If you’re wondering which island to choose for an out of season break in the Canaries, I’ve listed 25 of the best things to do in Lanzarote, to help you with the decision.
The fourth-largest island in the Canary Islands archipelago, Lanzarote lies 65 miles off the coast of North Africa.
Around half the size of its three larger sisters, the island is blessed with a warm year-round climate, making it a favourite destination with visitors both winter and summer.
If you’re comfortable driving in a foreign country, a hire car will be a big asset when you visit Lanzarote. If not, there are plenty of organised excursions to help you see your favourite attractions.
25 Best things to do in Lanzarote
1. Timanfaya National Park, top of everyone’s things to do in Lanzarote list
Shaped by the volcanic activity of 1730, with a little help from the 1824 eruption, it took until 1974 for this giant moonscape to be declared a National Park.
Included in your entrance fee is a 30-minute coach ride, which takes you on the Ruta de los Volcanes, or route of the volcanos. Allowing you to get up close to the surreal brown-black and rust-red, barren, rock-strewn landscape.
You will also get to see a geyser, and get the chance to dine on barbequed steak or chicken, all cooked using the geothermal heat of the earth’s core.
If you’re interested in volcanology, there is also a visitor centre with a viewing platform, and displays explaining how volcanoes are created. Guided walking tours of the park are also available, but need to be pre-booked online.
2. Parque Natural de Los Volcanes, an extension of the National Park
If volcanoes, geology and hiking are your things, add Parque Natural de Los Volcanes to your itinerary. Whether self-drive or an organised trip, it gives you a great opportunity to get down into the crater of a volcano.
Organised hikes take in two or three volcanoes and can take four or five hours for the average hiker to complete, so take plenty of fluids and snacks. Information on the walks and completion times can be found in most car parks.
3. Cesar Manrique Foundation at Taiche and Cesar Manrique House Museum
A gentle drive along Lanzarote’s twisting roads will get you dropping steeply into a valley and the village of Haría. Originally the home, studio, and now a museum, to Cesar Manrique.
The area is also referred to as ‘The Valley of a 1000 Palm Trees,’ due to the inhabitants custom of planting one tree for every girl born and two trees for every boy.
If you want to do a little market browsing during your visit, Haría market is set up once a week on a Saturday.
Visit also Cesar Manrique Foundation at Taiche. The museum is a villa (The Volcano House) honed from volcanic lava tubes. It contains five subterranean halls and passageways, sculpturing, various textiles and unfinished artworks.
Even if art is not your particular forte, a tour of the villa itself, with its quirky design style, is well worth the trip.
If you’d like to discover more about the work of artist, you can take this The Work of César Manrique tour which includes this and other attractions designed by the artist.
4. Jameos del Agua caves, explore, dine and get your dancing shoes on
Designed by César Manrique, a renowned Lanzarote artist, the Jameos del Agua caves are accessed through a large lava tube that leads you underground to a fantastic scene of a lake, restaurant and concert hall.
With rustic tables and chairs, casual seating carved out of the rockwork, ferns and other flora growing through gaps in the rockwork, and plenty of openings to the sky, it provides a funky 60s/70s vibe, where back in the day, the beautiful people would have chosen to party.
One of the island’s most popular attractions, during the evenings, the place comes alive with dining and dancing to live bands most nights of the week.
This very popular Full-Day Tour of Lanzarote includes Jameos del Agua and much more.
5. Museo Atlantico, the museum under the sea
If your passion is snorkelling or scuba diving, visiting Museo Atlantico is one of the things to do in Lanzarote that you should not miss.
Try a dive with a difference and visit Europe’s first sculpture museum underwater. Artist Jason deCaires Taylor sculptured various human type effigies – and sank them 12-metres down in the Atlantic.
The site is spread over a 2,500-square-metre area, and over the years has been colonised by myriad colourful fish and other aquatic species.
Read also: Where to stay in Lanzarote
6. Mirador del Rio, one of Lanzarote’s iconic viewpoints
If photography and panoramic vistas are the highlights of your holiday, prepare to be amazed. Mirador del Rio is considered one of the best viewpoints in Lanzarote.
Situated in the north of the island, Mirador del Rio was initially built as a military watch station centuries ago, before being converted (and hidden) by César Manrique.
The viewpoint includes a visitor centre and café – all sitting 400 metres high on the Famara Cliffs.
7. Enjoy a vineyard ‘Ruta del Vino’ tour at la Geria
Choosing an organised coach tour from your hotel is probably the better option for this one.
Over recent years, the stature of Canary islands wine has increased tremendously on the international market, and a la Geria vineyard tour gives you the chance to learn a little more about the unique way their vines are cultivated.
On an organised tour of Lanzarote’s la Geria wine-producing region, you get the chance to see how local winemaking has little changed over the years. How the grapes are grown and wines produced.
Whether your preference is red or white, dry or sweet, you can enjoy some lunch with a bit of wine tasting, while you learn the history of Lanzarote’s viticulture and oenology.
8. Puerto del Carmen, most popular and largest resort on the island
The beauty of Lanzarote as a small island, is that you can easily reach the best things to do in Lanzarote wherever you choose to stay. Puerto del Carmen is a case in point.
As the largest, busiest and probably loudest resort on the island popular with the younger generation, it’s not everybody’s first choice of where to stay.
Nonetheless, that shouldn’t put you off spending a few hours or longer visiting this popular resort. On the contrary, it makes for a great day of just casual exploring.
With café/bars, fast-food outlets, national and international restaurants, plenty of designer stores and chic boutiques scattered around town, you’ll barely notice the time passing.
Enjoy the pristine beaches with a stroll along the boardwalk to the old harbour and marina. Most beaches have water sports and are lined with shops, bars and eateries. If you fancy a little time on the water, a water taxi runs from the harbour to Puerto Calero.
If you’re staying for the evening, prepare to party. With more bars and clubs than anywhere else on the island, you can dance and drink till dawn.
9. Papagayo Beach, for a day of relaxed tranquillity
After a heavy night of partying in Puerto del Carmen, you could probably do with a little down-time.
In a protected natural park, this pretty stretch of seven appealing sandy coves in the south of the island offers the peace and tranquillity not found on busier beaches.
Uncommercialised (so take a packed lunch and liquids), each cove has clean yellow sand, shallow turquoise waters and a backdrop of natural cliffs, making it one of the most photographed areas on the island.
A large public car park is located at the entrance to the park, from where it’s a short walk to Papagayo Beach, one of the best beaches in Lanzarote.
Consider a Cruise to the Papagayo Beaches on a sailing catamaran, a great way to enjoy the beauty of these beaches sailing
These beaches are also visited by yachts and boat tours from Puerto del Carmen, so this is another way to enjoy their beauty for a day of sailing, swimming snorkelling and enjoying other water sports activities.
10. Teguise, more than just another coastal town
The oldest settlement on the island, founded in 1402, Teguise was at one time the capital of Lanzarote. Although increasingly popular with stop-over visitors, Teguise is a more relaxed, quieter resort town, with much of the town centre area pedestrianised.
You can visit the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the town square. Explore the many souvenir and gift shops, and browse the small artisan stores for that quirky one-off gift.
With plenty of pretty pavement cafes and bars, finding somewhere to enjoy a brunch or light lunch is never a problem.
If markets are your thing, visit Teguise on a Sunday morning when the local market sets up in the town square from 10am to 2pm.
11. Costa Teguise, a popular family resort
If children are a big consideration, combine a visit to Teguise market with a few hours at Costa Teguise.
Made up along five separate beaches, the infrastructure was designed by Cesar Manrique, and the resort is considered one of the best things to do in Lanzarote on a day out.
The resort area includes an adrenalin-pumping Aquapark, Lanzarote’s only public aquarium (you can buy your ticket here), and water sports on the beaches, including surfing and windsurfing.
12. Museum of Piracy, a history of Berber pirates around the islands
Close to Costa Teguise, overlooking the coast is the Fortress of Santa Barbara. Built during the 14th century as a lookout point for pirates and invaders.
The fort now houses a museum dedicated to the history of Berber pirates operating around the islands. The whole family will enjoy the displays, while the fort provides some stunning photo opportunities for photographers.
13. Jardin de Cactus, Garden of Cactus
If you love cacti and succulents, a visit to the Garden of Cactus, another living masterpiece by the artist Cesar Manrique, should be on your list of things to do in Lanzarote.
The garden is home to over 4,500 cacti from 450 different species sourced from around the world. It is also home to colonies of insects, including the Cochineal beetle, used as a dye in certain food products.
At the top of the garden, you can also see one of Lanzarote’s old windmills used in the 19th century to grind cornflour.
14. Rancho Texas animal park, one of the best things to do in Lanzarote with kids
If the kids are getting a little fractious, maybe visiting the animals will help pull them round. Located close to Puerto del Carmen, Rancho Texas contains an exciting array of tropical birds, reptiles and mammals, including dolphins.
With various displays held throughout the day and cafes where snacks and drinks can be bought, the kids will find plenty to keep them interested.
On a Tuesday and Friday evening, the park also holds a wild west themed Country Night, starting at 7-30pm and finishing at 11pm. You can buy your ticket online here.
15. Sunbathing and shopping in Playa Blanca
Situated in the south of Lanzarote, Playa Blanca comprises three blue flag, golden-sand beaches. Less frantic than Puerto del Carmen and quieter even than Costa Teguise, it is a pleasant resort gaining in popularity with young families.
With plenty of friendly shops, bars and restaurants, it also has a waterpark (Aqualava), as well as the beaches to keep the little ones entertained. From Marina Rubicon, you can also book boat trips to other areas of the island.
The beaches have all amenities, including showers, toilets and lifeguards, making them safe and popular with families.
16. Arrecife, capital of Lanzarote
Lying south of Teguise, Arrecife has been Lanzarote’s capital since 1852. As the island’s largest city, commercial and administrative hub, and with its airport on the outskirts, it is a bustling metropolis of locals, visitors and day-trippers.
If you visit on a Saturday, you can enjoy some retail therapy in the weekly market, as well as browse the many shops and stores, cafes and bars around the city centre.
Visit the Castle of Saint Gabriel, built originally of wood in 1573. It was burnt to the ground by marauding pirates and later rebuilt of stone. Sitting on the ‘Islet of the English’, you can tour the castle and the Museum of History of Arrecife on display inside.
If you enjoy art, the International Museum of Contemporary Art is just outside the city centre at the Castle of San Jose.
If your tan is beginning to fade, you can top it up on Playa del Reducto. Arrecife’s own beach complete with golden sand, palm trees and calm waters.
17. La Graciosa Island, one of the best day trips to do in Lanzarote
If you’ve been involved with things to do in Lanzarote around Mirador del Rio, on the island’s north coast, on a clear day, you might have noticed a small island in the distance.
La Graciosa is an island of just 700 people, mostly summertime inhabitants who cater to the island’s visitors. No tarmacadam roads here, just dusty tracks winding through the volcanic landscape for you to walk or cycle along.
You can catch the ferry from Orzola for the 35-minute trip (check roundtrip tickets here). During your visit, you can explore the main village of Caleta del Sebo and enjoy a drink or lunch in one of the numerous café/bars.
For the sun worshippers, it doesn’t get any better than the beaches of Playa de las Conchas and Playa de la Francesa. Be sure to carry sunblock, nibbles and fluids for your beach time. No beach bars or snack-shacks here. Just sun, sand, sea and gloriously relaxing solitude.
If you prefer to do the island with friends, you can book a six-hour catamaran trip online, including complimentary drinks and lunch; and swimming, snorkelling and kayaking in the protected marine reserve around the island.
18. Rocky, rugged, Los Hervideros
Another landscape photographers dream, this time on the west of the island. If you’ve booked a trip to Timanfaya National Park, a visit to Los Hervideros is often included. If not, the leisurely journey is well worth the effort.
Rocky, surrounding substrate, and rust coloured volcanic humps look like molehills in the distance, while grey, craggy cliffs rise from the turquoise waters below.
During high tide, the natural force of nature can be witnessed, with the waves crashing against the cliffs and water boiling up through the lava tubes and blowholes. In English, Hervideros means ‘boiling pots’.
Easy to find paths are set around the area so that visitors can make the most of their experience.
19. LagOmar, a stunning example of volcanic home building
If you’ve found a new fascination for homes built inside the lava flow of long-dormant volcanos, a visit to LagOmar is a must.
Nestling in a hillside in Nazaret, just outside Teguise, LagOmar’s history dates back to the 1970s. Designed by Jesus Soto from an idea by César Manrique for a British property developer, it took over 25-years of development and changing ownership to finally reach what you see today.
Legend has it that in the 1970s, it was bought by Omar Sharif, on a filming visit to Lanzarote. He then promptly lost it in a game of high stakes Bridge. Finally, in 1989 two architects bought it, determined to complete the final phase of the original dream.
They enlisted the help of local artists. Existing rooms were upgraded using the salvaged timber from old boats and artefacts from the wrecks around the island.
Outside, hard landscaping used washed concrete, glass and pebbles to create the lake, cascades and circular patio areas. Planting included palm trees, aloe-vera bushes, cacti and bougainvillaea.
Having opened to the public in 1997, today, LagOmar is an art gallery, museum, bar and restaurant, open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday, from 10am to 6pm.
20. Salinas de Janubio, Lanzarote’s last salt producer
Back in the day, salt was a significant export commodity for Lanzarote. Now, Salinas de Janubio, mining salt for over 125 years, is the last remaining salt producer on the island.
Located roughly 10km north of Playa Blanca, you can easily pick out the salt pans and mounds of harvested salt drying in the sunshine, from the moonscape of volcanic substrate that surrounds them.
You can enjoy a guided tour. A 10am start is required for the English version, which takes you from the beginning of the salt harvesting process, to the end product in its salt grinder.
Included is a complimentary drink and local tomato segments to taste the different types of salt. There is also a shop on-site and a restaurant close by that offers snacks, lunch and dinners. Guided tours are available.
21. Submerge yourself in a yellow submarine
A fun trip for the whole family. Based at Puerto Calero Marina, this submarine safari will take you 100-ft below the surface of the Atlantic.
The dive, lasting around one-hour, will take you alongside old shipwrecks from years gone by and give you the chance to name some of the myriad marine life you will see from your free, onboard coloured fish chart.
A full audio of the dive is available in English, and if you are staying close by, a hotel pick-up is available. Check this trip here.
22. Three hour quad bike tours
If you fancy seeing the Lanzarote landscape from a whole different perspective, consider booking a quad bike tour. Several escorted tours are available, which cover different areas of the island. Check details with your hotel or book online.
23. Casa-Museo del Campesino
You’ve no doubt recognised the name of Lanzarote’s famous artist and mentor, César Manrique, regularly cropping up in this blog.
If you would like to know a little more about what he was all about, pencil in a visit to Casa-Museo del Campesino, located in the centre of San Bartolomé.
His piece, Monumento a la Fecundidad (Monument to Fertility), is his tribute to the small dirt-farmers, men and women, who spent long hours of the day toiling to scratch a living from Lanzarote’s barren soil.
In addition, the museum provides a more in-depth view of buildings, farming, handicrafts and local cuisine.
It also has a restaurant serving traditional foods such as goat’s meat stew, octopus with green mojo sauce, millet soup and Canarian Sancocho (stone bass served with local market vegetables).
There are also regular workshops, covering everything from traditional pottery to crafts and traditional dishes.
24. Cueva de los Verdes, the Green Caves
The Green Caves, located on the east side of Lanzarote’s north coast, are lava tubes formed when molten lava solidifies on the outside, but remains molten and flowing inside.
Made during the eruption of the nearby Volcan de la Corona, Cueva de los Verdes has over five kilometres of these tubes, although for safety reasons, the area open to the public is just over two kilometres.
When the decision to open the caves to the public was made, local artist Jesús Soto was commissioned to improve their visitor appeal. This he did, by adding background music and carefully positioned lighting in various hues, to highlight some of the tubes amazing lava formations.
One of the most popular things to do in Lanzarote, only guided tours are available to enter the tubes. So if you arrive by hire car, you will have to pay the entrance fee then wait until a guide is ready to take the next party through.
You can also visit the Green Caves as part of a larger excursion to other highlights, or join a stand-alone Green Caves trip.
25. Visit during Fiesta Time
The Spanish enjoy a passionate relationship with fiestas, and Lanzarote is no different. If you have a hankering for dancing, drinking and eating on your feet, why not visit during one of Lanzarote’s fiesta weeks? Choose from the following.
- Dia De Los Reyes from January 5th/6th (Spanish Christmas). Largest processions in the capital Arrecife.
- Carnival, the biggest and best. Various dates usually starting the last week in February. Biggest processions Arrecife and Puerto del Carmen
- Canarian Day – Dia de Canarias – May 30th, the whole island involved.
- Corpus Christi : Mid-June. Lanzarote’s most colourful event. Best place to be, Arrecife.
- Nuestra Señora del Carmen, mid to late July, most towns from the 16th July.
- Fiesta de San Gines, from 15th-25th August, most areas especially El Charco.
- Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores, September. Best place to be Mancha Blanca
As an island just 60km long and 25km wide, nowhere is out of reach on Lanzarote. On your next visit, pencil in a little time away from your sunbed, and pick your personal choice of the 25 best things to do in Lanzarote.