The island of Lanzarote might only be 60 kilometres long but there's plenty to do. With year-round sunshine, activities revolve around enjoying the great outdoors. That said, if shopping and cocktails are more your thing you won't be disappointed either. Wherever you choose to stay the attractions will be within reach. With its lunar volcanic landscape, even a drive from coast to coast is worth the trip.
Across Lanzarote you can't fail to note the influence of local artist and architect Cesar Manrique. Born and bred on the island, he died in 1992 and his home was opened up for visitors as a gallery. The building itself is built beneath a lava crust, seemingly erupting from the volcanic rock and Manrique has imaginatively created five large rooms below. Particularly enjoyed by culture buffs and children, it can be appreciated by all as a magical piece of architecture.
It's well worth rounding up the family for this one! By day, you can tour the landscape grounds and view the birds, mammals and reptiles as part of the zoo exhibit.
The parrot and sea lion shows are real crowd-pleasers as they perform their best moves to delighted visitors. Come here for the evening Country and Western Show and you'll spend the rest of the night dancing, stopping only for food from the BBQ and glasses of Sangria.
While there are countless beaches on Lanzarote with each resort having five or six to its name, Papagayo offers a unique, otherworldly experience not replicated at any other.
More a collection of beaches than a beach per se, individual sandy bays are separated by high volcanic cliffs. Head here for sunbathing, hiking or fishing, as well as breath-taking views across the landscape and out to sea. Just be sure to take supplies for a picnic, as facilities are limited once you get there.
On the edge of Playa Blanca rests the newly developed, upmarket Marina Rubicon. Despite its sophistication, Marina Rubicon is an easy-going place and a great spot to watch boats come and go over lunch. It also has a good selection of fashion boutiques and a weekly craft and clothing market. A great option for the last day of your holiday when you want some good food and have euros to burn!
Volcanoes have the wow factor and a tour of Timanfaya National Park gets you up close to the action. With awe-inspiring craters, little vegetation and a rocky horizon, it's the closest you'll get to walking on the moon. Indeed, an informative visitor's centre is the only reminder that you're still down on Earth. The helter-skelter road race to the top is an adventure in itself.
Yes, it's a cactus garden, but this place consistently beats visitors' expectations. A calm oasis of green, here you'll find cacti, aloe and agave of all shapes and sizes. You needn't be a botanist to enjoy this prickly little excursion; yet another quirky Cesar Manrique creation.
As an island, it seems a shame to not explore Lanzarote's ocean. Each of the main resorts offers scuba-diving, snorkelling and boat trips. Or for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing head to the long east or west coasts. There are plenty of established surf schools and hire centres set up to meet the demand as wave-lovers head to the shores from all over Europe.
A friendly place, Lanzarote tempts visitors back year after year, not least because these attractions give the island a unique character within the Canary Islands.