Lanzarote is often wrongly regarded as just a sunshine holiday destination with little in the way to offer culturally. But such an assumption falls way wide of the mark – as the island is home to numerous museums and a host of attractions created by a famous artist called César Manrique, who was born on Lanzarote in 1919.
Lanzarote is located off the North West coast of Africa and as result enjoys year round sunshine and very little rainfall, making it ideal for a beach holiday. But away from the golden sands the island boasts a vibrant cultural life, much of it developed by Manrique during the 1960´s and 70´s.
Manrique was exhibiting his latest collection of paintings when tourism first started to take off here – but quickly retuned in order to ensure against the complete destruction of Lanzarote´s unique landscapes by unscrupulous property developers. Fortunately Manrique was able to call on friends in high places as his family were close to the island’s governor of the time Pepin Ramirez. He shared Manrique´s enlightened view that Lanzarote would be better served by developing unique visitor attractions that worked in harmony with the volcanic landscapes, instead of following the lead of other Spanish resorts and building high rise hotels and golf courses.
As a result the island today isn’t scarred by any high rise buildings or unattractive billboards at all. Manrique and Ramirez saw to this – drafting a law that prohibits the construction of any edifice taller than a Canarian palm tree. Strict planning controls also prevented the sort of resort sprawl so evident on the Spanish Costas, confining tourist destinations here to the south east coast.
As a result the raw natural beauty of Lanzarote has been left with room to breathe freely – and this approach is now paying dividends as more and more tourists seek to connect with the authentic and unspoiled nature of the island.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the north of Lanzarote where there are no tourist resorts whatsoever, just remnants of the islands agricultural past. Here you can explore delightful little villages such as Haria and Yaiza which retain all of their identity and traditions intact. As well as unspoilt coastal villages such as Arrieta, where a great beach hasn’t been scarred by the addition of any tourist accommodation.
Indeed anyone seeking to book Lanzarote villas or hotels will need to focus on the two main resorts of Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen, which is where the bulk of tourist beds are located. Puerto del Carmen is the older of the two resorts and revolves around its Old Town harbour area. Whilst Playa Blanca is located further so the south and enjoys better weather as a result.
Wherever tourists choose to stay they will find that Lanzarote remains a great holiday destination and one that is best explored by car. Car hire in Lanzarote costs from just €20 per day so it is also a cost effective means of getting around too.