Lanzarote: volcanic fun with the kids
Lanzarote is a fabulous playground for young kids with volcanoes, caves, crazy art, beaches and low-key theme parks. The flight isn’t too long, yet it feels exotic. It’s not too pricey and the sun shines all year. If teens are into surfing, mountain biking or art, it’s also a top spot.
Lanzarote is dominated by volcanoes. The last eruption was a mere 300 years ago (a blink in geological times), making a visit to the Timanfaya National Park a living geology lesson.
One of the prettiest villages is Haria with its artisanal Saturday market where Fin discovered a treasure box decorated in lava sand and Scarlett found some beautiful friendship bracelets. The town has spruced up due to the recent opening of Cesar Manrique’s house and art studio to the public. This contemporary of Picasso’s is something of an island hero and his art and architecture infuse many of Lanzarote’s main attractions.
Kids will ooh and aah at his other Bond-like house near Tahiche with underground rooms made out of lava bubbles. Don’t miss the Jardin de Cactus where Scarlett and Fin tested out the spikey or fluffiness, and questioned whether various varieties resembled coral or corn on the cob.
A trip to Mirador del Rio is a must – the highest point on the island on its northern tip. Here Manrique designed an avant-garde café (which Fin rightly points out would be just the place for a disco) with stunning views over to La Graciosa, a tiny, laid-back island with a castaway beach that you can take a day trip to catching the ferry from Orzola, a pretty fishing village.
Our favourite beach wasn’t the more touristy ones in the south, but the magnificent crashy surf beach of Famara in the north with its hippy culture and handsome dunes, just made for climbing.
If you have to go to a theme park, Rancho Texas is a little tired around the edges but worth it for the animals including white tigers and crocodiles. Best of all is the bird of prey show.
Don’t miss a family meal out at La Cantina, a gastro bistro in Teguise with artisanal burgers, tabla Canaria (local cheeses, wrinkly potatoes, stew and peppers), wine tasting and acoustic guitar in the Secret Garden.
££: If you like eco living with a Balinese feel, check out Lanzarote Retreat’s superb eco village of luxury yurts and converted farm buildings near Arrieta beach. There’s a great family vibe here with a quirky pool, chickens, donkey, honesty shop and beach paraphernalia. An eco luxury yurt for a family of four for seven nights costs from £1,442 including a Toyota Prius and VIP airport transfers,
££: For a modern villa with private pool, Natural Retreats in Playa Blanca is top notch. Three bedroom villas start from £685 for three nights. And for a Canarian-owned five-star family resort with impressive kids club, Princesa Yaiza in Playa Blanca hits the spot.