Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Shutterstock

The 13 best things to do in Lanzarote

Looking to explore this wild wonderland in the Canary Islands? Enjoy the best things to do in luscious Lanzarote

Written by
Gemma Bowes

There is much more to Lanzarote than Brits abroad and English breakfasts. Sure, you’ll find plenty of both, but if you can manage to swerve overdeveloped areas like Playa del Carmen and Costa Teguise you’ll find a wild wonderland waiting to be explored and adored.

This beautiful Canary Island is actually filled with palm-filled towns, gorgeous beaches and delicious fresh fish. Lanzarote is often a love letter to the heart and soul of influential artist César Manrique, with many stunning homes and attractions related to the great man. The best things to do in Lanzarote might surprise you.

🌵 The best things to do in Gran Canaria
🏄‍♀️ The best things to do in Fuerteventura
🗻 The best things to do in Tenerife
🏨 The best hotels in Lanzarote

Gemma Bowes is a travel writer with expertise in Lanzarote. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Lanzarote things to do

1. Museo Atlántico

What is it? Europe’s first underwater sculpture museum, in the sea near Marina Rubicon, features cement figures and sculptures by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, which are slowly being colonised by marine life.

Why go? Lanzarote is famous for scuba diving, but drifting through thought-provoking sculptures 12-metres down is a whole different experience. When you visit Museo Atlántico, look out for the Raft of Lampedusa, showing a dingy full of refugees.

2. Timanfaya National Park

What is it? Volcanoes! But don’t worry, you won’t have to flee from bubbling lava. The dormant volcanoes haven’t erupted since 1824. Massive eruptions from more than 100 of them, between 1730-36, created the vast basalt landscape that covers around a quarter of the island. It’s now, largely, a national park. 

Why go? This spectacular moonscape is too dangerous to explore on foot, but a coach tour gives an exciting overview of the sea of lava with 25 craters. At the Montanas del Fuego centre, you can watch guides drop straw into a hole, where it bursts into flame. Dishes are cooked using geothermal heat at the El Diablo restaurant. An alternative, quirky way to explore is in an open-sided electric Twizy car.


3. Natural swimming pools

What is it? Outdoor sea swimming pools can be found around Lanzarote’s southern and eastern coasts, most natural formations in the rocks, with only steps and ladders added. Others are more built structures but with an opening to the sea.

Why go? A calmer place to swim than out in the sea proper but wilder than a chlorinated pool, these seaside lidos are often deserted. Do some laps in Los Charcones near Playa Blanca, and Punta Mujeres in the north.

4. Famara surfing

What is it? Surfers worldwide are drawn to Famara’s epic beach and reef breaks, but its five-kilometre swathe of sand is a joy even for those who don’t like checking into the green room. The cool little town behind it is full of colourful surf cafes, bars and hostels.

Why go? Paddle, run its length, or build a sandcastle, then duck into Restaurant El Risco for a delicious fish lunch. Or book a two-day surf course.


5. Jameos del Agua caves

What is it? Lanzarote’s most famous artist, César Manrique, gave the island a funkadelic aesthetic, of which this sexy underground location is the crowning glory. The Jameos del Agua caves are home to a restaurant, curvy pool, and auditorium with bar seats built into the rocks and ferns cascading from the walls. 

Why go? Imagine a fantasy party hosted by James Bond, Barbarella and Twiggy in the sixties – this would be the venue, and it will blow your mind. After dark, there are live music and gastronomy events.

6. Haría

What is it? The drive up to the hilltop village of Haría might be a bit white-knuckle, but the reward is a super-chilled atmospheric enclave of whitewashed villas, towering palms and tropical plants that feels like some lost Arabic paradise.

Why go? The exotic vibe here is a world away from the tacky resorts in the south. Visit Haría's Casa de César Manrique, one of the artist’s more homely abodes, in a palm grove. Here you’ll find an enviable haul of bubble chairs, zany textiles and art, plus unfinished work left as it was in his old studio.


7. Teguise

What is it? Found in 1402, Teguise is the oldest settlement in the Canaries and was Lanzarote’s capital for 450 years, thanks to its elevated position. It’s full of attractive white buildings, squares and palm trees, with a great Sunday market (top buys: local cheese and leather bags).

Why go? It’s a charming place for pottering between craft shops and bars. Nearby in Nazaret, you’ll find LagOmar, another Manrique creation. Explore this home built from lava and caves and furnished with bits from shipwrecks, and then pop into the stylish museum restaurant.

8. Arrieta

What is it? A small village in the northeast of the island. You’ll find unspoilt white beach Playa de La Garita and a harbour where fishing boats bob. There are lovely places to eat a simple, relaxed lunch.

Why go? A surprisingly good place to eat is Marisqueria El Charcon, where the harbour juts out into the sea, and there are steps to the water that people fish from. It looks like a bog-standard cheap and cheery caff, with plastic chairs, but does plates of fresh fish and chips that will just make you happy.


9. Jardín de Cactus

What is it? A lovely garden full of cacti of every size, shape and variety, laid out like an amphitheatre in an old quarry. Mr Manrique is to thank once again for this ultra-Instagrammable attraction.

Why go? Jardín de Cactus might just be the coolest, spikiest place on earth, with 4,500 specimens of 450 species thriving in a sun-trap of a dip in the arid landscape. The stylish café/bar sells fresh juices and green-tinged cactus burgers made from prickly pear cactus and potato.

10. El Golfo

What is it? Where powerful Atlantic breakers pound the western volcanic coast, several paper tablecloth cafés, such as Restaurant Costa Azul, offer ringside seats. Feel the sea spray on your cheeks while devouring fresh fish with Canarian potatoes.

Why go? It’s invigorating to watch the drama of waves smashing onto the black rocks a few feet away and seabirds soaring above. Prepare to scream when a big wave hits. The jagged rocks at Los Hervideros nearby provide good photo ops.


11. Marina Rubicon

What is it? This busy marina full of yachts and seafront cafes on the edge of the southern town of Puerto del Carmen is hugely popular with tourists and worth a trip for duty-free shopping.

Why go? The Marina may verge on being a tad tacky, despite the upmarket stores, but it’s good fun if you need a retail hit but don’t fancy hitting the big city of Arrecife. Stores behind the seafront sell designer clothing, from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste, for bargain prices.

12. Playa de Papagao

What is it? A beach beauty. In fact, seven. A series of pale yellow stretches on a headland in the far south, separated by lava rock. They’re sheltered, with no scary undertows or currents.

Why go? While other beaches on the island are interesting in their way – Playa del Charco de los Clicos for its black sand, red cliffs and a green lagoon, Playa Chica for its thriving seabeds – this is the go-to spot for soft sand and safe, easy swimming.


13. César Manrique Foundation: Taro de Tahiche

What is it? Manrique’s to-die-for home/studio in Las Palmas is built into an old lava flow, with five underground cavern rooms in natural volcanic bubbles, interconnected with tunnels.

Why go? Unless you’re a millionaire rock star, the Tahíche is  probably the coolest home you’ll ever step foot in, a blend of volcanic rock, clever architecture and art. Curvy swimming pools set into white terraces surrounded by palms and stunning mid-century furniture are offset by the bubbly black rock walls.

More great things to do in Lanzarote

    You may also like
    You may also like