Most of you will think I am being ridiculous when I tell you that I am not a big fan of beach holidays. Firstly the idea of sitting on the beach whole day doing nothing terrifies me and second the salty breeze ruins my hair (something that ladies with extremely curly hair can relate to) I like active holidays or immersive travel experiences – walk, hike, eat, drink, understand the culture, admire the true beauty of a place kind of holidays. Read in this Lanzarote travel guide how you can escape the tourist traps and really explore the island life.
Lanzarote is a victim of bad jokes in Britain. Tell anyone that you are going to Lanzarote and the Lanza-grotty jokes start to flood in. Well, that didn’t deter me from visiting this volcanic island because be it grotty or not, I was going to have my fill of Lanzarote wine! Volcanic wines are popping up in top restaurants and armed with knowledge from my recent WSET qualification, I was ready to sample what Lanzarote had to offer!
The island of Lanzarote was born through fiery eruptions around 15 million years ago.
Timanfaya national park has spectacular volcanic landscape and only certain areas can be visited. UNESCO has in fact designated whole island as Biosphere reserve. You can hike up to a volcanic mountain and look down upon a massive crater or walk on the lunar like landscape or see the largest volcanic bomb on earth. You get goosebumps when you realise that you are walking on the volcanic ash that is at least few hundred years old if not millions! Top to do things in my Lanzarote Travel Guide.
Second item on my Lanzarote Travel guide is Vineyards in Lanzarote. Denominación de origen (D.O.- protected designation of origin) is a regulatory classification system used for Spanish wines (also food). Wines labelled as DO are considered to be of superior quality and have to adhere to strict standards.
Lanzarote has 14 D.O. wineries (Bodegas) and numerous other wineries. The black gravel, lack of fresh water, average temperature of 18-23 degrees and a specialised harvest system gives the Lanzarote wines a unique characteristic. Malvasía Volcánica is the iconic grape on this island along with other varieties such as Listan Blanco, Listan Negro, Moscatel are also grown.
I visited El Grifo and La Geria bodega and took a walk in the vineyards on stony hillside. El Grifo is the oldest winery in the Canary Islands and among the 10 oldest in Spain, founded in 1775. One of the highlights in wine tastings was in a very special artisinal winery Tinajo Natural LN. where owner Daniel proudly showcases his D.O. wines as well as Vermouth that he brews. His Vermouth is not for commercial sale and he has freedom in experimenting with different hers and spices. Everything is done by hands including bottling and corking and you can taste the love and passion that goes in his wines.
This Lanzarote travel guide like other guides that I have put together focuses on food & culture.
Explore the cuisine – Food in Canary islands and Lanzarote in particular is varied and still largely prepared by traditional methods. There are so many different things you can try if you just walk into a local restaurant away from commercial areas. I am listing a few of the dishes –
- Papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) served with mojo rojo (red spicy sauce) and mojo verde (green mild sauce) – The potatoes grown here in the black gravel have a particular taste and baked or cooked with sea salt or plain sea water just brings up the unique flavor
- Fish & Seafood – Fish can’t get fresher than that on the island. Try grilled dorada, (sea bream), vieja (parrot fish) or cherne (sea bass).
- Gofio – Made with toasted corn and maize flour
- Goat stew, Cheese made with Goat’s milk – Goats are the important animal that thrive on this arid island. You can see the herds of goats the moment you start moving away from the towns.
Drink – Visit the D.O. bodegas and taste the local grapes. Don’t forget to visit Daniel & his artisinal winery to taste the vermouth. Try the Arehucas Rum which is not particular to Lanzarote but Canary islands in general.
Another location well known for its beer and a wine industry that is trying to make its mark in the market – Prague. Read the eating out guide for Prague here
Bird-watching – Shrikes, Stone-curlew, houbara bustard, Cream-colored courser, trumpeter finch, hoopoe, the list is endless. You can take a half day tour into the protected Lanzarote desert area of Soo to see these birds. It’s an extremely unusual and beautiful area of Lanzarote and you want to explore it with the best people in Lanzarote. See link to the tour below.
Beaches – Famara, Papagayo (number of beaches), Playa de las Conchas, Playa Caletón Blanco (white sand). You just need a car and good sunscreen
Other activities – Visit the Cactus garden designed by Lanzarote born artist César Manrique and has more than 1400 species of cacti
Visit other islands around Lanzarote – Visit other Canary islands, Fuerteventura or remote islands like Alegranza & Montaña Clara or La Graciosa. Further away from the main islands you go, more beautiful it gets.
Travel – Lanzarote is about 4 hours away by flight from London
Stay – From luxury holiday resorts to B&Bs, there are all kinds of accommodation available on the island. I stayed in a B&B right on the beach of Playa Honda which is a non commercial beach which meant I could sit on the beach with my cup of tea in my pyjamas without anyone batting an eyelid..Win!
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No other Lanzarote travel guide will tell you these things –
- I met few people living in Lanzarote who are very passionate & respectful about the island and go beyond their means to care for it. Eco Insider is one of such organisation that offers sustainable tours in Lanzarote. You can find the links to their tours here.
PS. This was not a sponsored tour
- Don’t just do the touristy things. If you are a regular reader of my blog you might have seen me recommend this in all of my travel guides. Try not to encourage the businesses that may ruin the landscape, wildlife or flora & fauna. Travel sustainable, support small businesses and make your travel truly immersive.
- Sensible dressing & lot of sunscreen – You may be thinking that its pleasant 20 degrees and breezy so let me soak up that sun..Wrong! The UV index is usually high in Lanzarote so carry good quality sunscreen with high SPF and always keep a light jacket handy when you are stepping out.
I hope my Lanzarote Travel guide will help you to plan your next trip to Lanzarote. You can reach me on TheNomadicGourmet@gmail.com if you have any questions.
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