Lanzarote is a popular holiday destination and for good reason, but when it comes to choosing a resort, it doesn’t get much better than Playa Blanca. Boasting a trio of sandy beaches; a delightful selection of bars and restaurants across its promenade and marina; and a backdrop of volcanic mountains, this corner of south-west Lanzarote is just crying out to be explored. It offers a fantastic combination of things to do right on your doorstep and attractions to discover not too far away. Book yourself a Playa Blanca holiday and you’ll have all this to look forward to:
Day 1 – Settle into your surroundings
Being based in Playa Blanca means you have a whole host of amenities within easy reach, as well as beaches and the town itself. You don’t have to go far from your hotel to take advantage of these and on your first day you’ll want to explore your surroundings and settle into the holiday vibe. As well as taking a walk around the town, be sure to have a wander along the promenade, which links the harbour at one end and the marina at the other, with plenty of bars, restaurants, beaches and other sights along the way. The wide path that hugs the coastline is particularly charming and a great introduction to Playa Blanca.
If you can resist the restaurants that you pass along the way, there are some great options once you get to Marina Rubicon. One of the big players in Lani’s, which has three separate outlets in the marina, each catering to a different need – a grill, snack bar and ice cream shop – so you can stop by depending on the time of day and your hunger levels. For pizzas and tapas head to the snack bar, while the grill serves up larger meals and barbecue fare. To treat the kids, get them a crepe or a milkshake at the heladeria.
There are plenty of activities centred around the marina, so you may opt to spend the afternoon sailing, shopping or setting off on a fishing trip out to sea. Alternatively, make your way to one of Playa Blanca’s beaches. It essentially has three to choose from – its namesake beach, Playa Dorada and Playa Flamingo – all within a nine-kilometre curve of coastline, which means they are largely protected and safe for swimming.
After sunning yourself for the afternoon, make your way to the Marea Terraza bar for a sundown cocktail. Located between Playa Flamingo and the lighthouse, it offers wonderful views out over the sea and is conveniently situated close to Sebastyan’s. This Greek restaurant offers delicious food and service, as well as impressive vistas that give it a romantic edge. If you do plan to eat here, then it is worth booking in advance, as its popularity belies its high standards.
Day 2 – Marvel at nature’s wonder at Los Hervideros and Janubio Salt Flats
Venture a little further afield on your second day on the island and see some of the natural wonders Lanzarote has to offer. Just a 20-minute drive from Playa Blanca you’ll find Los Hervideros, which serve as a fantastic reminder of how much of the island has been shaped by volcanic activity. The rugged coastline and underwater caves are well worth visiting and a high tide gives a full impression of why the area means “boiling pots”, as the water gushes into all the gaps and crevices, throwing up plenty of spray. Paths snake their way through the clifftop and there are balconies cut into the rock, so you can feel the full force of nature.
It’s a ten-minute drive from Los Hervideros to the Janubio Salt Flats, but it’s worth going a little out of your way (not far) to the little village of El Golfo for lunch. The restaurants here are small, but exceptionally good and you can guarantee that the food being served up is traditional and made from the freshest local ingredients. Choose Bogavante for a wonderful paella or salad right next to the volcanic beach – lunchtime views don’t get much better than that. Before leaving El Golfo, be sure to catch a glimpse of the Green Lagoon. It was formed when sea water became trapped in the black rock and turned a vibrant acid green colour due to the algae that has grown within it. The striking contrast of dramatic hues is any photographer’s dream.
As you head back towards the main road to Playa Blanca, you’ll get the opportunity to stop off at the Janubio Salt Flats, which should not be missed. This vast area, which can sometimes appear in magenta tones and at other times coral, was once an important part of the industry of the island. There are still piles of sparkling salt crystals to be seen and it seems like an other-worldly place to visit. Fishermen of the island relied heavily on salt to preserve their product before widespread freezing was introduced and Lanzarote’s salt was exported all over the world. Look out for salt-baked fish dishes on menus throughout your stay, as this is a highly traditional way to prepare food in the region.
Day 3 – Discover Timanfaya National Park
On your third day in Lanzarote, step into what seems like another world, with the apparently martian landscape of Timanfaya National Park. It is just a 15-minute drive from Playa Blanca. The Montanas del Fuego, or Mountains of Fire, came into existence between 1730 and 1736 when more than a hundred volcanoes burst into life and decimated the area, including a number of villages. The eruptions have ceased – the last occurred in 1824 – but the landscape remains almost as it did immediately after the dramatic formation of the peaks.
There are still many reminders of the volcanic nature of the area and tour guides often demonstrate by putting sticks or dry leaves into holes in the ground, where they instantaneously catch fire. Another trick is to pour cold water into a bore hole, which is then spewed out as steam. You do not have to go far beneath the Timanfaya National Park to find temperatures of between 400 and 600 degrees C, making it a fascinating place to explore.
Due to the volcanic nature of the terrain, visitors are not permitted to wander freely around the park, but there are a number of options available. Included in the €9 (£8) entrance fee is a two-hour coach trip taking visitors around some of the most stunning scenery in Lanzarote. If you wish to explore the volcanoes on foot, free guided walks are available, although it is best to notify the Spanish National Parks authority 48 hours in advance that you wish to obtain a spot. These are conducted in either English or Spanish, so be sure to book onto the right one. If you fancy splashing out and doing something a little bit different, then camel rides are also available, but these are charged extra on top of the park entry fee.
While the park is open daily between 9am and 5.45pm, there are extended hours during the summer months, when visitors can enjoy its attractions until 9pm. Be aware that if you plan to dine in the park, El Diablo, the restaurant closes at 3pm. It is well worth stopping by for lunch, as the method of cooking food – including a grill placed over a hole in the ground to take advantage of the natural heat – is both innovative and delicious. Expect Canarian classics prepared in this way.
Day 4 – Pack up for a trip to Papagayo
Slightly further along the coast from Marina Rubicon is Playa Papagayo, another beach well worth a visit. It is different to the stretches of sand in Playa Blanca itself, mainly due to the lack of amenities, making it the perfect retreat for those wishing to get away from fellow tourists. For those with access to a car, Papagayo is just a ten-minute drive away, but it’s just as easy to catch a water taxi. They depart regularly from the harbour, so make your way there once you are all ready for the day. Be sure to pack everything you need, including food, water, sunscreen and all the things you like to have with you at the beach. This could be anything from a good book to a Frisbee for the kids to play with.
Once you arrive at Papagayo, you will be rewarded by its stunning natural beauty. The area has been designated a national park and it’s easy to see why, but that’s no reason for you not to kick back and relax, as long as you are respectful of the environment and take any litter away again with you. A collection of white sand beaches, protected by cliffs and beautiful crystal clear water make it perfect for swimming and snorkelling, as well as various other beach activities.
Not far from the beach is Los Ajaches, one of the oldest mountains in Lanzarote and known as a place of special scientific interest. Dedicated a national monument, it may be of interest to nature lovers. For anyone who has not brought a picnic with them, the biggest draw at Los Ajaches is a small bar on the hillside where snacks and drinks can be purchased. It is located at the end of a track that leads directly from the beach.
By the evening you’ll be ready to return to Playa Blanca for dinner. Brisa Marina is a great option for dinner for a whole host of reasons. The first is that the restaurant serves food until really late, so you’ll have plenty of time to head back to the hotel and change after a day at Papagayo. Brisa Marina’s location right on the front by the beach is another winner and its outdoor seating on the promenade is perfect for a spot of people watching. Finally, the restaurant has a brilliant reputation for food and for good reason, from meat and fish dishes to stews and rice offerings, its Mediterranean menu is a real winner. You can tell, because as many locals as tourists eat here.
Day 5 – Check out Spain’s prettiest village, Yaiza
A 15-minute drive away from Playa Blanca is the village that is often recognised as the prettiest in the whole of Spain. Yaiza is a very lucky place, not just because of its picture-perfect streets and squares, but because it escaped the lava flows that characterise the surrounding landscape when the Timanfaya area was created. As the molten rock came towards the village in the 18th century, it split in two, sparing its buildings and residents. Some people put it down to a higher power, as Yaiza was the first location of a Catholic diocese in the Canaries, after it was established in 1404. The village’s church of Nuestra Senora de los Remedios was built in the 17th century and still stands to this day. Inside, there is a statue of the Madonna, which is said to be bathed in a strange blue light from time to time. Take a look inside and see if you happen to have coincided your trip with the miracle.
Wandering around Yaiza is like stepping back in time, as its white washed buildings have barely changed in centuries. It’s a picture of life in the Canary Islands that many of us dream of and will make you want to stay in Lanzarote forever. Local residents work hard to ensure that plants and flowers throughout the village complement the houses and squares, helping to earn it the title of prettiest village in Spain on more than one occasion. There are a few small art galleries to visit too, but the main activity here is to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
On your way out of Yaiza, stop by La Bodega de Santiago for lunch. Open daily from 12.30pm, this 19th century manor house was refurbished in 2003 and opened as a restaurant with the name of its original founder, Santiago Eugenio, helping to spread its success. Before you even start to eat your meal, you can feast your eyes over the village of Yaiza with stunning views from the terrace. With the finest quality ingredients going into its dishes – Iberian ham, manchego cheese, tuna steaks – you are guaranteed some classic recipes cooked to perfection. There’s a wide selection of wine on offer and it’s wise to leave space for dessert, as such homemade delights are far too tempting to resist.
Return to Playa Blanca for the afternoon and take advantage of being situated in a resort full of lovely beaches. If you decide to pass the time on Playa Dorada, you’ll have the added benefit of a wonderful beach bar, which will help to ease the transition into evening with a few cocktails. Head back to your hotel for a quick scrub up before dinner, then venture back to Marina Rubicon for your pick of many places to eat. For something really special, choose Casa Roja, with its terrace and outdoor heaters when the weather gets a little chilly. While there are various Spanish and Mediterranean dishes on offer, the proximity to the ocean means that dining on seafood is a must.
Day 6 – Day trip to Fuerteventura
One of the fab things about the Canary Islands is that they’re all in relatively close proximity to each other. This means it’s no big deal to simply hop across to another island for the day and Fuerteventura is within easy reach of Playa Blanca. Make your way down to the port and catch a ferry to Corralejo. It only takes half an hour and there are 17 crossings a day from various providers, including Fred Olsen, Lineas Maritimas Romero and Naviera Armas. Prices start at just €11 (£9.80) one way, although we do recommend you return to enjoy the rest of your holiday in Playa Blanca!
From the southern tip of Lanzarote, you will suddenly find yourself on the northern tip of Fuerteventura, with a whole host of new places to explore. There is lots to see and do in Corralejo itself, or you could venture further into the island or even take the 15-minute boat trip to the island of Los Lobos from the marina.
The oldest part of Corralejo can be found around the harbour, which has been used for generations by local fishermen. You can still see boats of this kind to this day, as well as those who like to fish more for recreation lined up along the harbour wall. Playa la Clavellina is also in this area and is a small sheltered beach, making it ideal for a spot of swimming and even a picnic if you’ve brought provisions with you. Venture a little further away from the port and you’ll be offered an even wider selection of beaches, all of which have good views of Los Lobos island. The beaches of Playa del Pozo, Playa del Medano and Playa de Viejo all run into each other and are windier than the others – perfect if you fancy doing some watersports, such as windsurfing or kitesurfing.
Having worked up an appetite, be sure to seek out Antiguo Café del Puerto, which has gained a loyal customer base since opening in 1967. Combining the flavours of the proprietor’s native Madrid and the traditions of the Canary Islands, you’re in for a fantastic meal. Whether you want to try some of the best tapas you will ever taste, get stuck into a mixed seafood grill or share a paella, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to lunch here.
In the afternoon, you could grab a snorkel and see what lies beneath the waves on the coast of Fuerteventura. Spoiler alert – you may spot grouper, damselfish, lizardfish, octopuses, sponges and even seahorses. There are lots of ways to undertake a snorkelling trip, ranging from heading to the beach and swimming on your own, if you are confident, right through to organised excursions and trips out on one of the local boats.
For something a little bit different at dinnertime, make your way to The Ugly Duckling on Calle Abubilla before you sail back to Playa Blanca. This small Scandinavian restaurant is just a short walk from the port harbour and the beach, but serves up delicious food and is well-recognised for its great service. The menu features meat and fish with various accompaniments, but it’s worth enquiring about the Danish dish of the day, which at €12 (£10.70) usually represents a bargain, as well as offering something you probably haven’t tried before.
Day 7 – Souvenir shopping and saying goodbye to Playa Blanca
As a final farewell to your time in Lanzarote, spend your last day in Playa Blanca around the resort. This is a great opportunity to explore any of the areas that you haven’t managed to get to yet or return to those that you’ve really enjoyed. One more day of sun, sand, sea and eating delicious food never goes amiss, but don’t forget to buy some souvenirs to remind you of your stay. Playa Blanca has some great little shops and boutiques, especially in Marina Rubicon. If your visit to the marina happens to be on a Wednesday or Saturday, then you can also check out the market stalls that offer everything from local wine to leather goods and usually pack up at around 2pm.
Finish off your holiday with some great quality tapas at Meson La Taberna. Sit out on the terrace and take in the views at this waterfront eatery, as you tuck into everything from deliciously spicy potatoes to chicken kebabs and crispy battered cod. If by any chance you are ready to enjoy a different type of cuisine, there are plenty of other options close by, including several good pizza places on the front and a Japanese restaurant just a couple of streets inland.