Mention Lanzarote and, for many, the first things to jump to mind are late nights and a party lifestyle, but there is plenty more to the island than clubs and beaches. Stray a little way from the capital, Arrecife, and the two main tourist resorts Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise, and you will be struck by the Island’s sheer natural beauty and stunning landscape. A fantastic way to explore Lanzarote is by foot, making your way along the many footpaths which riddle the face of the island. There are plenty of hotels outside the tourist hotspots. If you are unsure where to find them, travel agents’ can be useful: Thomas Cook provide details of hotels on their website, where you might also be able to find a good deal on flights and accommodation with their package holidays.
The vineyards at the centre of the island are great trekking country for those with a passion for wine. Although it seems unlikely that anything should grow on the barren-looking terrain, pock-marked as it is by prehistoric volcanic activity, the wine-makers who grew the first crops there quickly found out that granules of volcanic rock are in fact beneficial to the grapes. You can stop off in the wine museum in Masdache, and sample a glass of the local sweet wine made from Malvasia grapes.
Those looking for a little more adventure and wilderness should head to the coastal cliffs starting at Mirador del Rio and heading towards Risco de Famara. Although not always easy-going, this hike offers breathtaking views over la Graciosa harbour and, finishing off on the beach, it is a real treat to kick off your walking boots and go and dip your feet in the sea.
For those visiting during the second week of September, Los Dolores is a walk not to be missed. By “walk”, though you should really read “procession”. Hundreds of locals, joined by tourists, cover the 9km from the Monumento Campesino in San Bartolomé to the church Ermita de los Dolores. Upon arrival, they present gifts to la Virgen de los Dolores, which might include milk, crates of wine, and fresh fruit. These are then stored away to make space for a party which lasts well into the small hours.
Free island maps can be found at the harbour information centre, where you can also ask about guided walks. Lanzarote isn’t just a place to play hard, but also bears taking the time to discover the local sights and secrets on foot.