Lanzarote is a striking island. Whitewashed villages contrast strikingly with the black volcanic rock that surrounds them, and are encircled by an impossibly blue sea. Inland you’ll discover dramatic volcanic slopes streaked burnt-red. Despite the island’s volcanic landscape, most of the beaches are formed of soft golden sand, and are perfect to relax in the year-round sunshine.
Despite Lanzarote’s popularity, it hasn’t been overdeveloped. The surrealist architect and environmentalist César Manrique was responsible for ensuring that buildings on the island worked in harmony with nature, rather than bulldozing it. His surreal, unique and site-specific buildings can be found all over the island.
Popular Ports in Lanzarote
The island’s only cruise port is Arrecife, a lively resort town where you can also get a taste of local life. The nearest beach is Playa del Reducto, two golden arcs of sand divided by a rocky spur. It’s a great place for sunbathing and swimming after a spot of sightseeing.
Enjoy wandering the city’s backstreets, where you’ll discover designer boutiques in sun-bleached buildings, and a smattering of local bars and cafes lining palm tree fringed squares. Try local delicacies including local sea bream or papas arrugadas, (‘wrinkled potatoes’), served with spiced garlicky mojo sauce.
Visit Castillo de San José, a majestic fortress built to help protect Arrecife from pirates. Located on an elevation, it commands panoramic views of the ocean and the harbour. César Manrique renovated the interior and set up an exhibition of modern art, including pieces by famous surrealist Joan Miró.
What are the best cruise ships for a Lanzarote cruise?
Lanzarote is a popular cruise destination. Even so, these two ships easily distinguish themselves from the pack.
The sophisticated Marella Dream offers a luxurious cruise experience that’s easy on the pocket. It’s easy to entertain yourself by indulging in some onboard shopping, visiting the art gallery or checking out the casino. Make sure you take time out to relax with a massage at the spa, or soaking up the sunshine on a lounger by one of the two pools.
Take advantage of the free kid’s club to visit the adults-only pool, or indulge in a cocktail at the adjacent bar. You’ll be spoilt for choice at mealtimes, with six restaurants offering food from around the world. The on-deck lunchtime barbecues at the Lido Restaurant come highly recommended.
Independence of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas is a luxury liner with some unique features. It boasts an indoor ice rink, the first of its kind, where you can take skating lessons and watch ice shows. There’s also a FlowRider surf simulator, which pumps out over 60,000 gallons of water a minute as it teaches you how to surf. After all this excitement, relax at the spa or one of the outdoor swimming pools. There are a plethora of wining and dining options available, providing everything from sushi to American-style diner food.
Shore Excursion Ideas
These shore excursions introduce you to the most popular highlights on a Lanzarote cruise.
Puerto del Carmen Transfer
If you’ve taken a Lanzarote cruise to relax on the beach, then take this stress-free transfer to the island’s most popular beach resort, Puerto del Carmen. Soak up the rays on the stunning beach, or swim in the shimmering waters. The resort itself is very lively, with cafés, bars and restaurants open around the clock.
An unmissable part of Lanzarote is Timanfaya National Park, a volcanic landscape of scorched slopes, calderas and lunar-like lava formations. Drive across this otherworldly terrain, marvelling at the landscape. Ride a camel through burnt valleys and along the crater’s edge. Conclude the trip with a tour and wine-tasting at La Geria, a winery where grapevines grow in the volcanic soil.
Discover the North – Manrique’s Masterpieces
Wind your way up to the rugged north of Lanzarote, the least commercial part of the island. You’ll stop at the Mirador del Rio, an elevated viewing point of lava rock and glass designed by César Manrique. It offers a breathtaking view of volcanic mountains and the ocean, as well as the island of La Graciosa. The next stop is an aloe vera farm, where you’ll learn how this amazing plant is prepared and used.
The final stop is a trip to Jameos del Agua, a cultural centre imaginatively designed by Manrique, which occupies a series of dramatic underground grottos. Rough stone steps lead down to a glimmering rock pool filled with tiny blind crabs, a species unique to Lanzarote.