Where: Lanzarote (a.k.a. the rock or the pebble), Canary Islands, Spain. 

When: I lived and worked in Lanzarote in 2001 and 2002; I went back for a friend’s wedding in 2004 and then in April 2017 I returned here with my husband so I could show him where I used to live.

Why: I was a First Choice holiday rep in Lanzarote in 2001 and 2002. I returned to the pebble for a friend’s wedding in 2004, and then in 2016 my lovely husband bought me flights to Lanzarote for my Christmas present, so that I could go back and reminisce and show him my special island.

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Map

Most of the Lanzarote resorts and towns are on the east coast, as the west coast is mostly all volcanic. The capital city is Arrecife. This is located about half way up the east coast. This is where the airport is. Just south of the airport is the main resort of Puerta del Carmen. This is made up of three resorts (Playa Honda, Playa de los Pocillos and Puerta del Carmen). I lived here in 2001. PdC is a party and shopping place, a resort made up of English breakfasts and cheap pints.

At the very far south of the island is the resort of Playa Blanca. This is where you can catch the car ferry to Fuerteventura. PB is a much quieter resort than PdC and is more suitable for families and older couples. To be honest, this is the place that I spent the least time, though I did start to get to know it more towards the end of my time here.

In my second year in Lanzarote I lived in Costa Teguise, which is north of Arrecife. Costa Teg is based around a series of market squares, it’s much quieter than the other resorts and is more suitable for families, though the beach isn’t as nice as at PdC.

The west of the island is dominated by the volcanic Timanfaya National Park, but there are one or two resorts on this wild coast – in particular the La Santa sports complex and Famaya, famous for it’s surfing beach and soaring cliffs.

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Intro

I get really annoyed when people call Lanzarote Lanza-grotty – as the rock is a stunning, beautiful, unique biosphere. Lanzarote is a dramatic, black, volcanic island, which is very highly protected. Lanzarote is very bleak in some ways – but I love it’s dramatic landscapes and hidden gems.  The black rocky landscape can get to you after a while (you start longing for some grass), and it may not be to everyone’s taste – but I love it!

Far form being grotty, Lanzarote has very strict building laws to ensure that it stays protected. Buildings on the island are only allowed to be white and can only have green, brown or blue shutters, doors etc;  they’re not allowed to be more than three stories high, and huge restrictions have been placed on new builds. They try to ensure that all the buildings adhere to the principles set out by the local artist Cesar Manrique, whose sci-fi like buildings and art are embedded into the island.

Lanzarote does have its fair share of tourist tat resorts, cheesy karaoke bars and English breakfasts – but it also has brilliant surfing, shopping, art, wine, food and my favourite restaurant in the world.

There are three main resorts in Lanzarote: Puerto del Carmen (PDC) which is a young, fun (okay, boozy) resort; Costa Teguise, which is quieter and more family orientated; and Playa Blanca, which is on the south of the island and which is much smaller and quieter. I lived in PDC in my first year, Costa Teg in my second and then stayed in Playa Blanca when I went to the island for my friend’s wedding.

I’ve just returned to Lanzarote in 2017 and though some of the island is looking a little shabby, the volcanic larva fields are still stunning, the beaches are great and the seafront in PDC has been improved and upgraded. We spent five days here and that was probably enough time to relax, revisit the old haunts and to show Jeff the delights of this tiny gem.

There’s not a huge amount to do on Lanzarote, but if you’re looking for a fun week in the sun, then this is a great place to come.

I’d just like to add that I would not have loved Lanzarote half as much had I not been with the most unique, funny, hard-working bunch of people – most of whom have become life-long friends. Repping looks like a lot of fun – and it is – but you also work preposterously long hours and have to deal with every type of person and problem imaginable (and in my second year we had to do all of this whilst being filmed for an ITV TV show). Many of us were really young, being paid minimum wage, only had one day off a week, but we still managed to have the most magical time. You’re just to good to be true guys.

Second year team - group photo 2

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Getting there and getting around

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You can fly to Arrecife from most UK airports. Working for First Choice I flew to the island with them. A few of the budget airlines now also fly to Lanzarote (Ryanair flies from 13 UK airports and Easyjet flies from London, Liverpool, Belfast and Bristol) and you can now often get some pretty good cheap deals to fly here – especially away from school holiday season.

Arrecife airport is well laid out and easy to navigate. There are loads of shops in the departure area and outside areas where you can go to watch the planes. I spent a lot of time here as a rep and it is a lovely airport, very light and spacious.

www.aena.es/en/lanzarote-airport

Local bus 161 runs from Arrecife airport to Puerto del Carmen or Playa Blanca. It departs from the bus stop by arrivals. This bus runs every half an hour in the week and every hour at the weekend. It cost us €1.40 to go from the airport to PdC. To get to Costa Teguise you would need to get bus 22 to Arrecife and then change there onto bus 1.

Lanzarote Guide Book has an excellent public transport guide, which includes bus and ferry timetables: www.lanzaroteguidebook.com/information/getting-around.

Taxis and car hire are cheap on the island and the roads are good. If I was to visit with a group or a family, I would hire a car as this would keep costs low and it’s pretty easy to navigate the sights independently. Most car hire companies have a desk at the airport. On our 2017 trip we hired a car just for 24 hours, as it was the cheapest way to tour the island and to visit all the sights – many of which aren’t accessible by public transport.

Incidentally, if you do hire a car – make sure you know where reverse is, so that you don’t accidentally nearly roll off a volcano, like what I did. Also, I’d like to pay tribute to the long suffering Fernando who we hired our company car from, and who replaced my rep-car four times after my colleagues (mostly Steve) broke it – including once on another island!

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What I did on my holiday

In the two years that I lived in Lanzarote I think we saw every inch of the pebble. These are the things that I would recommend for people to do:

Timanfaya

Timanfaya National Park is a unique, volcanic biosphere. From what I understand, back in the 1700s, over 100 volcanoes appeared in this area. They rose up and spewed lava everywhere, which spread over a huge area. It devastated this part of the island.

This landscape is unique. I have never seen anywhere like it. As it rarely rains here, the ground is much as it was straight after the eruptions – with huge cracks in the ground, peaks, holes and craters of all sizes. And although the last eruption was in 1824, the volcanic park is still active – it’s hot under the ground.

Knife cutting through the rocks and rubble is a straight, smooth road – one of my favourite roads in the world. LZ-97 runs from the village of Yaiza, straight through the heart of the national park, up to the village of Mancha Blanca. This road is a tourist attraction in itself, with volcanoes rising up on either side. I love driving through the park, though I always have to be careful not too get too distracted by the volcanoes and accidentally drive into a crater.

About half way between the village of Yaiza and the Timanfaya National Park Centre is a car park where you can do a camel ride. I have no idea why there are camels here, but riding a camel up and down a hill is a  nice way to spend half an hour. Most day tours of the island include a stop at the camels.

The focal point of Timanfaya National Park is El Diablo restaurant, where they cook the food over the heat of the volcano. You can go and see the ovens where they cool the food. The restaurant is a sci-fi like, glass canteen which overlooks the National Park. I have eaten here and though it was a fun and special meal, the restaurant was a bit canteen like – albeit a canteen on a volcano.

There is a large car park at el Diablo and from here you can get a bus around the national park. You have to change onto a national park bus even if you visit the park on a  coach tour. The park buses are rather old and stinky. They drive very slowly and stop occasionally so you can look at things and take photos. There’s a soundtrack in three languages, explaining the history of the park.

Also in the car park, they conduct experiments and you can see them put water down hot metal poles in the ground – which then explodes up, and they put grass into a hole in the ground which then starts to burn. I always wonder how the toilets work here and why they don’t explode too?

On our most recent trip, we drove to the National Park – so did everyone else. We visited on Easter Sunday and it was really, really busy. We had to queue for an hour to get to El Diablo. However, we were queuing in a volcano field, so that was pretty cool.

Further up the road from el Diablo, just on the outskirts of Tinajo, is the Volcano Museum (centro de interpretacion de mancha blanca). This is a tiny museum that no one would normally stop at, but a friend of mine and I once popped in on a Sunday afternoon and we loved it: it was so cheesy but great. There was a lot of information about the park and how it was formed and they recreated an eruption, with a red flashing light. I’ve tried to find a website with times etc, but haven’t found anything yet. I’ll keep an eye out.

Finally, if you are interested in Lanzarote Wine, then the wine fields are located just to the north of the park and you can go visit a bodega. Lanzarote wine is incredibly hard to grow: the land isn’t suitable for vines and the wind is so strong they have to built semi-circular walls to stop the vines blowing away – and when you taste it you will wonder why they bother as it is horrible: really tart and sickly. However, these strange vineyards and their strange walls do make for a unique landscape.

Hike into a Volcano

The one thing that I really regret not doing whilst living in Lanzarote is going on a hike into a volcano. Although it’s not huge, there’s many parts of the Timanfaya national park that are inaccessible to cars and pretty hard to get to. As this is a protected biosphere and the paths not obvious, the best way to get right into the interior of the volcano fields is to go on a guided hiking tour.They can show you sights and places within the park, unique features, that you won’t see on a car or coach tour and you can get up close, in fact clamber all over, some volcanoes.

Eco Insider run a variety of hiking tours through the national park. They also run geological tours, bird watching trips and trips to some of the surrounding islands.

eco-insider.com

El Gulfo

El Gulfo is a green lake on the edge of Timanfaya. It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie and is located on the dramatic, wild coast. It’s interesting to see for about five minutes.

Mirador del Rio

Many of the key sites on Lanzarote are creations of the artist and architect César Manrique. I cannot stress enough the impact this man had on this island. Without his vision this tiny rock could have been over run with skyscrapers and mass tourism. César worked with the islanders and to island to ensure that its unique, natural beauty is protected and enhanced. In his art work and his architecture, César used the island as his canvas. Dotted around the island are his wind sculptures, built to capture and play with the breezes that sweep the rock. His buildings are embedded into volcanoes and lava caves, built in plain white, smooth stone – to contrast with the jagged blacks and reds of the land. I love his architecture; there’s something very modern about his work, but in a 1960s way. He uses nature and light to build space-age like, modern homes that look like wonderful places to live.

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I would love to live in Mirador del Rio. Embedded into a cliff-face, high up above the island of La Graciosa, Mirador del Rio is a James Bond lair come to life. With a wall of glass, overlooking the Atlantic and the island below, this magical space is light and airy, cosy and bright. The walls are smooth and gently curved, there’s seating built into nooks and crannies, a tiny, smooth, gentle spiral staircase runs up to an upper room – now containing a gift shop, but which would be perfect for a bedroom, then up to the roof, where you can step outside into the wild wind to watch the sea far below.

Mirador del Rio is now a cafe and a place to visit. But hopefully, one day, if I win the lottery I can move in and this can be my castle in the sky, up amongst the clouds.

There is a car park at Mirador del Rio, but I don’t think it can be accessed by public transport. Mirador del Rio is situated at one of the most northerly points of the island, north of the village of Yé.

www.cactlanzarote.com/en/cact/mirador-del-rio

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Jameos del Agua

Another stupendous César Manrique creation is the concert hall of Jameos del Agua – built in a lava cave. If you do a tour of Jam del Agua they will first take you to visit the salt pools, where tiny blind, bio-luminescent crabs live. They look like tiny stars, under the water; then you emerge to the external area which is based around a cool, blue pool with palm trees (sadly, I don’t think you can swim in this) and then at the end of the tour you can see the concert hall.

I love Jameos del Agua and I always hoped to go to an actual concert here, but I never got around to it. Apparently the hall has amazing acoustics.

There is a restaurant at Jameos and in the summer you can visit here for a meal and concert. More information can be found on the website: www.cactlanzarote.com/en/cact/jameos-del-agua.

Incidentally, Jeff and I tried to visit here on our trip in 2017, but it was late, the complex was going to shut in half an hour and we felt the 9.50€ entrance fee was a little steep for what would be a very quick visit. Tours here only last about an hour anyway, so I think it is a little pricey. If you do an all-island day tour, entrance here will probably be included and that is worth it. You can also buy a combined ticket for a number of attractions and this can save you money.

Cuevas Verdes

Both Jameos del Agua and Cuevas Verdes are part of the same lava tube system – which actually stretches for 6 km, including 1.5 km under the sea.

I never made it to Cuevas Verdes (the Green Caves), though they are near to Jameos del Agua. From what I understand, Cuevas Verdes are a lava tunnel cave which you can go to visit. They are more natural than the César Manrique adapted caves. The artist Jesús Soto introduced special lights to highlight the natural features of the cave. There’s also a secret to the caves. I could tell you what it is, but then I’d have to kill you – so I won’t.

There is also an auditorium in the caves and you can see a concert here too. (That’s not secret, that’s on the website).

www.cactlanzarote.com/en/cact/jameos-del-agua

Cactus Gardens

I also never made it to the cactus gardens, as cactus are not my cup of tea, but many people love the Jardin de Cactus. This was César Manrique’s final project. The gardens were built in a disused quarry and they incorporate Manrique’s distinctive architecture and art.

Cactus are an important crop for Lanzarote. The cochineal bugs, whose distinctive red colour is used for food colouring and lipsticks, grow on the cactus.

The cactus gardens are located in Guatiza, to the north of Costa Teguise.

www.cactlanzarote.com/en/cact/jardin-de-cactus

Santa Barbara Castle (Teguise) and Teguise Market

There’s Costa Teguise on the coast and then Teguise in the centre of the island. Teguise is the old capital of the island and it is a pretty little, old, Spanish, hill-top town. They have a fabulous, fun market on a Sunday which all of our guests used to love to go to.

Bus 11 runs from Costa Teguise to Teguise Market; bus 12 from Puerta del Carmen to Teguise market and bus 13 from Playa Blanca to Teguise market. (Intercity Bus Lanzarote has the bus times).

Up above the town, on top of a volcano, is the small, cute Santa Barbara castle. You can drive up to it and have a potter around. Not many people do this. Inside is the Museum of Piracy. This wasn’t there when we lived in Lanzarote; I know as I love pirates and would have wanted to visit. Arrrr. By the way, how James Bond is this? Pirates living in a volcano top castle? Lanzarote is cool!

From the castle there are stupendous views over the whole island and the volcano fields of Timanfaya.

museodelapirateria.com/en/el-castillo-de-santa-barbara

Lag-Omar

Lag-Omar is… I don’t know what Lag-Omar is. It’s a restaurant, bars, concert space, caves, artists retreat, art gallery space – and one of my favourite places on the island. It is possibly my favourite restaurant in the word, just for the setting alone.

Lag-O-Mar was designed and built by the artist and architect César Manrique and the artist Jesús Soto, for the British developer Sam Benady. Omar Sharif came to Lanzarote to film a movie and whilst here he fell in love with Lag-Omar (I’m guessing it had a different name then). Later on, he lost the house in a card game – to Sam Benady.

Lag-O-Mar is a series of bars and a restaurant, situated in a maze of volcanic caves and secret gardens. Dotted around the grounds are art works and statues made by César Manrique.

The main Lag-O-Mar restaurant is a bright-white, open building which sits alongside a cool pool. 

I first visited Lag-Omar with my holiday rep colleagues, on a lazy Sunday afternoon. After a fabulous lunch, we spent hours exploring the hidden tunnels and paths, jumping over streams and stepping stones, poking about in caves, searching for the hidden bars. It was the best wine-fuelled, sun-soaked game of hide and seek I have ever had. We then went and sat in the sunshine by the lake, drinking wine and listening to jazz. Yum –  one of the best Sunday afternoon of my life.

As I loved it so much, I had to take Jeff there when we returned to the island. This time we weren’t able to eat at the restaurant but we were able to go in to explore the caves and art again. I would have loved to have lingered, to have stayed to party in the volcano caves. This truly is one of the most unique settings in the world. We shall have to go back.

Lag-O-Mar is situated in Nazaret, which is approximately fifteen minutes from Costa Teguise and Arrecife. The museum is open from 10.00 to 18.00 every day and should cost €6 (we couldn’t find anyone to pay so we just went in). 

www.lag-o-mar.com

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La Graciosa

La Graciosa is a small island off the north coast of Lanzarote. If you visit my dream house of Mirador del Rio, this is the island which you look down upon. If you are looking for secluded beaches and total privacy – this is the place to come. The beaches aren’t pretty (it’s like being in a huge quarry), but they are huge and we had them all to ourselves. You come to La Graciosa for wilderness and isolation. There are very few cars and no roads on La Graciosa, so the only way to get about is by mountain bike. 

Stephen, Cat and I went to Graciosa in 2002 – me still in my pajamas. We hired bikes and cycled to a beach on the far north of the island – over by the island of Alegranza. The beach wasn’t fab – it was very steep and the currents were really strong – but it was great to be the only people for miles around. 

The ferry was from Orzola in the north of Lanza. (Orzola had some nice restaurants). The ferry journey took about 30 minutes. All the Spanish people sang the whole way over, which was nice. The ferry is run by Lineo Romero and you can get times and prices on their website. It currently costs 20€ for a return trip for an adult. 

There was a shop by the La Graciosa harbour where we hired bikes. If you don’t want to cycle you can hire a 4×4 to taxi you to a beach. When we visited there was a restaurant in the town and a shop – but nothing else.

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Beaches

There are nice beaches in Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise. The best beaches on the island are the Papagayo Beaches, which are located to the east of Playa Blanca. To get there you have to go off-road and then climb down to them or travel there by boat, but they are isolated and nice. If you do drive there be careful as you do have to go off-road, and so your hire car may not be insured. The roads used to be unsurfaced and we ended up with a huge puncture here. 

The Papagayo beaches have good white sand. There are about eight beaches and some are just for naked people. 

The best beach is Playa de Papagayo: a cove beach which has a rock ‘island’ in the middle. Cat and I claimed the island for England, but it was then invaded by some naked German ladies – and so we decided it was not so strategically important after all. There is parking and a restaurant by Playa de Papgayo. 

Y1 - Gang day out - gang on the beach
My friends and I on Famara Beach

Surf at Famara 

Another amazing beach is at Famara, which is on the north-west coast. Famara has a stupendous backdrop of soaring cliffs, and as it is on the wild Atlantic Ocean it has great waves and is a wonderful place for surfing.

Surf School Lanzarote was founded by my mate Tim, and they are a great surf school who really know what they are doing. I had a brilliant surfing lesson with them, even though I was rubbish at surfing. www.surfschoolanzarote.com

Day trip to Fuerteventura 

I’m going to be a bit controversial here; but I think Fuerteventura is really, really boring. It’s flat and windy and there’s not many towns, hills, infrastructure or anything there. It does, however, have a humungous, gold sandy beach in the north of the island, made up of sand blown over from the Sahara – and this is a draw for many people.

You can get to Fuerte on the ferry from Playa Blanca or on a day trip, such as the Blue Delfin. A quick word of warning though – as so much water is trying to compress itself between the islands, the seas can be very rough and bumpy here. When I went on the Blue Delfin trip there were people being sea-sick everywhere.

The ferries from Playa Blanca to Corralejo are run by Fred Olsen Express, Lineas Maritimas Romero and Naviera Armas. Lanzarote Travel Guidebook has information about timetables and where to buy tickets. I seem to remember the crossing took about 40 minutes.

The Blue Delfin trip that I went on took us into Corralejo, the sand dunes in the north of Fuerteventura and we also stopped at the tiny island of Isla de los Lobos (Island of the Wolves). Los Lobos is not named after wolves as in dog-wolves, but sea-wolves – a type of seal that lived here when the island was discovered, but which were later hunted to extinction.

A boat trip in these waters is well worth it as you can often spot whales and dolphins. www.bluedelfin.com.

Catlanza 

I once sailed a £1 million catamaran, whilst wearing glasses made out of forks. I also swam from their speed boat to a jet ski whilst dressed as a devil in our island wide treasure hunt. This is all thanks to the crazy Catlanza crew.

The Catlanza is a £million catamaran that takes people out on day trips, from the marina at Puerto Calero to the beaches of Papagayo. It’s a wonderful tour to do. They have nets over the water that you can sunbathe in, dolphins jumping beneath you. At the beaches you can have a go on a jet ski. There’s free booze and a delicious lunch. I used to love doing this tour on a Wednesday morning: the sea-breeze blowing the cobwebs away; the sun turning my skin brown. Yum. 

www.catlanza.com 

Hire your own boat

If there’s a few of you, it can be more cost effective to hire a whole yacht rather than to take one of the boat trips. A few of my guests did this and they loved it. Most of the private charters depart from the marina at Puerto Calero, just south of Puerto del Carmen.

I just had a look and a private, two-hour charter for four people on my birthday would be €270 with Chillout Cruises. So a little more than a standard boat-trip, but not an unaffordable price.

Submarine Safari in a yellow submarine

We went on the yellow submarine trip with our colleagues. It went from Puerto Calero harbour, stayed just under the water and took us out around the marina for about an hour. We didn’t see anything! However, it was still pretty cool to have a go on a real submarine: www.submarinesafaris.com.

Hire a little plane

So much of Lanzarote can only be appreciated from above. There are hundreds of volcanic craters, one of which is two miles wide, but these cannot be viewed from ground level. So if you really want to appreciate the scale of the lava fields and the volcanoes of Timanfaya National Park, then it’s a good idea to hire a small plane.

In 2002, Stephen and I hired a small plane with a pilot for €150 (at the time about £50 each). We flew around the south of the island, over Puerto del Carmen, the Papagayu Beaches, El Golfo, Timanfaya, Famara, Teguise, Costa Teg and Arrecife. We were in the air for about an hour and the views were astounding! 

It was an amazing, unique trip and I highly recommend this as something a little different to try. The ride was a little bumpy and the pilot did keep texting throughout the flight,  but it was a lot of fun and a great thing to do.

We went on this tour with a company called Lanz Air, but they seem to no longer exist. I’ve tried to see if there is an equivalent company, but there doesn’t seem to be. I’ll keep an eye out though and if I spot anything I will post it here.

Thalassotherapy Spa at Hotel Beatriz. Costa Teguise

After the small plane flight we went to the Thalassotherapy Spa at Hotel Beatriz in Costa Teg. The spa at the time cost £12 for the whole day, and as it was autumn it was wonderful to go and chill out in the hot, steamy, relaxing warmth indoors. They have loads of pools, fountains which massage you in different ways, about six saunas and steam rooms, two jacuzzis and an ice cold plunge pool. 

Hotel Beatriz is a crazy hotel (it used to be one of mine). There’s an indoor waterfall and a river which runs through the hotel, under the reception area, before ending up at an indoor lake, containing a bar on stilts.  I used to have problems when they’d turn the waterfall on in the middle of my welcome meetings and my guests couldn’t hear me over the sound of the rapids. Repping is so surreal. 

www.beatrizspa.com/paginas/costa/thalassoing 

Shopping

Lanzarote is great for shopping as it is tax free. In particular, for shopping I’d recommend Deiland Commercial Centre in Arrecife, the open-air Biosfera Shopping Centre on the edge of the old town in Puerto del Carmen (great for clothes), and the Friday evening market in Costa Teguise. There is also a market on a Sunday in Teguise, and although this is fun, it’s very, very touristy. 

Good things to buy on the island include Aloe Vera plants and the beautiful, colourful pottery.

There is a great second hand bookshop (The Bookswop) in Puerto del Carmen, on the hill between the strip and Biosfera.

Also, in Biosfera there is an open air cinema – where you can watch films under the stars, overlooking the old town. We wanted to go for the outdoorness of it, but there weren’t any films we wanted to see: rooftopbiosfera.com.

Carnival

Once a year, they hold the carnival in PDC old town. If you’re on the island when the carnival is on then I’d totally recommend that you visit. There’s usually a huge funfair and stage area on the harbour side; interesting Spanish bands; local performers, and it all ends with a huge firework display. 

San Jose Castle International Museum of Contemporary Art, Arrecife

The Arrecife Art Museum is set in a small, sea-front fort, a really cute castle, on the Costa Teguise side of Arrecife. There’s not a huge amount in the museum, but if you’re looking for something a little different to do then it is a nice place to stop by. I personally was more fascinated by the building than the art, but I spent a good hour here looking at everything.

www.cactlanzarote.com/cact/miac-castillo-san-jose

One really cool thing that has been built since my time on the island is Museo Atlantico, an underwater art gallery full of concrete sculptures. This is located in Bahía de Las Colorada, in the south of the island, east of Playa Blanca.

To be honest, some of the sculptures, especially the ones of people, look spooky – like ghosts of the sea. However, this still looks like a unique and wonderful thing to visit.

The gallery is only accessible to scuba divers. You have to have a diving certificate to be able to visit the gallery. There is a support boat at the site.

www.cactlanzarote.com/en/cact/the-underwater-museum-lanzarote-museo-atlantico

Rancho - group photo - year 2 (Steph, Jenny, Michelle, Erica, L

Rancho Texas

When I first moved to Lanzarote Rancho Texas was just a fun line dancing night in a big hut. Now it is a whole theme park and zoo with tigers, Komodo dragons, dolphin and a water park too.

I used to love going to the Rancho Texas nights as they were so much fun. The nights used to consist of line dancing shows and lessons, plus a massive, all you can eat barbecue and unlimited beer and wine. There was a bucking bronco to play on and it was good family friendly fun.

From what I understand they do still do the night time shows, but there is also day-time entertainment too. You can swim with dolphin and sea-lions, ride a pony, meet birds and animals, go in the water park or learn to line-dance.

Rancho Texas is located on the edge of Puerto del Carmen. They run a bus service to the park or you could probably walk there.

Tickets cost €30 per adult and €22 per child.

ranchotexaslanzarote.com

Sporty stuff

Finally, if you’re into sports, then Lanzarote is a pretty cool place to come to. An annual iron-man competition is held here.

Lanzarote is great for cycling. Most of the roads are good and not too busy, you could cycle through the volcano fields and there are a couple of bike hire shops on the island. Most of the island is flat (you go around the volcanoes not over them), though there are some hills up in the north.

Many people come to the island for the Club La Santa sports resort. This is on the wild west coast. People come here for sports training type holidays.

Finally, if you’d like to do some extreme sports, there is paragliding in the north of the island, close to Famara Beach. This is run by famara iso. Again, this is one of those things that I always wanted to do but never got round to: www.famaraiso.es.

 

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 Where we stayed

So, as I lived on the island obviously I stayed in my own house. Also, as a rep I got to see pretty much every hotel on the island – so if you want to know about a particular accommodation on the island then then drop me a message in the comments below. Although when we returned I had some accommodation in mind for us to stay in, when I looked at these most of them looked really dated – like they hadn’t been decorated since I lived there in the early 2000s. There was rattan furniture!

Albatross Apartments

Unlike all of the above, the Albatross Apartment was nice and stylish – so much so we looked at the labels on all their furniture so we could get some of the same. The Albatross Apartment was a private apartment in the centre of PDC. It was up a steep hill, right in the centre of the resort, with a shop just outside and a private pool in the complex. It was lovely to have access to our own pool, right outside our front door.

The apartment had everything we could need, including two coffee makers, washing machine, wifi and cable TV. It was so nice, we spent a lot of time just hanging out here, watching TV.

The only downside was that as this was a private complex, there were people doing building work on their own apartments, even though it was Easter weekend.

We paid 350€ for five nights and we booked it through booking.com.

apartamentos-albatros.puerto-del-carmen.hotels-lanzarote.net

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Top tips

Don’t buy your duty free at the airportThe whole island is duty free, so often you’ll find that the airport is the most expensive place for shopping.

Be careful in the sea. This is the Atlantic Ocean and there are some fierce tides around the island, so be careful in the sea. Also, if you do take a boat tour to Fuerteventura be warned that it’ll probably get quite rough.

Wear sun tan lotion. One of the nice thing about the Canaries is that there is always a cooling breeze. However, this can be deceptive and may disguise the fact that you are burning. We forgot how far south we were and how strong the sun is, even on cloudy days, and we both got burnt on our first day, just whilst walking around town.

You can drink the water but it doesn’t taste very nice. The water on the island is desalinated, so though it is fine to drink it doesn’t taste very nice. Also, water supplies are limited, so it’s best to try to preserve water by taking shorter showers and turning off your taps when you brush your teeth etc.

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Useful links

www.lanzaroteguidebook.com have comprehensive information about navigating the island. I’ve linked to them quite a few times in the information above.

www.turismolanzarote.com

www.hellocanaryislands.com/lanzarote

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanzarote

wikitravel.org/en/Lanzarote

www.lonelyplanet.com/canary-islands/lanzarote

Disclaimer

Please note, some, if not much of this information may not be correct, or may be out of date. All these articles show is how we found these places when we visited and what we personally thought of each place. Where possible I will include links to site which will contain more up-to-date info. All of this is our own work and any opinion expressed is that of the author only.

All photos copyright of J Clemo-Halpenny, unless otherwise stated. If you would like to copy or reproduce any of these images, please email me to ask permission.

One comment

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