*Apologies for the punny title (ACE is the code for Lanzarote airport).
Lanzarote is one of the eight main Canary Islands, located off the north coast of Africa, in Spain. It's a land where tourism, art and nature are combined. With gorge-worthy cuisine, dreamy volcanic backdrops and year-round sunshine, it’s no surprise as many as 12 million tourists visit every year.
Full disclosure, at the end of another long year, I stayed an incredible 5* hotel (which I HIGHLY recommend), and spent the majority of my trip in extreme relaxation mode. I didn't do nearly as much adventuring as I typically do, but below are my top five recommendations for things to do/places to eat.
1. Take A Day Trip to Fuerteventura
The ferry takes 25-minutes and costs between €29 and €34. You will leave out of Playa Blanca, Lanzarote and arrive into Corralejo, Fuerteventura. I suggest arranging this tour (or something similar). The first stop is Lobos Island, where you'll have four hours to wander, hike, climb, snorkel, swim, sunbathe and/or eat. The little restaurant on the island doesn't look like much but is surprisingly delicious!
Next, you'll be taken to feed chipmunks. I wasn't particularly keen on this part of the trip initially, but it ended up being really cute and fun.
From there, it's onward to the highlight of the tour - Popcorn Beach. This beach is unlike any others I've ever seen. Instead of sand, it's made up of calcareous algae that looks like fluffy popcorn.
The final stop of the day is the Sand Dunes of Correlejo. The dunes here are not blown over from the Sahara, but are, in fact, composed of the shells of marine creatures.
2. Visit Jameos del Aqua
This underground complex is the masterwork of local artist and architect César Manrique. It features a concert hall, restaurant and salt lake, within a series of natural volcanic tunnels and lava caves formed by the eruption of the La Corona volcano some 4,000 years ago. I'd recommend either driving or booking a return taxi in advance, so you don't find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere.
3. Visit Timanfaya National Park (AKA the Fire Mountains) & Volcanic Vineyards
This national park is the result of volcanic eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736 and then later in 1824. It's extraordinarily beautiful, with otherworldly and eerie landscapes. It's open year-round and costs €12 for entry. As the national park is protected, the only way to see it is by organized and guided tours. Stay after the tour for some geothermal demonstrations and to have lunch at El Diablo (another of César Manrique's creations), where the heat from the volcano is used to cook your meat.
Not too far from the Fire Mountains you'll find wine country. As Lanzarote is a volcanic island, it has almost no soil nor natural vegetation. In order to grow grapevines here, winemakers have to separate vines into individual craters. The volcanic soil of the island gives the wine a unique and delicious taste - a must try!
4. Eat at Kentia Gourmet Kitchen
This magical restaurant in Puerto del Carmen is not only Instagrammable, but also delicious! It's not be missed if you're in the area.
5. Eat at Kaori
I didn't have to travel far to get to this Asian restaurant, as it was in my hotel. I opted for the tasting menu and it was a gastronomic delight!
Visiting Lanzarote is like leaving Earth, with its volcanic/lunar landscapes, Mars-like sands and its delicious wine/seafood. There are countless reasons to visit this Canary Island not listed here, but don't take my word for it - go see for yourself!
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