Don’t write off a holiday to Lanzarote, it’s a long way from being ‘Lanzagrote’

Holiday pictures from Lanzarote, Zenit EM & Helios Lens

Holiday pictures from Lanzarote, Zenit EM & Helios Lens - Credit:

Suggesting Lanzarote as a holiday destination can often produce quite varied responses.

green lagoon lanzarote

green lagoon lanzarote - Credit: Archant

There are those who have the (mistaken) perception that all the beaches are black and others who not so fondly have a rather less flattering nickname for the island – namely ‘Lanzagrote’.

But dig a little deeper and you find a beautiful yet peaceful island, full of contrasts and where it is possible to visit ‘many worlds’ in just one holiday.

Lanzarote upon first glance was pretty much like the other Canaries we had visited. The usual scrum through Passport Control and interminable wait for the ‘Late Passengers’ on the shuttle bus who for some reason had failed to spot the Rep wearing bright red, carrying a huge clipboard and waving everyone in the general direction of a line of twenty buses there to take us to our hotels.

As my usual impatience surfaced, this was not a cracking start to the holiday.

Holiday pictures from Lanzarote, Zenit EM & Helios Lens

Holiday pictures from Lanzarote, Zenit EM & Helios Lens - Credit:

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Hubby, already in holiday mode, inevitably just shrugged his shoulders in an ‘oh, don’t worry’ sort of fashion, whereas for me, not yet quite supporting a sunny holiday disposition (THAT IS WHY I WANTED TO HURRY UP TO THE HOTEL, SO THAT I COULD GET INTO HOLIDAY MODE), tolerance had not yet quite kicked in.

And anyway, of the twenty buses, why was it always OURS who had the late people?

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With faces as red as the Rep’s uniform and puffing as if they had just completed a marathon as opposed to a twenty step walk from the Terminal Building, our Late People finally arrived and we were at last able to depart.

A few hours later, unpacked and finally able to soak up some sun by the pool, my irritation began to dissipate.

I made the most of a holiday in Lanzarote Jan/Feb 2013 and took some great pictures with my Zeni

I made the most of a holiday in Lanzarote Jan/Feb 2013 and took some great pictures with my Zenit EM 35mm SLR. This is the view looking at Fuerteventura from Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. - Credit:

Oh, and I am sure the cocktails also had their part to play in my softening mood!

We had quite a full week planned so this was actually almost the ‘lull before the storm’.

Next day, and it was off to the Lunar Landscape that is Timanfaya National Park, formed more than 300 years ago, when 30 volcanoes on the island erupted almost simultaneously.

The vast, desert-like landscape felt like something akin to walking on the moon (granted I have no personal knowledge of that – more’s the pity – but I could imagine the similarities). Although a popular visitor attraction, having (somewhat foolishly since it was hard work) opted for the more strenuous hike, we were able to get away from many of the crowds, making it feel all the more eerie in the isolation.

Of course there was then the restaurant that cooked your chicken using the volcanic heat from one of the geothermal holes.

Whilst it may feel somewhat ‘touristy’, Hubby assured me the chicken tasted fine – and he did not seem to suffer food poisoning during the trip – so I can only assume that all was indeed OK! (When in doubt, Hubby becomes Official Taste Tester and I err on the side of caution by avoiding potential troubles. If we go back though, I will be sure to try it next time)!

We were off to nearby La Graciosa the following day, about half an hour by ferry from Orzola, in the North of the Island.

A tiny gem of an island, it has spectacular beaches and being so (relatively) difficult to reach, generally maintains its peace and serenity.

There are three basic options as to what to do here for the day. Firstly, hire a bike. Far too energetic after yesterday.

Secondly, take a 4x4 safari around the island. Since I could not see there was a lot to see and it was only scheduled to last an hour and we were here for a good few hours, I decided on Option 3. Walk about 40 minutes towards the largely deserted Playa Francesa and the sand dunes and swim in the crystal clear waters.

Ah! Yesterday the moon, today – just Heaven!

Sunday and there was, as I was led to believe, only one place to be this morning. The island’s largest open-air market, set out over the cobbled streets of the Old Capital in Costa Teguise.

Whilst very much geared towards the tourists again, it was a great chance to people watch and soak up the vibrant atmosphere as opposed to bagging a bargain. With street musicians and artists all around, there was a real buzzy hustle and bustle feel.

And so with a trip to Fuerteventura and a Day Of Culture taking in the Cesar Manrique Route and other points of interest on the island, not least the Green Lagoon – looking something akin to a Lake of Green Slime!) , all too soon it was our last day.

Today’s trip was described as ‘Atlantic Adventure’ and to be honest neither Hubby nor I was too sure what we could expect. It went from the nearby Playa Blanca harbour and really that was probably the only reason we had chosen it. (Hubby had long been resigned to the fact that NO holiday allowed for a day by the pool if there was a tour to go on and something else to explore.

Sadly for him those days of just soaking up the sun were but a distant memory.

In the end though, it proved a fantastic ending to a great holiday – as even Hubby had to admit.

Catching the boat, with its glass bottom we headed out to sea and a chance to marvel at the underwater world and marine life beneath the surface.

Before too long we encountered a large pod of dolphins who delighted in swimming alongside the boat, darting from side to side, clearly inquisitive and playful.

Then time for lunch on Papagayo beach and a chance to feel the wind in your hair as we took to the waves on their thrilling speedboat ride.

With kayaks and giant floating sunbeds there was plenty to keep everyone amused for the day, whatever they wanted to do.

And then finally time to return home.

So, the verdict? Lanzarote definitely exceeded my expectations. It was not only a lot cleaner and tidier than I expected but also far more diverse in what to do here.

Not only its dramatic interior volcanic landscape, for which it is probably best known, but also its marine life, culture and fabulous resorts.

So go on – give it a try – you never know – you may be pleasantly surprised!

Andrea Powell is owner and Managing Director of Idelo Travel in Ipswich. Contact: 01473 231181.

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