There are lots of things to do in Lanzarote, in addition to the lovely beaches and moonlike landscape. Despite its relatively small size, this volcanic island attracts about 3 million tourists every year.
I often refer to Lanzarote as the coziest of the Canary Islands because of its relaxing and pleasant vibe and atmosphere. Combine that with beautiful scenery and some of the best beaches in Spain, and you already have everything needed for a nice vacation.
But there’s more to Lanzarote than beaches, and in this article, I’m sharing some of the best things to do in Lanzarote along with famous landmarks and other monuments. Furthermore, I’ve also written some tips on where to stay and recommendations for hotels.
Where is Lanzarote located?
Lanzarote is one of the 8 Canary Islands and one of the most popular Spanish islands to visit. It’s located north of Fuerteventura, approximately 125 kilometers (78 miles) off the northwestern coast of Africa.
Places to visit and things to do in Lanzarote
Timanfaya National Park
Lanzarote is famous for its volcanic terrain, which feels almost Martian thanks to ultra-rugged vegetation, the island’s volcanos, and the muted, earthy colors that make up the natural palette.
Timanfaya National Park is the best place to observe these natural elements. It holds the Montañas de Fuego, a tour of volcanoes, and walking routes. Furthermore, at the top, it’s even possible to stop at a restaurant where they barbecue above geothermal heat.
Nowhere else in Europe will you find anything like the Museo Atlántico. The only underwater museum within European borders, it is designed as an artificial reef. Visitors are, by nature of the museum, required to dive.
The underwater museum offers a diving training package, which is a crash course of the skills necessary to visit the museum. Ten groups of sculptures representing everything from refugees to technology in modern society are truly incredible when viewed underwater.
On Thursday evenings, you can dive into the Museo by night. This is one of the unique things to do in Lanzarote, which shouldn’t be missed if you’re comfortable to go diving.
Jardín de Cactus
The Garden of Cactus is a work by the famed Lanzarote artist and architect, César Manrique. Located in Guatiza, it occupies the site of a former quarry. It was created in 1991, and it holds nearly 5,000 cacti!
There are 450 different species in the garden, hailing from the Canary Islands but also from North and South America, Madagascar, and other areas. The site is surrounded by a cactus plantation, which is grown to give a home to the cochineal insect, used in the production of carmine.
El Golfo might not be more than a tiny village on Lanzarote. However, it has grown famous for its unique, very green lagoon, El Charco de Los Clicos. The curious color is from an abundance of Ruppia-Maritima algae present in the water.
It appeared in one of Pedro Almodovar’s masterpieces, Abrazos Rotos. Forming the base for many who go to visit the Timanfaya National Park, it’s also a favorite stop to enjoy a lunch of fresh seafood.
Teguise is the largest municipality and the former capital of the island. This town, whose full name is Villa de Teguise, was actually the first urban settlement in the Canary Islands.
The architecture of the town is of interest, as is the historic neighborhood, which holds such sights as the Timple House Museum (a museum dedicated to a curious native instrument), and the Mercadillo, held every Sunday morning.
The larger municipality holds sights such as the Cactus Garden, the Playa de Famara, an agriculture museum, and the Costa Teguise, which is a popular resort town in Lanzarote.
César Manrique Foundation: Taro de Tahiche
César Manrique, the famous artist, and architect from Lanzarote lived and worked in this studio home for over 20 years. After his death, the unique place was turned into a home for the foundation and opened to visitors.
It is built on five volcanic bubbles, which are interconnected below with lava tunnels. The incredibly unique structure is the headquarters of his eponymous foundation, which promotes activities that favor respect for the natural environment and respect the order of the landscape, as Manrique did in his work.
Playa de Papagayo
This beach, located in the south of the island, is very popular thanks to its clear, beautiful water and calm surface. Although it is in the Natural Monument of Los Ajaches, you can visit, sunbathe, and even have a drink at the beach bar.
The calm waters make it perfect for snorkeling and swimming. It was even voted Best Beach in Spain in 2019 by Conde Nast Traveler.
Lanzarote is famous for its celebration of Carnavales, the days and weeks right before the Christian period of Lent, usually in February or March. Every single village on the island celebrates its own Carnaval, and it is a season where many go hopping from one to the other, celebrating non-stop.
The celebrations are made up of parades, street music, and the Diabletes, which are traditional figures whose mix of aboriginal, Spanish, and Moorish roots speaks to the island’s mixed culture. Join the celebrations and make sure to dress up as well, since the majority of participants will be dressed up!
Haría is the northernmost municipality in the Canary Islands. The lands are fertile, thanks in part to a microclimate in the north of the island, and it has the nickname of “Valley of a Thousand Palms”.
The beautiful town is full of traditional whitewashed buildings. The perfect plan for a visit is to stroll the city, stop at the artisan market on Saturdays, and visit César Manrique’s final home, now a museum in Haría.
Aquapark in Costa Teguise
The largest water park in Lanzarote, Aquapark is a full day of fun for the whole family. The park is filled with water slides, and the entrance includes as many slips down the slide as you want. There are also jacuzzis, restaurants, and shops for parents and older kids.
Spending a day at the Aquapark is one of the many fun things to do in Lanzarote with kids. The entrance is a bit expensive, in my opinion, but if you have children who enjoy splashing around, it might be worth the extra spend.
Surf at Playa de Famara
The Famara beach in Lanzarote stretches six kilometers, just below Famara’s famous cliff, El Risco de Famara. Surf on the beach is renowned internationally, thanks to great waves and favorable wind conditions.
There are many companies offering surf lessons and surf courses on Famara, so even beginners can try to catch a wave on the Playa de Famara. The period from November to March is typically the best period for surfing in Lanzarote, although the winds are favorable all year round at Famara Beach.
Cueva de Los Verdes
When a volcano erupted 3000 years ago, lava flowed and formed a series of lava tubes that stretch into more than six kilometers of tunnels, passing from the crater of the volcano to the ocean.
Explore the caves, which are now illuminated for tourists to be able to explore, though historically they served as a place for locals to hide from pirates and raiders. The cave also has a concert hall built into it. Seating up to 500, it’s a truly magical place to listen to a concert.
Wine tasting in La Geria
La Geria is a valley where most of Lanzarote’s very special wines are produced. Unlike other Spanish islands, Lanzarote produces a wine that is highly valued across the globe.
Over three-quarters of the island’s wine is made with Malvasía, one of the world’s oldest grapes. Wine tasting your way through the valley is a must—its volcanic topography looks like it’s from another planet, and the cultivation of vines here is totally unique.
Winemakers on the island dug thousands of holes into the ashes, planting one vine per hole, and layered soil up around it to retain liquid for the vine.
Jameos del Agua
Caves, formed naturally by lava, form the backdrop of a spectacular art and culture installation on the northeastern tip of the island. César Manrique, artist, and architect, shaped and created the space to hold a salt lake, museum, restaurant, pool, and gardens.
The three separate caves are also home to a unique, tiny species of lobster, that has its very own statue outside of the caves.
The volcanic nature of the island has resulted in some spectacular natural formations, and one of those is Los Hervideros. In Spanish, the name translates literally to boiling place, as the ocean froths and foams when the tide is high, looking ready to boil over.
The best time to visit this curiously shaped cliffside is when the sea is turbulent, as the sight of the waves colliding with the outcroppings of rocks is quite impressive.
Where to stay in Lanzarote
Like other Canary islands such as Gran Canaria and Tenerife, most of the tourism is concentrated to the south of the island. This is also where you’ll get the most pleasant weather and climate year-round, and a bunch of lovely beaches.
The north is beautiful with gorgeous landscapes, but it’s much quieter with fewer choices for accommodation. And the western part of Lanzarote is windy all year long, which makes it an ideal place for surfers, but not so much for those wanting to relax on the beach.
Playa Blanca is a great choice for families, which also near the famous Papagayo Beach. For those who’re looking for some nightlife and a mix of beach and fun activities, I recommend staying in Puerto del Carmen, which is a lovely town between Arrecife and Playa Blanca.
Costa Teguise is another popular town, only 15 minutes from the airport, north of Arrecife. Another peaceful destination is Haria, which is located in the northern part of Lanzarote. From here, you can reach Famara Beach and the tallest point on the island, Famara Cliff. Haria is also relatively close to Jameos del Agua and Cueva de Los Verdes.
- Hotel Lava Beach (Puerto del Carmen)
- Barceló Teguise Beach (Costa Teguise)
- Iberostar Selection Lanzarote Park (Playa Blanca)
- Casa Emblemática Villa Delmás (Haria)
Monuments and Landmarks
In addition to the list above with activities and attractions in Lanzarote, below is a list of famous monuments and landmarks on the island, that are human-made.
- Castillo de Santa Barbara
- Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
- Iglesia de San Gines
- Nuestra Senora de los Dolores – Mancha Blanca
- Castillo de San Gabriel
- Ermita de las Nieves
- The Spoon In Concrete
- Castillo de las Coloradas
- Iglesia de Santa Maria de los Remedios
- Jardin de Cactus
Museums in Lanzarote
- Museum of International & Contemporary Art (MIAC)
- Fundacion Cesar Manrique
- Museo Atlántico Underwater Museum
- Museo Cesar Manrique
- Bodega El Grifo – Museo del Vino
- Museo Agricola el Patio
- Museo Aeronáutico del Aeropuerto de Lanzarote
- Museo de la Pirateria
- Museo Etnografico Tanit
- Museo Arqueológico de Lanzarote
- Casa Jose Saramago
Day trip to La Graciosa
La Graciosa is located just 2 km north of Lanzarote, and it\s famous for its beautiful beaches and rustic atmosphere, thanks to its limitation on motor vehicles and unpaved roads.
Making a day trip to La Graciosa is one of the most popular things to do in Lanzarote since it’s so easily accessible via ferry. There are pick up options available from all major resort towns on the island, which takes you to Órzola, from where the ferry departs to La Graciosa.
Fun things to do in Lanzarote with kids
If you’re traveling to Lanzarote with kids, you’ll be happy to know that there is an abundance of activities that are suitable for the whole family. Thanks to the island’s volcanic nature, it’s a great opportunity to teach your kids some facts about volcanoes and even see a simulation of a volcano erupting.
Explore lava tubes
For those who feel adventurous, I suggest exploring the underground lava tubes in Cueva de Los Verdes. Visit the place with a guide to ensure safety and experiencing the best parts of the lava tubes.
Dine on food cooked over a volcano
Having chicken grilled over an active volcano will definitely give them a memory for life. This can be done in Timanfaya National Park, which is easy to get to by rental car or on a guided tour.
Join a submarine safari
On the submarine safari, you’ll be able to dive 25 meters below the surface, without getting wet. It gives a safe way for children to discover the ocean and marine animals, making this one of the best things to do in Lanzarote with kids!
Learn more about cacti
With more than 700 different species of cacti in the famous Jardin de Cactus, it’s an ideal place to learn more about this desert-thriving plant. It’s also a beautiful place to visit, especially for sunset.
Splash and enjoy at the water park
Aquapark Costa Teguise is the largest water park in Lanzarote with several rides, suitable for all ages. Embrace your inner child and see who wins a race down the Aqua Racer, or simply let your kids play around with other children.
Want more recommendations on things to do in Lanzarote, Spain? Leave a comment below!