I’ve been scrolling through Instagram, getting increasingly jealous of sunny holiday snaps or surfers riding beautiful, clean waves. And with the sudden pining to go surfing, I started thinking back to our very first surfing holiday.
We’d decided on Lanzarote. It was ideal – we could make it as cheap as we needed, we could get accommodation through AirBnB and we could book in for a few days of surf lessons, doing our own research through TripAdvisor.
Plus we’d get some much needed sun.
But our little surfing break also gave us a chance to explore the island. We hired a car for the week and, when our surf lessons were over, we’d head off with just a tiny map for company, to see what else Lanzarote had to offer.
We discovered some real gems…
Top Places to Visit in Lanzarote
Famara – for surfing & skating
I was obviously going to say this. It might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think about surfing holidays but if you want an affordable, quick trip from the UK, it should definitely be near the top of your list. It’s incredible variety of surf has earned Lanzarote the nickname, “European Hawaii”, with a variety of spots across the island for surfers of all levels.
You should do research as to where is best for you, but we chose to stay in a coastal village called Caleta de Famara. It was extremely quiet, the locals spoke very little (if any) English, and I could count on one hand the number of restaurants or bars. But it had a couple of surf shops, an amazing bakery where we bought fresh croissants or bread nearly every morning, and crucially, it was just a stone’s throw away from our chosen surf school.
Plus, because Famara is away from the touristy centre of Lanzarote, it was also pretty affordable for us to rent a three bedroom house with sea views and a terrace which had steps leading directly onto the beach.
So, if I’ve won you over and you’re considering a surf trip to this part of the island, get in touch with Lanzasurf. Their instructors are extremely passionate and energised so every day you spend with them will be fun and rewarding.
They’ll have you warming up and jogging on the beach before your session, teach you theory while sitting on the sand, and they’ll push you to keep trying and to get out of your comfort zone while in the water.
Plus, if you’re lucky like we were, you won’t end up on a crowded beach, jostling for space with other surfers. We visited in June/July and our little group of 5 were the only ones in the water, apart from the occasional kite surfer.
Lanzasurf managed to help me progress from a complete newbie, wondering if I’d even be able to stand on the board again, to someone who understood how to turn a board – even if I couldn’t do it every single time. I almost, almost, made it out back too but the waves were very choppy and I lost my nerves (thanks Lanzarote wind…). Instead, getting out back was to happen on our next surf trip.
Out of the water, Famara also has a small skate park. It’s nestled in the middle of the residential part of the village (so expect the occasional spectator) but it’s ideal if you have a board or can borrow a board from somewhere nearby.
There’s enough room to carve and work the board plus the roads are actually quiet enough in the village that you could carve your way down those too…
If you want to sit back and relax but still soak up the surfing scene, head over to La Santa – not far from Caleta de Famara. If you pick a good night, you’ll be able to catch locals carving the left and right point break…
Jameos Del Agua
If you’re ready to leave the sports and visit one of Lanzarote’s points of interest, head over to Jameos Del Agua in Punta Mujeres. Created by the artist Cesar Manrique, Jameos del Agua is intended to show the harmony between nature and artistic creation.
Located inside one of the longest volcanic tunnels in the world, created by the eruption of La Corona Volcano, a beautiful lagoon (and a restaurant) await you below the entrance level.
It took my breath away.
Take the walk down the steps slowly and really take in the view. The waters reflect on the tunnel ceiling creating a mysterious and magical atmosphere. There are also benches at either end for people to sit and reflect, gazing out over the water.
But, if you sit and look into the water, you’ll spot the many blind crabs that call the lagoon home – striking white creatures sitting on the floor of the pool.
When we visited, we sat by the edge of the lagoon in silence and just took it in. It’s rare to find moments of complete calm in an attraction/point of interest, but this place left us feeling calm, serene and happy.
And that, my friends, is the beauty of nature…
Timafaya National Park
Most people know that Lanzarote is a volcanic island, but I’d strongly suggest actually seeing the volcanoes.
Known as the Fire Mountains, the Montañas del Fuego were created between 1730 and 1736 when more than 100 volcanoes, covering more than 50 km², rose up and devastated part of Lanzarote.
The last eruptions were in 1824, but thanks to low rainfall (and consequently a lack of erosion) the mountain ranges appear much the same as they did just after the eruptions.
In 1968 the area was declared a national park: Parque Nacional de Timanfaya.
As we drove in to the park, we immediately noticed a change as the landscape turned almost martian-like. Everything is covered in red dust and there are craters as far as the eye can see.
When we arrived, we headed over to a small crowd gathered by one of the guides. He threw water into one of the bore holes to show how hot it was underground. Within a few seconds, steam erupted and blew out far above his head.
There’s a restaurant on site where food is cooked by geothermal heat (with spits and grills over holes in the ground) but it gets really busy and closes at 3pm so if you want to eat there, get there early.
We just stuck with the tour around the volcanoes. This is done by coach – it’s a shame you can’t get out and wander around some parts, but the area is vast so a guided tour gives you enough of an oversight without boring you or getting you lost.
But the coach ride at times was slightly terrifying – there are some narrow ‘roads’ with deep rivets either side and you’ll feel convinced a coach can’t make a tight corner without falling in to the ditches either side… You’d be wrong.
Puerto Calero Marina
Situated between between Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca, the marina is worth a visit if you want to have a nice meal out and ogle at yachts for a while. For eateries that are a bit less ‘touristy’ than somewhere like Costa Teguise (a town we weren’t big fans of), head to the Marina. We had a delicious meal and whiled away a good hour or two wandering round the Marina in the sunshine.
There are a few shops if you fancy a browse and free parking too.
And if you want to do a little more – there are regular boat trips and even a submarine safari…
When I went to Lanzarote before, as a teenager with family, we tried one of the Catamaran trips and I remember having loads of fun, sitting on deck with the waves splashing our feet.
We stopped near the Papagayo beaches and had a jet-ski ride with one of the crew and my brother (they went too fast and we fell off…!)
So you see, to many, it might just be a beach holiday staying close to your hotel resort, but Lanzarote actually has so much more than that to offer. From hidden beaches and villages, to fascinating points of attraction, and incredible surf schools.
It’s all there to explore…