanzarote where Cesar Manrique aimed to bring together nature and architecture.
You need to bring your dive certification card to dive in the Atlantic Museum. They also have a beginners tour option, which starts with a pool dive and then attempts a 12 meters dive to the underwater museum.
All in all, you can’t see an underwater museum too often, so it seems a great activity for your Lanzarote holiday.
Graciosa is a tiny island to the north of Lanzarote, part of the volcanic Chinijo archipelago. The only way to reach Graciosa island is by ferry from Orzola. The ride across El Rio Strait takes less than 30 minutes to Caleta del Sebo, one of the two settlements on the island.
You need to know that roads on Graciosa island are unpaved and that only a few licensed vehicles are allowed on the small island. The best way to explore La Graciosa is to rent a bike from Caleta del Sebo. The traffic is no problem, and the island is relatively flat.
The volcanic landscape is spectacular, and you will find a few amazing beaches on La Graciosa. The most beautiful of them is Playa de las Conchas. Bring your beach towel and everything else you need with you because there are no amenities at these quiet beaches on La Graciosa.
Activities in Lanzarote
If you’re the active type and you like outdoor activities, I’m sure you’ll love Lanzarote. You can enjoy the sea and the beach, but also go kayaking, surfing, paragliding, diving or sailing.
Away from the sea, hiking and cycling will get you to the most hidden corners of Lanzarote.
Lanzarote is a rather small island with very good roads and scarce public transport. You can easily rent a car and explore the best attractions on Lanzarote in a few days. The longest distance on the island is about one-hour driving and the main attractions are usually grouped in small areas. See the map of attractions to prepare your itinerary.
The weather in Lanzarote is great throughout the year and it hardly rains at all. The only “wet” month is October. However, you are going to need a light jacket during the winter months to protect you from the wind. No matter when you are going to Lanzarote, you need your hat and sun protection as most days are sunny and there is not much shade if you’re set on exploring the island.
Where to stay in Lanzarote
Depending on what you’re looking for in your accommodation, you can choose to stay in one of the towns below.
Puerto del Carmen is the perfect place to be if you like to party. The protected beaches in the area also offer windsurfing, scuba diving, and all other water activities. 5* Hotel Lava Beach is a great option to stay comfortably, with great amenities.
Costa Teguise is another seaside town, preferred by families and couples. The beaches are lovely, and there are plenty of activities like windsurfing schools or a golf course close by. Costa Teguise also hosts a weekly market in Pueblo Marinero every Friday evening. H10 Suites Lanzarote Gardens is an excellent place to stay for families.
Playa Blanca is a more quiet resort, fit for both couples and families. It is also an excellent base to reach some of the best attractions in Lanzarote. 5* Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa is a great choice for families, offering a lot of activities and a water park.
If you prefer a more chilled atmosphere, you can find a place to stay in Caleta de Famara or in Arrieta. Also, if you’re not a beach enthusiast, you will find some unique places to stay inland. Just stroll over the map and find a place you love!
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