As one of the seven Spanish-owned Canary Islands, Lanzarote has shaken off its image as a bucket and spade holiday and is a great destination for anyone travelling on a budget. Year-round sunshine and a UNESCO biosphere reserve await you on this picturesque island as well as some amazing wonders of nature, and most of them can be explored completely free. Here are our picks of the island’s best natural wonders.
During the 1730s the island was rocked by a huge volcanic eruption lasting six years and covering quarter of its land mass in lava. Today the volcanic landscape is so dramatic that it’s been used as a backdrop by a plethora of film directors and photographers.
Timanfaya National Park
Known locally as Timanfaya, this volcanic region was declared a National Park in the 1970s and now attracts close to one million tourists every year. A guided coach tour will take you through the lava fields and burnt peaks for a mere 8€, but you can easily create your own tour itinerary for free! Climb the dormant La Caldera Blanca in Mancha Blanca and explore its enormous crater for fantastic views across the national park and its unworldly lunar landscape.
Valleys and Lagoons
Though the volcanoes might be the island’s tourist hotspots, there are plenty of other natural wonders to explore too. Created from a combination of sea water, algae and volcanic minerals, the Green Lagoon at El Golfo boasts emerald waters trapped within a black sand beach just yards metres from the Atlantic Ocean. For a complete contrast to the arid volcanic landscapes though, head to the north of the island to the Valley of 1000 Palms where you’ll find an oasis of palm trees created from the tradition of planting a new tree for every new born baby in the nearby village of Haria.
In comparison to resorts on its neighbour islands, Lanzarote remains largely unspoilt and this is mostly down to the work of artist and architect, César Manrique. Manrique was a key campaigner against the island’s high-rise resort development and also founded six unique centres of Art, Culture and Tourism around the island.
Here you’ll find some amazing feats or architecture including the Jameos del Agua – a collapsed lava tube transformed into an incredible underground auditorium – and the Mirador del Rio, which is a 450m high former gun battery offering breath-taking views of neighbouring island of La Graciosa. You will have to part with a small amount of money for these attractions, but you can save money on your holiday when you compare flights to Lanzarote.
It would be a shame to waste a tanning opportunity in this sunshine haven and Lanzarote boasts plenty of stunning beaches where you can soak up the rays as well as view some of the island’s natural wonders. There are over 100 of Spain’s best beaches to choose from, but the 8km sweep of sand at Famara and picturesque sandy coves at Papagayo are local favourites.