10 top things to do in Lanzarote with kids

Timanfaya National Park

Scenes like these will make you think you’re in a car commercial

Yes, there are beaches. Yes, it is warm (average year-round temperature of 22 C /72 F). But Lanzarote is a great family getaway for a load of cool reasons.

You can ride a camel in a natural park.

Top 10 things to do in Lanzarote with kids

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You can explore underground caves created by huge lava flows.

You can eat food cooked by a volcano.

That’s just the beginning. On my trip to Lanzarote with a group of fellow travel bloggers, I discovered just how exciting a holiday here with kids can be. We were hosted by Spain (our travel, accommodation and food were paid for; all opinions are my own). Over the long weekend, I found myself texting and calling my 13-year-old every day to tell her about the latest thing we did. There’s loads for younger families too.

Here, my top 10 things to do with under-18s on this fascinating Canary Island.

 

  1. Ride a camel in a national park

Camel ride collage Lanzarote

Well, not a camel; a dromedary (that means only one hump). You sit down in synchronised fashion on either side of the hump in what I can only describe as a human saddlebag, then you are led up a large dune, bumping, lurching and laughing all the way. These camels are definitely ready for their closeup. Andreas, the dromedary behind us carrying our Spain leader Paco, kept nudging up over my shoulder, looking for a selfie. One almost gave my friend Carrie a kiss. Yeah, it’s a tourist thing. But when it’s this fun, who cares? www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g1800432-d190889-i35930737-Timanfaya_National_Park-Tinajo_Lanzarote_Canary_Islands.html

Good for: All ages

 

  1. Explore the extraordinary cactus garden

cactus garden Lanzarote

More than 450 different species of cactus hunker down, stretch to the sky and give you a spiky welcome at the Jardin de Cactus. It’s a running joke among friends that Instagram is filled with pictures of succulents sitting next to lattes. Here, you can go mad, photographing more than 4,500 specimens, including the wonderfully named mother-in-law seats. The entire garden, designed by influential Lanzarote artist Cesar Manrique is achingly beautiful. We came at the end of the day and it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful spot to have a drink and nibble.  www.cactlanzarote.com/en/cact/jardin-de-cactus

Good for: All ages, especially Instagram-mad teens

 

  1. Learn about volcanoes and Lanzarote at Timanfaya Visitors Centre

Timanfaya vicitors centre Jen walking over flows

There’s plenty to read and absorb at this visitors centre, which also has a viewing platform out back and a walkway that extends over the lava flows, with views in all directions. There’s a video about the island, which runs to about 40 minutes (Spanish only) and a simulation of a volcano erupting. The sweet spot for the simulation is probably primary school age. Very young children might find the dark and loud noises upsetting (one child cried during our visit); older children might find it a bit tame. http://www.gobiernodecanarias.org/parquesnacionalesdecanarias/en/Timanfaya/InfraestructuraServicios/CentroVisitantes/

Good for: Junior geologists and history buffs

 

  1. Experience the power of volcanoes at Las Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains)

bus in dunes Timanfaya

The otherworldly landscape in Timanfaya National Park captures the power and majesty of volcanoes – craggy rocks, mountains of ash, fields of cooled lava that looks like giant black Honey Bunches of Oats (I’m not kidding). The only way to drive the Route of the Volcanoes is on specially organised guided coaches, which leave from the park’s El Diablo restaurant. Completely unmissable. www.cactlanzarote.com/cact/timanfaya

Good for: Any age, but beware with antsy kids; you are not allowed off the coach during the tour

  1. Eat food cooked by a volcano

el diablo collage

Hot enough for you? It is at the El Diablo restaurant in Timanfaya National Park. You can feel the heat of the volcano in the rock wall, in the scorching pebbles poured into your hand by a park ranger, in the geyser created by water poured into a borehole. Bring your own food and cook it on a small community grill or step into the restaurant’s circular grill room where a 6-meter-deep hole roasts chicken, pork and beef. Don’t stand here too long – the metal flooring could actually melt your soles! Our lunch at the restaurant was simple but delicious. www.facebook.com/pages/Restaurante-El-Diablo-TimanfayaLanzarote/470316479653152

Good for: Everyone who likes a bit of drama with dinner

 

  1. Watch a film outdoors*

Starlight Cinema Lanzarote

The Starlight Open Air Cinema at the Biosfera shopping centre shows 2 films a day, starting at sundown. You bask in the warm evening air or snuggle down under blankets and heaters in colder months with earphones (you can select the language) and a pushbutton for waiter service right at your table. Glance to the right, there’s popcorn stand, slushies, a bar; glance to the left and you have views over Puerto del Carmen to the sea. Films run the gamut from family-friendly (E.T., Mamma Mia, Woman Woman) to parents’ night out (Full Metal Jacket, Rocky Horror Picture Show). rooftopbiosfera.com/starlight-cinema

Good for: All ages from the time they can sit still for a film

 

  1. Have a 6D theatre experience*

image from 6D cinema Lanzarote

 

So, yes, scientists haven’t yet verified dimensions 4 through 6, but Cine 6D on the Biosfera rooftop, next to the Open Air Cinema, is a good place to do research. This virtual simulator runs short experiences that had us laughing, gaping and screaming with delight. On the Great Wall of China experience – not a history lesson but a roller coaster ride — I was holding onto my friend because I felt like she was going to fall off the edge. You sit in one of 5 seats, buckle up and get a big-screen experience complete with sprays of water and “snow”, depending on which story you choose. The Skyride Lanzarote is a great way to see the island – it uses actual footage, shot from a plane and drones, so you skim the coast, swoop over cities and peek inside craters that you could never see otherwise. Other versions include Space Race, Lost World, Penguins and Hot Pursuit. cine6d.es

Good for: Thrill seekers who love a laugh

* You can buy a Starlight Experience ticket (€40 adults/€25 children), which gets you an open-air movie with reserved seating, popcorn, panini, nachos and a drink along with 3 Cine 6D experiences. Best of all, if you don’t want to do it all in one they, they give you a voucher so you can come back.

 

  1. Descend into volcanic tubes

volanic tubes in Lanzarote

Cueva de Los Verdes and Los Jameos del Agua are 2 attractions that are part of the same volcanic tube. You can only enter Cueva de Los Verdes with a guide. To get the most out of it, I highly recommend hiring Ruth, who showed us around (details below) – she made our visit a highlight of our trip. The path through this volcanic tube take you through soaring underground atriums and stopping through narrow passages, all created by lava flowing from La Corona Volcano to the sea. The nearby Los Jameos del Agua was conceived by artist Cesar Manrique as a nightclub and it has his distinctive design all over it. There’s an underground restaurant, a café and live music venue, an ice-blue pool (sorry, no swimming), a bar and a concert hall. It gets its name from the internal lake populated with tiny blind albino crabs.

Good for: Babies in slings, surefooted kids of all ages

TIP: We travelled around with guide Ruth Corujo (+34 606 35 12 89), who really brought the region to life. Her English is excellent and her enthusiasm for her island unbounded. I’d suggest booking her for a day, especially to explore the Cueva de Los Verdes and Los Jameos del Agua.

  1. Splash around on the beaches and at Aqua Park

multi coloured slide at Aqua Park Lanzarote

No surprise – there are loads of great family beaches in Lanzarote. La Garrita is good for swimming and has a children’s play area; Famara for adventure sports like wind surfing and kite surfing. We also visited Aqua Park, in Costa Teguise. This park isn’t flashy, rather it’s an appealing option for staying cool and entertained when you want a break from the beach. The parents of preschool and primary school children admired the toddler play area, children-only slides and sparkling pools. I can imagine bringing a couple of teens here for a half day on the Aquaracer (side-by-side racing on mats) and the superfast Kamikaze then on to an afternoon of indoor paintball, electric cars and a zip line in the adventure park, which is open during high season. Bring your own towel and plan to shower back at the hotel – the day we visited there was no hot water. (Open seasonally) aquaparklanzarote.es/en

Good for: Waterbabies, waterkids, and waterteens   

 

  1. Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park

Rancho Texas Lanzarote

Beautiful landscaping and some very wild life at Rancho Texas

 

It’s a Texas-themed animal and water park, but what made this attraction so enjoyable was the way it’s presented: extensive plantings and landscaping, spotless grounds, engaging animal activities. I’m a sucker for any bird of prey display, especially when they swoop low over you like this one. We lingered at the crocodile enclosure.“How much would it take for you to run across the crocodile enclosure?” a friend asked. Nothing, I said, considering one was eyeing us as much as we were eyeing them. There’s a Wonderful Wild West night twice a week, with dancing, singing, roping displays and more. Texas in Lanzarote? Yeehaw! ranchotexaslanzarote.com 

Good for: Animal fans

Disclosure: My trip to Lanzarote was organised and paid for by the Spain tourist board. All opinions are my own. 

Have you been to Lanzarote? Tell me what you like about it in the comments and share the link on Twitter!

 

I’m a journalist and blogger. Previously I was The Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blogger. Now I’m co-founder of BritMums and BritMums Live! – our annual blogging conference that draws hundreds. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google Profile+
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16 Comments

  1. November 17, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Wow, that looks like an amazing trip. I’ve always assumed a Lanzarote holiday would be just beach and pool based, but it sounds like there’s much more to island than that!

    • November 17, 2017 / 2:08 pm

      Indeed. The volcanic activity and history on the island give it such interest and character

  2. November 18, 2017 / 5:51 pm

    I love Lanzarote – just so much that’s unusual and unique there especially the landscape around Timanfaya. The cactus garden and lava tubes are fascinating as well.

    • November 18, 2017 / 10:04 pm

      Agree — so much to see. And I learned so much too.

  3. November 19, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    It was such a wonderful surprise, Lanzarote has so much to offer the family it really is the perfect place for a bit of winter sun x

  4. November 21, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    I’m agreeing with everyone here. I really thought it would be a beach and pool kind of island, but missing out on all these fun experiences would be a crime on a visit to Lanzarote! I was amazed by how beautiful I found it too – so unusual, and striking because of it.

    • November 24, 2017 / 10:14 am

      You said it, Helen — so very striking. I’d love to go back next half term.

  5. November 23, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Seems like a good destination for family fun.

    • November 24, 2017 / 10:15 am

      Absolutely — and great for kids of all ages.

  6. November 26, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    I know my two would make a b-line for the aqua park and the volcano simulation. El Diablo sounds right up my street – although I’d make sure I was wearing hefty soles. Don’t like the sound of melted feet!

    • November 27, 2017 / 10:07 am

      Ha. I couldn’t feel the heat but then bent down to touch the floor with my finger, and jumped back straight away with a yelp!

  7. December 1, 2017 / 9:42 am

    You are making me want to return Jen! I loved our trip and all of the adventures we had. My boys think I am the coolest mum ever for eating food cooked on the heat of a volcano!

  8. December 2, 2017 / 9:49 am

    I loved it there – can’t wait to go back!

  9. December 5, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    There really is so much to see and do here and I know my kids would LOVE Timanfaya just as much as I enjoyed it. The rooftop cinema would also be a perfect treat for all the family to unwind after a day exploring this incredibly beautiful island.

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