Lanzarote with kids
There’s something about Lanzarote that gets under your skin. It’s way more beautiful than you’ve ever imagined – if what you’re picturing is the mass package holiday sun-worshipping of Canary island legend. For starters, you won’t see a high rise in Lanzarote, save for the stylish Arrecife Gran Hotel. The rest of the island has building regulations that not only dictate no buildings taller than a palm tree, but also that you must paint your house white, with a green door inland, and blue by the sea. If you don’t comply, the council will come along and paint your door the correct colour for you, so if you’re a fan of a pink shutter, Instagram it quickly – it won’t last long!
In fact, this island of over 300 volcanoes – some still active – presents stunning views everywhere, and fascinating adventures for every curious child – with more than a few surprises thrown in along the way! We think Lanzarote deserves another look, especially if you’re a family who likes to explore. Here we give you our top 5 things to do in Lanzarote with kids.
1. Ride a camel around the volcanoes
We’re betting that kids will be begging to go, with just that one sentence. Could there be anything more fun? From the Timanfaya National Park you’ll ride for 20 minutes in pairs, balanced over the hump of a dromedary. It’s safe and friendly for children of all ages – we saw babies being carried on parent’s laps – and the camels are super-friendly. They’re well treated too: camels have one day off for every day they work, finish work at 1pm, and rest out in the sun till 4pm before heading home. We like that kind of work-life balance!
2. See inside an active volcano
Okay, so you’re not going to go right down inside a volcano, because that would be dangerously irresponsible, right? But at Las Montañas del Fuego (quite literally mountains of fire) you’ll see the steam and flames shoot up from boreholes drilled down to the 400°C heat. Children we saw were beside themselves with excitement when this happened:
You can hold a handful of actual volcanic ash in your hand – it’s perfectly safe, but let’s just say you won’t hold onto it for long! And if you ask nicely, you’ll be able to take a (slightly cooler) handful back to show envious classmates and impress teachers. You can even eat lunch barbequed over the organic heat of the volcano – now that’s something that doesn’t happen every day in your child’s life! You can read more about spending the day on Lanzarote’s volcanoes in Helen’s post on Actually Mummy.
3. Water fun at Aquapark
Aquapark Lanzarote is the Canary Islands’ biggest family waterpark, with so many water fun options for all ages. As well as toddler slides and pools, there’s plenty of fast paced action for teenagers, and even some fun to be had for braver adults on the less dramatic of the height-restricted slides.
We found the park to be well maintained, with good safety monitoring by the lifeguards, and even as a group of adults who’d left the kids at home, we couldn’t help but have some fun once we got started!
Food options are limited, but there’s definitely something there most kids will enjoy (turn a blind eye to the lack of veg – it’s a holiday, after all). You could quite easily spend all day here, and we guarantee that kids will want to, so bring a good book and take it in turns to chill out on one of the many sunloungers (bring your own towels, as they’re not supplied, though you can hire a locker). Or hurl yourself after your children down the Super Kamikaze!
4. Sundowners at the Cactus Garden
One of the most peaceful spots on the island is César Manrique’s Jardín de Cactus. Filled with 450 species of weird and wonderful cacti, kids and adults alike can’t fail to love this old quarry, now converted into a living piece of art. When we visited, it was late afternoon, and the sun cast a haze over these giant plants. There was a very peaceful atmosphere as we wandered through the little pathways, and everywhere there was a need to stop and examine the surreal – even children seemed contemplative. The little bar and terrace is the perfect place for a drink or a snack; you can look out over the small garden, which is completely enclosed, so children will be safe to explore while you put the day to rights.
Older children will laugh at these giant ‘mother-in-law seats,’ so called because the lady wouldn’t stay too long if you offered her this as a seat!
The stunning blacks against the vibrant green make for an other-worldly feeling kids will love.
You can discover more about Manrique’s designs on Lanzarote at the Castillo de San José museum of contemporary art, where you’d also be well-advised to book lunch in the adjacent Qué Muac restaurant. The views are stunning!
5. Shopping at Lanzarote’s Biosfera Plaza
It might not seem like the most exciting thing to do on a family holiday, but the shopping centre Biosfera Plaza will give you a great day out. As well as top fashion retailers there’s a phenomenal stash of mouthwatering ice-creams, pancakes and confectionary. And you must pay a visit to ARTeguise, where you can buy jewellery handmade out of carved lava bombs, and the tiny peridot crystals found inside them. You can even design something of your own choosing.
Fashion conscious teenagers will find lots to bring them to life for a few hours at Biosfera Plaza. But it’s the rooftop where things really get interesting for parents and children alike. For thrill-seekers there’s the Skyride, a 6D virtual reality movie ride experience with several different ride options. Then for younger children there’s a Jurassic Park themed mini-golf course. We think this would be perfect for dads to spend time bonding with the kids while mum gets a bit of retail therapy!
The open-air rooftop bar has a wonderful view of Arrecife, but it’s at dusk every evening that it really comes to life, with the screening in English of favourite movies in the starlight cinema. The whole family will love relaxing with blankets on the beanbag chairs, where at the press of a button you can call a waiter to bring you food and drink right to your seat as you watch.
Hang out with the animals
Okay, we know that this is technically number 6, but we couldn’t leave it here without a quick mention of Rancho Texas Lanzarote park. This small, but well maintained zoo has really healthy looking animals, and runs several shows a day of birds of prey, sealions, and dolphins. There’s also a swimming pool with waterslides, and kayaks to hire to paddle along by the water wheel. With lots of entertainment, it’s a great way to spend a day on a longer holiday.
Still need convincing? Well, Lanzarote is just a 4 hour flight away from the UK, and has year round sun, with an average temperature of 22°C, so it’s a great choice for families who don’t want to travel long haul for sunshine. It’s also the same time in Lanzarote as it is in the UK, which means you won’t spend three days getting your kids used to the time difference once you’re there, and no jet-lag when you come home. That puts it pretty high on the list, we think!
Rooftop bar image taken by Sarah from Extraordinary Chaos, who travelled with Helen to Lanzarote. Head over to her post for more reasons to visit Lanzarote.
Helen Wills took a press trip to Lanzarote with Visit Spain and the Lanzarote tourist board, to discover what the island has to offer families. All editorial, imagery and opinion is her own. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have about going to Lanzarote with kids in the comments below, and Helen will do her best to answer them.
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