Those in the know avoid the crowded beaches in the touristy parts of Lanzarote, and head to Papagayo – a small but beautiful bay carved into the cliff on the southern part of the island. It is a bit of a clamber across the island’s trademark volcanic rocks to get there, but worth it for the quiet stretch of golden sand shelving into the turquoise sea. On a clear day you can see across to neighbouring island Fuerteventura.
The island’s most famous son was Cesar Manrique, a 20
If you only have time for one of the above, make it Los Jameos del Agua: a roofless crater, formed from lava bubbles, holding a blue lagoon surrounded by tropical plants. The crystal clear pools in the caves below are home to the indigenous crab, the jameito.
Opening times: Daytime 10am – 6.30pm. Nights: Tuesday & Saturday from 7pm to 2am.
Restaurant times: 7pm – 11.30pm
Fundación César Manrique
Address: Taro de Tahíche - Teguise, Lanzarote, 35507, www.fcmanrique.org
Opening times: Nov–Jun Mon–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun 10am–5pm. July–Oct daily 10am–7pm
Surfing on Playa Famara
The long expanse of white sand, surrounded by rugged volcanic mountains, makes this beach not only beautiful to look at, but a surfer’s paradise, whether you’re a regular on the waves or just a beginner. Surf schools are easy to find and have great teachers from all over the world. You’ll fall over a lot, but we can guarantee you’ll be standing on your board by the end of the day.
On the northern tip of the island, Surf School Lanzarote provides transport from Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise.
This little port on the southern coast is a great place to chill when the sun’s at its hottest. Make sure you get up early to catch the luxury catamaran – Catlanza – from Puerto del Carmen for the 30 minute crossing, or, if you’re feeling fit, trek there over the cliff top from the old harbour at Puerto del Carmen, for an hour of spectacular views both on land and out to sea. Once you’re there, unwind in one of the many cafes, sipping on an ice-cold glass of sangria, and admiring the yachts and sailing boats that are moored in the marina. Shop for one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery, mirrors and pretty ornaments on the promenade.
Natural Retreats, Playa Blanca
Just above the busy beaches of former fishing village, Playa Blanca, hideaway specialists Natural Retreats have established this cluster of 10 whitewashed, contemporary houses. They only opened in 2011, so everything from the power-showers to the kitchen sink is high spec and stylishly designed. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows flood the open-plan kitchen and living room with light, with doors sliding back onto a long slate terrace, private pool and an arty garden of green cacti and blackened lava. Downstairs, a high-walled central courtyard is a cool retreat from the afternoon heat.
Address: Natural Retreats, Playa Blanca, enq 0844 384 3166, naturalretreats.com