Lanzarote unique tourist attractions - explore the Canary Islands in a hire car
Lanzarote, the easternmost island of the Canaries is definitely different from other islands of the archipelago. Take advantage of widely available cheap car hire in the Canary Islands to explore thoroughly this unique destination.
VW Golf Lanzarote rental car - cheap quality cars for hire in Spain.
Lanzarote – driving on a volcanic island
Although it is mostly beach, sand and sun that attract holidaymakers from all over the world to the Canary Islands, Lanzarote has been popular with tourists because of its very distinctive character of a volcanic island.
The ‘lunar’ landscapes of black-sand plains, strange lava formations and still active volcanoes, contrasted with perfect sandy beaches and turquoise waters of Lanzarote coast is the island's main selling point.
The tourism sector, booming in Lanzarote for over half of a century, has had a minimum impact to the local environment mostly due to the effort of the Lanzarote born artist and architect César Manrique.
Very strict urbanistic regulations promoted by Manrique and lack of high-rise hotels successfully aim at preserving the natural Lanzarote landscapes and led to declaring Lanzarote a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site.
Once in Canary Islands, take time to visit Lanzarote, beyond the comfort zone of your holiday resort. A simple drive through the island is a tourist attraction itself here.
Lanzarote driving map (click to enlarge).
Lanzarote car hire – popular solution for moving around the island
Lanzarote is a relatively small island and the distances between its farthest apart points can be covered in less than two hours. That is not counting in the breaks for taking photos and admiring the surroundings.
VW Eos - cabriolet car hire on Lanzarote.
Lanzarote cheap car hire is available in Arrecife, the capital, but also in most of the popular tourist resorts of Arrecife, Costa Teguise, Playa del Carmen and Playa Blanca.
Natural wonders of Lanzarote, mostly those related with volcanic activity, can be found across the entire island. Also, some of over 100 beaches along Lanzarote coast will surprise tourists with black sand or pebbles resulting from volcanic eruptions.
See map of Lanzarote main tourist attractions.
Timanfaya National Park – Lanzarote’s prime attraction
A visit to Timanfaya National Park, in the north-western part of Lanzarote is an absolute must for any tourist on the island.
The park spreads out on the area of Montanas del Fuego, or Fire Mountains, a range of over 100 volcanoes formed very recently, in geological terms, in the late 18th century. The landscapes of the Fire Mountains consisting entirely of volcanic soil are surreal and will leave no visitor indifferent.
The still present volcanic activity in the area manifests itself by very high near-surface temperatures of the ground. By simple pouring of cold water into the openings in the ground gaysers of steam are created.
Even those visitors to Timanfaya Park with less interest in geology will surely appreciate the park’s restaurant ‘El Diablo’ where typical Canarian food is cooked using the natural heat and meat is grilled on an open bore hole in the ground.
The fragile flora and fauna of the seemingly deserted landscapes is protected and the Timanfaya park is a core area of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve established on the island in 1993.
You can reach the park by a scheduled tour bus available from any bigger tourist centre on the island or driving yourself. Be aware that only the park’s own bus service is allowed to circulate within the strict area of the reserve and a small car park for the visitors gets quite crowded. If you are driving a Lanzarote hire car, it is recommended to arrive to Timanfaya National Park rather early in the morning.
The approx. road distances to Timanfaya from popular tourist locations of Lanzarote:
- distance from Arrecife to Timanfaya: 16 miles / 26 km
- distance from Puerto del Carmen to Timanfaya: 9 miles / 15 km
- distance from Playa del Carmen to Timanfaya: 11 miles / 18 km
- distance from Costa Teguise to Timanfaya: 19 miles / 32 km
- distance from La Santa to Timanfaya: 11 miles / 17 km
Jameos Del Agua and Cueva De Los Verdes
These two Lanzarote attractions situated in a short distance from each other in northern Lanzarote are a part of a spectacular volcanic cave system spreading across the island.
‘Jameos’, the volcanic caves with a partially collapsed roof can be found in many places in Lanzarote, but the Jameos Del Agua is by far the most fascinating one.
Thanks to the artistic vision of Cesar Manrique the natural roofless volcanic ‘bubbles’ connected by a submerged lava tunel have been transformed into a unique complex containing an auditorium, swimming pool, tropical gardens and a bizarre night club.
The underground concert hall with seating for 600 spectators uses the exceptional acoustic conditions of the ‘jameo’ and the visitors can order food and drinks in the nearby restaurant.
The salt waters of the underground lagoon of Jameos del Agua are home to a rare species of a blind albino crab usually found only deep below the surface.
Another part of Lanzarote volcanic caves system is Cueva de los Verdes, a 6 km long lava tunnel, 2 km of which are open to public. The ‘Green Caves’, measuring 15 meters high and 15 meters wide in their largest part are extravagantly illuminated
See the approx. driving distances to Jameos del Agua and Cueva de Los Verdes from different Lanzarote locations:
- distance to Jameos del Agua/Cueva de Los Verdes from Arrecife: 15 miles / 25 km
- distance to Jameos del Agua/Cueva de Los Verdes from Costa Teguise: 13 miles / 22 km
- distance to Jameos del Agua/Cueva de Los Verdes from Puerto del Carmen: 24 miles / 40 km
- distance to Jameos del Agua/Cueva de Los Verdes from Playa Blanca: 37 miles / 61 km
- distance to Jameos del Agua/Cueva de Los Verdes from Timanfaya: 30 miles / 50 km
- distance to Jameos del Agua/Cueva de Los Verdes from La Santa: 26 miles / 42 km
Lanzarote black beaches – Playa Quemada and El Golfo
It is quite surprising that most of the beaches of the volcanic island of Lanzarote are white-sanded.
The two most popular black sand beaches of Lanzarote, Playa Quemada and El Golfo are rather quiet and laid-back locations. There are no major tourist developments and the pristine scenery is well worth a visit.
Playa Quemada is located in the south of Lanzarote, on the coast between Puerto Calero and Punta de Papagayo.
On the western coast of Lanzarote you will find another monument to the volcanic origins of the island: the El Golfo area. El Golfo is a sort of a natural amphitheatre opening to the sea, with a semi-circular green lagoon in the centre. The lagoon, most commonly known as El Golfo Lake is a flooded volcano crater and its green colouring results from the abundance of algae.
The black sand and pebbles of El Golfo beach separating the lagoon from the ocean, together with the extravagant green of the lagoon forms a stunning view and one of Lanzarote’s landmarks.
The approx. driving distances to Playa Quemada and El Golfo from main Lanzarote locations:
- distance Playa Quemada to Arrecife: 13 miles / 22 km
- distance Playa Quemada to Playa Blanca: 13 miles / km
- distance Playa Quemada to Timanfaya: 6 miles / 10 km
- distance from Arrecife to El Golfo: 19 miles / 31 km
- distance from Puerto del Carmen to El Golfo: 14 miles / 24 km
- distance from Playa Blanca to El Golfo: 11 miles / 18 km
The road distance between El Golfo and Playa Quemada is around 10 miles / 17 km.
More tourist sites in Lanzarote
Many other popular Lanzarote attractions are just as unusual and at an easy reach in a hire car.
The Cactus Garden, situated in the northern part of the island, near Guatiza, is a unique collection of over a thousand of cactus species naturally displayed in the desert-like Lanzarote scenery. Rare species of cactus and succulent plant typical to Canary Island, Madagascar and America can be seen blooming in different times of the year in Lanzarote Jardin del Cactus. Definitely, well worth a short drive from your holiday resort.
The approximate driving distances to Cactus Garden from major resorts of Lanzarote are:
- distance from Arrecife to Cactus Garden: 9 miles / 15 km
- distance from Puerto del Carmen to Cactus Garden: 18 miles / 30 km
- distance from Playa Blanca to Cactus Garden: 31 miles / 51 km
One should not think, though, that Lanzarote is only steaming volcanoes and desert scenery. In the north of the island, near the town of Haria, Guinate Tropical Park is located.
On over 45.000 m2, gardens of lush tropical vegetation are home to over one thousand species of tropical birds and animals. Feeding of the penguins and birds show will be a delight for children of all ages.
Get to Lanzarote from other Canary Islands
If you are spending your holidays on other of the Canary Islands, there is no reason you couldn’t visit Lanzarote.
Getting to Lanzarote from other islands of the archipelago is relatively easy by ferry or by plane with the local carriers.
The ferry service between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote is very convenient and the trip takes only around 20 minutes.
See map of Canary Islands ferry system.
In order to get to Lanzarote from the more distant island of Gran Canária or Tenerife flight might be a better option as the trip takes less time.
Also, the ferry fees for transporting your Canary Island hire car from one island to another can be very high, not to mention the fact that some of the car hire companies may refuse to insure a rental car when taken to a different island by ferry. The best is to enquire in advance.
It is generally cheaper and easier to rent a car upon your arrival to Lanzarote, even if it is just for a day of sightseeing.
You can choose from a range car hire companies in Lanzarote, major and local rental car suppliers, amongst them: Europcar, Hertz, Avis Rent a Car, Auto Reisen, Cicar Canary Islands, Cabrera Medina, Goldcar, Payless Car Rental, Felycar, Betacar, Marbesol Lanzarote and Orcar Car Hire.