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A Quick Guide to Lanzarote

Where to eat, sleep and and explore on this unique volcanic island

WHERE — Lanzarote
PHOTOGRAPHY — Jessie Bush & Sam Flaherty on 35mm

The Lanzarote travel guide—an island where you can dine inside a vast cave system, enjoy your coffee espresso with panoramic volcanic views and visit an artist’s residence built into lava bubbles.

A friend once described Lanzarote as a little like visiting the moon. And she was right; if the dark rocky surface of the moon was also lined with palm trees and cacti and surrounded by an impossibly blue ocean. Sam and I visited at the very beginning of the year—a little vitamin D to soften the blow of post-New Years blues if you will.

Some people complain that it’s super touristic and full of Brit’s Abroad. But while that may be true, particularly in the height of summer, the most overwhelming element of Lanzarote is it’s gritty, out-of-this-world beauty. Volcanic landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see. Impressive cacti seemingly grow everywhere, like amazing weeds. And rugged rocky beaches hug translucent waters begging for a swim. It’s a pretty surreal island – one you really need to visit yourself to get a sense of just how different it is from almost any other place on earth.

^ The surreal Jameos del Agua

WHEN TO GO

Lanzarote has a pretty bad rap when it comes to tourism, and the massive resorts that line Puerto del Carmen definitely suggest it’s a popular spot. We went in January for a mid-winter dose of vitamin D—which meant that when the sun was out it was a balmy 22 degrees, but the second the sun dipped or the wind picked up it became jacket weather.

To avoid the crowds but still get the kind of amazing weather you want from an island holiday, I would go either March-May or Sept-Oct (and if you go early autumn the ocean will be nice and warm after a long, steamy summer).

HOW TO GET AROUND

Hire a car as soon as you arrive. The island itself is pretty small – you could drive the length of it in a hour. But there are lots of spots – especially the more unknown beaches – which you’ll need a car for. Plus it’s pretty amazing driving around with dark volcanic rock lining the roads.

^ Mirador del Río, where the views are otherwordly

COFFEE WITH A VIEW

Drive up to Mirador del Río in the north of the island—a truly unique building built into a clifftop, with a chic cafe and viewpoints for impressive (volcanic) panoramic views.

Mirador del Río, Carretera de Yé S/N HARÍA, 35541

^ The sunset from Charco Verde

VISIT AN EXTINCT VOLCANIC CRATER

Head out to Charco Verde—a large crater open to the sea— just by El Golfo, ideally just before sunset for some pretty mind blowing views. The green crater backs onto black sand, red rocks and the blue ocean which makes for a pretty unlikely surreal landscape.

DINE INSIDE A VOLCANIC CAVE

Eat at Jameos del Agua—a pretty incredible natural cave system that also features a restaurant, and an art and cultural center by local artist and architect César Manrique (if you haven’t heard of Manrique before you come to Lanzarote, you’ll hear his name several times a day while you’re here—he’s firmly part of the cultural fabric of the island). It all really has to be seen to be believed. You can visit Jameos del Agua without eating at the restaurant, but if you do want to have lunch or dinner there, it pays to book.

Jameos del Agua, Carretera Arrieta-Órzola, S/N, 35542

^ The pool at César Manrique’s residence

SLEEP IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

At Buenavista Lanzarote Country, a chic minimalist country house with expansive views across a semi-barren volcanic landscape and rocky craters. This spot feels totally removed from anything, yet it’s only a quick 15 minute drive from the airport and beach (the perks of being on a small island).

Buenavista Lanzarote Country, Camino Mentidero, 3, 35572 Tías

^ Sezane earrings, Studio pfeiffer dress, Wicker Wings tote and Zyne sandals

SWIM IN TURQUOISE WATERS

At the unspoiled Playa Papagayo, a turquoise cove found at the end of a long dirt track. Golden sands back onto rugged cliffs which make for a pretty unique landscape. However—like all dreamy beaches—apparently it can get pretty overrun with people in summer, so this spot is best enjoyed in spring or autumn.

Playa Papagayo, 35580 Yaiza, Las Palmas

VISIT A LOCAL ARTIST’S RESIDENCE (AKA INTERIOR HEAVEN)

The César Manrique Foundation is the former residence of local artist César Manrique—as mentioned above—and has been lovingly maintained so that visitors can stroll through his incredible house which was actually built into old lava bubbles. This one is a must-do while on Lanzarote.

César Manrique Foundation, Calle Jorge Luis Borges, 16, 35507 Tahiche

^ Charco Verde’s volcanic landscape

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