Lanzarote is a great place. I have personally travel to the island several times over the last decade and have enjoyed every visit. In this article I hope to give you an idea about Lanzarote, some basic facts and information on what I think you can do when in Lanzarote and the Canary Islands.
Where is Lanzarote?
Lanzarote is on the same latitude as the Sahara desert. This means that is warm with very strong sunlight. Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands and so surrounded by water, the Atlantic Ocean. This means that the temperatures on the island are moderated by the sea so that it's not as hot as places on the same latitude. The Canary Islands consist of Lanzarote, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran canaria, La Parma, La Gomera, and some smaller islands. Lanzarote is around 11 km north east of Fuerteventura which is its closest large island neighbour.
What is the climate like on Lanzarote?
The climate in Lanzarote is very sunny with very little rainfall. in fact in 2012 by August they had hardly been a day of rain. Incidentally, all water on the islands comes from one desalination plant built around the 1960s. The intensity of sunlight on the island is very strong but the air temperatures are affected by the sea. The average temperature on the island in summer is around 28°C to around 22°C in the winter. As the temperature does not change very much it makes Lanzarote, like the rest of the Canary Islands, a popular destination both in summer and during the winter months.
How was Lanzarote formed?
Like all of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is a volcanic island. It is thought that the island originally started to be formed around 15 million years ago as part of the Canary hotspot. The last eruption to occur on Lanzarote occurred for 6 years between 1730 and 1736, the area is still a rocky lava field and is now designated the Timanfaya National Park. The last eruption to occur as part of the Canary hotspot was in 2011, from July to September the smaller Canary Island of El Hierro located to the south west of the Canary Islands had large amounts of seismic activity which has led to a fissure underneath the ocean opening up releasing magma. This has resulted in large amounts of bubbles being forming in the area, and could potentially result in a new island being formed.
How to get there
Lanzarote has one large airport in Arrecife. It receives almost 5 and half million visitors per year and mostly functions as a tourist airport. Alternatively you can get the ferry from other islands but Lanzarote airport flies to most of the major tourist airports in Europe and some to the rest of the world.
Who lives in Lanzarote?
Lanzarote is part of the Spanish autonomous community–the Canary Islands. Its main inhabitants are Spanish with small percentages of British, Irish and German immigrants as well as immigrants from other parts of the world including Western Africa. Only around 140,000 people live on Lanzarote with around 60,000 living in the capital Arrecife.
The history of Lanzarote
It is believed that the Phoenicians settled on Lanzarote around 1100 BC. There is no known material which survived from the area but we think it is so because Greek writers described in area as a mythic orchard–potentially the Canary Islands. Pliny the elder, a Roman, in the encyclopaedia Naturalis Historia names of the islands, although Lanzarote and Fuertaventura were only mentioned as " purple islands". Once the Roman Empire fell, the Canary Islands were effectively ignored until the Arabs arrived at the island around 999 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, the Canary Islands where the destination of missions from Portugal, Spain, France and of those of the Ottoman Empire. Spain retained control of the islands, even over the period of strong volcanic eruptions on Lanzarote from 1730 to 1736. In 1927 Lanzarote became part of the province of La Parma. In 1993 UNESCO designated the entire island a biosphere reserve, with the large national park which comprises one quarter of the island making up a crucial part of this.
The different areas of Lanzarote
There are several main resorts on Lanzarote. The largest is Puerto Del Carmen which is built around an old town harbour. Costa Teguize is a purpose-built tourism resort constructed in the 1970s, which some regard as lacking the soul that other parts of the island have due to not been built around an existing area. Playa Blanca, my personal favourite, has developed rapidly over the last couple of years although Lanzarote has very strict planning laws. Puerto Calero is much smaller than the rest but offers a much more upmarket experience. There are also a variety of villages including Yaiza, Tias, Haria and Teguise.
What things I think you need to see on Lanzarote
I think that going to the Timanfaya National Park is an absolute must. The scenery is breathtaking and will amaze even a young child. I recommend going on an organised coach trip from your hotel, especially if you are located in the Playa Blanca region. Often there is a choice between a full day and half day trip - I recommend the latter unless your party is purely adults. You can also get a hire car and travel to the national park, but bear in mind that only coaches can go on the path that has been cut into the park, and there are coaches that you can get from the National Park Centre. It can get incredibly busy during the tourist season so either go early or mid afternoon onwards - the queues can reach for miles back and the Park Officials are very aggressive in letting only certain numbers of people in at a time (coaches also seem to have priority).
Have you ever been to Lanzarote? Which parts of the island would you recommend? Would you rather go to any of the other Canary Islands? Feel free to help others by leaving a comment below on these questions or if you have a comment about this article. If you need to join Infobarrel then you can use the links at the top of the page.