At over 320 sq miles, Lanzarote is not a small island, and with just under 3 million visitors at its peak, the question is, what do they do when in Lanzarote? With a huge number of beaches, National Parks and visitor attractions, there is plenty to entertain visitors, hence its’ popularity. So to help you enjoy your visit, we have compiled the most comprehensive list of the 20 BEST Things To Do in Lanzarote, whether you are taking your family, partner, or going alone.
1 – Timanfaya National Park
No trip to Lanzarote is complete without visiting the Timanfaya National Park. The volcanic wasteland shows the raw beauty of mother nature at its finest.
It is perfectly safe to visit the volcanoes as they have not erupted since 1824, although the eruptions caused the landscape to be as you will now see it. There is no vegetation and an eerie colour scheme of reds, black and orange, which invokes images of an alien world.
You can get there by car, but the car park is notoriously tiny, and there are often delays of up to an hour to enter the car park.
You can only see the volcanoes and the sea of lava via an organised bus tour that lasts around 30 minutes and costs €12 per person, which is excellent value for money. The bus tour is included within your car park entry price.
If you opt to visit using an organised tour, the tour buses do not have to queue, which you may prefer.
The Tour’s finale is demonstrations of geothermal heat and water geysers. The El Diablo restaurant cooks meats on a bbq heated solely by volcanic heat and has incredible views but mediocre food.
2 – Museo Atlántico Underwater Museum
Located in a protected area near Coloradas, Playa Blanca, this extraordinary artificial reef contains ten different groups of sculptures. The sculptures are designed to provoke thought on various subjects affecting humankind.
But what is the point of suggesting an underwater museum when you can’t dive? – Stick with me here.
For less than €150, you can have the day learning to dive and then dive around the statues with the assistance of an instructor. It takes around 5 hours for the whole experience, including safety training, trial dives, and a final dive at the museum.
You will get a virtual tour of the museum before diving, as there are no underwater guides to help you understand and appreciate the messages of the exhibits.
As with any dive in Lanzarote, you will encounter a range of fish such as barracudas and angel sharks. This “attraction” has the chance to provide you with the whole new experience of diving whilst being stimulated by the thought-provoking messages within the statues. If you go to Lanzarote, don’t pass this opportunity up.
3 – Try traditional Canarian food
Please, please, please, do not come to Lanzarote without trying the local cuisine. With influences from Portugal, North Africa, South America, and Spain, Canarian dishes have a unique character.
Unless accompanied by Canarian potatoes smothered in spicy mojo sauce, no meal is complete unless enjoyed with a chilled glass of white wine from La Geria to wash the meal down. Being an island, seafood is abundant but don’t forget rabbit and goat meat. The local goat cheese is exquisite despite there being no pastures to graze on.
Give it a try, and you will not be disappointed in the local food; ask your waiter to recommend something which encapsulates Lanzarote.
4 – Lanzarote Aquarium
I’ve included this on my list, not really because of the Aquarium, as this is relatively small and pretty expensive at €15 per adult. It is included because you can dive with sharks without a diving certificate within the Aquarium. For €250, they will train you to dive in the main aquarium tank, where you can be face to face with nurse sharks, smooth-hound sharks, stingrays, Eagle rays and hundreds of other fish. The whole experience, training and diving are around 3 hours, and you will get 30 minutes diving with the sharks. A free pass to visit the Aquarium is included for you and one other person. A great experience and another Instagram photo opportunity.
5 – El Charco de San Gines
To get away from the tourist trap resorts and immerse yourself in old school Lanzarote, visit this little seawater lagoon, known as the “Venice of the Atlantic”. Set in the centre of Arrecife, the capital, it was remodeled by that man again, César Manrique. There are quirky statues, and a pedestrian bridge with blue painted balustrades that spans the lagoon.
Whitewashed fisherman’s cottages surround the lagoon and make a fantastic photo opportunity. Watch the little boats bobbing around or the fishermen tending their nets, and it is easy to imagine yourself having been transported back in time. Eat authentic local cuisine from the many restaurants or have a drink and watch the world go by at a snail-like pace.
6 – Teguise
Founded in 1402, Teguise was the former capital of Lanzarote until 1852, when Arrecife took over the role. The Costa Teguise is one of the most visited areas of Lanzarote and hosts many well-known attractions within its limits, including stunning beaches.
Here, you could visit the cactus museum, the Volcano House of famous artist César Manrique or the Pirate Museum, and who doesn’t want to see a Pirate museum?
The town has a long history, and is a pretty whitewashed village of traditionally built houses and narrow winding streets filled with cafes, restaurants and shops. The central square houses the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which interestingly was constructed over the giant water cistern that once held the town’s water supply.
The town starts to fill with a new bustle on Sunday mornings as the market here is a big event. The market is a storefront for artisan crafts and traditional produce. Many shops close on Mondays, so the town is tranquil then.
7 – Haria
I love Haria for the Arabian rustic feel; it differs from most of Lanzarote’s other towns. Known as the valley of 1000 palms, it is very striking. The name comes from the localized custom of planting palm trees to mark a birth, one for a girl and two for a boy.
The Saturday market in the main square is the week’s main event. Otherwise, the town is quiet and doesn’t have a lot of other attractions except craft shops and the opportunity to visit the César Manrique house museum. I find this museum intriguing as it was his principal residence before his death from a car crash in 1922 and is preserved as he left it that day. You almost expect him to walk in the door as you wander around the unfinished paintings that are lying around.
8 – Buggy Tour
Book a Buggy Tour, and I can guarantee you laughter and smiles the whole time. There are multiple companies offering tours in different island areas and a range of vehicles. The tours are generally two to three hours in length and cover both on-road and off-road.
You will have a guide with you, and they stop to give photo opportunities or the chance to swap drivers.
You will get to places you would never see when touring around in a hire car. So for that reason alone, a Buggy Tour in Lanzarote should be on your bucket list. The tours stop for the refuelling of the buggies and their passengers and often finish at a bodega or winery.
Please don’t wear your best clothes though, you will get dusty, and it is best to wear long-sleeved tops as journeys can get very windy. A great way to spend a few hours, safe but exhilarating.
9 – Rancho Texas
You will thoroughly enjoy visiting Rancho Texas in Puerto del Carmen with or without children. A combination of a zoo, activity centre and even a small water park.
The zoo is maintained superbly with all the enclosures clean, and the animals seem content; you also get a chance to see a rare white tiger. They have entertaining and informative displays with birds of prey throughout the day, such as eagles, falcons, vultures, and even an enormous condor.
They fly so low over the heads of the crowd that you wonder at times if someone will end up being headbutted by a vulture by accident. The cockatoos and parrots enjoy showing their intelligence in their demonstrations and can guarantee you a laugh.
You can interact with sea lions and dolphins and have a photograph of the experience as a souvenir. There are beautiful gardens to stroll through with reptiles and exotic birds in cleverly constructed pens designed to mimic their natural habitats.
If you fancy something more active, there is the water park, pony rides or even canoeing.
If you get peckish, there are quality food offerings on site.
Every Tuesday and Friday, the Ranch holds a Wild West-themed night with cowboys, cabaret and dancing to a live band after dinner. All in all, Rancho Texas is an excellent way to spend a day being entertained or relaxing.
10 – Marina Rubicon
This beautiful Marina has some very expensive moored yachts and is found at the edge of the Playa Blanca resort. You can walk around the immaculate Marina and soak up the nautical atmosphere. There is a beautiful wooden boardwalk which is delightful to stroll along.
There are plenty of opportunities to book water sports such as parascending, jet-skiing and boat trips.
As with most marinas, it attracts a particular stylish crowd, and the shops, bars and restaurants reflect this with their upmarket feel. It is a fantastic place to watch the sunset with a cocktail, and after dark, some of the bars have live music.
The Marina is also well known for its’ market held every Wednesday and Saturday. Again the market follows the same vibe and has stallholders selling arts and crafts and local Lanzarote products.
11 – Pueblo Marinero
This small square was designed in collaboration with, yes, you’ve got it, Cesar Manrique. Man, he got around a bit, didn’t he? Pueblo Marinero is the main nightlife area of the Costa Teguise, and its charming Canarian architecture gives the place a unique feel and friendly warmth. Within the complex, there are restaurants, terraces and bars of all different styles, guaranteeing to keep you entertained into the early hours.
12 – Cervezas Malpeis
This tiny microbrewery is found in Plaza de San Roque, Tinajo, and it is worth finding. The bar is charming, but the terrace at the rear is lovely. It produces three beers in-house, all named after the different sand colours on the island Jable, Bermeja and Rofe.
They offer tasting menus for the beers accompanied by tapas and have a full menu of good quality food. It is a nice change to have a tasty beer than a €1 pint of fizzy, watery, yellow liquid on the seafront.
13 – El Grifo – Museo del Vino
A visit to the oldest winery in Lanzarote, established in 1775 with a few glasses of wine included, who wouldn’t want to visit?
Interestingly the vineyards are full of pre-phylloxera grape varieties. Phylloxera is an aphid which destroys the vine roots and decimated European vines in the late 19th century. Most vines used are now from vines grafted onto American roots, which are resistant to the invader.
You will have full access to the museum and an informative guided tour and learn some ancient techniques still used today. Harvesting is still performed manually, which must be an arduous task to produce half a million bottles yearly.
14 – Mirador del Rio
César Manrique again. You can’t get away from that name on Lanzarote despite his death in 1922 at the grand old age of 73. It is a unique attraction hewn into the rock, which is now in part a visitor centre, café and the ultimate selfie point on the island.
The exterior viewing platform has uninterrupted views along the coast to Playa Famara and across to the island La Graciosa and up to Punta Fariones. Inside are ceiling sculptures, a gigantic fireplace and windows arranged to look like you are viewing through two eyes.
The first floor houses a gift shop and a glass dome roof with access to another viewing platform. Allow yourself an hour or so to enjoy the outstanding views and a coffee from the on-site café.
There is an entrance fee of €5, but seriously they could charge €50, and the views would still be worth it.
15 – Cueva de los Verdes
These caves should be on every visitor’s “to do” list. Formed around 4000 years ago, they are the remnants of a lava tube, where the lava is pushed underground and leaves behind hollow caves. There are very few lava tubes that you can visit and this one, at six km, is one of the longest in the world and historically the caves were used by islanders to shelter from marauding pirates.
The Tour will take around 50 minutes and be approximately 1.2 km long, led by informative guides. It is worth noting that with some low roof areas, anyone very tall or claustrophobic may wish to give the caves a miss.
16 – Playa Chica
This small intimate beach is near the harbour in Puerto del Carmen, and it is a pleasant change from some of the vast beaches on Lanzarote. Initially, it looks like a small rocky cove, but it is underwater where the action is.
It is teeming with fish, and the water clarity is astonishing, making this a snorkeler’s delight.
You will have to access it by driving some back roads, and parking can be a problem, so best to get here early. There are toilets, showers, a café, a delightful restaurant, and all the facilities needed for a great day sunbathing or exploring underwater.
17 – Montaña Roja
The Red Mountain is very aptly named.
Towering over Playa Blanca, this volcanic crater is a favourite for walkers of all abilities. Once at the summit, around 60 minutes for someone of average fitness, your reward will be a superb view all the way across to Fuerteventura.
The paths are well marked and not difficult to find. The routes are not steep, so no scrabbling is required, and trainers will be adequate footwear, but I would advise against flip flops. Whilst ascending the volcano, there are some interesting rock formations to view. The caldera (a large hollow that forms after a volcanic eruption) is vast and undoubtedly worth walking around at the summit.
Take water with you, and you might also consider wearing long sleeves as it can be windy at the top. Take in the views and then head for a nice cold beer and a sense of satisfaction.
18 – Aqualava Waterpark
You know what you are getting when you take kids to a Waterpark. You have a chance to relax on a sun lounger, and the kids can run riot. Although the waterpark is not large, it has sufficient rides and interest to keep kids occupied for a day. There are the standard slides, slow river, wave machine and the ubiquitous area where water comes from all directions, which here is a Giant Octopus. The kids will love it. All of the water is heated by geothermal energy, which is a lovely green touch, and it is open all year round.
19 – Biosfera Plaza
Shopping. Cinema. Dinosaur Crazy Golf. Children’s play areas. Food! – What is there not to like. The Biosfera Plaza is right in the heart of Puerto del Carmen and offers a free shuttle service between all the leading hotels and the shopping centre.
Although not large, it has a range of stores from heavyweights such as Zara, Timberland, Levi’s, Guess and Foot Locker to small independent outlets.
Food offerings are varied, and a large open-air seated Mcdonald’s will please the kids.
On the upper floors, there is an outdoor cinema, a 5d experience, a children’s play area, Dinosaur Crazy Golf and a “pump track” where you can bring your kids’ bike, skate or scooter and let them enjoy the Pump Track circuit.
The plaza also runs regular events for mindfulness and well-being and entertainment such as chess and giant puzzles.
Biosfera Plaza is much more than a shopping experience; but an attraction that could make an overcast day into an event or somewhere to amuse the kids for a few hours.
20 – Jameos del Agua
Lets’ have a quiz question, who designed The Jameos del Agua? Don’t know? – I give up. César Manrique created this space to reflect the harmony between nature and art. It is a fascinating place to visit, but if you do not appreciate art and culture, you will find this an expensive trip to a volcanic tunnel, even if it is one of the longest in the world.
Inside, you can wonder at the magical atmosphere of a natural lake inside the cave and the lake inhabitants, a unique albino crab.
The auditorium was created to take advantage of the incredible acoustics and regularly hosts concerts in this unique environment. There is a charming café inside the cave, allowing you almost to stop time and breathe in the beauty.