Lanzarote is the northernmost of the classic Canary Islands and, with 846 km², takes fourth place in the ranking of the size of the Canary Islands. With 162,500 inhabitants, about 50% more live on the island than on the neighboring island of Fuerteventura, which is almost twice as large. The capital and largest town on the island is Arrecife with about 63,000 inhabitants.
When I write the most northerly of the classic Canary Islands in the first sentence, it has not been entirely correct since November 2018. Since then, the smaller neighboring island of La Graciosa has also been officially recognized as the eighth inhabited island and thus actually the northernmost island.
Geography / climate / vegetation
The island has a north-south extension of 58 km and a maximum east-west extension of 34 km. North of Lanzarote is La Graciosa, which is part of the Chinijo archipelago, which also includes other uninhabited islands. In the south is the sister island Fuerteventura separated by an approximately 11 km wide strait.
Lanzarote is characterized by many, not particularly high volcanic craters, which can be seen very well from the air on arrival. Volcanism has not only created this island, it has also shaped it. In the 18th and 19th centuries there were even larger devastating eruptions here, which covered a large part of the island with lava. The impressive effects and forces of nature can still be seen and experienced in the Timanfaya National Park.
The climate on Lanzarote is mild all year round with an average temperature of 20.5 ° C. January is the coldest month with an average monthly temperature of 17 ° C and August is the warmest month with an average of almost 25 ° C.
Due to the lack of high mountains, Lanzarote shares the same fate as Fuerteventura and has very little rainfall and arid. Only in the mountains, such as on the Famara massif, is the rainfall of up to 300 mm per year somewhat more pronounced and leads to denser vegetation there than in the south. It is all the more astonishing that wine is grown on the island. This is not the classic viticulture, as you might know it from Germany or France, but a very sophisticated method that takes into account and exploits the climatic conditions. Therefore, a visit to one of the numerous wineries on the island is recommended.
The journey to Lanzarote usually takes place by plane at the international airport “Cesar Manrique-Lanzarote”, which is located west of the island’s capital. Due to the relatively central location on the island, the journey to the typical tourist areas is relatively short compared to Fuerteventura, especially when you consider that a bus trip to Morro Jable can take 90 minutes to two hours due to all the hotel stops. For example, it is only 15 to 20 minutes to Costa Teguise.
The island has a very well developed road network, which means that you can get from A to B relatively quickly. In every major holiday resort you will find rental car stations where renting is usually cheaper than at the airport. In addition, there is also a good network of buses, so that you can drive relatively inexpensively, e.g. from Costa Teguise to Arrecife to spend a day there.
In Arrecife there is also a seaport, from which ferry connections to Gran Canaria and Tenerife as well as to the Spanish mainland to Cadiz. There are ferries to Fuerteventura from Playa Blanca and Puerte del Carmen. If you want to make a trip to La Graciosa, you can go to Orzola and take one of the half-hourly ferries to Caleta del Sebo.
When you are in Lanzarote, you cannot escape one name: Cesar Manrique. The artist, who was born in the island’s capital, left behind many works of art and buildings that are scattered around the island. Sometimes there are only sculptures that are in the middle of a roundabout, but many buildings on the island are also created by him. The works that we also visited include the Diabolo restaurant in the Timanfaya National Park, the Mirador del Rio, the Jardin de Cactus and Jameos del Agua.
I had actually thought about making a separate subpage for La Graciosa, but then rejected this idea for the time being. The island is too small and we were only there for a few hours. We really liked it there, maybe we’ll come back and then maybe we can make a category of our own.
As already written, La Graciosa has officially been a Canary Island since mid-2018 and no longer just the appendage of Lanzarote. With just 29 km² it is the smallest of the inhabited Canary Islands (there are also smaller uninhabited islands) and has about 700 inhabitants. Almost all of them live in the main town of Caleta del Sebo, the only other settlement is Pedro Barba. Like its big sister Lanzarote, the climate is mild all year round and has little rainfall. There is no fresh water source on the island, so all drinking water comes to the island via a pipeline.
There are no paved roads and very few cars. But you can rent all the more bicycles. We counted at least 3 bike rentals when we were there. Otherwise it is very leisurely here, so if you want to relax, you are in good hands here.