The volcanic island of Lanzarote off the coast of northwest Africa in the Canary Islands chain has outstanding natural beauty, stunning beaches, volcanos, sports facilities and even a desert, which all contribute to make Lanzarote one of the most sought after destinations.
Lanzarote has more than 100 volcanos. One of the most popular reasons for visiting is the island's Timanfaya National Park, which was formed after a six year volcanic eruption in the eighteenth century. The volcanic activities have transformed the island and resulted in moonlike rock formations, lagoons and wild beaches. You can even sample meat cooked by volcano!
Caldera Blanca is one of the few volcanos on the island that can be climbed. It's the widest volcano on the island and is perfectly circular, with high walls all around it. The name refers to its colour as over the years, the crater has bleached to a white colour.
Nature lovers will love Lanzarote's rare species of plants and animals. There are exotic birds and flowers and a rich and plentiful sea life which can be explored. The island was designated a World Biospere Preserve in 1993 by UNESCO and there are many sight-seeing opportunities.
In terms of spectacular natural beauty, Lanzarote has it all. There is the Mirador del Rio, a lookout with spectacular views and the colourful Green Lagoon at El Golfo, which is a lagoon coloured green by algae and surrounded by red rock.
Along the coast from El Golfo, the cliffs of Los Hervidores are a collection of naturally formed caves carved out by the Atlantic Ocean. The island's semi-precious mineral, Olivine, can be seen by gazing down the blowholes in the rocks.
The Cuevas de los Verdes is an underground volcanic tunnel, which came into being as a result of activity from the La Corona Volcano nearby. It stretches for around six kilometres and is filled with eerie lava channels. Visitors can see the roof of the tunnel reflected in the calm waters of the potholes.
If you prefer man-made attractions, The Jameos del Agua is a collapsed lava tunnel that has been turned into a dazzling complex by a locally born artist. It contains a swimming pool, bar, concert venue and restaurant. The partly collapsed tunnel roof provides the setting for the complex, whilst the tunnel itself is hauntingly beautiful.
For beach lovers, Lanzarote caters for all tastes. There are secret, hidden coves, accessible only by dirt tracks, or popular resorts where you can indulge in sunbathing and water sports.
Puerto del Carmen is Lanzarote's original resort and closest to the airport. It started out as a small fishing village and now stretches for 6km along the coast with golden sandy beaches. This is the resort best known for its nightlife and there is a wealth of pubs, clubs and discos.
Costa Teguise was a rocky coastline that was transformed in the late 80s to offer a selection of sheltered beaches. There's a Golf course, Aquapark and Aquarium, as well good surfing. In the square of Pueblo Marinero is a Friday evening market and gourmets will find some excellent tapas bars here.
Playa Blanca is the newest resort of Lanzarote and stretches from the beautiful beaches at Papagayo to the lighthouse El Faro. There are two fabulous beaches, Playa Dorada and Playa Flamingo, within the resort.
Playa Papagayo is the place to go if you like hiking There is a hidden array of beaches and hidden coves that have no access by car. The water is crystal clear and the beaches quiet and pristine.
Sports enthusiasts are well catered for. There are opportunities for swimming, cycling, golf, hiking, scuba diving and surfing. Playa Chica, near the Old Harbour, is a good place to start scuba diving. Lanzarote has plenty of golf courses, many with spectacular views.
This is also the perfect holiday destination for surfers, who should make their way to Famara, where there are plenty of great surfing beaches and a vibrant community of surfers.
A desert is the one thing that not many people expect to find in Lanzarote. El Jable is a small desert, but it means you can go trekking relatively safely and not get too lost. You can even take a ride on a camel!
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