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Things to do in Lanzarote

Move over Timanfaya because we've got the definitive list of things you absolutely must do when you're on holiday in Lanzarote.

Playa de Papagayo

Sangria at sunset.

Not so much a hidden gem, but more of an unpolished diamond. Playa de Papagayo is a gorgeous beach that lies on the island's southern tip. It's got golden sand, a scattering of black rocks, sheer and sharp cliffs and it's washed by the rich blue waters of the Atlantic. Definitely worth a visit, if you can get there.

To reach this magnificent beach you'll need to drive for about 20 minutes along a very bumpy, very unpaved road. Then, once you've parked, you'll have to follow the path down the cliffs onto the sand – another challenge. The closer you get to the bottom the more treacherous it gets, but don't worry – there's a rope you can grab hold of to steady yourself.

If the thought of the journey down to the sea is a bit of a turn-off, you'll be pleased to know there's a bar at the top of the cliff which is much easier to access. Sip some sangria while you watch the sunset – the views are certainly worth it.

Lanzarote travel guide

Everything else you need to know about visiting this fascinating and unique island.

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Marina Rubicon

Marina Rubicon

Attached to the larger resort of Playa Blanca but off to the side a bit so it's usually a bit quieter, Marina Rubicon has a bit more of an up-market vibe. It's fairly modern and has loads of restaurants to choose from – whether you want something authentically Canarian or something a bit more international, it's got all corners of the globe covered.

Take a stroll along the boardwalk and stop to watch the fish swim by in the clear water, or the birds splash around in the fountains – you can even go for a dip yourself in the spacious outdoor pool or the small beach across from the sea wall.

The marina is also a popular spot for sailing and other watersports like windsurfing – so popular in fact that professional teams from all over the world go there to train. We went there recently to shoot our new ad with iQFoil athlete Sam Sills, why not take a look behind the scenes?

Sam Sills | Journey to Gold

Follow Sam's journey from Cornwall to Lanzarote and beyond as he trains for the biggest challenge of his career.

Find out more...

Jameos del Agua

Jameos del Agua

Do you like caves? Do you like artistic architecture? Do you like teeny, tiny little blind lobsters? If the answer is yes then Jameos del Agua is the excursion of your dreams.

This vast cave was formed by lava flows around 4,000 years ago – plenty of time for it to cool off. The main feature here is an underground salt lake that's home to a very rare species of blind lobster, which are barely any longer than a centimetre. You can get right to the water's edge for a good look at the little occupants – just don't touch the water or throw anything in as the ecosystem is very delicate.

Unique architecture has been seamlessly integrated into the cave's natural caverns and formations, taking advantage of the volcanic geology to create a bar, auditorium, gardens and pool (no swimming allowed though!).

Cueva de los Verdes

Cueva de los Verdes

Carrying on the cave hype is Cueva de los Verdes, which just so happens to be across the road from Jameos del Agua and was formed by the same volcanic eruption. Cave twins!

This is a more traditional cave with a mix of cavernous chambers, narrow tunnels and fascinating rock formations – ideal for a quick, post-lunch spelunk. You'll follow a guide through the system who will tell you about the cave's formation and how the islanders have used it throughout history. There's also a fun surprise that we won't spoil here.

And remember to take your sunglasses because the sun will blind you on your way out after all that time in the dark.

La Graciosa

La Graciosa

It might not technically be on Lanzarote but we're counting it anyway because it's just off the northern coast and small enough to explore in less than a day.

Hop on a ferry from Orzola and you're there in half an hour. There aren't any properly paved roads or cars here so you'll have to explore mostly on foot, although you can hire a bike if you prefer that.

The main draw is the golden sandy beaches that stretch on forever and, given the island's small population, are often pretty deserted. Kick off your flip-flops and feel the sand between your toes as you go for a stroll through the surf, or just find a secluded spot to enjoy some sunshine and peace.

Jardin de Cactus

cactus burger

It might not sound super interesting if you're not into this prickly succulent but give it a chance and you might be surprised. The garden itself was designed by Canarian artist and Lanzarote local Cesar Manrique, whose influence can be seen all over the island. The architecture on display here is quite eye-catching, with a spiral staircase and water feature that highlights the significance of fresh water as there's no natural source of it on the island.

The tallest cactus on the island is about 7 metres tall and was planted by Manrique himself in 1989 – it was the first planted in the garden. There are also hundreds of varieties from all over the world, including some sharp, squat specimens from Mexico and the classic prickly pear.

Did you know you can eat cactus as well? The on-site restaurant specialises in using prickly pears in many forms – whether as a burger, croquette, jam or even hummus. We have it on good authority from the team we sent to Lanzarote recently that prickly pear is 'quite nice, actually.' So eat your greens.

Las Grietas

La Griatas

In case you somehow missed the memo that Lanzarote is a volcanic island, Las Grietas or 'The Cracks' is a nice visual reminder. Imagine walking through a maze of narrow, winding crevices etched into the volcanic rock, each twist and turn unveiling dramatic patterns and colours. Formed by the cooling and contracting of ancient lava flows, these cracks offer a glimpse into the island's fiery past. And they make for some fun pictures as well.

Las Grietas is often missed out of itineraries, which makes it a bit of a hidden gem. Our advice is not to try and climb any part of it as the walls are razor sharp.