8 of Lanzarote's must-lounge beaches

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Robin McKelvie

Robin McKelvie

With Lanzarote* offering superb wines, hiking and outdoor art (thanks César Manrique), it's easy to forget what first brought this Canary Island such popularity.

Discover the supple shores of Lanzarote © Arkadii Shandarov - Fotolia.com
Discover the supple shores of Lanzarote © Arkadii Shandarov - Fotolia.com

Cold northern Europeans discovered and then just couldn't get enough of the glorious sun-kissed beaches that wrap around this deeply dramatic island.

There is real strength in depth, with stretches of sand sweeping from sunbed-clad all singing all dancing resort beaches to quieter coves away from the crowds. Then on to remote and wildly beautiful wonders that tempt dedicated surfers in search of world-class breaks.

Getting to Lanzarote: as a hugely popular destination, TUI offers great value breaks to Lanzarote* and the Canary Islands* from numerous UK airports all year round.

Playa de Los Pocillos

The most famous and developed beach in the most popular resort of Puerto del Carmen* is Playa Grande, but savvy visitors head for Playa de Los Pocillos, just a short walk to the east.

This wide expanse of sand sweeps around the bay in front of the Seaside Los Jameos Hotel*. There are sunbeds at some points, but also lashings of empty beach with space for everyone.

When the tide eases out it creates an eye-catching lagoon you can wade through for an alternative route back to the street that cleans your sandy feet as you go. If it gets too busy for you ease even further along towards the airport for another brace of beach beauties.

Playa Blanca

It's hard to choose between the necklaces of sand that sprinkle out along this sinewy southern resort, so I'll leave you to pick your own. All enjoy a view out towards the Isla de Lobos and across to the neighbouring Fuerteventura.

The expansive sweep of Playa Blanca © Rafal Gadomski - Dreamstime.com
The expansive sweep of Playa Blanca © Rafal Gadomski - Dreamstime.com

All are backed up by bars and cafés so everything you need is here. Playa de las Coloradas in the east is the biggest, though locals head even further east towards the Papagayo Peninsula. Don't just stare at this natural expanse in the distance when you can be there.

Playa de Mujeres

The beaches of the Papagayo Peninsula are an utter joy, it's a deserted spot without a tarmac road or hotel in sight. Hike the 5km out from Playa Blanca, cycle or drive along the dirt tracks. This beach is the largest and most popular.

Picture-perfect Playa de Mujeres © Carlos Bruzos - Adobe Stock Image
Picture-perfect Playa de Mujeres © Carlos Bruzos - Adobe Stock Image

It's a sheer joy, the stuff of glossy brochures with white sands and aquarium-clear waters, fringed by rugged cliffs that are indented by coves and caves. Find it too busy here? Just swim around to the next cove, which you'll likely have all to yourself.

Playa de Papagayo

Just to the east of Playa de Mujeres is a local favourite. It's smaller, but more sheltered, a little lagoon-like area that sparkles beneath vaulting cliffs. The waters tend to be more sheltered in here.

The inviting arc of Playa de Papagayo © Paolo Tralli - Dreamstime.com
The inviting arc of Playa de Papagayo © Paolo Tralli - Dreamstime.com

It used to be the preserve of naturalist bathers, but they've largely moved on to even more remote beaches further around the peninsula.

There is nothing to do here bar swim and relax on the sands, through handily there is a brace of chiringuito beach bars just up the steps from the water. It's a cracker of a spot for sunset. A day lazing away here on the beach, before a chilled sundown cocktail, is a quintessential Lanzarote experience. Salud!

Caleta del Mojon Blanco

Forget sun loungers and beach bars, here it's all about the wilderness. From the small car park, it's quite a walk out across the lava-strewn white sands (bring beach shoes to save your feet) and weave your way seawards.

It's often too rough to swim with undercurrents a danger too but there is plenty of fun splashing in the tidal lagoons and checking out the rock pools. An off-kilter sanctuary, you'll spend far longer at than planned.

Playa Quemada

This little visited coastal village is a real-timewarp south of the main resorts on the east coast. You can walk here from Puerto Calero with a wee road down to the village too from the main highway.

A gaggle of whitewashed houses hunker down beneath brooding volcanic hills overlooking the black sand. Black sand beaches are a Canarian mainstay, but they aren't as plentiful on Lanzarote as you might imagine.

Swim, stroll along beneath the cliffs (where a bigger black sand beach tempts) and then enjoy a chilled beer in the waterfront bar, or some fresh seafood in the wee restaurant next door. This is as far away from mass tourism as it's possible to get, but with cold beer still on tap.

Playa de las Cucharas

In the resort of Costa Teguise*, the biggest beach is the best with this nigh-kilometre-long stunner. This wide sandy beach is justifiably popular with loads of room and all the resort trappings close on hand.

It can be a bit breezy, hence the many windsurfers. It's actually a great place to try out this brilliantly fun watersport. Beach bummers might want to pack a windbreak or just ease out of the breeze into water that most Brits will still find pleasantly balmy even in the depths of a Canarian winter.

Playa de Famara

Looking for a beach with plenty of space? Is a 9 km stretch enough for you? Not only that, this sandy strip in the west is spectacularly set beneath sky-scraping cliffs on one flank and a deep water channel across to the island of La Graciosa on the other flank.

The wilds of Playa de Famara © Ina Ludwig - Adobe Stock Image
The wilds of Playa de Famara © Ina Ludwig - Adobe Stock Image

The only note of caution relates to the lively conditions, ideal for full-on surfing. This is not the place for a family swim, with the adrenaline thrills best enjoyed on a board.

It's also a stunning oasis with epic sunsets too facing west. Get here early if you want to snare one of the traditional black lava windbreaks so beloved by the locals. There are surf schools if you want to learn how to tackle the local surf breaks.

Weather in Lanzarote

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Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
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The above shows the guide to the weather in Arrecife. You can find out more about conditions across the island in our complete guide to the weather in Lanzarote as well as conditions over the wider Canary Islands.

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Robin McKelvie

Robin McKelvie
Article updated on Monday 26th December 2022 in: Beach Europe Summer TUI Winter sun

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