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Lanzarote is perhaps the most other-worldly destination you could visit with its lunar-like, volcanic landscape.
It has a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve protected status because of its fascinating natural environment and extraordinary volcanic cones. It also boasts the longest volcanic tunnel in the world, the four-mile long Atlantida Tunnel. Formed three to four thousand years ago during the great eruptions of the Corona Volcano and extending down the side of the island to the coastline, this subterranean wonder continues an additional mile under the sea floor.
The Canary Island is the fourth-largest of the islands in the archipelago and the third-most populous after Tenerife and Gran Canaria. It is just over 100km from Africa and just 15km from the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura and the most easterly of the Canary Islands.
Year-round sunshine and average temperatures of 22C see people flock here, especially to the main tourist areas of Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise, to lap up the sun and make the most of the beautiful contrasting beaches around the island.
There’s the white sands of Playa Blanca and Papagayo in the north, the golden sands of Playa Grande in Puerto Del Carmen in the southeast and dark volcanic sand at Playa Quemada, south of Puerto Calero… just a few of the most popular stretches.
On the south side of the island, Playa Blanca is renowned as a family friendly purpose-built resort, close to village of Yaiza, with its traditional white houses, a striking vision against the dark volcanic landscape. Also nearby is Papagayo beach regarded as the most beautiful on the island, with its white sand, clear waters and rugged cliffs.
The port town has plenty of charming bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. You can also catch a ferry to the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura (just 30 minutes away) and make the most of the trip with a visit to the beaches at Corralejo.
Also a short distance from Playa Blanca are other must-see sights including Timanfaya National Park, home to the famous Fire Mountains and El Golfo with its emerald green lagoon. The village of El Golfo itself has some of the best fish restaurants on the island, serving specialities such as octopus.
The former fishing village of Puerto Del Carmen, just 10-minutes from Arrecife Airport is one of the most popular resorts on the island. Its expansive Las Playas Avenue (the main strip) is a vibrant hub of shops and restaurants and bars that night owls can frequent until the early hours.
A ten-minute walk into the Old Town with its pretty harbour, there’s authentic tapas bars, superb seafood restaurants and more shopping to be done at the Biosphere shopping centre which has amusements such a mini-golf and an open-air cinema.
Puerto Del Carmen also has a 6km stretch of golden sandy beaches, including its main beach, Playa Grande which has calm, shallow waters and views of the Los Ajaches mountain range.
The historic town of Costa Teguise is a favourite with many visiting the island and one of the oldest in the Canary Islands. Before Arrecife, Tequise was the capital until 1852.
Its style and design, a poignant reminder of legendary César Manrique, Lanzarote's most famous architect and visionary who died in 1992, with its low-rise whitewashed buildings, combining old with new and backed by the most surreal volcanic landscape.
Manrique had a huge impact on Lanzarote and his artistic work and influence from colourful sculptures to cultural attractions, can be seen throughout the island.
A maze of cobbled streets weave their way around Pueblo Marinero, the centre of town, with its pretty squares filled with shops, restaurants and bars and imposing parish church which takes centre stage.
As well as its history and heritage, Costa Teguise is a popular beach resort with six golden sand beaches ranging from sweeping bays to intimate coves, lapped by crystal clear water.
The beaches throughout the island are a haven for watersports, especially those that require a breeze. Lanzarote is one of the breeziest Canary Islands so perfect for parasailing, kiteboarding and surfing on the Atlantic waves.
To the west, beaches such as La Santa and Famara are a favourite with surfers and bodyboarders and in the North, Las Cucharas, in Costa Teguise is a renowned windsurfing spot. With the clear waters another appealing feature, snorkelling, scuba diving and jet skiing are also popular.
Also on the island are 200km of cycling routes to explore and two golf courses to unleash your clubs.
Because of the year-round warm climate, Lanzarote is slowly becoming an incredibly enviable golf destination for golfers from all over the globe.
The Timanfaya National Park is probably the most popular attraction on the island. Eruptions in the 17th-Century created this vast barren landscape of lava formations and dormant volcanic craters covering 51-square-km surrounded by the aptly named multicoloured Mountains of Fire (Montañas del Fuego).
César Manrique put his distinct artistic stamp on the park including the visitors centre with its interactive displays and videos, which he designed, to the horned devil designed park entrance and the extraordinary El Diablo, glass walled restaurant at its centre. The chefs of this unique restaurant use the geothermal heat from a dormant volcano to cook the food.
The Timanfaya National Park can be visited as part of a tour or guided walk through the colourful landscape. This amazing lunar landscape is a must see for any Lanzarote visitor.
Manrique’s final work of art is another sight to behold. The splendid Jardín de Cactus (Cactus Garden) in Guatiza. The gardens, a former quarry now an extraordinary horticultural space, devoted to art and nature is home to over 10,000 cacti, over 1,400 species, as well as Manrique’s eight-metre tall green cactus sculpture.
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