Marketing Manager Sarah is currently on maternity leave but she hasn’t stopped exploring, and now she has a couple of new travelling buddies in tow…
Our twin girls were six months old and it was time to get away. Yes, with them! I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves – this was going to be our very first family holiday! Two new passports sporting their hilarious mugshots had arrived, but where should we go? Would we enjoy it? And what would they make of it all?
Pre-parenthood, my husband and I were fairly adventurous (some might say haphazard!) travellers, always at our happiest when experiencing things as far away as possible from our normal life. But now we were responsible for two extra little humans, we needed to be a bit more practical. Don’t get me wrong: I’m pretty darned excited about future wild adventures en famille, but we needed a test run to ease us in.
Forget what you might have heard; Lanzarote is completely underrated. It has avoided the mass development of its Canarian neighbours and remains strikingly beautiful. Travel the interior and you’ll think you’ve washed up on Mars – expect big horizons, volcanic vineyards, vast blue skies and beaches of golden sand. What’s more, the flight is a manageable 4.5 hours, so it was our best chance of catching some warm springtime rays without going long-haul. Add in some fabulous family-friendly places to stay and lots of interesting things to see and do, and it ticks a lot of first-family-holiday boxes.
Here are my 5 favourite things about the island:
1 The volcanic landscape
There are about 300 craters on the island, and much of the landscape is covered by dramatic black sand and lava rock. Don’t miss the incredible examples in the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, where you can travel through lava lakes and marvel at volcanic peaks.
2 César Manrique
Artist and architect César Manrique campaigned tirelessly to retain the indigenous architecture of Lanzarote (flat-roofed, whitewashed houses) – the fact that the island has avoided the worst excesses of tourism is largely due to him. Be sure to visit his cactus garden at Guatiza, the grotto at Los Jameos del Agua, his breath-taking house at Tahiche (built on a lava flow), and the cliffside El Mirador del Río viewing platform.
This is a quirky and cool family-friendly eco-resort in the north of the island. There’s accommodation to suit all sizes of family, including stone cottages and Mongolian yurts, plus farm animals to meet and a solar-heated pool. Best of all, it’s just a short walk from a sandy beach.
4 Papagayo beaches
On the southern tip of the island you’ll find a selection of pristine sandy beaches sheltered by cliffs. They’re hidden away in the Los Ajaches nature reserve and only accessible by a bumpy dirt track, but they’re totally worth the journey.
We loved the pretty hilltop village of Femés, where you’ll find a choice of restaurants with incredible views over the Rubicon plain to the southern coast. On a clear day you can even glimpse Fuerta Ventura on the horizon.
There is something rather wonderful about exploring the world with inquisitive little people who are experiencing everything for the first time, and I can’t wait until our next trip together!