Tyterogaka: One that is all Ochre
Again that time of the year, completing a last weekend trip of the year right before the big winter holidays starting in merely 3 weeks time without first counting the Christmas days spent in Madrid. Almost a year ago it was the turn of Ibiza, this time is Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. The trend is clearly the same: travelling to the islands in the lowest peak of the low season as otherwise this would be impossible to get here for the ridiculous small fare we paid for the flights and hotel. If you are therefore looking to enjoy some nature and landscapes without the hordes of tourists, this is the best trick anyone can do.
It was not long ago since we went to Tenerife, although we kept returning there more often through the years. Again, it was during the low season, and honestly, it is unbelievable how different these islands are from each other. Two very different worlds. From the lush Atlantic forests that cover most of Tenerife and its huge volcano to the emptiness of Lanzarote, more appropriate nicknamed “landscapes of Mars”. The entire island is dotted with many small volcanoes, all of which formed after the last eruptions in the 1700s and responsible for the current look of the island. An incredible time capsule, nowadays a Reserve of the Biosphere and UNESCO World Heritage Site for obvious reasons.
Don’t be misjudged by the fact that Lanzarote does not really have nice beaches if that’s the kind of holidays you are looking for. If that’s the case, then this island is not the best for you. Gran Canaria or La Palma would be the ideal ones then. Instead, if what you are looking for is either a weekend break or a mix of sightseeing plus a bit of a nice resting then this place is ideal, not to mention if you are in search of nature as explained before, then this place is truly unique in Europe, with the only close example being Iceland or the Faroe Islands.
But apart from the highlight of the island, the Timanfaya Volcanoes National Park, there are much more to see and enjoy, as the many beautiful small villages like Teguise, Yaiza o Tiagua, beaches and calas. To note, most of the beaches are of stone, but some of sand, in particular black volcanic sand which is another sight in itself. A weekend is perfectly enough time to discover the whole island if having a rental car as this will save you loads of time, and even if not depending on a car, you can still take the public buses that circle the island continuously so you won’t miss out any place.
Food, like at any of the Canaries, is always great and inexpensive, of course knowing how to avoid tourist traps. One of the most traditional dishes is “papas arrugadas”. You will find it in every restaurant, in any of the islands, and are boiled potatoes in sea water hence the crust of salt that develops, served with the traditional mojo, the hot pepper sauce from the Canaries, usually green or red, or picon, the spicy one. Seafood and fish… well, an island in the Atlantic then there’s no need to further explain on that. Found everywhere, however check some places before deciding on one, prices in this vary significantly.
For more information about Lanzarote check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Spain’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Lanzarote
- Arrecife The capital of the island and largest city, where also the only airport is located. To the east of the island. Since it’s so small you will not require of much time for exploring it. There is a small castle and nice beautiful white and blue houses by the old port.
- Teguise The second largest city in the island with a beautiful church in the central square. Again the white and blue buildings make it a very charming place to visit.
- Timanfaya National Park Is without doubt the key landmark in the island and for what many people come and visit. Comprising some 35 volcanoes, all of them formed after the 1730s massive eruption and unchanged ever since. The best way to visit the place is with a rental car where you can stop along the way to have great pictures.
- Mirador del Rio Is located at the northernmost point of the island and offers great views of the Atlantic and the smaller islands and islets north of Lanzarote.
- Beaches Few of them of sand, most rocky. They are famous for being of black volcanic sand
-Playa de Janubio on the western side of the island is a great example of volcanic sand beach.
-Playa de Famara Probably the most famous and spectacular, and one of the rare sandy beaches. Located to the north west.
- Vineyards Are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site for the unique technique in which single vines are planed in pits and protected by rocks, all of it designed to harvest rainfall and prevent from wind as well.
Since the island is small enough the best and ideal way to explore it in full is by getting a rental car. This will allow you to completely circle the island is no time and visit any point in between. Should you not have a driving license then there is no problem. From the airport, buses to Arrecife centre are frequent and inexpensive. There is no way for missing it, there is only one bus.
In Arrecife distances are very small so the best way to navigate around is on foot. While for going to the National Park and other locations within the island you can get on a tour or on a bus. You can get any information at the tourist information or over the internet, it’s really self explained.
Even that the island is of such limited size, being great part of it the Timanfaya National Park, there is a great choice of accommodation all over, either at the capital city Arrecife, or elsewhere specially along the coast. As for any island the rule applies the same way. Expect really high prices during high season, for which if you are not looking for a beach holiday, wait and come during low season when prices drop dramatically not only in hotels but also flight fares. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms, Ebookers or TUI.
We stayed at the Costa Sal Villas & Suites, in Agonal 16, Urbanización Matagorda, Puerto del Carmen. Absolutely recommended in all senses for a trip like ours, a cultural weekend break. For the location (minutes away from the beach), design, comfort and facilities. It has really nice pools and nice views to the sea in the distance.