LANZAROTE-A PLEASANT SURPRISE
I’m very glad that we chose Lanzarote for our spring holiday. I was surprised by just how much we all enjoyed this holiday and liked this welcoming island.
THE CANARY ISLANDS
The Canary Islands or Islas Canarias, are owned by Spain. The name has more to do with dogs (dog is 'canis' in Latin) than canaries (as in birds) and there are several theories to the canine link. It is said that the romans encountered many fierce dogs when they invaded, but another theory is that before this the island of Gran Canaria was named after its dog population and another idea is that the islands were named after 'dog seals' inhabiting the sea around the islands.
The Canaries are situated in the Atlantic Ocean and lie quite close to North Africa. The main islands in this group are, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura.
The Islands have two capitals, Santa Cruz (Tenerife) and Las Palmas (Gran Canaria)
On his travels in 1492 (while sailing the ocean blue) Christopher Columbus stopped at the islands to replenish supplies for his ships The Pinta, The Niña and The Santa María.
The largest island is Tenerife and Lanzarote is the fourth largest, being thirty-seven miles (60km) long and 12 miles (20 km) wide. Lanzarote is the most eastern of the Canaries, lying about seventy-nine miles from the coast of North Africa.
The capital is Arrecife and the airport is situated here.
The islands are volcanic in origin and this made the flight to Lanzarote very interesting as the plane glided low over the islands and we and could make out the strange volcanic formations seen through the clouds.
Lanzarote offers a pleasant temperature all year round. It is at its hottest in July through to September with an average temperature in these months of 24deg (75 f) in July, 25deg (77f) in August, 25deg in September, although temperatures reach highs of 28/29 degrees in August.
The lowest temperatures are in January when mostly it will be around 17deg (63f) but I do know several regular visitors to the island in January who say they wear shorts and vest tops when here quite often.
The most rain will fall in January.
The sea temperature is warmest in August.
The most hours of daily sunshine will occur in July with thirteen hours of sunshine to be enjoyed.
We were in Lanzarote for the first week of June and the temperature reached at least 26 degrees. This was a very pleasant temperature owing to the welcome breeze. The weather was warm enough for summer holiday clothes with a cardigan or lightweight jacket being sometimes desirable of an evening. It was hot enough to sunbathe; we needed sunscreen whilst walking about although we did get burnt on one very overcast day whilst walking around and about.
While we were there some days started off overcast but after a while the sun would appear and the sky would turn into a beautiful blue. I thought the weather here would have been perfect for a holiday if it wasn't for the fact that the sea temperature was so cold. I'm used to a dip in the med but the Atlantic in early June wasn't warm enough for us to venture in; we were only brave enough to paddle! Also, the unheated pools in our complex were pretty painful to swim in although we were brave enough to swim for a short while every day. Rainfall is low but we did feel a few drops. Annual rainfall in Lanzarote is 140mm (5.5 inches).
As Lanzarote is volcanic in origin some of the beaches are of coarse black sand but for access into the sea many are ideal as the sand feels smooth enough underfoot and the water is clear. There are also beaches with almost white sand such as Playa Blanca.
We didn't go here for the nightlife but knew this was available for party animals in many places on this island. However, we were staying in a family resort and our evenings mainly consisted of dining out and enjoying a drink or two, whilst having a chat.
There are several lively resorts such as Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise where, if you've the energy, you can boogie until dawn in a choice of bars and clubs.
There are many places to visit and to stay in Lanzarote but the most popular resorts are Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise.
Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca still retain traces of the small fishing villages they used to be. We stayed in Matagorda near to Puerto del Carmen and, although Matagorda is small, I liked it and thought there was plenty of facilities for us.
Puerto Del Carmen
This is the biggest resort and was pleasant in June but I would think that it probably gets very busy in July and August. There really is so much here; beaches, restaurants, clubs and shopping galore.
If you want sandy beaches and lots of facilities then this may suit you. It isn't quite as busy as Puerto del Carmen but has a great choice of restaurants, bars and facilities.
This resort seems to be the one that is the most 'up and coming' and is growing in popularity and in facilities. It has a marina.
I thought transport in the area of Lanzarote that we stayed in to be very good. Bus fares were reasonable and there were plenty of buses around but we found that taxi fares were so cheap that it worked out easier and sometimes cheaper for four of us to share a taxi. Taxis stopped outside our complex and were always in good supply so travelling this way was ideal. Wherever we went taxis could be seen. Our taxi journeys cost from Euro3 to Euro5. Taxis were fitted with, and used, meters, were clean, comfortable and had seat belts fitted.
A popular mode of transport seemed to be bicycles for locals and tourists alike.
I liked this island and was surprised how impressed I was. I loved the pretty white villas with their bright painted window shutters and verandas. Almost all buildings are low rise, in line with their government's regulations. Bougainvillea can be seen everywhere, climbing and weaving its way upon walls and trellises. Profusions of other flora can be seen and some exotic, to my eye.
From the outside of our complex we could see a view stretching for miles which, to me, when looking at distant rooftops and white buildings the feel seemed to be a mixture of Spanish and North African in flavour.
I loved the climate. Some days began cloudy but we enjoyed plenty of sunshine every day and enjoyed the heat which was cooled by the welcome breeze.
As walking wasn't easy for myself, making a slow recovery from a knee dislocation, this island suited me well. Many areas are pedestrianized and, even those that aren't are usually well tended and mostly made level. The island is hilly but ramps and steps are commonplace.
We found most restaurants, shops and bars friendly, reasonably priced and very family friendly. We didn't have children with us but the patience and love shown to children by the islanders is wonderful. It is a very family friendly place although not having young children in my nuclear family would actually deter me from visiting her in the busy season as we were told by a restaurant owner that in August Lanzarote is, "Boiling hot and full of kids!" But then again we were in a family resort; there are resorts more suited to couples and singles.
We considered eating out here cheaper than in Cyprus and Greece and its Islands, which is where we mostly travel to. Also the prices in shops were cheaper, we felt. But, as there were two vegetarians in our party we were surprised at the lack of vegetarian options on menus in many restaurants; it was non-existent in our complex.
If I visit Lanzarote again, and I do intend to, then I would probably not go an all-inclusive basis as the island is full of reasonably priced and varied types of restaurants, usually reasonable priced.
I thought that the island was clean, friendly, felt safe and was well organised.