17 Fun Things to Do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel

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Have you been to the Canary Islands? You really should, and when you do, you’ll find lots of fun things to do in Lanzarote with kids. We just returned from a winter visit, and now want to go back in spring.

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Jameos de Agua 2

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Mirador del Rio 1

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Timanfaya National Park camels 2

Surfing in Lanzarote Canary Islands Surf Camp for Kids Calima Surf School surfboard training on the waves

SCUBA Diving in Spain Our kids learn to dive in Europe underwater

Things to Do in Lanzarote with Kids

Lanzarote and the other Canary Islands are Spanish territories just off the coast of Morocco. They are volcanic, and the landscape and culture there are like nowhere else on earth. Most Europeans know the Canary Islands as a package holiday destination like Benidorm on Spain’s Costa Blanca, but I’m here to tell you that there is much more to Lanzarote and the Canary Islands than British pubs and all-inclusive resorts (although both of these have their appeal, as well).

Like many of my North American friends and compatriots, I knew very little about the Canary Islands before we visited Lanzarote. I had heard of the island of Tenerife, simply because one of my son’s soccer coaches in Penang introduced me to a coach who runs a team on the island. We were looking into Spanish soccer/football opportunities before moving to Spain and considered living in Tenerife. Perhaps we still will.

But Lanzarote? I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t heard of it until we started researching the warmest places in Europe during the winter.

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The Canary Islands: Sunny All Year

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Uga fish shop entrance

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands playground

Where’s the warmest place in the European Union in winter? You guessed it: the Canary Islands. While people in London, Berlin, and Barcelona are wearing gloves and scarves, we were in shorts and flip-flops. For most of it anyway.

The Lanzarote weather in winter is quite mild. In January and February, average temperatures are 21ºC/70ºF high and a 14ºC/57ºF low, with very little rainfall. We’re wimps, so we wore jackets in the mornings and after sunset, but many of the European tourists around us never took off their sandals and tank tops.

Lanzarote is what I imagine would happen if you somehow fused Iceland, Spain, and Morocco together. Black volcanic rock and red desert sand contrast starkly with the turquoise waves and white-block Spanish villages. It’s a place where lava, camels, surfing, and tapas are commonplace, and we found plenty of family fun. There are many things to do in Lanzarote with kids,  but couples or solo travelers will enjoy a visit as well.

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Things to See in Lanzarote With Kids

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Timanfaya National Park camels 1

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands lava beach

Most of our recommended things to do in Lanzarote with kids can be done in a week. However, if you take a week-long surfing or scuba class, that would obviously limit your time.

Also, remember that we drove ourselves. It’s not a big island, and there are public buses, but they seem to be infrequent. Renting a car — or perhaps hiring a driver, if that’s your thing — would be the best way to visit Lanzarote with kids. More on that at the end of the post.

Cueva de los Verdes

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Cuevas de los Verdes 2

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Cuevas de los Verdes

If you’re going to Lanzarote with kids, make time to study up on geological formations. We enjoy subterranean visits when we can find them, but Cueva de los Verdes is different than most of the caves we’ve been to.

Why? Because there are no stalactites and stalagmites, and it’s dry and fairly warm underground. This cave is part of the aftermath of an ancient eruption, and the walls are solidified lava. In the center of the cave’s path, there is a stage where concerts take place. I wish we had scheduled our visit around one of them.

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Cuevas de los Verdes vertical

The caves are well-lit and easy to traverse on foot, but there are a number of steps, so I wouldn’t recommend this for those with strollers or wheelchairs. The tour takes about 50 minutes.

Jameos del Agua

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Things to do in Lanzarote with kids Spain family travel canary islands collage 4

Artist and architect, César Manrique, is one of the Canary Island’s most famous sons, and he was born in Lanzarote. The Jameos del Agua is one of his masterworks: what was once an empty, cavernous lava tube is transformed into a restaurant, concert hall, volcanic museum and altogether cool place to walk around and snap pictures in.

From the entrance, you walk down a series of steps into a sun-dappled cafe sitting halfway into a cave. The side in the sunshine faces a small pond covered by a ceiling of stone and lava. In the pond, tiny albino crabs skitter over the rocks. Signs specifically say not to throw coins in to make a wish, as the coins change the composition of the water and threaten the health of the little white critters.

Walk past the pond and cafe on the other side, and then the area opens into a supernaturally blue-and-white swimming pool flanked by cacti and palm trees. Beyond the pool is a subterranean concert hall with mirrored walls.

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Jameos de Agua vertical

Unique to Lanzarote

You’d be forgiven if you think that you’ve just stepped into the lair of a James Bond villain. If that were true, then that villain must also be a scientist, because if you walk up the spiral staircase from the pool, you’ll reach a small museum dedicated to the Canary Island’s volcanic history. Exhibits here explain how Lanzarote was formed and how lava tubes like the one you’re standing in came into existence.

As you may have already guessed, Jameos del Agua is also not very stroller or wheelchair friendly. The steps aren’t difficult or abundant, but because of the tight quarters, I guess, I didn’t see an elevator option.

Tip: If you want to see an unaltered lava tub in its natural state, there is one just off the road about 3 minutes up the road from the Cueva de los Verdes entrance cave (4 minutes from Jameos del Agua entrance).

Mirador del Rio

17 Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary Islands Mirador del Rio collage

Another César Manrique creation, this lookout point is perched high at Lanzarote’s northernmost end. The curved, white walls stand in contrast to the black, craggy volcanic rock they rest in, and holes from the top lookout points poke through to the main rooms to let in natural light. (continued below)

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The cafe here serves sandwiches, muffins, and slices of cake, as well as drinks like water, sodas and typical Spanish coffee (cafe solo, cortado, cafe con leche, etc). Keiko and I had a small lunch here while the kids were at surf camp, and the prices were reasonable for a prime tourist location: sandwiches for 4-6 euro, coffee for 2 euro.

La Graciosa

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Mirador del Rio pano

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Mirador del Rio 2

This is the island you see from the Mirador del Rio viewpoint mentioned above. Ferries and chartered boats go back and forth between Lanzarote and La Graciosa regularly — weather permitting, of course. For example, all boats were canceled one day while we were there due to unnaturally strong winds.

There are no paved roads on La Graciosa, and very few cars. The best way to explore this small, flat island is by bicycle.

Timanfaya National Park

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary Islands timanfaya 1

things to do in lanzarote with kids Timanfaya collage

This is where Lanzarote’s volcanic past meets us here in the present. There is still some serious geothermal activity going on in the Canary Islands, and you’ll witness it first hand here. The park looks like another planet. Immediately upon arrival, staff may point you towards a few tubes that burrow deep into the ground. One guy will pour half a bucket of water in, which spews back out in a steamy explosion seconds later. Around the corner, they’re grilling chicken over a hole in the ground.

Tip #1: You cannot drive through Timanfaya National Park. Instead, there are three options we saw: bus, camel or trek. We chose the bus because the trek is only for 16 y/o or older.  The bus route is windy, so be sure to take motion sickness if you need it.

If we took the bus again, we’d make sure that we were sitting in the very front seats so we could see better. The camel ride entrance is in a different location.

Tip #2: When you take a bus tour, arrive early. Get there before the others do. We showed up mid-afternoon and had to wait in a line of cars for nearly an hour. Once there are cars behind you, changing your mind and turning around might not be possible. The gatekeeper will tell you how long it’s going to take before you go in. In our experience, his estimate — a one-hour wait — was accurate (having an audiobook cued up helped). An alternative is to go later than 3:30 pm. When we left at about 4 pm,  we saw only a few cars waiting to enter.

Check out all of our SPAIN WITH KIDS tips.

Jardín de Cactus

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Jardin de Cactus

This massive cactus garden was also designed by César Manrique. It’s staggering in scale and is guaranteed to have at least a few bizarre cacti species that you’ve never heard of: 4,500 cacti from 450 different species. Judge for yourself if your family would enjoy or like to take a family photo here. Just keep little hands off the exhibits!

Castillo de San Gabriel

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands 740 vertical Castillo cannon castle

In the town of Arrecife, there is a small castle that stands on a tiny island in the bay. Inside is a museum of Lanzarote ethnographic history, but only kids who are history buffs will find the exhibits here interesting for long. If you’re in the area for the La Casa Amarilla or the Museum of Contemporary Art (we ran out of time to visit these two), then drop by. The reason for this non-essential stop is simply to run the stone path out to the castle and possibly snap a shot of the cannons in front.

Puerto del Carmen

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Puerto del Carmen

This happening harbor town has lots of shopping and restaurants. There is a high concentration of hotels and resorts in this area, so expect all the kind of shops that cater to their guests. Clinics, pharmacies, and supermarkets are nearby, as well as playgrounds, bike lanes, and bicycle rental shops.

Playa Blanca and the Av. Marítima

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel av maritima shops restaurants 5

Things to do in Lanzarote with kids Spain family travel canary islands collage 2

From the Playa Blanca harbor, follow the walkway (Av. Marítima) as it hugs the coastline and you’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafes, English pubs, and tapas bars. Our kids were missing Indian food, so we ate it twice in the area. Plenty of Chinese, Mexican, and Italian restaurants, too, as well as places serving British standards for the package tourist who wants a taste of home. In this area, you’ll also find supermarkets, pharmacies, and clinics with English-speaking doctors.

Nearby is Flamingo Bay, a nice beach sheltered from the waves. Plenty of restaurants, coffee, and gelato here, as well. This is the beach where the kids took their first scuba lesson. Not far off is Papagayo Beach. More isolated, but beautiful.

Teguise City and the Museo de la Pirateria

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This charming little town is a great place to stop for lunch and wander around. There is a nice playground, a few cool shops, a small, charming town square, and a few good places to eat

Oh and a pirate museum in Teguise! Located on a hill overlooking the town, this is a very cool museum about piracy in the Canary Islands. Will be writing more about it soon.

Lanzarote’s Vineyards

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Ok, ok, so maybe this isn’t one of the best things to do in Lanzarote with kids, but when you drive through the center of the island, the Lanzarote’s vineyards are hard to ignore. Most use an unusual technique of growing the vines in pits, with small crescent-shaped rock walls around each vine to shelter it from the wind. The white wine they produce this way is quite tasty, but if that’s not your idea of a Canary Island family vacation, you still may want to pull over for a picture here of the landscape. It was after harvest season when we were in Lanzarote, and all the pits were empty, but the images we’ve seen with green vines are beautiful.

More Things to Do in Lanzarote with Kids

Surfing in Lanzarote Canary Islands Surf Camp for Kids Calima Surf School beach landscape 1

Surfing lessons at Playa Famara (Famara beach)

things to do in lanzarote with kids canary islands famara beach surfing Calima surf school surf camp

Learning to surf is one of the best things to do in Lanzarote with kids. On the northwest side of the island lies a small beach that is perfect for surf lessons. The beach is quite shallow, and the waves break late on large swaths of the beach, so it’s possible for kids to practice getting up on the board in water less than waist-deep, There’s only one small town here, and a number of small outfits that teach surfing, standup paddleboard (SUP) and kite surfing.

Our kids joined a surf camp with Calima Surf school and had a great time. I’ve written about their experience surfing in Lanzarote, and the kids are already asking when we can go back. If you’re an advanced surfer, Lanzarote (and Calima) have you covered as well.

Scuba Diving Lessons

SCUBA Diving in Spain Our kids learn to dive in Europe Lanzarote Nonstop Divers underwater ok sign

Being the warmest place in the EU during winter, one of the best things to do in Lanzarote with kids is to learn to dive. Our kids took their first scuba diving lessons with Lanzarote Non-Stop Divers and had a fantastic time. They’re now hounding me on when we can go back and complete their certification.

Museo Atlantico

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Museo Atlantic Underwater Museum 1

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Museo Atlantic Underwater Museum 2

This is one of the main reasons to learn scuba diving in Lanzarote. This underwater museum is brand new, opening in January 2017.

British artist Jason deCaires Tayor has covered 2,500 square meters of the ocean floor with life-size human statues made of a special environmentally-friendly concrete. Many of them are now covered with ocean life. Learn to dive in Lanzarote, and this is what you can see.

Chill Out Cruise

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Chill out cruise boat trip

Launching from the Playa Blanca dock, the Chill Out Cruise offers a number of boating options. They do short cruises, sunset cruises, and chartered journeys, but we chose the 4-hour tour with BBQ and had a blast. Once out to sea, we snorkeled, fished, and, well, chilled out. A great BBQ lunch was provided as well, which was grilled on the boat.

Rancho Texas

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel rancho texas komodo dragon

This is a water park, zoo, and amusement park which is (inexplicably) themed after the American Wild West. I’ll be honest with you and tell you that we didn’t visit.

There was too much else to do and we don’t like most zoos, anyway. That said, it’s one of the most popular things to do in Lanzarote for families. It gets good reviews, too, so I thought I would mention it for those who might be interested.

Getting Around Lanzarote

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary islands Getting around car rental

The best way to get around Lanzarote with kids is by car. At 846 km/525 miles, Lanzarote isn’t a big place, and there aren’t that many roads. There are public buses in Lanzarote, but we rarely saw them. All the major rental agencies are located in the arrival area of the airport, and many of the rental cars are parked less than a 5-minute walk away. Therefore, you can be off the plane and on the road fairly quickly. Our flight arrived at 23:00 and the rental desk was still open. When Keiko called to confirm if they would be open, they told her that they stay open until the last flight of the day.

If you are not ready to drive your entire time in Lanzarote, you can always hire a car in the town as well. We saw many rental car offices in the major towns.

The roads are in good condition and fairly easy to navigate — especially if you’re using a navigation app like Waze or Google Maps. There are no lights on some roads at night, which can make it super-dark. Just saying.

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Where to Stay in Lanzarote with Kids

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Lots of people who come here aren’t looking for things to do in Lanzarote. They’re arriving on a package vacation deal with an all-inclusive hotel or resort. However, there are a number of options. There are plenty of Airbnb rentals and conventional hotels. Then there are places that look more like condo rentals. Here are the two places we stayed.

Hotel THB Tropical Island

This is a massive complex that’s more like a neighborhood of apartment buildings with their own pools in each. Restaurants, bars, a small supermarket and a small football pitch were also on site. There’s no traffic inside the compound, which makes walking through it open and easy.

We stayed here for 5 nights and enjoyed it. We had one bedroom with two single beds and a sofa bed in the living room. Our room had a fridge and a small kitchenette with just enough pots, pans, plates and cutlery for the four of us to cook and eat our dinners. When we arrived, there was a basket of fruit and a bottle of table wine waiting for us. Plenty of towels, slippers and for all. Nice robes, too, which made our girl feel fancy.

Like most of the island, our internet here was spotty or non-existent, with the strongest signals in the main lobby. They also had some kids’ party events at night, that our son enjoyed checking out on his own.

The Seaside Los Jameos Playa

This is one of the luxurious hotel/resorts I mentioned above, where guests usually sign up for all-inclusive packages that include meals and entertainment. We stayed here two nights with a half board package and really, really enjoyed it. Great room with reliable WIFI (rare in Lanzarote), beautiful grounds, and an excellent location. The food was fantastic, too. A real highlight for us. It was so nice to have such excellent food and not have to think once about cooking, cleaning up, or where we’d eat that day. I have lots of great things to say about this place.

Have you been to Lanzarote with Kids?

Things to do in Lanzarote with Kids — Spain Family Travel Canary Islands chill out cruise family portrait

Where did you go? What did you do? Where did you stay? Tell me about your favorite things to do in Lanzarote with kids! If you have our own tips to share about visiting the Canary Islands, please add them to the comments, or contact me directly!

Want family activities in mainland Spain? We have you covered.

Things to do in Lanzarote with kids Canary Islands PIN 3

Disclosure: The CACT Lanzarote provided admission for some of the attractions in this post, but my opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find fun things to do in Lanzarote with kids or in the Canary Islands with children. 

Image credits: #3, #9 #28, #29, #30, #31, #33, #35, #46, #48, #49, #51

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