Our 2018 trip was great. We found Lanzarote to be so much more than an all-inclusive Blackpool in the sun that we had to come back. This is a blog of our trip – hopefully you’ll find it useful guide to some of Lanza’s hidden treasures…
The day started with a dash to return the hire car. All good with that process…. Cicar was the rental company we’d been advised to use – cheap prices and zero hassle. This turned out to be true – thanks Phil for the recommendation 👍
After the walk back Sarah & I went straight to breakfast. Myrtle couldn’t quite make it out of bed so we got her some fruit.
After checking bags with the handy Jet2 service we went round the tat shops of Costa Teguise 😥 I looked for the positive in this – it got my step count up which gives extra G&T points for the afternoon 🤪
After a nice lunch I got a table in the shade by the bar. G&T + Private Eye, all was chilled until they turned on loud music. Now I’m not against music but this was pure Radio 1 shite… Hmmm… BP up another notch 😠
Our transfer is 6pm with the flight at 8pm so it’s gonna be a late one. I may add to this later but to be honest reading about chillin by the pool is boring – sorry…
STOP PRESS… I’ve managed to sneak a Canarian snack past the diet police. These little parcels have a creamy tomato filling and go well with G&T.
So I got a a little worried that I was misleading you on the snack front so I did a little research….
They’re called empanadillas, Spanish for little pastry packages filled with meat, fish, vegetable or cheese. (Large, pie-size ones are called empanadas.)
Empanadillas have been popular in Spain since, maybe, the 7th or 8th century, when Arabs introduced them during the Moorish caliphate. (Known as sambousek, they are still popular in the Arab countries of the Middle East.)
In medieval times, Spain’s Sephardic Jews lived alongside the Moors in Córdoba, Sevilla, Toledo and many other towns. From their neighbors, they learned the art of making little savory pastries, which became part of cherished foods for special occasions.
After 1492 (the year Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand conquered the last Moorish kingdom of Granada; funded Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the unknown, and issued the expulsion order against Spain’s Jews), many of Spain’s Sephardim, forced to flee, were welcomed by the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey). There Moorish empanadillas met Turkish börek, also a filled pastry. The Spanish-speaking Jews (their lingo is Ladino) took on the Turkish name, but added the Spanish diminutive ending, calling their turnovers borekas or burekas.
So there you go a little bit of culture…
Time to leave for the airport so it’s bye bye to the wristband of unlimited Gin 😭
Instead of returning the car we extended hire for another day. This gave us a chance for further exploration of the south west.
We first went to El Golfo and walked to the Black Beach. A pretty walk but nothing stunning. Best part of El Golfo was discovering Orio ice cream bars – just lush…. you gotta try one 😋
Oreo ice cream bar – my new favourite…
We then followed the western coast down past the blow holes of Los Hervideros and the salt pans at La Hoya. Again pretty but nothing earth shattering.
We then made our way back to the hotel for a late (3pm) lunch.
Then we went to a local beach for Hazel to try snorkling for the first time. The bay had a sandy entry surrounded by rocks which was perfect for seeing a variety of fish. Photos below…
Luckly car keys did stay dry in the drybag…
A sea monster….
Some fine fish but poor photo…
After snorkling we walked to the nearest bar for a beer. Whilst chillin watching the world go by we noticed there was a large number of able bodied adults and kids riding about in mobility scooters !!! Was going to get photos but thought I’d get punched 🤕
Then back to the pool for more G&T’s & a chill out 😊
Today’s plan was a road trip around parts of the island we haven’t seen yet, namely Teguise market, the secret forest, Haria and Caleta de Famara.
Teguise market was BIG ! Loads of stalls spread through the town centre. Tourist tat but some really nice stuff as well. Shopping not my thing but it was a nice atmosphere – no photos though…
Next we went to the Secret Forest. Not very secret if you ask me as we found it with Google in less than a minute !
It’s known as the Bosquecillo and is well hidden from view, situated on the top of the Montaña de Haría, to the side of the radar station. Now, you might be disappointed if you’re expecting a huge deep forest, but there is a really lovely area planted with trees, picnic tables, built in barbecues, a children’s play area and absolutely stunning panoramic views down to Famara.
After a short walk and lizard hunt we headed off to Haria where we had some Tapas in a local Sociedad that was recommended by diving Alan.
The sociedad is an institution in Lanzarote. Indeed, they are throughout rural Spain. You’ll find one in each town or village, and it’s usually run by a family or a couple. They stand for election to the role every three years. The great benefit of this is that the proprietors are focused on offering good food and drink at great value, because by offering this, they can be assured of being re-elected in the future.
More info on Sociedads can be found at: https://lanzaroteinformation.co.uk/the-sociedad-lanzarotes-best-value-bars/
True to form we had a great meal for €20. Sadly I was driving else I’d have tried the local wine as well ☹
One thing we all liked was the sauce that we’ve been given with several meals now Mojo sauce.
It’s great on Canarian potatoes: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canarian_wrinkly_potatoes
From here we drove round to the bay we saw from the Secret Forest cliffs. It’s a long rough track to get there but worth it. The girls had a swim.
Hazel took this one !
From here we had a scenic drive back to the hotel…
Today’s plan was to walk around the rim of a volcano, Montana Blanca to be specific.
Montana Blanca (Caldera Blanca on the map) is situated in the middle of the island and is one of Lanzarote’s highest volcanic mountains. It starts in the village of Montaña Blanca and goes along dirt trails around the volcano before leading you up the volcano itself.
The trails leading to the volcano are wide and easy. The initial part of the climb is on dirt trails, whereas the second part is on more technical trails. The path up to the mountain top can be a bit more complicated. The views up this track are beautiful, overlooking the mountain valley.
So the idea was for an early start to avoid walking in the midday heat. So we went easy on the cocktails and an early night was had by all.
The early night didn’t help Hazel who had difficulty getting up for 7:30. When she did rise there was no smile on her face – working for a living is going to be a shock !
Hazel had been doing a sterling job as navigator to date but it was just too early for her today so Sazz was on Google maps today 😱 Surprisingly all went well & we arrived without incident…
We started walking with broken cloud which kept us cool for the walk.
We walked in for about 2 miles before starting the climb up the crater, the total distance was 6.6 miles. The following pictures don’t really do it justice – a great walk if your ever in Lanza
Lava tube – this is big enough for Sarah to climb into.
After the walk we revisited a “locals” bar we’d found in 2018 on the way back for food. Again the food was brilliant – and cheap. We’d really recommend this spot if you’re in the area – hopefully the map & screen shots should be enough to find it.
Then it was back to the hotel pool for G&T’s…
Today started with a little bit of a thick head after last night’s over indulgence 🤪 Despite our lethargy we still managed to pick the hire car up at 9:30.
Today’s plan was to explore the north end of the island, driving through lava fields to Orzola.
Once out the bussel of Costa Teguise buildings were replaced with a lunar landscape of lava. Beautiful in a barren way…
Where the road met the sea we pulled over to take in the view of a small bay. The the girls got chatting to a couple who recommended we visit the following:
- The Secret Forest. https://lanzaroteinformation.co.uk/lanzarotes-secret-forest-bosque-de-haria/
- Curve de Los Verdes lava tubes near Punta Mujeres.http://www.cactlanzarote.com/en/cact/cueva-de-los-verdes/
We left the bay for Orzola where we had a lovely walk to a deserted beach shown below. What a contrast to the tourist beaches…
After the walk we had lunch in a cafe before setting off for the Lava tubes.
For 9€ each we had a guided tour of a 1km section of the 7km long lava tube. Very impressive – photos below…
Today was D day – that’s diving day 👌
Up early, breakfast & ready for pickup at 8:45am by Peter from Calipso Diving. All good so far… Peter is an east Londoner who’s been here for 23 years. Seems a nice guy & not money orientated i.e. no big groups.
To cut a long story short Peter is the Dave L of the diving world. Lovely guy, knows his stuff but badly organised and his gear really wasn’t maintained. We didn’t dive with Peter because he’s messed up on the number of instructors he needed. We dived with his mate who was on holiday as well !
The gear was shit – my reg free flowed if not held and Sarah’s had loads of sand in which blew out when she turned the air on ! We did two dives – both shore dives. They would have been better as boat dives but he didn’t have one. Both LONG swims…For the divers we did two 30m dives with a 50min surface interval. Walm waters and great vis made it easy. There was loads of fish life but no Angle sharks this time.
After diving we had a late lunch & a snooze before hiring a car for tomorrow. We used Cicar which is Phil’s recommendation. We pick up a Fiat 500 at 9am tomorrow 😁
What did Hazel do while we were diving I hear you ask… Typical student stuff – late start & an episode of love island ! Anyway pictures and videos of diving to come…
We’ve got into the cocktails so any sensible stuff will be added tomorrow xx
…cos the moral of this story is that no matter how much they water down the cocktails – if you drink enough you’ll get pissed 🤪
After a good night’s sleep we surfaced for breakfast about 8am. We’ve decided the food isn’t as good as the last place but that’s a high bar.
Breakfast discussions centred around Sarah’s desire for Hazel to windsurf and Hazels desire not to windsurf !
Sarah then decided Hazel should do a try-dive, again somthing Hazel doesn’t want to do. I think Hazels regretting coming away with us already….
The days plan was to have a walk and see what’s around, which we did. On the seafront we hired a bike. This bike was as heavy as the sun – especially when I was the only one peddeling !
After an hours giggles riding this up and down the seafront we went in search of dive shops. We spoke to two and have booked with Calipso Diving for tomorrow.
After that we chilled by the pool for the afternoon with a few G&T’s…
A break in commissioning gave an opportunity to get away for a week 😁.
Not much time for planning so went with what we knew – Lanzagrotty. Literally just picked a hotel in 10mins – none of my usual research which has made me nervous 😦
This time we went for a hotel in Costa Tiguse, just the three of us as Hazel is back from Uni and needed a break after a terms partying !
The holiday didn’t start well with me massively mis-judging the time it would take to drive to Newcastle airport – we arrived way too early and ended up with over three hours to kill.This gave me time for a cheeky pint & for Hazel to decide she needs another bikini…
This and the bussel of a busy airport gave some serious people watching time…
…and the observation of the day is young women’s eyebrows – WTF are they doing ??? Stenciled, Sharpied bat wings above the eyes 🦇
To me they really do look ridiculous, especially combined with camel length eyelash extensions. Is it me just getting old or does anyone else think they look stupid ?
I’d have loved to provide some pictorial evidence but covertly photographing women is apparently frowned upon !
Anyway flight ok & arrived at hotel in time for the last of food and wine. Tired now so time for bed 😴😴😴
So we decided to have a little winter sun – we deserved it ! After a frustrating time looking at all the holiday sites we booked a package holiday with Jet2. The hotel we chose was the Flora which is near the old harbour in Puerto del Carmen. With hindsight we think it was a good move being in town as we could easily walk to shops, bike hire, diving shops & bars. Anyway a little about Lanzarote….
The island of Lanzarote lies just 125 kilometres off Africa’s Saharan Coast and is the most easterly of the Canary Islands (Spain). The island is 60km long and 20 km wide, making it the fourth largest island in the Archipelago.
One of the first things that visitors notice is that nearly all of the buildings are white – this is largely thanks to the work of local artist, César Manrique, who worked tirelessly to protect the island’s traditional architectural style and avoid over-development.
Lanzarote has a Subtropical Desert climate with average daytime temperatures ranging from about 21°C in January to 29°C in August. The island receives, on average, just 18 days of rain per year, making it a very popular destination for sun-seekers.
Volcanic in original, large areas of the island are dominated by volcanic scenery; the spectacular Montañas del Fuego were created during the eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736 when over 100 volcanoes erupted and devastating a large part of the South-west of the island. Even today, temperatures just below the surface reach over 400°C. Many of Lanzarote’s most popular tourist attractions are also volcanic in origin, including El Golfo (a flooded and partially eroded volcanic crater) and Jameos del Agua (part of one the World’s longest volcanic caves).
Unusually for a volcanic island, many of Lanzarote’s beaches are of golden sand (Playa Blanca, Papagayo, Famara) and even white sand (Caleton Blanco). As you night expect, much of the outdoor activities are based around the sea, with great surfing at Famara, windsurfing at Costa Teguise and several great scuba diving locations around the island.
We found Lanza an island of contrasts. On the coast you have lots of tourist development – the sort I don’t like; Irish bars, restaurants selling an all day “full English” and sports bars. Call me a travel snob but the point of going to a different country is to see and experience its culture ! It doesn’t take much effort to get away from the fat tattoo’d lager soaked tourists. Out of the towns the landscape changes quickly to a “lunar landscape” of volcanic activity which is brilliant to explore. Away from the coast the towns & villages are have a local feel with no “Full English” in sight.
The bottom line – we had a great time in Lanzarote and would go back as we feel there is more to discover. Links to each days blog below…