Lanzarote is located in the most north-eastern area of the Canary Islands about 100 km from the Moroccan coast. A unique island where art and nature come together in every corner. Thanks above all to the genius of the multifaceted artist Cesar Manrique who succeeded in enhancing natural beauties without destroying them but mixing and harmonizing them with architecture and a lot of creativity.
In this definitive guide we find out what they are the main things to do and see in Lanzarote, a wild island full of pristine beaches, protected natural parks, volcanoes and lunar landscapes.
Impossible not to love Lanzarote, declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, it is the ideal place for those who want to admire its unique landscapes and experience a calm and relaxed atmosphere as if it were from another era.
So let's see the must-see attractions of Lanzarote. I recommend that you reach the end of the article where I wanted to insert a rough itinerary that will help you in organizing the trip.
ALSO READ: Where to stay in Lanzarote
What to see in Lanzarote
The beautiful town of Teguise, the ancient capital of the island is worth a visit regardless of its famous market. But it is obvious that Sunday gives its best, every alley and every square in the town is filled with stalls and shops.
In short, if you are planning the itinerary with what to do in Lanzarote, absolutely insert the Sunday market of Terguise!
I recommend arriving early enough, for 10 am to 11 am, after this hour the area is filled with tourists and it becomes less pleasant to walk among the stalls. Do not stop at the first parking lot you come across but approach the market, there are many and if you arrive early you will have no problem finding a place.
Peasant Museum - Monument to Fertility
In the exact center of the island, in the municipality of San Bartolomé, is the Campesino house museum and the monument to la Fecundidad. A work that Manrique wanted to create in honor of the hard work of the farmers and to further enhance the food and wine products of Lanzarote.
The impressive 15-meter sculpture placed at the entrance to the museum was created by the artist using boat tanks and iron objects.
It is possible to taste local dishes in the restaurant housed within the complex and buy typical products and gifts in the souvenir shop. There are also mini cooking classes lasting 15 minutes each and costing only € 3 where you will learn how to prepare Gofio, a local dessert, and Mojo, a typical Canarian sauce.
In my opinion, among the various things to visit in Lanzarote, Campesino absolutely deserves; it takes little time, it is free and given the central location you will surely pass by!
Museum opening hours: 10:00 to 17:45. Summer opening hours (15 Jun-15 Sep): from 9:00 to 17:45. Restaurant: 12:00 - 16:00
Arrecife is the capital of the island of Lanzarote and is ideal for getting out of the more touristic contexts and living in contact with the locals. Among the main attractions of Arrecife is the Castillo San Gabriel and the Museum of Contemporary Art housed in the Castilllo of San Jose. Do not miss the Charco of San Gines, an old port, the heart of the capital's evening life, with a good choice of bars and restaurants. Pleasant stroll at sunset, dine in one of the many typical restaurants or have a drink mixing with the locals.
Among the various restaurants I recommend Stavra, located in an alley between the Charco and Calle Leon y Castillo (the shopping street), a nice place to enjoy delicious tapas and drink excellent wine.
Also in the Charco area there is also the church of San Gines which surrounds this characteristic place.
Finally there is the city beach of Reducto, nice and very quiet, obviously the sea is not comparable to the crystalline waters of the south, but it is pleasant to spend a day there if you are in the city.
Cesar Manrique Foundation
The complex that houses the Fundaciòn Cesar Manrique is beautiful: windows with panoramic views, rooms carved into the lava rock, gardens and a splendid swimming pool. In addition to once again appreciating the artist's architectural and creative style and the usual combination of nature and art, this time you will have the opportunity to deepen the history and figure of César Manrique; also thanks to the screening of the documentary where it is even better understood how important the artist was for his island. There are some art galleries with works by Manrique, Picasso and Miró.
If like me, you too have been particularly impressed by the figure of Manrique, you cannot miss his Foundation.
Every day (including holidays) from 10:00 to 18:00 - Ticket price: 8 euros - Reduced (up to 12 years) 1 €
The Cueva de los Verdes
The Cueva de Los Verdes is certainly one of the places of greatest interest on the island of Lanzarote. It is an underground cave formed after the eruption of the La Corona volcano. In the 60s the artist Jesu Soto in collaboration with the master Manrique transformed this gallery into a real tourist attraction, creating a play of lights capable of giving life to the shapes modeled by the passage of lava.
It is one of the longest tunnels in the world, more than 6 km starting from the crater and reaching the sea.
The tourist stretch is 1 km long and is traveled in groups of about 50 people accompanied by a guide who will explain the characteristics and origins of the Cave of the Greens. The guided tour lasts about 45 minutes and is only in English and Spanish, but it is possible to download the App "CACT Lanzarote" with the audio guide in English. In case bring headphones, otherwise they are available at the box office at a cost of 1 €.
The path is simple but in some places you have to pay attention and lower yourself to pass, being very careful of the head. However, I recommend comfortable sneakers. At the end of the excursion a very special surprise awaits you, a little secret kept in the heart of the cave!
I recommend going there early to avoid long lines in the sun.
Opening hours: 10:00 to 17:00. Summer opening hours: from 10:00 to 18:00. Cost of the ticket: 9,50 euros
Jameo del Agua
The Jameo del Agua complex is located in the same tunnel as the Cueva de Los Verdes. Once again the architectural genius of Manrique intervened on what the force of nature had created, transforming it into a unique place in the world, where the colors of nature blend with the creativity of the artist.
Immediately after the entrance you go down a spiral staircase that leads to a beautiful bar right in front of a salt lake that was formed through marine infiltrations and is populated by the very rare albino crabs.
In addition to the panoramic bar, Manrique has seen fit to create a restaurant, a splendid swimming pool and an auditorium that is unique in the world for its acoustics.
On some days you can dine and attend concerts if they are scheduled.
Opening hours: 10:00 to 18:30. Tuesday and Saturday (Wednesday summer time): from 10:00 to 00:30. Cost of the ticket: 9,50 euros
Mirador del Rio
Among the things to visit in Lanzarote you cannot miss the Marador del Rio. It is a panoramic point, obviously made by Manrique and located in the north of the island, at 464 meters high. From here it is possible to admire La Graciosa and the Chinijo Islands National Park.
The name Mirador del Rio derives from the fact that the stretch of sea between Lanzarote and La Graciosa resembles the course of a river.
The restaurant with panoramic windows is very nice, but the real gem is the outside where you can enjoy a breathtaking view. If you can choose a sunny day so as to appreciate the view even more.
Obviously it is possible to enjoy the wonderful view also in the surroundings of the Mirador and therefore without paying the ticket. In my opinion, however, especially if you buy the combo ticket, it is worth admiring yet another creation by Manrique.
Opening hours: 10:00 to 17:45. Summer opening hours: from 10:00 to 18:45. Ticket price: € 4,75 - € 2,40 reduced (7-12).
Il Jardin de Cactus it is one of the attractions of Lanzarote that amazed me the most. The touch of César Manrique is exceptional, as in all his works, the fusion of art and nature is evident in this architectural marvel.
It is a circular terraced area, probably inspired by the crater of a volcano, where there are many varieties of cacti, of different shapes and sizes and from all over the world. All made in full Manrique style, with attention to the smallest details and with a beautiful mill located on a hill from where you can admire the wonderful view over the whole garden.
The visit does not take long, but it is perfect to enjoy some peace and relax while observing the many plants. There is also a refreshment point for those who decide to have a snack overlooking the cactus and a small shop with local handicrafts and other souvenirs.
Opening hours: from 10: 00 17 to: 45. Summer Schedule: from 09:00 to 17:45. Cost: € 5,8 for adults - € 2,9 reduced (7-12).
Castillo de San José: Museum of Contemporary Art
The former military fortress of the Castillo de San José now houses the Museum of Contemporary Art (MIAC). It was founded in 1975 on the initiative of Cesar Manrique who had the then ruined castle restored. The MIAC has a permanent collection on the top floor, while on the ground floor there are temporary exhibitions.
Not only art, but also gastronomy, there is in fact a restaurant and a bar overlooking the harbor.
It may not be the most unmissable attraction on the island, which certainly offers many more things to do, but if you have bought the “Bono Ticket” and are in the area it is worth seeing.
Museum opening hours: 10:00 to 20:00. Cost of the ticket: 4,00 euros - 2,00 euros reduced (7-12).
Timanfaya: Mountains of Fire
We have finally arrived at what I think is the most beautiful excursion in Lanzarote, absolutely unmissable: The Timanfaya National Park or Montañas del Fuego, or the result of a series of violent volcanic eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736.
The park can be reached by car and already around Timanfaya the landscape is unique, lunar, it seems to be on Mars. Once you arrive at the park, you pay for the ticket and drive to the parking lot of the visitor center. From here we leave for an excursion of about 45 minutes by bus (unfortunately not discovered), which is the only way to visit the Timanfaya National Park. Along the way you will discover every corner of this unique place in the world and through an audio guide in English, Spanish and German you will learn about the history and origins of the Montañas del Fuego. You cannot get off the bus but every now and then you stop to take pictures and better observe every point of the park.
At the end of the mini bus tour there will be demonstrations with artificial geysers, straw that catches fire and the natural grid.
I recommend visiting Timanfaya early in the morning, before 9,30 am, otherwise there are long queues as parking spaces are limited. I also suggest you bring a windbreaker as it is usually quite cold.
Obviously this is a tourist experience but it can be done at least once. For those who really do not like trips of this kind, by organizing themselves a little in advance, they can book guided treks. However, they require some preparation and above all an understanding of the language spoken in each path, usually English or Spanish.
Otherwise there are paths outside the park that you can do on your own and that are free. Like the visit to the El Cuervo Volcano. Where along a path you reach the base of the volcanic cone. We did not do it but I have read that it is not too demanding and well marked and with signs explaining the characteristics of the place.
Park opening hours: 9:00 am to 17:45 pm - Last visit 17.00:9 pm. Summer opening hours: from 00:18 am to 45:10,00 pm Ticket cost: 5,00 euro - 7 euro reduced (12-20). 15% discount after 00pm
BONO TICKET: If you plan to visit as many attractions between Jameos del Agua, Cueva de Los Verdes, Jardin de Cactus, Mirador del Rio, MIAC and Timanfaya, I recommend you buy the combo ticket (Bono). There is 3, 4 or 6 entrances and it allows you to save up to 15 euros. We have chosen the one with 6 entrances. You can buy it at the ticket office of the first attraction you visit and then they will stamp you for each entry. For more information, I invite you to visit the Lanzarote tourism site.
El Golfo and the Green Lake
As you can see, there are really many things to visit in Lanzarote. The beauty is that some are totally free, like the El Golfo lagoon and the incredible Green Lake, a painting of nature so unique that it has become a nature reserve.
Impossible to miss this wonder of nature. Going in the direction of the El Golfo village, you will reach a clearly visible car park on the left near the El Siroco restaurant. Once the car is parked, follow a path that climbs about 100 meters and you arrive at a panoramic point from where you can observe the incredible beauty of nature: a green lake formed by an ancient crater, a strip of very dark sand and the ocean with all its power.
The lake owes its particular green color to the presence of plant organisms and algae.
Stop for a few minutes to contemplate such beauty, but above all grab the camera and go wild!
And if you start to feel a little peckish then you can have lunch in one of the various restaurants in the town with a sea view.
Los Hervideros is another creation of nature, a cliff overlooking the sea that was formed due to the now famous volcanic eruptions.
The lava in contact with the ocean waters solidified and gave life to a series of rocks that the erosive action of the waves has shaped, creating natural caves and cavities. There are a number of scenic trails between the rocks, where you can stop and take some photos.
Absolutely mandatory stop also because it is close to other attractions such as Timanfaya or El Golfo.
Janubio Salt Flats
Continuing the road that goes from Los Hervideros to Playa Blanca, you will arrive at the Janubio Salt Pans. They were created near a lagoon of volcanic origin and thanks to the action of the sun and strong winds, the water evaporates and the extracted salt is collected in special tanks.
There is also a vantage point where you can admire the view and take wonderful photos.
La Geria: the vineyards of Lanzarote
It is incredible how in a volcanic soil such as that of Lanzarote there can be vineyards that also produce delicious wine.
La Geria is precisely the route of the vineyards, it is located north of Yaiza and is definitely worth a visit. The road is full of cellars where you can taste wine along with local products, admiring the lunar landscape and the particular and traditional method of growing the vine. In fact, as you will see, the vines are planted in small craters protected from the wind by a semi-circular wall made with lava stone.
There are really many wineries where you can stop and taste local wines, among the most historic is El Grifo.
Beaches of Lanzarote
In this special list of what to see in Lanzarote, its wonderful beaches could not be missing. From the evocative and breezy Playa Famara to the pristine beaches of Parrot or better than the reserve of Los Ajaches.
Playa Papagayo is the most famous and is regarded as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. But I also recommend not to miss the other beaches such as Playa Pozo, Playa de la Cera or Playa Mujeres.
Then going to the tourist town of Playa Blanca I recommend you stop for a few hours in Playa Dorada, which although small is in my opinion one of the most beautiful in Lanzarote.
The island is small and can be easily navigated by rental car. Many attractions are then located close to each other so by organizing well you can see them all in a few days.
Below I suggest a sort of itinerary where day by day you will visit the main points of interest in the various areas.
Obviously this is a rough path that I have created to give you more information and help you in organizing the trip, you can modify it and create it ad hoc for your needs. For convenience I have divided it into 5 days but if you want you can also manage it in three days.
Day 1: Timanfaya - El Golfo and Lago Verde - Los Hervideros - Saline Janubio - La Geria. Starting early in the morning you will be able to do everything in half a day, so if you want you can spend the afternoon on some southern beach, such as Playa Dorada.
Day 2: Cactus garden - Jameos del Agua - Cuevas de los Verdes - Mirador del Rio. During the itinerary you could include a lunch in Arrieta.
Day 3: Arrecife - San Jose Castle - Cesar Manrique Foundation - Campesino
Day 4: (Sunday): Teguise Market - Playa de Famara - Haria. If you want you could go after Haria al Mirador.
Day 5: Spiagge del Papagayo - Playa Blanca.
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