From visiting beautiful beaches and adventures through the volcanic landscapes, to wine tours, amazing architecture, local cuisine and markets, these are the best things to do in Lanzarote.
Before our trip to Lanzarote, the Canary Islands had been on my list for a long time. I was attracted to the volcanic landscapes, unique beaches, tasty Spanish cuisine and, of course, the fact the weather was significantly warmer than the UK’s chilly winter temperatures! I travelled to Hawaii a few years ago and loved the volcanic landscapes. Would Lanzarote offer something similar, a lot closer to home? I really hoped so!
The Canary Islands are popular with those looking for winter sun, with average temperatures over 20 degrees at this time of year. This trip was what we’d describe as a “working holiday”. We weren’t invited or hosted, we booked and paid for the trip, and planned everything meticulously to cover as much as we could in a week.
We chose to stay in three different parts of the island (Puerto del Carmen old town, Arrieta and Costa Teguise) to gain a greater understanding of the options for tourists visiting. We hired a car so that we had the freedom to explore. We also ate and drank at a number of different cafes and restaurants across the week, so again, we have a good grounding of what we’d actually recommend! It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it, right?!
So, with all of this in mind, I can say this blog post is filled with 100% tried and tested activities! These really are the best things to do in Lanzarote – an island we fell in love with over the course of a sunshine-filled week. If you’re planning a trip any time soon, read this post and share it with anyone you’re travelling with, so you can have the best time possible!
28 Utterly Amazing Things To Do In Lanzarote
Visit Timanfaya National Park
Top of your list has to be a visit to Timanfaya National Park! While you can drive through various parts of the national park, I’d recommend taking a trip to see the Montańas del Fuego (fire mountains). Once you’ve paid your entrance fee, you park up and hop on a 25-minute coach tour along the Ruta de los Volcanoes. There’s an audio description on board (in Spanish, English and German) so you’ll learn all about the national park too.
The last eruption was in 1824, so don’t fear about activity while you’re there! The bus tour is amazing as you pass through skinny cavernous like areas, see right inside craters, take in views of desert dunes and endless landscapes of lava fields. As a little tip, I’d recommend sitting on the right side of the bus. This side offers better views on the whole, although you might see more of the craters from the left side.
Once back at the start, there’s a tour guide who will show you the power of the geysers. Some are 2m deep and 250 degrees Celsius and others are 10m deep and 400 degrees Celsius! Seeing the water erupt high in the sky is seriously impressive and a reminder that there’s still some pretty exciting activity going on under your feet!
Which brings me on nicely to…
Eat a meal cooked in a volcano
Once you’ve learned about the volcanoes, how about eating something cooked in the heat of them? At Restaurant El Diablo you can do just that! You can view the chefs roasting chickens on the special grill, before tucking into a dish in the panoramic restaurant.
The food was pretty average (probably to be expected at such a touristy location!) and a little on the pricey side, but to be honest it was worth it for the view alone. With a table right by the window overlooking the vast expanse of lava fields, I was in awe! We paid £23 for a light lunch for two (no drinks). If you want a quick snack or a coffee, this is an option in the centre section of the panoramic restaurant.
Read all about our experience here in my El Diablo review.
Go on a wine tour in Lanzarote
As big wine drinkers, we were really keen to book a trip with Wine Tours Lanzarote. This tour company came highly recommended, and they didn’t disappoint! Over the course of three hours, our tour guide Anita took a small group of us to three local wineries.
Lanzarote’s wine region is unique as it’s been created on volcanic soil. This comes with difficulties as the vines need a water source as well a requiring protection from the wind. To combat these issues, vines are individually planted in deep burrows, and have small walls built around them.
This process is labour intensive (everything has to be done by hand), plus the vineyards need lots of room per vine, compared to regular rows of vines you see in other countries. As a result, the wineries can’t produce huge quantities, so I’d recommend drinking as much as you can while you’re on the island!
There are 21 vineyards in Lanzarote’s wine region La Geria, and I must say the views of the vineyards set across the black volcanic landscapes was incredible to see! What unique scenery.
As well as learning lots of about the wine production on the island, we tasted the wines at three wineries. I thought there were some lovely white and sweet wines. My favourite wine was produced by El Grifo, one of the largest producers on the island, and one of the ten oldest wineries still making wine in Spain.
I really enjoyed the experience. The wine region and style of production is unique to the island, and I think this is one of the best things to do in Lanzarote! If you’d like to find out more, read my review of my Lanzarote wine tour.
See the green lake at El Golfo
Wait until you see the magnificent Charco Verde in Lanzarote. This green lake is simply breath-taking! I’d recommend driving to the small village of El Golfo and parking close to the mirador (viewpoint). It’s a short walk to the spot where you can see the lake from above, and take in its unique shade of green.
The colour of the lagoon comes from seaweed and flora in the water. It’s in a half-submerged cone of a volcanic crater and is connected to the ocean via underground cracks. The small pebbles on the beach are black with reddish rocks cliffs surrounding too. Seeing nature creating views containing such distinctive and contrasting colours is simply incredible! No doubt you’ll take lots of photos on your trip too.
While most tourists visit the viewpoint by El Golfo, I’d also recommend driving around the coast to the other side where you can walk along the black pebble beach. There were hoards of tourists at the viewpoint, yet only two others on the beach with us! It’s worth noting, the green lagoon is protected so swimming isn’t allowed.
Enjoy a magical sunset in El Golfo
El Golfo is a charming village on Lanzarote’s west coast. While many visit to see the green lake, I’d recommend staying for sunset. We grabbed a drink Casa Torano, a lovely little restaurant with outdoor seating right by the water.
Watching the sky turn a beautiful shade of orange, sipping on a glass of Lanzarote white wine was another highlight of our trip. If you’re looking for another recommendation in El Golfo, I’ve heard Restaurante Bogavante is one of the best places on the island for seafood, in particular their rice dishes with lobster, fish and other sea creatures!
Walk around a volcanic crater at Caldera de Los Cuervos
After visiting Timanfaya National Park, we decided to drive to this spot. The 4.2km walking route is well marked out and takes visitors around the perimeter of a volcanic crater, as well as inside it!
This walk is a great way to fully connect with Lanzarote’s volcanic scenery. I mean, have you ever stood INSIDE the crater of a volcano?! Not only did it make me feel tiny, it reminded me of the power of nature! So impressive.
Along the route there are informative signs (in several languages) explaining the history and geology of the crater. This walk is one of the best free things to do in Lanzarote for families – kids will love running around inside the crater!
Go on a buggy tour in Lanzarote
Listen up adrenaline junkies! I’ve got the perfect activity for you! How do you fancy going off road and driving through Lanzarote’s volcanic landscapes in a buggy? If the answer is yes, it’s time to book onto a tour with Buggies Lanzarote.
After a safety briefing at their base in Puerto Calero (along the coast from Puerto del Carmen), we followed our buggy guide around the island. These things are noisy and bumpy, but if you enjoy driving, you’ll love getting behind the wheel of one of these.
We went on a mix of off-road routes and main roads, with my favourite part being the road through La Geria (the wine region). Seeing the volcanoes and unique vineyards from our open-sided car was pretty awesome!
If you’re thinking of booking a buggy tour, I’d recommend covering up (it can get blustery with the wind in Lanzarote), leave any valuables at your hotel and wear trainers. Also, if you’re thinking of booking, you’ll need to bring your driving license. The cars fit two people, and you can swap over half way so you both get to drive the buggy!
Learn about Lanzarote’s architectural genius César Manrique
There’s a name you’ll be hearing a lot of as you explore Lanzarote: César Manrique. He’s the architectural genius behind much of the island’s merging of nature and tourism. He saw the beauty of his island and wanted to preserve it for future generations.
He designed several of the island’s most popular attractions (including Jameos del Agua and Mirador del Rio) and prevented big brands from destroying the island with high rise hotels. He’s the man responsible for the white, blue, green and black colour scheme you’ll become familiar with. His legacy really is everywhere!
So, what better place to start than with a trip to the César Manrique Foundation in Tahiche. It’s set inside his former home, where he lived for 20 years from 1968 to 1988. As with some of his other creations, there’s a synergy between the landscape and the architecture.
The downstairs is built around five natural volcanic bubbles linked by tunnels, with trees growing through the top! Even the swimming pool area is like nothing I’ve ever seen before!
As you explore the foundation there are videos and pieces of information, so you’ll leave having learned a lot about Lanzarote’s most famous resident.
Visit Papagayo Beach for stunning views
Before our trip to Lanzarote, I’d researched the island’s best beaches in as much detail as I could. Papagayo was one I knew I simply had to see with my own eyes. Located on the southwestern tip of the island, it’s a short drive from the popular resort areas of Playa Blanca and Marina Rubicon.
The main beach at Papagayo is located in a small cove with golden sand and impressive cliffs. Perched above are beach bars offering beautiful views. The water is calm and sheltered, and usually a vivid shade of turquoise.
You can wander the paths on the headland above, taking in the view from different angles. I loved the view as you looked back towards the beach, with the peaks of volcanoes visible behind!
Explore Lanzarote’s caves at Cueva de los Verdes
While Lanzarote is known for its volcanoes, it’s also home to some incredible natural caves, created by lava tubes. One of the best things to do in Lanzarote is go on a tour of Cueva de los Verdes. Created 22,000 years ago by a lava river that solidified on the top, this volcanic tube is 7km long.
You can only visit the cave on a 50-minute guided tour (in English and Spanish). You’ll get to explore 1km of the cave system, hearing the stories about how it was created, some special features, and how it was converted and preserved to create the amazing attraction you see today.
There are some extra special features inside, including a concert space (yes, there’s a small auditorium inside the cave!) and a special mirror that will definitely surprise you!
See nature and architecture meet at Jameos del Agua
You can’t visit Lanzarote and not experience some of the architectural brilliance of César Manrique. He seamlessly incorporated Lanzarote’s nature and geology with his unique style of architecture and design.
Jameos del Agua is one of his creations, and is located a few minutes from Cueva de los Verdes. Here, the volcanic lava tube has been incorporated into a magical destination with a beautiful pool, restaurant area, auditorium and more. It’s spectacular in its vision, with Manrique’s signature colour palette of white, blue, green and black all around.
Visit some of Lanzarote’s traditional villages
There’s a lovely cohesion to the architecture you’ll see in Lanzarote, with the majority being painted a bright white, with accents of blues and greens framing windows and doors. This is striking against the black volcanic rocks and sand, as well as the bright blue sky and turquoise waters.
I’d recommend visiting Punta Mujeres, Arrieta and Famara for a real flavour of local life. These small towns and villages are filled with white houses and contrasting blue and green doors. Life moves slowly, and is centred around the coast. Pick a restaurant right on the water and order a plate of fresh seafood. You won’t regret it! There are a few recommendations coming up in this post!
Shop for gifts and souvenirs at Haria Market
There are a few popular markets that take place each week in Lanzarote. Haria is a cute town, with a small centre and a few restaurants. It’s also where you’ll find César Manrique’s former home.
I’d recommend combining a visit to his home with a stop at Haria Market, which takes place on Saturdays from 10-2.30pm. When we visited there were around 20 stalls selling everything from cakes and cheese, to jewellery, paintings and clothing. There were plenty of locals queuing up for items of food too, so it’s not just for tourists.
If you’re looking for somewhere great to eat in Haria, I’d suggest lunch at La Puerta Verde. We had an amazing meal of steak and salad, all cooked and seasoned to perfection. It was one of the best meals we ate in Lanzarote!
See views of the Valley of a Thousand Palms
Another big reason to visit Haria is to take in the views of the Valley of a Thousand Palms. In reality, there aren’t 1000, but this is the greenest area of Lanzarote. While you’ll see the palm-filled oasis as you wander the town, some of the best views are from the LZ10 as you approach from the north.
See the natural pools in Punta Mujeres
I met a Lanzarote local in London just before our trip. She said she lived in Punta Mujeres and we simply had to visit. It’s a traditional fishing village, so not particularly touristy… which when you see it might surprise you!
It’s absolutely spectacular! The colours of the blues, turquoises and whites, the pretty coastline, the natural pools, the little bars… there’s so much to fall in love with here,
Along the coast are four natural swimming pools, enclosed and protected from the waves. They allow for safer swimming for families, or a quick dip to cool off on a hot day. Visit at high tide to really take in the magic of them!
See one of the most beautiful houses in Lanzarote
Punta Mujeres also happens to be home to one of the prettiest and most characterful houses on the island. Just look at these photos of Casa Carmelina! When can I move in?!
Covered in colourful plants, cacti and succulents, even the pots are adorable! It’s right by the water in an area where people tend to gather, either for the views or to visit popular food and drink spot, Bar La Piscina.
Enjoy a gourmet dinner in Lanzarote
If you’re someone who enjoys the finer things in life, you might be searching for the best restaurants in Lanzarote. Look no further! El Navarro in Costa Teguise is one of the top places to eat on the island, serving beautifully-presented dishes featuring numerous local ingredients.
Many of the dishes are twists on classics. I thoroughly enjoyed the pan-fried tuna fillet, which came with fried padrón peppers, caramelised onions, potatoes and black garlic ali oli. The Iberian cheek pork cooked in Rioja was indulgent and full of hearty Spanish flavours too.
We ate here on our final night and it rounded our trip off in style. We booked a few days before and managed to get a 9pm table. I’d recommend booking well in advance if you’re visiting the island during high season. It’s very popular and seating is limited to maintain high quality levels.
See the surfers in action in Famara
One of my favourite things about Lanzarote is how different all of the coasts are. Head to Playa de Famara on the west coast and you’re in for a treat!
This is the most famous surf beach in Lanzarote. Backed by huge cliffs and undulating sand dunes, the beach here is long and wide. Waves are suitable for all abilities, and if you’ve never tried surfing before, there are plenty of surf shops in the town offering lessons and board hire.
Famara town is lovely too, with a laid back and bohemian vibe. It’s popular with younger travellers, backpackers and surfers. Along the main street are surf shops, brunch spots and plenty of places to eat great seafood.
This is also another great place to visit for sunset.
Take in Lanzarote’s best panoramic views at Mirador del Rio
Wondering where to go for the best views in Lanzarote? It has to be Mirador del Rio – a panoramic viewpoint built into the rock face, with breath-taking views over Lanzarote and to La Graciosa island. At 400m high, you’ll see a lot of from here.
It also happens to be another of César Manrique’s creations, so the curvy architecture and cool interiors make the experience even more special.
As well as a few outdoor terraces for unobstructed views across the water, there’s a café inside the building. We grabbed coffees here and sat looking out at the views. It’s one of the best views from a café I’ve ever experienced! I’ve written a handy guide to visiting Mirador del Rio which I’d recommend reading before your visit.
Enjoy the Sunday buzz in Teguise
Teguise is the former capital of Lanzarote and is a very charming town. There’s quite a lot to see, with large squares, churches, shops, restaurants and more.
If you want to see the town at its liveliest, visit on a Sunday between 9am and 2pm when Teguise Market takes place. This isn’t a small market like in Haria, it’s large with lots of stalls, and a huge range of items for sale. You’ll find everything from cheap souvenir t-shirts to fine jewellery. There are several food stands too, but to be honest they didn’t look great unless you’re looking for a hot dog or an English breakfast!
After visiting the market, we went for lunch at the trendy Cantina Restaurant. Specialising in tapas style sharing plates, the food here was absolutely delicious! We loved the tuna carpaccio in particular, as well as the mushroom croquettes with truffle. The prices were a little higher than a standard tapas bar, but the quality was excellent.
Explore Lanzarote’s natural white beaches
I’ve mentioned a few of my favourite beaches on the island already… but here’s another! Did you know there’s a beach with white sand, blue sea and black volcanic rocks? Head to Playa Caleton Blanco on the island’s lesser-visited north coast and you’re in for a treat.
We visited just before sunset and were almost the only people there! It was so calm and beautiful.
Wander around the Cactus Garden
One of the top things to do in Lanzarote is to visit the famous Jardín de Cactus. There you’ll see 4,500 cacti, of 450 different species, from across five continents.
As it’s just a short drive from the coastal resorts in the south, and is a standard stop on coach tours, it gets extremely busy. I felt this took away from the enjoyment, as even on a Monday morning in December, it was swarming with tourists! It’s a cool spot to see for yourself, but if you didn’t make it there, you wouldn’t be missing much!
Dive to Europe’s only underwater museum
SCUBA divers will love exploring the Museo Atlántico – an underwater sculpture museum designed by Jason deCaires Taylor. There are over 300 life-size casts resting on the seabed close to Playa Blanca.
One of the most powerful views is of 35 figures walking towards a gateway in a 30-metre-long wall. The underwater museum has become part of the underwater environment, creating a large-scale artificial reef, which continues to attract more species of fish and sea creatures.
Road trip through the incredible scenery
I think this is one of the best islands in the world for a road trip! You’ll never get bored driving along black volcanic roads, with peaks and craters framing your view. Other than the bumpy track-style road to Papagayo, all the roads in Lanzarote were really good to drive on. Our favourite road was probably the route through La Geria (wine region). So epic!
Step inside César Manrique’s former home in Haria
If you’ve already visited the César Manrique Foundation, you’ll have gained a good background on Lanzarote’s nature-loving architect. A visit to the César Manrique House Museum in Haria shows you how his passions developed over the years, and where he worked in the final years of his life (before a tragic car accident in 1992).
The bathrooms were particularly cool in terms of their style and décor. I also really enjoyed seeing the separate studio where he painted, and the pool area shaded by palm trees.
Play dinosaur themed crazy golf
Who doesn’t love a game of crazy golf on holiday? We’re big fans of the game, seeking out courses wherever we are in the world! The Jurassic Kingdom course in Puerto del Carmen (on top of the shopping centre) was lots of fun. The holes were challenging enough that we didn’t race around it. Plus, the dinosaurs and special effects added to the entertainment!
Visit Pueblo Marinero in Costa Teguise
Many tourists choose to base themselves in Costa Teguise on the eastern coast of the island. The town is a proper holiday resort, with lots of bars, restaurants, cafes, accommodation of all types and a big sandy beach.
Tucked back a few streets from the beach you’ll find Pueblo Marinero – a small square co-designed by artist César Manrique to play homage to traditional Canarian architecture. There’s a bandstand in the centre, with several bars and restaurants around the outside. It’s a buzzy place in the evenings, and popular with tourists holidaying in the region.
Enjoy the flavours of Lanzarote
I’ve already mentioned a few of my favourite restaurants on the island, but here’s a quick recap plus a few extras!
La Puerte Verde in Haria – One of the best meals we had in Lanzarote. Don’t miss the tomato salad and the steak. Absolutely divine!
El Chiringuito in Arrieta – A great bar for mojitos! Very reasonable and right on the beach with a lovely view.
La Chalana in Puerto del Carmen – A local bar and restaurant in the old town of Puerto del Carmen. Lovely vibe and felt authentic. We just had drinks and a few tapas here. It was delicious and very reasonable.
La Cascada in Puerto del Carmen – We found it difficult to find really good restaurants in this town. There are so many tourist traps! We had a good meal at La Cascada though, which included garlic prawns and a very nicely-cooked steak.
El Amancer in Arrieta – A lovely seafood restaurant with friendly waiters and a lovely view over the water. Seafood doesn’t get much fresher than this!
Casa Torano in El Golfo – The ideal spot for a sunset drink on the west coast of the island.
Bogovante in El Golfo – We never made it here for food, but so many people recommended the seafood rice! It’s a special spot too, right on the water.
El Navarro in Costa Teguise – Fine-dining in a chic setting. Enjoy some of the best cooking on the island here! Book a table in advance as it gets busy!
Las Bajas in Famara – A great brunch / lunch spot in this cool surf town. Lots of vegetarian options too.
Restaurant El Diablo in Timanfaya National Park – While food quality isn’t great, the restaurant setting is pretty incredible! I’d recommend stopping here for a coffee and admiring the spectacular lunar landscapes through the glass. Read more about my experience in my El Diablo review.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my guide to the top things to do in Lanzarote. As you’ll see, we packed a lot into a week on the island! Have a great time, whatever you decide to do on your holiday.
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