Lanzarote – A Year-round Family Destination
If you ask me which of the three (already experienced) Canary Islands I would recommend for your next family trip, my answer is Lanzarote. Our hobbies make The Canaries a perfect destination that never disappoints.
Since we were off for the New Year and we still had a few days left from our annual leave, we decided to jump at the chance and switch the heavy fog for some spring weather. We made the right decision. During our 12-day stay we windsurfed, wave surfed and SUPed, thanks to Waterman Lanzarote. We also did some sightseeing, and Lev was in the water almost every day. With or without the neoprene suit.
Destination: Lanzarote, the easternmost island of all The Canaries.
Due to a slower expansion of tourism than in Tenerife, Gran Canaria or Fuerteventura, the island kept its raw authenticity and, to a great extent, escaped mass tourism. Sensible local politics and local artist Cesar Manrique’s vision of the island’s continual development made Lanzarote stand out among other islands for its sheer beauty. I recommend watching the video bellow to get in The Lanzarote Effect.
Time difference: -1 GMT
Travel days: 12
Age of Child: 2.5 years
Heaven for: active sports vacation, swimming, water sports, exploring the fascinating volcanic landscape and unspoiled nature.
Suitable for children: of all ages
Weather: Similar to the weather in Fuerteventura, Lanzarote has a favourable spring climate in the winter, and is therefore appropriate as a year-round destination. In my experience, you should be prepared for everything on this island in the wintertime. You can go from sunbathing to sitting in the slipstream fully dressed in only one hour. I recommend layered clothing for the whole family. The only disappointing thing in the winter is the water temperature which, even when the air temperature is highest, goes up only to 19 °C. Swimming in the sea is reserved only for the bravest.
Flight: Ryanair, Bologna – Lanzarote.
The flight lasts 4 hours. The car drive from Ljubljana to Bologna (airport) takes approx. 4 hours. If you go by car, park it on P4. The parking costs for 12 days were around 40€. There is also a direct connection to the airport shuttle.
From the airport to the location: Lanzarote is a small island. It will take you up to 1 hour or less to reach any desired place.
Accommodation: Private apartments in Caleta de Famara. For more information go to Waterman Lanzarote.
Flight for two adults + one child in the winter holiday season: 900€
Prices are much lower during low season.
The faster you book, the lower the price.
Car rental with full insurance: 250€
A two bedroom apartment with one bathroom, a large living area + kitchen: 45€ per night.
The restaurant and bar prices are similar to ours, while the prices at the supermarkets are a bit lower.
Top 6 off Lanzarote with kids
1. Timanfaya National Park is the most interesting tourist attraction on the island. This is clearly visible from the crowds that gather daily on all the major surrounding tourist points. The Montanas del Fuego (The Fire Mountains) offer home to a large number of the 300, now inactive volcanoes that are spread across the island. I recommend you take the trip before 10am or after 2pm. If you go during lunchtime, be prepared to wait for quite a while.
You enter the park by car. The entrance fee is 9€/adult. Take the car to the centre and continue the trip with a guided tour bus. The circular ride takes about half an hour. To prevent the kids from getting bored, I recommend you get in line first and take the front seat on the bus. There are a few stops to take photographs during the ride, but you can’t get off the bus.
When you get back to the centre take a look at the steam demonstration of the geyser and the chicken roasting on the volcanic fire. Only a few metres under the surface, the temperature can rise up to 600 °C. You can get the aforementioned chicken for lunch at the ‘’El Diablo’’ restaurant.
While you are inside the park, take a look at the museum as well. Heading south, you can stop for a tour and a camel ride. Unfortunately, we did not have time for either of the activities.
2. Caleta de Famara
Caleta de Famara is a small fishing village located underneath the huge cliff El Risco on the western side of the island. The village, however, is not as impressive as the nearby beach. And the beach is reputable for its giant waves. The Famara beach offers enough space to frolic on the endless sands, and the water can be even more exciting given the right conditions.The beach is known as one of the best surfing spots in Europe.
Waterman Lanzarote provided some help when battling the waves, and I warmly recommend their services to everyone. As Toni makes sure you catch your first wave, Špela takes great care to entertain you kids (as well as her own) on the beach. Tested!
3. A trip to the southern part of the island
On our way to the south we drove through a picturesque wine road that stretches from San Bartolome, past La Geria, to Yaiza. Malvasia is grown here on the black volcanic sand. We continued to Playa Blanca, one of the two most commercial resorts on the island. Our kid chose a bad timing to take a nap, so we couldn’t visit the most famous beach on this part of the island: Playa Papagayo. On the way back we stopped to see the salterns and the cliff Los Herivideros before reaching El Golfo.
The gulf El Golfo at the foot of the National Park is appealing because of its black beach and green lake. The marvellous colours of the volcanic rocks and the foaming of the ocean on the black sand are regarded as the most beautiful attractions the island has to offer. Park your car in front of the village and then continue walking to the beach. The path is steep so I would not recommend taking a stroller. The stunning view of the fascinating multicoloured rocks that rise above the emerald lake, and the foaming of the ocean on the black sand is a good enough reason to take a longer stop.
4. A trip to the northern side of the island
No matter where you want to go on this side of the island, I recommend stopping in this little village called Arriete. A tiny and still very authentic fishing village with a beach appropriate for surfing, and a nearby children playground with a mini skate park. Beside the skate park is a smaller bistro with an idyllic view and tasty food.
We visited one of the major tourist attractions and the legacy of a local artist Cesar Manrique, Jameos del Agua. We found the blind albino crabs that dot the bottom of the black lake to be the most impressive thing. The auditorium in the cave and the artificial pool are a nice sight but nothing special for the kids. Overall, this destination is not really child-friendly. You will find it difficult to go about with a stroller because of the inconveniently large steps.
On our way to Orzolo on the northernmost part of the island we drove past some interesting coves suitable for bathing and relaxing on the beach. The village of Orzol was nothing special. There is a boat going from Orzolo to the island of La Graciosa several times per day.
On our way back south we stopped at the Mirador del Rio, but we could not see anything due to the cloudiness. Another interesting stop would be in Haria town, but our little one was not in the mood for any more exploring.
5. Sunday market Teguise
Every Sunday between 9am and 2pm the Sunday market in the ancient capital of Teguise comes alive. The main streets are closed for traffic and the stands boast a mixture of local produce, hand made craft and Chinese kitsch. I recommend food tasting and shopping for local products at the stand near the playground. You will find delicious local snacks and Malvasia at every corner. We saw an interesting performance for children on the square in front of the Church. A wonderful experience for the whole family.
Parking advice: the lower you park, the cheaper it will be. Despite the large crowds, you can still get a free parking space.
5. Rancho Texas
Rancho Texas is certainly the most commercial attraction for kids on the island, but a perfect one for a cloudy day. At the Zoo you will see lizards, crocodiles, a tiger and many other animals. They have three regular shows that include birds, parrots and seals. The playground is well equipped and offers additional activities for the kids. In one part of park, your child can ride a pony or go for a ride with an Indian canoe (2€ for a ride). We went searching for the gold coin in the river. If you find it, you can exchange it for a gift at the exit.
Besides the Zoo, there is also a small water park with slides for bigger or smaller kids. The entrance fee is quite high; 20€ for adults and 15€ for children aged 2+.
Lanzarote is extremely versatile and offers a lot of activities for younger and older children. Here is a list of other parents’ recommendations. We did not test any of the following because we were short on time.
-The pirate museum
-Camel riding in the Timanfaya National Park
What parents traveling around Lanzarote should keep in mind:
For those looking for more lively tourist areas, neat sandy beaches, long paths for strollers, biking and walking by the sea, be sure to check out Costa Tequis or Puerto del Carmen. Both cities are a great starting point to explore the island. For water sports lovers (kitesurfing, surfing, SUP, …), the best choice is the Famara. For more information regarding accommodation visit Waterman.
- Activities: stroller walking, biking, swimming, bathing, surfing, kitesurfing, hiking, fishing, exploring the volcanic landscape, wine tasting … I am positive that you will find something that will fit your needs.
Six island attractions can be seen by purchasing a unified, cheaper ticket that you can use up to 7 or 14 days after the purchase.
The six attractions:
Cueva de los Verdes
MIAC – San José Castle
Jameos del Agua
Mirador del Rio
Fire Mountains – Timanfaya
The restaurants on the island are ideal for lovers of seafood. In the vicinity of the capital of Areciffe you will find some bigger and well-supplied stores. For breakfast and home cooking, I recommend buying food from Mercadona.
- Health concerns:
There is a large hospital in Areciffe, and public and private medical centres in all bigger tourist towns.
- Additional attractions close to the destination
- Daily ferries go from Playa Blanca to Corraljeo on Furteventura. We met some families who combined the visit to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Some like to add Gran Canaria to that as well.
- Catamarans take you from Orzolo (the northernmost part of the island) to a smaller island called La Graciosa. The circular trail on the island can be a great biking trip appropriate for children.
The above descriptions are based on personal impressions and experiences gained while travelling with my family. For more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org