Here in Northern Europe we have one big problem: the weather! Even though we should be used to it by now, we all crave a bit of sunshine, especially since our summer are not quite the same as they use to be. Everyone dreams of escaping the grey European winters…. The closest destination we have to bask in the sunshine are probably the Canary Islands, which are part of Spain, though they are located off the coast of Africa.
Mitali, one of our lovely readers, who chronicles her life on her blog, Life with my Lovelies, went on holiday to Lanzarote recently and kindly wrote down her tips on where to go on the island. Her holiday sounds a million miles away from the touristy, beer drinking, football watching experience I always imagined the Canaries to be.
Finca Arrieta The eco retreat (with wind and solar power) is the most beautiful and special place. The atmosphere is very laid back and the owners and manger are lovely people. There is a range of different accommodations available: beautiful yurts and little stone houses. We picked the garden cottage and loved it. Every accommodation has its own outdoor space and most have kitchen facilities and barbeques. There is a shared pool and kitchen area and toys and books for everyone to enjoy. You can even borrow surfboards for free.
Our kids, age 7 and 17 months, enjoyed the playground with its great trampoline at the Finca very much. And collecting fresh eggs from the hens which live at the eco retreat was a special adventure. So was feeding Molly, the donkey and if kids want, they can even ride her.
I recommend hiring a car in Lanzarote, so you can explore this extraordinary island.
Our son enjoyed visiting the Cueva de Los Verdes the most (people used to hide there from pirates, which he found especially exciting). This spectacular cave is only a short drive from Finca Arrieta and the guided tour (in Spanish and English) takes about 45 minutes. Take a carrier with you for smaller children since they won’t be able to walk through the cave.
In Tahiche is the artists Cesar Manriques house, the Fundacion Cesar Manrique. It is a magical place built into volcanic bubbles and there is a lot to explore.
The Mirador del Rio, also created by Manrique is a viewpoint high on top of a hill, only a short drive from Finca de Arrieta. Hidden in the rocks, the artist created a cafe with giant glass fronts from which you can enjoy the breath taking views around Lanzarote. You can also take a walk outside around the café and take great pictures of La Graciosa, a small island close to Lanzarote (the owner of Finca Arrieta offers tours to La Graciosa which are great fun).
Since our son is fascinated by volcanos we took the somewhat long drive (make sure you ask Sally at the finca for specific directions since there aren’t many signs on the way) to the Montagna del Fuego. Once you get there you can take a bus tour through the volcanic landscape, look into a crater and watch a branch catch fire when thrown into a whole into the ground.
La Garita Beach is a ten minute walk from the retreat. It is a pleasant, small beach with sandy and rocky parts . There are way more locals than tourists and especially on the weekends it can get quite busy. It is a popular surf spot and known for its peer where people jump off into the ocean.
Also try Famara beach. It is a beautiful, wide beach with soft, white sand – perfect for building sand castles and splashing about in the waves. Don´t go if it is too windy though or you will get sandblasted.
Another great beach is located between Arrieta and Orzola. Keep driving past the Cueva de Los Verdes and turned into a gravel road to your right at a small stop sign. This beach is great for smaller children since it offers easy access into the shallow water. We explored it during low tide and we were the only ones there. You can walk miles towards the sea, find little lagunes to bath and watch fish in and just enjoy this beautiful spot all to yourself.
Since we had our own kitchen at the Finca we self catered the whole time, but the staff at the retreat can recommend various restaurants.
We were all really sad when we had to leave Finca Arrieta and will surely return to this magical place as soon as we can!