Off the coast of West Africa, you’ll find a vibrant island that emerged 15 million years ago. In the 1730s, it suffered several volcanic eruptions that covered its land in lava, giving its unique landscape, lava tunnels and beaches. This island, with its vibrant bars and picturesque restaurants serving the iconic papas arrugadas, is known today as Lanzarote… and it was our home for twelve days.
My boyfriend and I, had been looking to visit for quite a while, so it came as no surprise that, when our holiday calendars matched, we booked the flights, an apartment with sea views in Puerto del Carmen and a car to explore every corner of the most splendid of the Canary Islands.
As some piece of evidence of how beautiful days and nights look here, I captured the glorious sunset of the day we arrived in Playa Chica.
Parque Nacional Timanfaya is the place where it all started. The epicenter of the eruptions that shaped the island is now a place that welcomes thousands of tourists each year who are transported on a bus across the park, where they can witness the wonders that it holds.
From geysers to twenty-five different volcanoes, the park, previously designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, has a temperature of 140ºC just below the surface due to the magma chamber located four kilometers deep. It is a must when visiting Lanzarote and trust me… it gets really hot here!
Just north of Timanfaya, we found Playa de la Madera, a beach of black pebbles and away from the crowds. Though swimming is not recommended due to the wild waves, it definitely is the perfect spot for sunbathing and relaxing over lunch — oh, and also for an Insta moment, because what is a holiday if not an opportunity to keep our feeds active? #getaway
One night, I wanted to surprise my boyfriend, so I booked us tickets for one of the most exclusive places in Lanzarote, the one that legend Rita Hayworth once called “the eight wonder of the world” : Los Jameos del Agua.
Artist Cesar Manrique turned the debris of volcanic tube into an exotic place for the arts and culture, which is home to a delightful restaurant that serves either a standard or a premium menu.
After dinner, guests are invited to head down stairs and follow a path that lies next to a pond which reflects the dim lights guiding the way across the cave. At the end of the path, it really is the promised land: an upstairs bar and seats for guests to enjoy of a private concert of canary music. If you look for romantic in the dictionary, a definition of this place will definitely come up!
The drinks that night probably woke up our appetite for alcohol. We are wine enthusiasts, which is why we made an appointment at Bodega La Florida; a vineyeard in the middle of the island where they produce white, sweet, semi-sweet, pink and red wines, following a handcrafted process where the protagonist is the very beloved grape of Lanzarote: the Malvasía.
Following the guided tour and explanation of how they produce the wines at this charming vineyard on the outskirts of San Bartolomé (another of the many towns in Lanzarote), it was time for us to have a taste of each of them with a board of cheese!
North and south, Lanzarote is an island of wonders, long roads, clear blue skies and dozens of beaches to pick from. This time we chose to explore Playa de Orzola at the north. The winds are stronger on this side and, therefore, this beach is not exactly for swimming, but it’s great to have some fun dodging the powerful waves.
The beach is guarded by Lomo del Zalahar, a magnificent mountain and the water here is transparent. The beach is almost entirely flat, which means you can walk about thirty meters in and it will still be below 1.50 meters. Great views and the ideal place to get away from the mass tourism places in the island… bring your snacks and get yourself an idyllic picnic brunch after playing with the waves.
Just a few minutes going south from Orzola is the town of Haría, a place we went to look for some local jewellry and some nice food. We found Tacande, a gourmet restaurant where they focus on the detail, not only of their dishes, but also of the lovely service and attention they provide to their customers. We had some fresh salmon and, of course, MORE papas arrugadas!
Haría is this small, yet special place were detail is everything… and we definitely enjoyed walking down its narrow streets.
In the middle of the island, you can find Nazaret, a small village which main attraction is the house that Academy Award winer, actor Omar Sharif, briefly owned in the early 1970’s: LagOmar
We arrived during the sunset, so we stopped for a few moments to appreciate the orange-coloured skies that gave Nazaret almost a mythological aspect. We walked into LagOmar, which not only serves as a museum, but also as a restaurant and exclusive cave bar. The place is another of Cesar Manrique’s creations for the island and looks perfect for a summer bash!
Sadly for Mr. Sharif, he lost this property of natural labyrinths and caves to an Englishman called Sam Benady, shortly after purchasing it, when the latter challenged him to a game of Bridge. Luckily, the property has been well taken care of ever since and today we can enjoy its amusing offer.
And now… our favourite place in Lanzarote.
During our second day on the island I wanted to take my boyfriend to a place that I had previously discovered while doing my research on Lanzarote. When I saw the pictures of the enormous rock pools facing the Atlantic, I thought …YES, PLEASE!.
I’ve never been a fan of beaches with hundreds of people sunbathing. Instead, I prefer to find cute secluded spots to feel completely disconnected and in touch with nature. It then comes as no surprise that “Los Charcones” was the highlight of our fascinating trip.
To swim in those rock pools facing the glorious sunset while feeling a breeze of liberating emotions is an experience that anyone should have at least once in their lives. It made me feel alive… and it made us feel thankful for everything. We didn’t limit ourselves to that afternoon, but we also went back during our last full-day on the island. Los Charcones encapsules all the incredible things that Lanzarote is supposed to be: exotic, romantic and liberating.
Sadly the dreamy trip had to come to an end, but we didn’t want to leave without visiting another of Manrique’s creations: El Jardin de Cactus.
Hosting over 450 different species of cactus, this garden is one of the wonders this fertile island has to offer. Created in 1991, it now has specimens from the five continents!
Get some comfortable shoes, a big bottle of fresh water and be ready to explore all over the never-ending garden which is also shaped as an amphitheatre.
No matter three, five or twelve days, they will never be enough. In the end, after those adventurous mornings and romantic nights of beaches, wine cruises, volcanos and papas arrugadas, we returned to England, looking down on the island as we took off, witnessing all of its natural wonders immersed in the mysticness of the night, promising that one day, we would come back.