There is so much to do and see in white-washed Lanzarote, which is in the Canary Islands, an Atlantic territory of Spain. So do yourself a favour and either book a bus tour, hire your own car or, if you are feeling very energetic, hop on a road bicycle and navigate these Lanzarote attractions at your whim.
We did just that recently when our cruise ship landed in the island’s capital, Arrecife, and loved every minute of unfortunately our short time there. But of all the sights you can choose from, our top three are Timanfaya National Park, Jameos del Agua Caves and the Yellow Submarine Safari Adventure. Here are the highlights of our three favourite Lanzarote attractions.
Going on a road trip? Check out this Andalucia road trip post for sun, sand, sea and amazing Moorish history.
Top Three Lanzarote Attractions
Timanfaya National Park
1. Timanfaya Geothermal Wonderland
More than 100 volcanoes arose and erupted on Lanzarote between 1730-1736 over 50 square km of the island which was severely devastated. Whilst the last eruption of a Lanzarote volcano was more than 150 years ago, this part of the island is still as it was then, a desolate moonscape of lava declared a national park in 1968. And so, Timanfaya National Park was born.
2. Natural Moonscape
As well as the stunning Martian landscape, one of the highlights of visiting this awesome area is to go to the famous El Diablo Restaurant. There they demonstrate the un-nerving geothermal power of the ground.
3. El Diablo Restaurant
In fact, the restaurant actually serves Canarian food cooked over a cast iron grill covering a natural heat vent in the ground.
4. Geothermal Grill
The tour guides also have a series of party tricks to demonstrate to the tourists. One is to pass around a few gravel stones from the top 5-10 cms of lava onto your hand to feel the heat – quite impressive even at that shallow depth, never mind the temperature a few metres below the surface being between an unfathomable 400-600 degree C.
5. Feeling The Heat
But more spectacularly, they dig a narrow hole about a foot into the ground and pour cold water into it, creating an awesome spectacular hot geyser as the water heats up within seconds and explodes with ferocious power. Definitely a crowd favourite!
6. Lanzarote Volcano
It is not possible to explore the volcanic area on your own, only through guided bus or walking tours, but these usually feature excellent informative audio commentaries. The volcanoes (“Fire Mountains”) themselves are fairly spectacular but the century-old patterns of lava and the limited regrowth of flora is simply stunning.
7. Anyone For A Ride?
Most tours are well-organised, including an amusing camel ride in the geothermal desert, to round up your total adventure. I was a little wary of riding my dromedary beast as he insisted on constantly smooching the rear end of the camel in front, but once I got him to refocus on where we were treading, we formed a solid bond by the end of our trek!
Jameos Del Agua Caves
This lava tube was formed about 4000 years ago and makes for a rather stunning and compelling visit. It is part of a 6km long tube, which exits to the Atlantic sea, forming open air caves which are a unique attraction.
1. Descend Into The Lava Tube
After descending down a stone staircase, you enter the first of the Jameos del Agua Caves, which houses a friendly café and bar.
2. Open Air Lanzarote Caves
Overlooking a crystal clear lake, the most curious native inhabitants are the world famous, blind albino crabs, which are usually found at great depths not near the surface as here.
3. Crystal Clear Waters
These crabs are also only found on Lanzarote, and to this day still confound scientists trying to explain their existence here.
4. A Tropical Oasis
Walking along a narrow pathway, you access a large open-air cave where there is a stunning and unexpected tropical oasis surrounding a superb Hollywood-style swimming pool.
5. Concert Auditorium
Adjacent to this is a most extraordinary concert auditorium with stunning natural acoustics, built in 1987, in the last part of the tube before it finally makes its way to the ocean.
6. Unique Souvenirs
The Casa de Los Volcanes (House of the Volcanoes) near the exit is a Lanzarote cave where you can view scientific equipment, volcanologist information as well as purchase unusual and unique souvenirs.
Yellow Submarine Safari Adventure
For those of you who may prefer a water-based activity, you can’t go past doing this. I booked this excursion to keep my fanatical diving husband happy whilst I leisurely toured the more ‘terra-firma’ Lanzarote tourist hot spots.
1. All Aboard The Yellow Submarine
I thought he may have found this rather banal and boring, given his lifetime experience of all things marine including diving with sharks. But he came back surprisingly quite enthusiastic about the whole trip especially its unique nature.
2. Anyone For a View?
The $3 million dollar, purpose-built, 18.5m long Yellow Submarine explores the crystal clear underwater world out of the marina in Puerto Calero. The experience lasts approximately two to three hours and showcases marine life to a diving depth of 60m, through large 1.6m diameter observation windows fore and aft.
3. Personal TV Monitor
In addition, there are twenty or more windows along its length, as well as individual tv monitors. Onboard guides also provide excellent information.
4. Marine Life Galore!
This stunning tourist submarine is quite roomy and can hold nearly 50 persons easily. Certainly a great adventure for all ages (even the claustrophobic) and definitely recommended.