My whole life I had dreamt of visiting the Canary Islands. Growing up in Spain, a lot of my friends would go for a week to Lanzarote or Gran Canaria during the holidays but not us. I am not complaining, as we did other cool stuff instead, but the desire to visit the Islands off the coast of Africa persisted. It only took me 28 years! to finally make that childhood dream a reality, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. Lanzarote, the island of my choice, was what I hoped for all those years, and much more.
The Canary Islands don’t really have a proper off-season. With a mere 6 days of rain per year average, the weather is fairly stable all year round. However, after weeks of research and planning, I found out that visiting Lanzarote in October would the closest I would get to low season in Lanzarote.
I only had a week in Lanzarote, which meant I had to make the most of the time there. To do so I came up with this itinerary of things to do in Lanzarote. Should we get started?
How to get to Lanzarote
Lanzarote can be reached by boat from Cadiz, though not recommended unless you enjoy a long potentially bumpy ride, and by plane to Arrecife via many major European cities. Some of the main airlines regularly covering the route to Lanzarote from mainland Europe are TUI, Thomas Cook, Ryanair, Iberia and Air Europa.
If you are an European citizen you won’t need any special documents to enter. If your aren’t, but you have a visa or permit to visit the EU you’re probably also good to go. Either way, make sure to have your documents with you.
Accommodation in Lanzarote
Finding accommodation in Lanzarote shouldn’t be difficult. however, it will depend on where you want to stay in the island, if you want to take trips around Lanzarote, whether you want to stay at an all-inclusive resort or prefer something a bit less busy. Good thing is, whatever it is you are looking for you’ll probably find it.
Most of the accommodation in Lanzarote is concentrated in three main areas of the island, Playa Blanca in the south, Puerto del Carmen south-east close to the capital city Arrecife and the big resorts around the Costa Teguise in the northeast.
For my trip to Lanzarote, I found this cosy little Aparthotel in Puerto del Carmen called Vista Mar Apartamentos via Booking.com. This place is about 10 minutes walk from stunning Playa Chica and its stunning sunsets.
Anyhow, I am sure you’ve found your accommodation in Lanzarote already so let’s get moving, shall we? I mean, I’m sure you are dying to find out more about possible day trips in Lanzarote and other awesome things you can do in Lanzarote.
Landing and setting up
Depending on when you land and where your accommodation is you may not have time and/or energy for an adventurous day so you can find your hotel and explore the area. Which is what I did when I visited. My flight landed in Lanzarote’s airport at around 5 PM on a Saturday, which, given the size of the island (60 KM -37 mi- from North to South and 25 KM -16 mi- from East to West), meant I had a few hours to find my apartment and explore the Puerto del Carmen before sunset.
It is important to note that even though there’s affordable public transportation, the best way to move around Lanzarote is by car. I chose Cicar not only because I had only heard good things about them, but they also did not require a credit card, which was a big plus for me. They were lovely, the car was a beast and I was incredibly happy with the experience.
Sunday Market in Teguise and/or Playas de Papagayo
If you happen to arrive on a Saturday (as I did), you can start your stay with a visit to the renowned Sunday Market in Teguise. It’s open from 9 AM to 2 PM and you can’t really miss it as the whole town becomes the market!
Once you’ve found all the artisan jewellery of your dreams and tried some of Lanzarote’s finest cheese, a dip in the Atlantic is exactly what you may need.
Playas Papagayo in the south-east corner of the island is located in the heart of a national park. The only way to reach them is through an unpaved way after paying a minimal fee (3 €). But the bumpy road will be worth every second once you reach these tranquil and secluded white sand beaches. Oh and observing the sea life through the crystal clear waters is one of the many not-to-be-missed things to do in Lanzarote, so don’t forget your snorkelling kit!
Learning to Surf at Famara Beach
Well known among surfers, Famara beach is the place to be if you want to learn to surf. This quaint surfer town is located in the northwestern coast of Lanzarote, at the western end of the sand desert El Jable. The constant trade winds that bathe Famara create a perfect environment for surfers, with quasi year-round perfect waves and milder temperatures. Thanks to that, every year international regulars of the water sport join the locals for a wonderful surf session. For that reason, it is no surprise to find dozens of surf schools and shops along the main street.
From the wide array of possibilities, I decided to join forces with Surf School Lanzarote to show you what a one-day session looks like. The day learning to surf with Surf School Lanzarote was incredibly fun and entertaining! And we had the beach to ourselves thanks to it being October.
Timanfaya National Park, Camel Rides and the South West of Lanzarote
It is no secret that Lanzarote (like all other islands in the Canarian archipelago) is a volcanic island. It originated as a result of the tectonic movement and since its birth, there has been some major volcanic activity, as it shows when you look around. One of the many wonderful things Lanzarote has done is creating a series of culture hubs, places to visit that tell -or show- the visitor a bit more about the island’s history. They call them CACT centres and one of them is the Montaña de Fuego or Timanfaya National Park. Unfortunately, it is not really allowed to walk freely about the land of the volcanoes but it is open to visitors, and you can even eat some wonderfully volcano grilled food.
Alternatively, you can take a 15-20 min. camel (they are actually dromedaries but in Lanzarote, they are known as camels) around the volcano grounds.
And if you’re especially motivated, the wild rocky cliffs of the south-western region of Lanzarote is a mini trip worth taking!
One of Lanzarote’s most renowned characters is the architect, artist and environmentalist Cesar Manrique. All throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, he fought for a better Lanzarote, for the communion of man and earth and for the thoughtful use of the resources available. He fought against the brainless speed of mass tourism infrastructure.
Up until his sudden death in the early 90s, he worked closely with Lanzarote to create beautiful, useful, locations for people to visit. These locations are known as CACT centres, and as I mentioned before, he took natural resources and adapted them in a way that people could visit and enjoy there without destructing the original beauty of the place. As most of them are in the north of the island, it is perfect for a day trip around.
Playa Blanca and Diving
As you have probably noticed by now, Lanzarote is a wonderful destination for those who love the outdoors. With 213 Km -132 mi- of coastline, water sports are quite widespread in the island. Especially snorkelling and diving, given its crystal clear waters. Playa Blanca is the newest tourist hub in Lanzarote and home to most of the diving schools.
I went on my first ever ocean dive with the lovely people from Dive College Lanzarote. They were lovely and I felt very safe all the way through the experience. However, if you are an advanced diver, you should absolutely not miss the Museum Atlántico de Lanzarote (Atlantic Museum).
The Atlantic Museum is Europe’s only underwater museum, a collection of 35 sculptures by artist Jason deCaires Taylor designed to generate an artificial reef on a large scale.
La Geria, Visiting the Oldest Winery in the Canary Islands and a Wine Tasting Session
After all the excitement and sporty week, a slow-paced day is exactly what you may need. During my planning time, I learnt that Lanzarote is home to the oldest winery in the Canary Islands and one of the oldest in Spain. Named “El Grifo” after the mythical creature, this winery has the capacity to produce up to 1 million litres of wine per year. Focusing mainly on whites, their produce has won numerous international awards. What’s so special about it? Well, if I told you I’d spoil your visit.
Located in La Geria, Bodegas El Grifo has one of the best wine museums in the world and the visit includes a wine tasting! But please, don’t drink and drive. If you’re going to do the tasting, order yourself a cheese platter and take time afterwards to walk by the vineyard!
Once you’re done, drive a few minutes away from the winery, and you’ll find the Monumento al Campesino. Yet another of Manrique’s pieces and nice for an after lunch stroll.
Unfortunately, it’s already time to go back to the apartment, pack the bags, send those postcards and take one last walk by the beach. Enjoy one last sunset, or eat your favourite meal one last time. Oh, how amazing this island is. I can’t wait to go back and explore more!
And with that and a bizcocho, in a week you explored all corners of Lanzarote, enjoyed good food and wine and kept yourself healthy by exercising. What else could you ask for? A healthy relaxing rejuvenating masses-free holiday in Lanzarote in October!