One of the seven Spanish-owned Canary Islands, Lanzarote is a remarkably unspoiled UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve, despite a package tour boom in the 1980s and 1990s. Year-round sunshine and some amazing natural wonders (most of which can be enjoyed for free) make Lanzarote the ideal holiday destination, however limited your funds are.
A ten-minute drive from Lanzarote Airport in Playa de los Pocillos, Aparthotel Costamar offers double- to five-bed apartments, a palm-fringed pool, and beautiful views of the sandy beach a minute’s walk away, making it an exceptional find among budget hotels. Jable Bermudas is a cheap source of spacious rooms with a pool and a wonderful location near the beach in Lanzarote’s largest resort, Puerto del Carmen. Also in Puerto del Carmen, the family-run Apartamentos Teneguia are a smart but classy accommodation option with a pool. Apartments have free Wi-Fi and their own balconies/terraces.
Tapas are a godsend for the budget traveller. Combine a selection of small hot and cold dishes for as little as €3 per plate. One of the widest selections of tapas is at El Bodegon in the main resort of Puerto del Carmen.
For something more substantial, the daytime Menu del Dia is also perfect for those of modest means. Expect a simple starter like soup, a main meat or fish dish with vegetables, a dessert, plus a drink, for under €10 per head. Both locals and tourists flock to Casa Luis in Costa Teguise.
Lanzarote’s surreal landscapes are the result of intense volcanic activity during the 1700s, and part of the volcanic region, known locally as Timanfaya, was declared a national park in the 1970s. You can take a relatively inexpensive guided coach tour of the region, or you could design your own volcano tour by exploring the lunar landscape at your own pace. Climb the dormant volcano La Caldera Blanca in Mancha Blanca, marvel at its huge crater, and survey the awe-inspiring landscape of the national park.
Lagoons and Palms
For more volcanic wonders, head to the Green Lagoon at El Golfo, a verdant lagoon locked within a crater of black sand that was created by the interaction between seawater, algae, and volcanic minerals. For something completely different to the desert landscapes of the volcanic region, go to the well-titled Valley of 1,000 Palms in the north of Lanzarote. Here, the custom of planting a Canarian palm for every baby born in the neighbouring village of Haria has produced a lush forest.
If you fancy a little relaxation after all your expeditions, Lanzarote offers almost 100 beaches. Locals favour the 8km stretch of pristine sand at Famara in the northwest, as well as the string of half a dozen sandy coves at Papagayo. These are within walking distance of the well-known resort of Playa Blanca to the south of the island. All the main resorts have superb (artificial) beaches, and balmy temperatures all-year-round mean you can sunbathe even in winter.