Looking for your next holiday destination? This Lanzarote review bears all on the pros and cons of this Canary Island holiday. So, do you want to visit?
If any of you have been to Lanzarote, you will probably have been just as surprised as me to learn that the island is completely made up of cooled magma, which has been broken up on the surface to form a black mass of rock across its terrain. Staying in a villa in Playa Blanca with my family for only a week meant we spent the majority of the time sunning ourselves and eating (A LOT!) of bread… woops! However, we did spend a couple of days exploring the island, discovering some absolute gems of beautiful scenery…
The first place we visited was the Timanfaya National Park, wherein we took a coach ride around the twists and turns of the volcanic hills, ate volcano-cooked chicken (awesome, right!?), and visited the gift shop. The coach ride was thrilling, as the roads were rather narrow, and it felt as though we were hanging over the edges of the cliff! It was almost like a rollercoaster ride – who needs Alton Towers!?
What was great was the charisma of the Spanish man who drove the coach; when we originally boarded the vehicle, he seemed rather disinterested, however, when we stopped every so often to see a particular landmark, he spoke to all the passengers in English and Spanish (but not German, as he didn’t know how), and made us all laugh with his character.
Other than this, as we weaved through the hills, a voice-over with information about the volcanic eruption was played in Spanish, English, and German. We were told that the volcano erupted during the 1730s, and the aftermath lasted for pretty much a whole century! People fled the area, towards Arrecife (see below for more on Arrecife), and only returned many years later.
I had no idea all this had happened so recently in history – it’s quite amazing to think that the people who live in Lanzarote now may have had very recent ancestors who lived through the eruptions!
When we arrived at the national park entrance, I must warn you, there was a huge queue of cars to get to the top, and it took us around 45 minutes to an hour to reach our destination. However, bring a book, and you’ll be fine (we didn’t know this, so we ended up playing car games, which was rather amusing).
I also must say that, as I get very car sick, I found that the coach journey around the area was very sickening, but I made it through, and later filled my stomach with chicken cooked from the volcano’s heat! This was something I was extremely excited about, and I thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snatch up – it was worth it.
Finally, before leaving, we had the chance to pop into the gift shop, and they had a huge array of interesting items. I bought fridge-magnets for myself and my boyfriend. They also had little tubes of Olivine, produced from the volcanic activity, as well as cactus jam (the Canary Islands are known for their aloe vera etc. products), and much more!
Well worth a visit if you love to learn about holiday landscapes.
Black Sand Beaches
Whilst there, we visited 2 black sand beaches, which are notorious within the canary Islands due to the volcanic activity, near the Janubio Salt Flats; the cooled magma is broken down by the sea and weather, and becomes a mass of sandy grains.
What was really interesting was that, if you looked close enough and sieved through the sand, you could actually find your very own Olivine (as mentioned before):
We also found 2 oasis’ – one next to the first black beach, and the other situated in a more secret location, across the road, behind the beach. These waters are stagnant ponds, fed by sea water trickling in through rock crevices, and are so tranquil! If I’d had a chance, I would have loved to sit on a rock by the green waters, and while away the time… what an experience!
Los Hervideros was one of the last spectacular sights we saw on this holiday. This was a formation of craggy rocks, created by lava flows through the island forming under-water caves. To see the sea water crashing against the spiky rocks below us was both thrilling and vertigo-inducing.
What was really great about this place was that the locals had built it up with stairs and pathways carved into the rocks, so that tourists could easily maneuver through the rocky surfaces to see down below to the murky depths within the caves. Very impressive indeed…
Although we did come across Playa Blanca, which is the beach that the area we stayed is named after, the beach nearer our villa (which is just a 10 minute walk from Playa Blanca) was much nicer. The sea here was gorgeously clear, so much so that we could see the fish which surrounded our legs as we waded in.
Being someone who is rather scared of the sea, this was nerve-wracking, but I am working to get over this fear, so I stayed put and interacted with them. In fact, people were actually feeding the fish stale bread and cakes, and a lady was kind enough to give my sister and I a little cupcake to feed to them! In doing so, they gathered all around us, and some were over a foot long! It was a great experience. Below are some pictures of this other beach:
On our final day, before we journeyed to the airport, we visited Arrecife, which is a small town on the coast. This is a gorgeous area, surrounded by water throughout, and a small castle. There are also numerous bridges, which local children were jumping off of into the clear blue water below! If I hadn’t had to catch a flight a few hours later, I would have definitely joined in – it looked glorious.
We visited a few restaurants along the Playa Blanca strip, and it was very hit-and-miss – some of the restaurants were fabulous, particularly the ones closer to our end of the beach (the right hand side of Playa Blanca, if you’re facing the sea), as the food quality was brilliant, despite the cheap costs! However, further down the strip, it got a lot busier with tourists, and the food quality was much lower. However, I would particularly recommend the tapas bars, as they served great cocktails and food, both of tapas and general meals.
Overall, the weather was interesting. As is normal with any island, it was very cloudy, so it was cooler than most holidays – around the 26-28 degrees centigrade mark. However, this meant I hardly ever had to go in the pool, and I still managed to get a good tan (although, granted, I have already been on holiday this summer, so that has helped the tan along… click here to read about my last holiday).
Therefore, I could read as much as I wanted without interruption from getting too hot! The only bad thing about this was that the evenings were much cooler than an average holiday, and I wasn’t fully prepared for this, having packed my summer clothes. Nonetheless, a light jacket sufficed to keep me warm enough.
Rating: 6/10 – this lower rating is simply down to the restaurant area being waaay too busy in the evenings, and the evening weather being rather cool.