The island of Lanzarote lies just 125 kilometres off Africa’s Saharan Coast and is the most easterly of the Canary Islands (Spain). The island is 60km long and 20 km wide, making it the fourth largest island in the Archipelago. One of the first things that visitors notice is that nearly all of the buildings are painted white. This is largely thanks to the work of local artist, César Manrique, who worked tirelessly to protect the island’s traditional architectural style and avoid over-development.
Lanzarote has a Subtropical Desert climate with average maximum daytime temperatures ranging from about 21°C in January to 29°C in August. The island receives, on average, just 18 days of rain per year, making it a very popular destination for sun-seekers.
The island is dominated by volcanic scenery: the spectacular Montañas del Fuego were created during the eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736 when over 100 volcanoes erupted – devastating a large part of the South-west of the island. Even today, temperatures just below the surface reach over 400°C.
The last eruptions on the island took place in 1824 near Tiagua, though they were nowhere near as devastating as the previous episode.
Many of Lanzarote’s most popular tourist attractions are also volcanic in origin, including El Golfo (a flooded and partially eroded volcanic crater) and Jameos del Agua (part of one the World’s longest volcanic caves).
Unusually for a volcanic island, many of Lanzarote’s beaches are of golden sand (Playa Blanca, Papagayo, Famara) – and even white sand (Caleton Blanco). As you night expect, much of the outdoor activities are based around the sea, with great surfing at Famara, windsurfing at Costa Teguise and several great scuba diving locations around the island.
Lanzarote has three major tourist resort towns; Puerto del Carmen is the island’s biggest resort with the most nightlife (and is closest to the airport), Playa Blanca has great beaches and a lovely Marina, while Costa Teguise is just a stone’s throw from the island capital, Arrecife.