Travel with kids: The family guide to Lanzarote

Have you ever landed on a beach? Well, that’s what expects you when you arrive at Lanzarote airport and this sets the scene for the holiday. Lanzarote is an incredible island, with landscapes resembling nothing like you’ve seen before. White beaches, black volcanic beaches, gulfs that seem strange mixes of lunar and infernal landscapes.

Even if you haven’t read any travel guides before arriving it you will immediately realise that you are on a volcanic island – Lanzarote has over 300 volcanos that are not active with the exception of one. The biggest of all is the Mountain of Fire located at the national park of Timanfaya.

The best way to make the most of your holiday is to rent a car at the airport or in any town. We booked it before the trip and we realised that it would have been cheaper to book it on location. Two or three days is enough to visit the whole island, which is quite small.

For the rest of the holiday I recommend you relax in one of the resorts such as Los Jameos Playa part of Seaside Hotels at Playa de Los Pocillos (located 10 minutes from the airport).

We spent a week here and we loved every minute of our holiday. Los Jameos Playa is extremely family friendly including amazing buffets at all meals and even a Mange Tout programme for kids that runs in October during half term run by the British kids’ nutrition expert Lucy Thomas. Our favourite food was certainly fresh fish which was grilled in front of you at every meal.

My six year old son Diego is normally a fussy eater but had so much fish during this holiday – I have never seen him eat so well ever! The choice of any type of food and wine is very varied. I have to mention how good the bread was… Being a resort managed by Germans, the bread is made in the German way and is delicious!

I lived in Germany for many years and I always missed the great German bread in London. I had to come to Lanzarote to find it again! The Mexican themed dinner was by far my favourite one and the Mexican food at Los Jameos Playa was even better than the one we had in Mexico. As an Italian I am myself a really fussy eater! The show cooking was particularly good for the children as it showed how food is prepared from scratch. Diego loved the fish show in particular – he loved watching the fish being prepared every day before eating it.

Los Jameos Playa is a four star hotel which deserves all its stars and in my personal view it would even deserve an extra star for efficiency, friendliness of the staff, excellent food and amazing facilities including huge pools for all heights and levels of skills, animation programme, mini club with fun activities for kids from 4 years of age and evening shows. The mini golf facility is a blast and Diego was really happy when he received the second prize for his mini golf competition.

The hotel has a spa where you can get pampered while the children are looked after by the mini club staff. I did not use the spa because I was so busy with all the other activities but it looked stunning. I have a good excuse to go back now 🙂

The beach is in front of the hotel so conveniently located to make the most of the wonderful waters of the island. Clear blue water and lots of wind.

The only negative note about Playa de Los Pocillos is the lack of facilities for water sports with the exception of diving centres. We haven’t figured out why there were no businesses offering wind surf or catamaran rentals here. We would have used the equipment as the weather and the wind are perfect for these sports especially on the south coast at Playa de los Pocillos and Playa Blanca. Maybe the reason is that this area is perfect for families and retired people and there is little demand for these activities here.

Costa Teguise instead is marketed for Windsurf and surf lovers and we saw young surfers in action which was brilliant. Lanzarote really offers absolutely anything you might want from a holiday at affordable prices.

If you like snorkelling you can do it everywhere and get to see colourful fishes close to the shores. We saw yellow, blue and black fishes. And with piece of mind as the big fishes stay in deep waters and do not come close to the beaches. For families with kids it is ideal. Diego enjoyed looking for the colourful little fishes and also black crabs who hide behind the volcanic rocks.


Here are my top recommendations if you only want to spare two days to drive around Lanzarote.

Parque Nacional de Timanfaya:

The Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) was created in the 1730s when more than 100 volcanoes rose up and devastated half of the island. The area is now a national park, Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, and is a must for any visitor to Lanzarote because of its unique ‘Martian’ landscape and rare plant species. You can also watch the fire from a hole of the only active volcano and mini-geysers. It is also possible to take a camel ride across the volcanic landscape.

Playa Blanca / Playa de Papagayo

Golden sand, clear water and blue skies, mean the Beaches of Playa Blanca are great places to lay back, chill out and top up your tan. The most well known of all the beaches around Playa Blanca is Papagayo. In reality this is a collection of smaller beaches that are separated by high cliffs, forming a number of sheltered bays.

Charco de Los clicos (el Golfo)


Best kept secret on the island, Charco de los Clicos is not on touristic maps but is the strangest beach I have ever seen. It is one of the few examples for hydro-volcanism which is explained by an interaction between magma and water. The combination of often green colour of the lagoon water and exposure of light depending on the day time and position of the sun give the visitor a feeling of great lunar impression.

Yaiza

The prettiest village on the island with its white houses and neat playing areas for kids. We loved it but we arrived at around 5pm and it was deserted as people have their siesta well after 6pm due to the heat.

Jameos del Agua


Jameos del Agua was formed by the lava flow from the eruption of a volcano which advanced while the surface solidified. Due to the action of the gas trapped beneath the surface, part of the surface collapsed. It’s now been turned into a beautiful garden of tropical plants species centred around a vibrant, turquoise-coloured pool.

Mirador del Rio

Best place on the top of the island to take pictures of the Isla Graciosa which is a white-beach island next to Lanzarote. It’s really really windy (SERIOUSLY!) at the top of the ‘Mirador’ so cover yourself up and keep the kids close to you 🙂

Arrecife


The capital city of Lanzarote Arrecife is quite pretty particularly on the coast. The castillos are worth a visit. The rest of town is not really worth wasting precious time that you can spend on the beach.

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