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Your guide to Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Dec. 19, 2020
7 min read
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Lanzarote's charm goes beyond just windswept beaches. If you love the sun and sand but also want to infuse your vacation with some nature, culture and truly original wine adventures, this is the Canary Island for you.

Lanzarote sunset. (Photo by Andreas Weibel/Getty)

Besides long stretches of golden sands, Lanzarote is home to many art installations by the island's very own César Manrique, a Spanish artist with a flair for incorporating natural landscape into his work. And, if you've ever wanted to explore a volcanic vineyard and sample volcanic wine, this is the island to do so.

If you aren't quite sure if Lanzarote is the right island for your visit, check out these guides which may help you choose another:

Getting there and around

Plan to fly into Lanzarote Airport (ACE), which is located a few miles south of Arrecife, the island's capital. Similar to many of the other Canary Islands, if you plan to explore all that Lanzarote has to offer, car rental is essential. If you'd rather just relax at your all-inclusive hotel, it may not be necessary. Taxis are readily available at the airport if you decide not to rent a car.

Where to stay

Lanzarote has many tourist resort areas. The closest to the airport and most popular is Puerto del Carmen, a short ride away from the airport and the capital of Arrecife.

Puerto del Carmen. (Photo by Jorg Greuel/Getty)

Although there are plenty of tourist-catering beachfront resorts in this area, we love the boutique Hotel Los Lirios, decked out in traditional whitewashed plaster with volcanic rock, located slightly inland. This option is ideal if you want to be near some of the amenities, but away from the party scene or avoid the crowds.

(Photo courtesy of Hote Los Lirios/Facebook)

For a more typical hotel experience, the Barcelo Teguise Beach north of Arrecife is an adults-only resort with two pools and a modern, chic ambiance.

(Photo courtesy of Barcelo Tequise Beach)

If you want less wind and guaranteed sunshine, the best spot is Playa Blanca in the south, which also features more luxury hotel and resort options, such as the Kamezi Boutique Villas. Some of the villas feature private pools and the resort overlooks a gorgeous rocky beach.

(Photo courtesy of Kamezi Boutique Villas/Facebook)

For those wanting to be closer to the white sand beaches in this area, the recently renovated H10 Rubicon Palace is perfect for families, with a special play area for children featuring a pirate ship.

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(Photo courtesy of H10 Rubicon Palace)

If you'd prefer to get away from it, consider a stay at the Finca de Arrieta Eco Retreat, close to the sand and rocks of Playa Garita. This spot is all about "glamping," so expect hammocks, eco-chic yurts and fancy farmhouses.

(Photo courtesy of Finca De Arrieta/Lanzarote Retreats)

What to do and see

Beaches

Lanzarote's beach scene has something for everyone: black sand, picturesque pebbles, white and golden sand stretches flanked by cliffs, breezy surfer spots and shallow bays perfect for families.

Playa de Papagayo on Lanzarote. (Photo by Arcangelo Piai/EyeEm/Getty)
  • For natural sands in the south: Playa de Papagayo
  • For natural sands in the north: Playa Orzola
  • For shallow, family-friendly waters: Caleton Blanco
  • For amenities and golden sands: Playa Flamingo
  • For shallow, calm waters: El Jablillo
  • For surfing: Famara Beach
Playa de Famara. (Photo by Andreas Weibel/Getty)

Nature and adventure

A must-see in Lanzarote, Los Herivdores are cliffs created from volcanic lava. Weave through tiny paths heading towards the sea for some awe-inspiring scenery. Next, pay a visit to El Golfo, a volcano that has slowly been eroded by sea and salt, now a reddish crater wall with a vibrant green lagoon made up of volcanic minerals. The green water is separated from the blue ocean by a black pebbly beach, a one-of-a-kind natural wonder. Note that swimming in it is forbidden though.

El Golfo. (Photo by Christian Hirt/EyeEm/Getty Images)

You can't leave the island without checking out the Timanfaya Natural Park, home to volcanic craters and the famous Fire Mountain Monument. For more volcanic craters and hiking, you also have the nearby Volcanos Natural Park.

The Fire Mountains in Timanfaya. (Photo by svjetlana/Getty)

Culture and art

For a family-friendly adventure, check out one of the most beautiful villages in the Canary Islands, the whitewashed town of Haría lined with palm tree after palm tree.

Haria, Lanzarote. (Photo by Westend61/Getty)

Design and art lovers need to enter the world of César Manrique. Visit his former home in Haría, decked with sculpture and art incorporating the natural landscape of caves, volcanic rock and tunnels in his distinctive design aesthetic.

Another Manrique must-see is the Jameos de Agua, a unique tunnel, pool and event space with quirky design touches. And don't forget about his famed cactus garden, or the Campesino Museum, where his work is also on display.

Cacti in Lanzarote. (Photo by F.J. Jimenez/Getty)

What to eat and drink

Volcanos Natural Park has another claim to fame: the volcanic wine of La Geria. You can't come to Lanzarote without touring a volcanic vineyard, learning about how the grapes thrive in the mineral and ashy soil. The wines have small stone circles around them to protect from wind, salt and rain, making these volcanic moonscapes unlike any other vineyards in the world. Tour and taste at wineries such as Bodega Vega de Yuco or Bodega Vulcano Lanzarote. Most wines are light and fruity, but some sweet wine is also cultivated on the island.

Vineyards among the volcanic landscape in La Geria, Lanzarote. (Photo by Smartshots International/Getty)

Beyond its famous wine, Lanzarote has cuisine typical of the Canary Islands, stews and simple plates of tapas like potatoes with mojo picon sauce. To eat like a local, you'll want to dine in Arrecife, the island's capital, or in the north, where most of the population lives. For international cuisine, the tourist resorts of the south have many different gastronomic options.

For a truly unique dining experience, eat at El Diablo, a restaurant designed by César Manrique that overlooks the island's impressive volcanic landscape. For the complete experience, order something cooked using the volcanic steam, which can heat up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bottom line

Lanzarote, Canary Islands. (Photo by Artur Debat/Getty)

If you want a beach vacation that also includes some culture, Lanzarote is the island for you. With plenty of art, design and sculpture by César Manrique, its volcanic vineyards and impressive natural parks, you'll never get bored there.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Recommended Credit

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Pros

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  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more