|Lanzarote is a nice little island which forms part of the Canarian archipelago, Lanzarote and La Graciosa are the most eastern islands of the Canaries, situated at 110 kilometres from the African coast.
Lanzarote qickly found an easy development during the past 30 years, based in tourism and nowadays it counts with an impressive infrastructure, however it has kept forms, particularities and charm. Lanzarote is one of the four Biosphere Reserves found in the Canary Islands Archipelago, and was declared as such in 1993 by the UNESCO. Due to the biodiversity and the multiple types of landscape Lanzarote counts nowadays with 10 protected natural parks, in which the leading objective is preservation of species, flora and fauna, and also protection of the spectacular geomorphologic beauty that it offers.
Three points of the island were bound to tourism and nowadays are important tourist areas very well known in Europe.
. The oldest of the three is " Puerto del Carmen " situated at the East coast, more or less in the middle.
. Secondly comes " Costa Teguise " also situated at the Eastern coast but further North.
. The third one is " Playa Blanca " a southern village of Lanzarote with view over the white sand dunes of the north shore at the neighbour island of Fuerteventura.
Puerto del Carmen is a nice village of fishermen, with typical boats and untamed inhabitants, it offers to visitors superb white sand beaches surrounded with coconut trees, the warm temperature during the whole year will encourage you to taste the salt of the Atlantic Ocean.
For further comfort at "food time" you only have to walk along the maritime avenue and choose the restaurant of your taste of cuisine, Spanish, Hindu, Chinese, English, German, Irish and plenty of fast food, including fish and chips. The evenings are very colourful, Pubs and discotheques open to offer you a wide range of music, with options for young and elderly people. For those that want to discover in group the hidden beauty inland, it's colours, perfumes and people, you will find departing from Puerto del Carmen a fair number of organized excursions by bus, to access to them it is as simple as to make a booking.
For those that prefer to drive themselves, a rent a car is due, it is entirely up to you if you have an adventurous spirit or if you prefer a tourist guider.
Puerto del Carmen proposes as well to visitors the possibility of discovering it's maritime and marine life, by means of different types of vessels like a submarine, a glass bottom catamaran and sailing trips. The submarine proposes a trip down under the water to enjoy the particulars of the bottom of the sea at Lanzarote, due to the volcanic eruptions, nowadays inhabited by a lot of exotic fish, sting rays, and ship wrecks.
The glass bottom catamaran proposes a sea promenade along the coastline (beaches) of Puerto del Carmen with a stop next to the cliffs of Puerto del Carmen, which is full of exotic fish, octopuses and sea sponges that you will enjoy through the panoramic windows in the submarine vision compartments, while tasting your favourite appetizer.
Curiosity joints charm to guarantee the success of these excursions. Where to accommodate? Puerto del Carmen and its surroundings offer a wide range of accommodation, basic and cheap or classy and more selected.
Conventional and rural tourism will find in these pages what is more appropriate for each occasion.
Costa Teguise is the second tourist area in the development chronology of Lanzarote. Situated in the Easter coast of the island, North from Arrecife, the capital, it is a privileged zone for surfers, as the wind blows the whole year round and makes it the best place to practise aquatic sports as surf and windsurf.
A complete infrastructure awaits you there to assure the success of your holidays. Hotels, tourist complexes and quality rural houses guarantee you a pleasant stay. All organised excursions to visit the island have several pick up points in this area, from which you can depart to discover the pearl of the Atlantic, Lanzarote.
The restaurants there propose a range of different type of gastronomy, which can be English, Spanish, Irish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, etc.
Costa Teguise, belongs to the municipality of Teguise, which was the ancient capital of the island and has become nowadays a haven of peace for those who visit it and those who live there. Nearly all the streets there are for pedestrian use exclusively and the houses around are Spanish colonial style, with a lanzarotean touch, sometimes this constructions are so large that the rooms facing the streets have been changed into little hand made souvenir shops, or small restaurants.
Sunday is the biggest market day in Lanzarote and it is in Teguise where it is found, at about 08,00h in the morning, participants coming from everywhere will show and offer you their variety of colourful articles, from the pair of slippers to the lovely bottle of wine.
"Lanzarote Moscatel" (Sweet Excellent wine as appetizer or dessert) When the time to rest your legs come, there are many bar terraces, in where to enjoy some Tapas (small portions of food, tortilla is delicious).
. . . . . Don't forget to buy your little holiday souvenir there, there's big choice.
Playa Blanca is the third tourist area in the development chronology of Lanzarote. Playa Blanca means "White Beach", it is situated in the south point of the island, overlooking Fuerteventura, the neighbour island. In the bay of Papagayo, next to Playa Blanca, are found the nicest beaches of Lanzarote, seven in total, all with white sand and different sizes, from the little cove to the long one where everyone can find a wide place without having to leave deluded, there's also a nudist one. The Atlantic water there is sparkling, and due to the white sand at the bottom it confers a turquoise colour. This area is special for kids, they can play here without limits as the zone is totally harmless and thus they will be able to watch marine fauna. The temperature in Playa Blanca is the highest of the island, it is always hot there, that grants this area an advantage in winter, and for those who are lovers of real heat, 1 st prize during summer. Last generation hotel infrastructure here, that's why you'll find here the best hotels (minimum 4 stars) most of which have their own SPA or Thalasso therapy center, some of them have even a private access to the beach, others many swimming pools surveyed by a security professional guard.
Nowadays, thanks to the great request of English speaking tourism over Lanzarote, you will not have problems with the language as at the hotels the personnel are English speaking people or at least they understand it.
In the evening the restaurants open to offer you their cuisine, as a hint fresh fish here is excellent as the fishing boats depart and bring fresh fish every single day, you can also try the Spanish cuisine, traditionally highly elaborated, or just go for some Tapas.
The fashion boutiques, clothes, swimming costumes, and souvenir shops as well are found mainly at the maritime avenue and main street, impossible to miss them, the village is small, that is the charm of this ancient fishermen village transformed into tourist area for the pleasure of the visitors.
The seven municipalities in Lanzarote are: Haria, Teguise, Arrecife , San Bartolomé, Tinajo, Tias y Yaiza
The background history of Lanzarote is very extense, here's a synopsis:
The island of the 300 volcanoes is situated in the Atlantic Ocean 60 nautical miles from the African North West coast (1 mile = 1852 metres), it has a volcanic origin. Lanzarote started it's origins 40 million years ago but it was formed nearly 15 million years ago, it is the oldest of the Canary Islands, with a surface of 862 square kilometres, it's highest peak is situated at an altitude of 671 metres (peñas del Chache). The attractive desert landscape is present everywhere in Lanzarote.
On the XIII century "Lancillotto Malocelli" a merchant trader, visited the island several times, history says that he gave name to the island, thought this is only one of the versions.
Several expeditions were fleeted by the crown of Castilla during the XV century, landed at the southern coast "El Rubicón", we don't know exactly which was the beach where they disembarked, but vessels were probably anchored at the sheltered area near Papagayo.
These conquerors met the natives of the island (stone-age people) who welcome the conquerors and as a reward natives were sent as slaves to continental Spain.
Jean de Bethencourt a Norman sent by the crown of Castilla by the middle of the XV century (1402) was named Governor of the island, he lived with a Lanzarotean princess (Ico) for many years in the castle-fortress "Santa Barbara" at Teguise's mountain top, from where all Lanzarote cardinal edges can be observed.
After the conquest of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the island of Lanzarote lost importance to the Crown of Castilla, a poor number of troops were left on the island to fight the pirates attacks (hunters of slaves from north Africa) by what there was no peace at the époque, many castles (fortresses) were built along the southern coast to keep pirates out.
The main volcanic eruptions started on September 1730 and went through until 1730, many villages were buried by lava, the geography of the island changed and the lanzaroteans had to learn to live with the volcano, recover plots of land by lifting lava stones, using lava ashes to keep moist (humidity) into earth and help the growing of vegetables, etc. Hard times to come for the "Mago" and the "Maga", name to design the country-land workers at the Canaries.
The lanzaroteans lived mainly in the centre of the island to keep away from pirates, at that time the economy of the island was based on agriculture mainly and fishing, that explains why the first capital of the island was Teguise for many years, until Arrecife which had a port became more and more important and became the capital of the island in the year 1852, and commerce became the main source of economy for Lanzarote. Nowadays the main source of economy is tourism.
Lanzarote Today and Forever, a Genius Artist
Talking about Lanzarote means talking about César Manrique, the genius artist born in Lanzarote on 1919, anxious of protecting his island from conventional tourism, he dedicated his life to the idea of houses and buildings made on a different kind of non aggressive constructions to nature on the island, "the touch of hand that modulates nature" as he used to talk about himself. He was able to convince the authorities to keep an eye on people building in attractive way, no more than two stories, all constructions painted white and green, or walls covered with lava stone, natural spaces to be protected, he was a Lanzarotean for Lanzarote, his memory is kept alive in Lanzarote forever.