Lanzarote with kids

Lanzarote with kids: off the beaten track

Are you looking to visit Lanzarote with kids? As an adventurous family who prefer an intrepid style of travel, a family holiday to the Spanish island of Lanzarote had always been off our radar. I had wrongly assumed it was all package holiday resorts and British pubs, and offered little in the way of culture and natural landscapes.

But when I was looking into a warm destination in January/February for a one-on-one adventure with just my three year old, I was very much tempted by cheap flights to Lanzarote and the opportunity to thaw out from the cold British winter. Surely the entire island hasn’t been overrun by mass tourism? Would we be able to travel Lanzarote off the beaten track? Is there much to do in Lanzarote for kids beside the beaches and waterparks? I bought the flights and hoped for the best. It turned out to be a brilliant decision.

Lanzarote with kids

Lanzarote seriously impressed me. There is a wild nature to the barren landscape, carved by volcanoes and moulded by the artist and activist, César Manrique. Strict building controls are in place, where high-rises are forbidden, and all buildings are painted white, with green shutters in the countryside (for farmers) and blue by the sea (for the fishermen).

Yes, there are a lot of tourists (there doesn’t seem to be a low season!), and the big resorts do exist (mostly in the South East corner). But we soon realised that there is a lot more to this island than waterparks and beach resorts. During the two weeks with Ezra (my 3 year old) in Lanzarote, we managed to avoid the crowds and found some quiet gems that I feel a little guilty sharing with you.

So here are my tips for getting off the beaten track in Lanzarote with kids.

Base yourself in the north of the island

The main beach resorts are Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, and Costa Teguise. Therefore it makes sense to base yourself away from these areas should you wish to experience a more authentic side of Lanzarote. The North offers the most panoramic views and unspoilt towns on the island, as well as some beautiful secluded beaches.

We had a wonderful two week stay in a luxury yurt at Finca de Arrieta, towards the North of the island (read our review here). This is a family-run eco-resort just outside the sleepy town of Arrietta, and an absolutely fantastic place for young families with a playground, farm animals, heated pool, and kids’ activities (such as yoga and film night).

Check out the video of our stay at Finca de Arrieta and what we got up to in Lanzarote.

Have your own wheels

Public transport is very limited on the island and the tour buses… well, they don’t really embrace independent travel. A car allows you to travel under your own steam, stopping wherever you like for as long as you like, and gets you to those quieter spots away from the tour groups.

glamping in Lanzarote

Our yurt at Finca de Arrieta came with a courtesy hybrid hire car.

Find the quiet beaches

The island of Lanzarote offers such an array of beaches; from volcanic black sand beaches, surf beaches, small sandy coves, and stretches of sunbeds lined along shoreline.

The beaches around El Papagayo are extremely beautiful and the sea is a perfect turquoise. However, despite the long, bumpy road to get there, these beaches do get busy. Alternatively, head to the opposite end of the island to Playa de la Cantería, by the tranquil town of Órzola. This is a beautiful sandy cove with a steep mountain on one side, and rock pools to explore on the other. There’s quite a surf, so bring a boogie board. The quiet beaches just south of Órzola, off the LZ1, are also worth a visit.

glamping in Lanzarote

Playa de la Cantería

We also loved Playa de Famara, a spectacular surf beach adjoined to the chilled-out surf town of Caleta, on the West Coast, with a dramatic backdrop of mountain. This beach is very much dominated by surfers and THE place to come if you want to learn to surf. If you’re visiting Lanzarote with toddlers or younger kids, just walk a bit further along the beach, and you’ll find your own little spot for some paddling, boogie boarding, and sand castle building.

Lanzarote with kids

Playa de Famara

Find the authentic towns

Our favourite towns to wander were Arrieta, Orzola, Haria and Teguise. The latter two get very busy on market days. Teguise is firmly on the tourist map and the Friday market caters to its audience, but it’s very pretty town. However, Haria market day on a Saturday is more of a local market selling organic fruit and veg. If you want to avoid the crowds through, don’t visit on market day.

In all these towns there are local restaurants with sea food specialities in abundance, and you will always stumble across a playground and somewhere to pick up an ice-cream.

Arrive early to tourist sites

There are some impressive sights on the island, including the volcanoes at Timanfaya with its Mars-like landscape, the lava caves of Jameos del Agua and Cuevas de los Verdes, the Jardin de Cactus, and the houses of César Manrique. You do not want to miss these. Your best bet is to arrive at opening to have the best chance of avoiding the crowds. Check the respective websites for up to date opening times.

We arrived to Timanfaya as it opened at 9am, and when we left around 10:30am, there were cars lining up a very long way from the entrance gate, waiting to get in, on a weekday in February.

Lanzarote with kids

Checking out the volcanoes at Timanfaya National Park

One tourist spot to perhaps avoid is Mirador del Rio. The view over to Isla Graciosa are indeed incredible, but it’s just as incredible 10 minutes south at Mirador de Guinate, where there are no tour buses or entrance fee.

Take the ferry to Isla Graciosa

If you truly want to escape the crowds and get off the beaten track in Lanzarote, take the 25 minute ferry from Órzola to Isla Graciosa.  There are no paved roads on this island and only 700 people live here. As you step off the ferry, you feel like you’ve been transported a million miles away.

Lanzarote with kids

Playa de las Conchas, Isla Graciosa

glamping in Lanzarote

Our 4×4 on Isla Graciosa. Felt like we were back in Africa for a moment!

You can walk or hire bikes to get around the island. But as it was just me and my three year old, we clubbed together with some other travellers we met on the ferry and hired a 4×4 to take us around the island. SO MUCH FUN! For four adults the price is €50, and small children are free. When you disembark the ferry, walk to the right and to the line of 4×4 waiting for tourists.

If you stay on Isla Graciosa for a night after the last ferry has left, you will most definitely have escaped the crowds of Lanzarote.

 

Have you visited Lanzarote with kids?  I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Lanzarote with kids

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Disclaimer: We were invited to stay in the Eco Yurt Royale at Finca de Arrieta for two weeks complimentary stay in return for this honest review and social media coverage. As always, these are all my own words and opinions. Furthermore, this post contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, it is at no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission towards the running of this blog.


The Lonely Planet Guide to the Canary Islands was a fantastic source of information for exploring the island. A Lanzarote road map is very helpful too.


You may also like to read:
Lisbon with kids: a winter city break
Best Châteaux to visit in the Loire with kids
35 alternative European city breaks for families

 

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19 Comments

  1. pamgoward

    Loved this post. I too had discounted Lanzarote, thinking it might have been spoiled by mass tourism, but this post set me right. I definitely want to visit now, and particularly like the idea of staying in a yurt off-grid.

  2. Love this article and love following your stories on Instagram too. The accommodation was so quirky and shows you can get unique places in more touristy spots still. #MondayEscapes

  3. I, like you, have always been a bit put off the Canary Isles thinking that there was little to explore outside the resorts, but it looks like I was wrong! Just loved the yurts that you stayed in too #MondayEscapes

  4. The rugged landscape of Lanzarote intrigues me. It so good to see the alternative, more authentic side to the island #MondayEscapes

  5. What a beautiful location! I would love to visit one day. #fearlessfamtrav

  6. bavariansojourn

    The terrain looks so different there, so glad you got to see a different side to Lanzerote. We managed to do this when we went to Santorini when we went off the beaten track a little with a car, I am so glad we did! 🙂 #fearlessfamilytravel

  7. Looks lovely, and yes, you def want to beat the crowds at the tourist sites #Fearlessfamtrav

  8. dqfamilytravel

    This looks amazing. I love visiting off the beaten path places and authentic towns!

  9. It looks incredibly deserted and peaceful! I suppose it was February after all – it must be the perfect time to visit! I love those volcanic landscapes and the colours of the buildings. #fearlessfamtrav

  10. It just shows that with the right mindset you can get off the beaten track anywhere!!! very inspiring. #fearlessfamtrav

  11. I loved following your trip on social media – it looked the perfect break for the two of you! Finca de Arrieta looked like a fantastic base, and you definitely discovered some real authentic places a world a way from the Lanzarote I had in my head.
    Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  12. Loved reading this. Holidays where you get off the beaten are the best. You get to see the country without any tourist trappings. #fearlessfamtrav

  13. Lanzarote looks lovely. I’m glad to know there is more than just the touristy stuff. #fearlessfamtrav

  14. I love finding these hidden gems amidst a crazy amount of mass tourism!! Thanks for sharing…this is definitely one to ad to the bucket list! #fearlessfamtrav

  15. I love discovering a different side to a place and it looks like you had a real adventure on Lanzarote! Fab idea to club together with other travellers and that beach definitely looks worth a trip! #fearlessfamtrav

  16. This is not at all what I expected from lanzarote – I’m so glad you showed new new side #fearlessfamtrav

  17. Tbh I know very little about Lanzarote but you’ve made it looks so pretty, those yurts sound ace too! #fearlessfamtrav

  18. I absolutely loved following your trip on social media. I loved the look of the yurts and I think it is great that you have managed to show a different side to Lanzarote! Thanks for linking up to Monday Escapes

  19. Lanzarote is our favourite of the Canary Islands. My hubby and I explored every inch of it before kids but have yet to bring our son to some of our favourite spots. Must do something about that! #fearlessfamtrav

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