One Week in Lanzarote: Sun, Sea and Surreal Landscapes

Lanzarote, the 4th largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, is much more than a sangria & sand flop for sun-starved Northern Europeans. This island has a rich artistic heritage, a smattering of colonial towns and a sensational volcanic landscape.

Make the most of your time there with my guide on spending one week in Lanzarote. It includes maps plus tips on where to stay and how to get around.

volcanic landscape with extinct volcanos and brown and red earth is one of the places to visit in Lanzarote in one week

Some articles on this website contain affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.


Top ten places to visit in Lanzarote

  • Timanfaya National Park
  • Teguise
  • Arrecife
  • Famara
  • Yaiza
  • La Geria
  • Fundación César Manrique
  • Jardín de Cactus
  • Jameos del Agua
  • Cueva de Los Verdes

Where to stay

Recommended excursions

How I Spent a Week in Lanzarote

I visited Lanzarote as a solo traveller and used public transport to visit most of the places in this article, basing myself in Costa Teguise.

I took this full-day tour to visit Timanfaya National Park, Jameos del Agua, Cueva de Los Verdes and Mirador del Rio. To visit the vineyards of La Geria, I joined a tour with Wine Tours Lanzarote.

Best Places to Visit in Lanzarote

If you find it helpful to map it out, here’s a map showing the locations of these fabulous Lanzarote landmarks. For an interactive map, simply click here or on the image itself.

map of the best places in lanzarote to visit.
Best places to visit in Lanzarote. Map data @ Google 2022.

The island has much more to offer than beach resorts and bars.

Lanzarote has other-worldly landscapes, windswept surfer beaches and charming colonial towns. And thanks to the legacy of César Manrique, its most famous son, it has a handful of quirky architectural delights up its sleeve.

1. Arrecife

pretty colonial square with a whitewashed church with bell tower

Don’t you love it when a city exceeds your expectations? For me, Arrecife, Lanzarote’s capital, was one of those cities.

There are plenty of things to do in Arrecife, it has a long history and there is no better place on Lanzarote to experience a real slice of island life. If you want a holiday away from Lanzarote’s resorts, with the bonus of an excellent beach, there’s a lot to be said for making this your base.

Things to see in Arrecife

  • Playa del Reducto – Arrecife’s golden sand beach with calm, clear waters
  • Seafront promenade with a charming Quiosco de la Música
  • Castillo de San Gabriel – a sturdy 16th Century fortress that now houses the Museo de Historia de Arrecife
  • Charco de San Ginés – a pretty tidal lagoon that is lined with restaurants
  • San Ginés Church and Plaza de las Palmas – a 17th Century church located in an attractive square that is lined with colonial buildings and filled with the sound of birdsong.

The main bus station, Estación de Guaguas, is on the Rambla Medula, a circuitous 15-minutes walk from the centre of town. I quickly discovered that it was better to get off the bus at the Intercambiador, situated on the seafront at Playa del Reducto.

2. Teguise

bronze sculpture of a man playing a tambourine in a colonial square lined with low whitewashed buildings in teguise in lanzarote

Located in the centre of the island, Teguise was the first colonial capital in the world. With its attractive buildings, squares and a handful of excellent churches and museums, it’s a must-see in Lanzarote, even if you are just here for a week.

Things to see in Teguise

  • Palacio Spinola – built for an aristocratic family in the 18th Century, this mansion now houses the Casa-Museo del Timple, a surprisingly fascinating museum dedicated to the island’s traditional five-stringed instrument.
  • Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – facing Palacio Spinola is this weird hybrid of a church
  • Convento de Santo Domingo – founded by the Dominicans in 1698, this is now an art centre and hosts temporary exhibitions.
  • Convento de San Francisco – this 16th Century church has some interesting paintings dating from the 13th Century
  • Castillo de Santa Bárbara – crowning an extinct volcano on the outskirts of town, this fortress was built to protect the colonial capital from pirates and profiteers. At the time of writing (December 2022) it is closed for refurbishment.

Every Sunday, visitors pour into town for the weekly market which mostly peddles tatt that you can buy anywhere. Do yourself a favour and visit Teguise on one of the other six days of the week.

3. Yaiza

pretty pink and red flowers in front of whitewashed buildings and palm trees in a street in yaiza lanzarote

Yaiza’s proudly-held reputation as the prettiest village in Lanzarote is well-deserved.

Its palm-lined streets sit alongside typical Canarian-style buildings. Blood-red geraniums decorate green balconies and splashes of vibrant bougainvillaea droop over whitewashed walls.

In the centre of town is the lovely church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. It has columns built from volcanic stone, a wooden ceiling and simple arched windows of red, blue and clear glass.

4. Fundación César Manrique

giant cactus in front of an extinct volcano
whitewashed building with green door framed by a tree and a large earthenware pot

The work and life of César Manrique pervade Lanzarote. Born in Arrecife in 1919, Manrique was a painter, sculptor, architect and artist and he used the island as an environmental canvas.

On the outskirts of Tahiche is the wonderful Fundación César Manrique, one of the most interesting places to visit in Lanzarote. The former home of this joyful, hedonistic man has been transformed into a celebration of his life and work through sculpture, paintings and archive photos and video.

From the house’s huge windows, there are views over a landscape of volcanic cones and molten lava. There are volcanic bubbles with trees straining to reach the light and a subterranean garden with a pool.

In the peaceful enclosed garden at the end of the tour, you’ll find a huge abstract mural, which is one of Lanzarote’s famous sights.

Address: Taro de Tahíche –C/ Jorge Luis Borges, 16, 35507 Tahíche, Lanzarote

Opening hours: Daily 10 am to 6 pm. Closed on 1st January.

Admission fee applies. A joint ticket is available that allows entry to César Manrique Foundation and the House Museum at Haría.

5. Jardín de Cactus (Cactus Garden)

cactus plants in front of a volcanic landscape in lanzarote spain

Set in a volcanic crater, this terraced garden designed by César Manrique, is crowned by a small white windmill.

There are more cacti than you can shake a stick at, from tall and phallic ones to others that look like small, furry animals. The garden is home to around 500 species from across the globe, and the coffee shop sells cactus-containing treats if you are in the mood.

low round cacti in front of a small windmill at the top of a terrace
close up of a large round cactus plant in front of volcanic landscape

Don’t miss the artwork on the external walls of the toilets. These Manrique designs are as much of a crowd-puller as the prickly plants themselves.

Address: Av. Garafía, 35544 Guatiza, Lanzarote

Opening hours: Daily 10 am to 4.30 pm.

Admission fee applies.

6. Jameos del Agua

reflecting pool in a cave with lots of people

Manrique created this extraordinary subterranean world out of a volcanic tunnel system that runs from Montaña de Corona to the Atlantic Ocean. Jameo is the name given to the cavity that is produced when the roof of the volcanic tunnel collapses.

The downstairs lake is home to a unique species of crab (Munidposis polymorpha), blind, white and minus a shell. On the far side of the lake, landscaped terraces take you back to ground level

Address: Carretera Arrieta – Órzola S/N 35542, Lanzarote

Opening hours: Daily 10 am to 5.15 pm.

Admission fee applies.

7. Mirador del Rio

In typical fashion, César Manrique transformed this disused military base into a lookout point with views over La Graciosa and the smaller islands of Montaña Clara and Alegranza.

But you’ll just have to take the guide’s word on how sensational these views are. On the day I visited there was a complete white-out.

Address: Carretera de Ye, S/N, 35541 Haría, Lanzarote

Opening hours: Daily 10 am to 4.40 pm.

Admission fee applies.

8. Haria

Known as the “Valley of a Thousand Palms”, Haria is located in the greenest part of Lanzarote. Whilst a thousand may be pushing it, there are certainly a lot of palm trees.

Picturesque Haria became César Manrique’s home in his later years, now Casa-Museo César Manrique. Little has changed since he was killed in a car accident in 1992, and the house is filled with his personal belongings.

9. Timanfaya National Park (Parque Nacional de Timanfaya)

volcanic landscape of lanzarote with extinct volcano crater

If there is one landmark that defines Lanzarote it is Timanfaya National Park. It has been designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO and is a must-see for any first-time visitor to the island.

Covering a quarter of Lanzarote, this spectacular volcanic landscape was created by over six years of near-continuous volcanic eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736. The result is a Mars-like landscape like no other you may have seen before.

There is no public bus to Timanfaya. If you do not have a rental car, the best way of visiting the park is on a day tour (I did this one which included the entrance fee).

You can only explore the park on a coach tour. Getting off the bus and walking through the lava fields are not permitted.

10. El Golfo (Laguna de los Clicos)

pea green pool of water

Along a path from the tiny coastal village of El Golfo is one of Lanzarote’s most famous sights, Charco de Los Clicos or Green Lagoon. The intense colour of this lagoon is due to the concentration of Ruppia Maritima, a type of algal phytoplankton, in the water.

Although this is a hugely popular attraction, I confess that I was a little underwhelmed.

11. La Geria wine valley

semi circular low carters in a volcanic landscape with low stone walls

Did you know that Lanzarote has a thriving wine industry? Probably not, but that’s because they keep their wine for themselves.

La Geria, a protected area of about 20 square miles, is Lanzarote’s main wine-growing region.  

Malvasia Volcanica is used to make 75% of the wine on the island. The grapes are cultivated in a semi-circular pit dug into the volcanic ash, surrounded by a low stone wall that offers protection from the trade winds.

Harvesting starts towards the end of July – the earliest in Europe – and all picking is done by hand. It must be back-breaking work.

To learn more about viniculture on Lanzarote – and to sample the island’s wine –  join a half-day tour. I did the Wine and Vineyard Walk with Wine Tours Lanzarote, which was fun and informative in equal measure.

seven glasses of white wine on a table with the wine bottle in the middle

12. Cueva de Los Verdes

underground lagoon in cave with reflections of cave wall

Literally “Cave of the Greens”, the name refers not to the colour of the rocks but to the family who used to tend their goats in the upper part of the cave.

This astonishing cave network, which is almost 5 miles long, was used as a refuge for the population against the pirate attacks of the 16th and 17th Centuries. It features interior lagoons and superimposed galleries with vertical interconnections, reaching up to fifty meters in height.

Visiting Cueva de Los Verdes is on a 50-minute guided tour, at the end of which your guide will reveal the “secret of the caves.’

Address: LZ-204, 35542 Haría, Lanzarote

Opening hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm.

Admission fee applies.

13. Famara

man with a surf board walking along a beach

Famara Beach was one of the highlights of my week in Lanzarote.

Situated on the north-western coast of the island next to the village of Caleta de Famara, this is surfers’ Mecca.

Caleta de Famara has a bit of a frontier town feel and is home to single-storey whitewashed buildings, a few cafes and some surf schools.

But the real star is Famara beach, a glorious sweep of soft sand, studded with volcanic rocks, that hugs the face of a steep cliff. Watch instructors put the rookie surfers through their paces on the beach before they valiantly try to stay upright as they ride the waves.

14. Playa del Papagayo

a sandy beach set in a cove with people bathing

On the southeastern tip of the island, Papagayo is one of the most famous beaches in Lanzarote. This small shell-shaped cove has a crescent of sand and crystal-clear water.

Make the most of your visit to Playa del Papagayo with a half-day boat tour.

15. Isla Graciosa

beautiful sandy beach with mounds in distance
Playa de la Conchas, La Graciosa

Take a 20-minute boat trip from Orzola to enter another world. Forming part of the protected Parque Natural del Archipélago Chinijo, La Graciosa is home to around 700 souls and has only one settlement, Caleta del Sebo.

With the exception of a few Land Rovers, there are no cars and also no paved roads. To get around, hire a bike from one of the outlets at the harbour or walk.  

If you are not hiring a car in Lanzarote, the easiest way to visit Isla Graciosa is on a day tour, which includes a return transfer from your resort and the boat journey. I booked this one.

16. Puerto del Carmen

large cactus tree in front of a blue ocean with red volcanic landscape in the distance

Located just three miles from the airport, Puerto del Carmen is Lanzarote’s biggest resort town. Its beaches – Playa Grande, Playa de los Pocillos and Playa Matagorda – are splendid.

It has retained a fragment of its roots as a humble fishing village in the whitewashed shape of Nuestra Señora del Carmen.

17. Playa Blanca

sculpture of 2 men wrestling on the seafront promenade under blue sky

Playa Blanca, also a former fishing village, is the most upmarket of Lanzarote’s resort towns.

A pleasant tree-lined promenade links the soft sands of Playa Dorada and Playa Blanca to the port. West of the port, another promenade takes you to pretty Playa Flamingo

18. Costa Teguise

giant cactus in front of a large sandy beach
whitewashed buidlings along a narrow lane

Not to be confused with the more charming colonial town, this resort town has a more laid-back feel than either Playa Blanca or Puerto del Carmen. Thanks to its central location, it is an excellent base for exploring Lanzarote, particularly if you are not hiring a car.

There is a lovely promenade that links the resort’s three main beaches – Playa de los Charcos, Playa de las Cucharas and Playa de Jabilio. César Manrique was responsible for the Pueblo Marinero at the southern end of town and the lush indoor gardens of Hotel Meliá Salinas.

Planning Your 7 Days in Lanzarote

when to visit

With around 300 days of sunshine annually, Lanzarote is a year-round destination.

You are looking at an annual average temperature of 20 degrees, soaring to 30 degrees in the summer months. However, the worst of the heat is moderated by cooling trade winds

Northern Europeans flock there in the winter months to escape the frosty mornings back home.

On balance, spring or autumn (fall) are good times to visit Lanzarote.

You have a greater chance of seeing rain if you visit between November and February.

To save money on accommodation, avoid visiting during school holidays, particularly at Easter and Christmas. The least busy month for tourism in Lanzarote is November.

How to get to Lanzarote

By plane

There are direct flights to Lanzarote from Spain and other European cities. Planes land at César Manrique-Lanzarote Airport (ACE), also known as Arrecife Airport.

By boat

There are regular services between Playa Blanca in Lanzarote and Corralejo on Fuerteventura.  There are also ferry services from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

From mainland Spain, there are weekly crossings from the ports of Huelva and Cádiz to Arrecife.

Lanzarote is also a popular port of call for cruise ships.

Getting around Lanzarote

large white bus in lanzarote spain
Buses are a good way to get around Lanzarote

Whilst hiring a car gives you the most flexibility, it’s not for everyone. It’s certainly not for me.

Instead, leave your driver’s licence at home and take the bus.

Thanks to cheap fares and an extensive network, exploring Lanzarote by bus is a breeze. What you lose in flexibility you gain in downtime, watching the island’s extraordinary landscape unfurl from the comfort of your window seat.

For the few places in Lanzarote that buses do not reach – Timanfaya National Park is a good example – join one of the inexpensive day tours. These are also excellent ways for solo travellers to meet other people.

Where to Stay

So where is the best place to base yourself for a week in Lanzarote, especially if you are not hiring a car? Ultimately, where you stay in Lanzarote will depend on your itinerary whilst on the island.

Bucket-and-spade package tourists descend on the two bigger resorts in the south: Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen.

To explore the more interesting places in the northeast of the island by public transport, pick Costa Teguise, the smaller and more restrained of the three tourist resort towns, or Arrecife, Lanzarote’s capital.

Hotel HD Beach Resort & Spa

I stayed at this 4-star resort at the quieter end of town. There are uninterrupted sea views and pools-a-plenty, and I was lucky to be upgraded to a swish duplex suite.

beige sofa and low table in room at hd beach hotel costa teguise lanzarote
hot tub and bed in room at hd beach hotel costa teguise lanzarote


Here are a few alternatives that I have found that may suit other tastes and budgets:

Paradisus by Meliá Salinas Lanzarote

Hotel HD Beach Resort’s next-door neighbour, this lovely hotel is famous for its interior garden designed by César Manrique.


Apartamento recién reformado en la playa de Las Cucharas

This modern apartment close to the beach has a sun terrace, washing machine and daily housekeeping, and has excellent reviews


If I was to visit Lanzarote again, I would be very tempted to stay in Arrecife. Although this is the island’s busy capital, it has lots of character, a lovely beach and is unbeatable in terms of bus connections across the island.

Here are a few places that I have found that are worth a closer look:

5***** Charco loft

This huge apartment is in an excellent location, has views to die for and excellent reviews.


Arrecife Gran Hotel & Spa

Next to Arrecife’s lovely El Reducto Beach, this 5-star hotel offers a spa and panoramic views.


My Top Lanzarote Travel Tips

And that’s a wrap. Which of these fabulous places in Lanzarote will be on your shortlist?  

I’ll leave you with a few final Lanzarote travel tips to make your holiday go with a swing.

  • Packs layers for cooler weather. When I visited there were some cool mornings and the wind can be brisk. I needed a sweatshirt to visit higher altitude areas such as La Geria.
  • Given the island’s rough terrain, sturdy footwear is a given
  • The official currency of the Canary Islands is the Euro. Cards are widely accepted and ATMs are plentiful (just watch out for the transaction fees which can vary widely).
  • Although this may bring North Americans out in a rash, tipping is not mandatory but will be appreciated. A 10% tip is more than enough in a restaurant – less if the service hasn’t been that great – and in a bar, 50 cents or a Euro will do just fine.
  • Last but not least, if you are staying in one of the resorts in Lanzarote don’t spend your week by the pool. There’s so much to see on the island. Get out and explore

Finally, if you’ve found this article helpful, check out my other Lanzarote destination guides:

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at or follow her on social media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *