If you’ve ever thought you might like to visit the moon, or even mars, then I have a much cheaper (and prettier) alternative for you. Just go to the island of Lanzarote instead. Lanzarote is one of the seven islands that make up the Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. As well as out of this world landscapes they also have an endless supply of dreamy flowers, vast desert landscapes (with CAMELS!!!), volcanoes and every kind of beach you can imagine.
To be completely honest with you, the main reason we decided to go to the Canary Islands was because we found really cheap airfares through EasyJet. Yes that is how we pick most of our travel destinations these days! So we really didn’t have any expectations. We booked an Airbnb, a hire car and showed up ready to explore!
The great thing about traveling during off-peak season meant that we never had to fight a single crowd, it was a very welcome change! However the trade off was that the weather wasn’t at it’s summery best. Most days were between 17°C-22°C, sunny and windy. The Canary Islands are notorious for being windy at certain times of the year, but we did our best not to let it ruin our fun. A great little tip we got from locals while we were there is that if you go in October, it’s off-peak AND the weather is good.
Still not convinced? Let me show you my six favourite things about Lanzarote before you make your mind up then…
1. Dreamy Flowers
You know me… I have this little thing for flowers… Ok ok it’s a big thing. I wasn’t sure we’d spot any flowers because it’s technically winter in the Canary Islands during January. But I have a pretty keen eye for spotting pretty things and we managed to find some real bougainvillea beauties! There isn’t a particular place you need to go to find them, they are all over the island, so just keep your eyes peeled.
2. Desert Exploring
One of the first things we noticed about Lanzarote was the desert landscapes that cover most of the island. Yes some areas are pretty plain. But others are breathtaking, with multi coloured sand, desert flowers and volcanic backdrops. Lanzarote does have a public transport system (which we heard was a bit unreliable), however I would highly recommend renting a car. Rental is cheap, the roads are great and it makes getting around the island and exploring so much easier.
One of my favourite desert exploring activities was doing a mini camel ride. The camel rides are run by the Timanfaya National Park and are very easy to find. You’ll see them from the main road from Yaiza LZ-67. There’s a large carpark and no need to book. Simply turn up between 9am and 3pm and buy a ticket for €12 per camel (2 people). It’s a short ride of about 15-20 minutes but as our first time riding camels we really loved it!
3. Pretty Little Villages
Another beautiful characteristic of Lanzarote is the pretty white villages. One of my favourites was Teguise – the old capital of Lanzarote and the location of the Sunday market. Many of the buildings in charming Teguise date back to the 17th century. Show up at 9am on Sunday and you’ll have the markets to yourself for an hour, before the crowds show up, and nobody around to judge you for having churros for breakfast. But hey, when in Spain…
4. Lava Landscapes
It was only around 280 years ago that the volcanoes were still erupting on Lanzarote. Six years of continuous eruptions destroyed 26 villages and left behind landscapes that could be compared to the moon or mars. Apollo astronauts even used the area to get an idea of what the surface of the moon might look like. You’ll notice this as you drive around the island but the best place to see active volcanoes and lava fields is UNESCO listed Timanfaya National Park. The volcanoes here are still active and temperatures reach a scorching 600°C just 10 meters below the surface.
While the national park’s website tell you to book a ticket in advance for the park, which you can only see from a bus ride organised by the park, we just showed up and got our ticket at the entrance to the park. The website had actually told me it was all booked out for the time we were visiting – so it’s worth just showing up anyway!
Another really unique thing to see is the island’s volcanic vineyards. Lanzarote is known for their quality, artisan wines. To keep the vines safe from the wind the farmers plant them in little holes surrounded by rocks – it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before! I did a little taste test (just for you guys), and I can safely say that the wine is incredible!
5. Unique Beaches
One thing about Lanzarote that really blew my mind… cactus at the beach! Something I’ve never seen before. We gave the popular Playa Blanca a miss and explored some of the beaches that were off the beaten track. Our favourites were:
- Playa Quemada: A black sand beach, lined with cactus of all kinds. This beach also had some really cute little seafood restaurants along the water so would be a great place to stop for lunch.
- Playa Caleta del Congrio: Inside the Costa de Papagayo area, this beach is like a little desert oasis with it’s soft white sand and turquoise waters. The cliff above the beach has some of the prettiest little restaurants with coastal views. The perfect spot for a cocktail. If you go for a little walk along the cliffs you’ll find an area full of heart patterns made in the ground, left by visitors. Of course we made our own! You do have to pay a couple of Euro to get in to Costa de Papagayo but it’s worth it.
- El Gulfo: An incredibly unique beach – El Gulfo had a pebbled shore, wind eroded cliffs, and a famous green lagoon. The green lagoon used to be the mouth of a volcano, where trapped seawater has now formed a lake. The algae that lives in the lake has turned it into a beautiful vivid green colour.
6. Quirky Greenery
You do get used to seeing very baron landscapes as you explore Lanzarote but it still surprises you with greenery now and again. As well as having cactus at the beach, Lanzarote also has it’s very own Jardin de Cactus. This cactus garden has around 4,500 cactus of 450 different species originating from five different continents – but I was only interested in one. Yes it was pink. Surprise surprise!
Another gorgeous green landscape we stumbled across was surrounding Cueva de los Verdes. Cueve de los Verdes are caves made up of old lava tunnels, where locals used to hide out from pirates in the 16th and 17th centuries. You can do a guided tour through these caves, which I would recommend. After our tour we headed down to the nearby coast to watch a stunning sunset!
Lanzarote is an incredibly quirky and surreal island, one I never even dreamed I’d get to visit. Even though we based our decision to go on cheap flights, I am so glad we did. I don’t imagine we will ever see landscapes like this again! So have I convinced you to add Lanzarote to your bucket list?
LIKE MY OUTFITS?
You can see exactly what I packed for this trip here. Shop these items and support Jayde Archives at the same time by using some of the affiliate links below:
- Tiger Lily Tunic (old, similar here and here)
- ASOS Striped Long Sleeve (ON SALE)
- Free People Kai Henley Top (available in other colours)
- H&M Multi Sweater (old, similar here and here ON SALE)
- One Teaspoon Freebird Skinny Jeans (old, similar here)
- Forever New Ripped Skinny Jeans (old, similar here)
- Uniqlo Raincoat (ON SALE)
- Witchery Scarf (old, similar here)
- H&M Headband Scarf
- Teva Fringe Trekking Sandals
- Lace-up Espadrilles (old, similar here)
- Gant Pink Sneakers
- Stronger Vietnam Bra and Tights