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Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Countries, Nature, Spain, UNESCO | 20 comments

Lanzarote Spain – A UNESCO Eco-tourism haven

Lanzarote Spain – A UNESCO Eco-tourism haven

Lanzarote Spain, is one of the most spectacular and off the beaten path destinations in Europe. Discover it with this Lanzarote travel guide. 

Things to do in Lanzarote Spain

 

Let’s be honest, Lanzarote is one of the most spectacular destinations in Europe. Its landscape, shaped by the old volcano eruptions gave form to some of the most dramatic landscape I’ve ever seen.

But where is Lanzarote? you might be asking….

map Lanzarote Spain

 

The Island of Lanzarote, is one of the 12 islands that form the Canarian Achipelago, in the Athlantic Ocean. Part of this island is covered by the National park of Timanfava, one of the most important touristic attractions. Because it’s located only 125km’s off the coast of Africa, it offers a perfect warm climate all year around.

Lanzarote is aBiosphere reserve and a  UNESCO site. The Canarian network of protected areas, declared 13 protected spaces in Lanzarote alone, this is about 40% of the islands territory.

Lanzarote Spain

 

When I visited Lanzarote, I didn’t even know what I would find. I thought I would be just another Spanish destination, since all my family vacations were centered around Spain.  But I was wrong…. this  one was so different from everything I’ve ever experienced before.

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

Because of its volcanic formation, this Island is radically different from all her sister canary Islands. And no wonder it is the perfect destination for nature and Eco-friendly tourism lovers. You’ll notice that tourism didn’t take over the Island and thanks to very strict protection laws, tourism and nature have managed to achieve a perfect balance.

 

Eco-friendly things to do in Lanzarote Spain

 

Visit the Timafaya national park

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

I took an organized tour to the Timafaya National Park  I have to confess I’m not a big fan of organized tours, I like to explore places on my own and my own pace, but this park has so much to see, I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss on anything.

We took a bus that made a specific route and during the whole time I couldn’t get over the fact that this landscape reminded me of the moon. Not that I have been on the moon before, but the rocky formations, the dramatic shapes of the lava created such a surreal landscape it almost feels mystical and surreal.

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

This park takes over 1/4 of the island’s territory and most of it is actually restricted. This is the area with the highest geological interess and probably the most unforgettable part of your trip.

We checked out a restaurant that cooks its food with the heat coming from the volcano. You’ll have the chance to watch the fire being lit from the heat out the ground and geysers appearing as water was poured down holes into the earth. A truly unique experience.

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

 

Visit the famous vineyards of Lanzarote

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

One of the highlights of this trip was to visit the vinyards of Lanzarote, which grow in the ashes of the old lava, in a sub-desert climate, a unique feature of the Lanzarote wine.  The ashes retain the humidity of the soil, making it possible for the vines to grow in spite all odds.

The immense dark soil contrasts with the only green you’ll ever see in the island, the Vineyards.

 

Kite surfing in Lanzarote

Lanzarote Spain

 

Adrenaline lovers, Lanzarote has a lot of offer!

Thanks to the warm climate, kite surfing is available all year round. Easier than surfing, trying a couple Kite surfing classes might be exactly what you needed to pump your adrenaline a bit. I didn’t try to kite surf yet, but I enjoy seating on the beach and watch the amazing tricks and flips these guys do.

There are a few schools available, visit a couple and chose the one you liked the most. These guys have experience teacher all levels.

 

Go Surfing in Lanzarote

 

Yes! Lanzarote also offers great surf for the wave lovers.

Some people claim that the Canaries are the European Hawaii and a surf paradise all year round, although the best time is usually during the winter – from November to March – when waves reach 1.5 – 4.5 meters.

I wasn’t a surfer “wanna be” when I visited Lanzarote, but if I ever go back, I won’t miss my chance.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner and clumsy like me or a great skilled surfer, Lanzarote won’t let you down!

 

Go scuba diving in Lanzarote

Lanzarote Spain

 

Another water sport for the nature lovers. There are a few diving schools in Lanzarote and you can either take a PADI course and get certified or you can take a few trips to explore the underwater world, if you already have your open water level.

 

Bird watching

Lanzarote Spain

 

Lanzarote and the Chinijo Archipelago to its North are the place to go for the Eleonora’s Falcon, and Barbary Falcon, as well as recent colonisers such as Cattle Egret and Little Egret. It is also the island to dream of rediscovering the extinct Black Oystercatcher.

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

 

Take a bike tour of Lanzarote

Can’t get more Eco than this, right?

Renting a bike, might be a very relaxing way to see the Island.  If you’re more on the lazy side, like me, take a tour on an electric bike.  The guide will take you to places, you’ve never thought of visiting or that are not accessible by car.

 

Visit the Cactus garden

Lanzarote Spain

 

Cactus – my favorite plants. The cactus garden has a great collection of cactus and succulents, from all shapes and sizes. Since the island doesn’t really offer a lot of green spaces, due to its characteristics, the cactus garden is a lot of fun.

 

Visit the house of Jose Saramago

 

Jose Saramago was a Portuguese writer who adopted this island as his home, till the day he died. He won the  Literature Nobel prize and was one of the biggest activists for the protection of the Eco-system in this Island. Although not Spanish by birth, the locals loved him and his house can now be visited by you.

Saramago was still alive when I visited the Island, but now it’s open for visitors. This is considered the n#1 attraction in Lanzarote  by tripadvisor, so you get the point…. it’s well worth the visit and even if you’re not familiar with his work, you might leave this trip wanting to discover his books.

 

Check out the coastal villages

Lanzarote Spain

 

One of the facts our guide pointed out, was that Lanzarote is considered the cleanest place in Europe.

In fact, Lanzarote looked very clean and the white washed houses and pavements only added to that feeling.  I really believe the locals have a huge ecological conscience here and fortunately are proud enough of their island to keep it as natural as possible.

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

The immaculate white of the traditional Lanzarote islands, contrasts with the black terrain of the ground and the background of volcanoes and craters. It’s a truly spectacular site.

 

Just relax at any Lanzarote beach

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

One of my favorite activities when traveling near the beach…. Just relax and do nothing. Listen to the waves and forget about the world out there. The dark sand beaches of Lanzarote are unique and definitely one of my favorite places to spend my time.

 

FUNNY FACT

Did you know there are camels in Lanzarote? Yes, camels are part of the animals who live in this spectacular island. If the dramatic moon like scenery wasn’t enough… you can throw some camels to the mix, and there you go…. ! This is Lanzarote at its best!

Just watch out, they might have bad humor! One of them tried to chew my hair while another one spit at my mother.

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Lanzarote

 

Lanzarote Spain

 

Like for most of Spain, vegan and vegetarian foods are not the easiest to find. Spain is a heavy meat and fish eating country, vegetarianism is still a new concept many people are unfamiliar with.

Lanzarote had one vegetarian only restaurant which is now closed, but there are veg-friendly places you can visit. For detailed info on restaurants, check out the Happy Cow directory.

 

 

 Lanzarote weather

Lanzarote is one of those rare European areas that has a warm climate all year round. The winters are warm and sunny and the summers are pleasant.  So, if you would like to escape the European cold, but still have an European destination, head for Lanzarote.

 

Hotels in Lanzarote

 

Budget hostel

RED STAR SURF & YOGA CAMP LANZAROTE

Lanzarote Spain

 

Featuring a rooftop sun terrace with a sea view, as well as a surf store, Red Star Surf & Yoga Camp Lanzarote hostel is located just 100 metres from the Famara and San Juan Beaches.

The hostel offers shared dormitories and private rooms. Each room includes a locker and has access to a shared bathroom with a shower.

Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas. There is a shared kitchen and common lounge with a TV.

There are various restaurants and bars within a 5-minute walk of the property. Timanfaya National Park is 18 km away. For the best rates and reservations click Booking.com

 

 Middle range Budget

ECOLOGICAL YURTS

Lanzarote Spain

 

The Eco yurt construction has a low impact on the environment as it is not a permanent structure and is made simply of wood and fabric.

Its electric is supplied from natural resources and runs “Off the National Grid” and gives guests the opportunity to experience firsthand, living with solar panels and wind turbines and using the latest renewable energy systems. It has been installed the most up to date energy systems on offer, and they work very efficiently.

 

High end

LANZAROTE YACHT HOTEL

Lanzarote Spain

 

Moored in Marina Rubicon, in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote Yacht Hotel is an air-conditioned boat with a sun terrace. Rented as a whole boat, it features a well-equipped kitchenette and an outside dining area.

Guests can relax in the living area with a sofa, TV, stereo system and dining area. The kitchenette includes a fridge, microwave, hob and kitchenware. The boat has 2 cabins with a double bed, a cabin with 2 single beds and 2 bathrooms with hot water. Bed linen and towels are provided.

You can find bars, restaurants and supermarkets around the marina, as well as a swimming pool and diving centre. There are several white-sand beaches and charming coves within a 10-minute drive of Lanzarote Yacht Hotel. Book it: Booking.com (US)

 ***

Do you want to know more about Lanzarote? Check out the Official tourism Board or Lanzarote’s Wiki travel page

 

NOTE: ALL photos are for public use and require no credits or linkback

20 Comments

  1. Wow this island sounds incredible and I’d never even heard of it before I read this article! I think I’ll have to add it to my bucket list…

    • Really? Nice to hear that, I’m always happy to know my blog has inspired people to seek out new destinations. Lanzarote is a totally off the beaten path Island and the population pressured the government to make sure tourism wouldn’t take over and destroy the very delicate Eco-system.

      It’s the most surreal place I’ve ever visited in my life. You almost forget you’re on planet earth. The huge volcano craters and the dark dried lava with no vegetation around, makes you think you’re on the moon. You should definitely visit.

  2. I’ve never thought of Lanzarote as a place I’d visit, I clearly have to re-consider that because it looks there is plenty to do to enjoy myself. I love the cactus garden by the way, I’m not sure if it’s to do with your nice photo of it 😉

  3. That yacht hotel looks petty sweet! But, seriously, what a terrific write-up. I feel like I learned so much about Lanzarote. Thank you.

    • Thank you Jennifer :) I was so passionate to express my feelings and emotions about Lanzarote, I admit I poured a lot of love in the post.

  4. What an fascinating post! I love your photos too. I had never even heard of Lanzarote until today, thanks for posting.

  5. Haaa! I used to live on Fuerteventura (a much prettier island than Lanzarote), which is a 12 minute catamaran ride away. Timanfaya national park makes me sad because- if they still do it- the Geyser eruptions are fake! I speak on good authority, too, and it is such a shame. The Canary Islands are beautiful, but the most beautiful is easily La Palma :) it has an incredible crack down the side of it’s volcano. When it next erupts it’ll cause the island to crack and create a huuuuge tsunami that’ll take out the eastern board of the US! Crazy what nature can do. On another note, El Hierro has been erupting for a couple of years now– we were expecting a new Canary Island pretty quickly, alas it hasn’t happened yet, and no one has managed to buy rights to put a bar there 😉

  6. Wow! Hadn’t heard of Lanzarote until today, thanks to you, there is another edition in my bucket list. It really looks like an extra-terrestrial terrain and the pictures are just wonderful.

    • Hi Sarah, unfortunately I didn’t stay at the Yurts, but that will be my first choice if I ever return.

    • I have a small obsession with cactuses, so I obviously went nuts with the rare vegetation of Lanzarote. It’s interesting, this islands reminds me of the moon, has no trees, nothing.. only some cactuses here and there, living in the middle of the black ashes.

  7. We’re trying so hard to get to the Canaries while we live in Morocc – sadly it’s so close and yet so expensive to reach :(

  8. Wow Yara, those black landscapes look absolutely spectacular, especially with the hint of color from the vegetation! I honestly didn’t know much about Lanzarote, certainly not that it was a UNESCO biosphere reserve or that it had so many eco-friendly things to offer. As it sounds and looks like, it would make a great future destination and luckily it is much closer than the actual landscapes of the moon… :)

    • Hahaha Dennis, closer and cheaper than visiting the moon. But the scenery is so surreal! Everything is so dark… the massive craters really reminded me of the moon and the crazy lava shapes and layers we passed by are memorable. I really advise everyone to visit this place.

  9. Hey Yara, great post of a certainly somewhat overlooked destination. I noticed there might be something wrong with the booking.com link for the surf & yoga place…!?

    • Oliver, thank you so much for pointing that out! I fixed it already :)

  10. What a great article. I may have to include this on my ATW trip next year. I’m curious, how was it getting around? Did you rent a car? Are there buses? Is it expensive to have transportation there?

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