TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN PLAYA BLANCA, LANZAROTE
By Sheila Hendrick
Winter is a great time to visit Lanzarote. Aer Lingus fly daily from Dublin to Lanzarote throughout the winter, with twice daily flights every Saturday. Playa Blanca, on the south coast, is one of the three main resorts in Lanzarote - Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise being the other 2. It’s located just 35km from the airport. There’s lots to do in Playa Blanca. With a large marina, lots of cafes, restaurants and upmarket shops and sandy beaches, it’s the perfect base for a relaxing sun getaway. Here are 5 things to do on your week in Playa Blanca.
1. WATERSPORTS AT PLAYA DORADA
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The coastline around Playa Blanca is broken into 3 large bays and the beaches in and around Playa Blanca are sheltered and ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Playa Dorada is the biggest beach and is located just off the promenade next to the Princess Yaiza Hotel and Hesperia Playa Dorada Hotel. It’s a beautiful, sandy beach with plenty of sunbeds and 2 cafes and is great for swimming, snorkelling and all kinds of other watersports. It’s also perfect or just lapping up the sun. Other near-by beaches are the smaller Playa Blanca and Playa Flamingo.
2. MINI CRUISE BY WATERBUS
Sail on a catamaran to Papagayo beach, one of the best beaches in Lanzarote. This fantastic daily mini-cruise sails from the main port of Playa Blanca to Marina Rubicon, with its luxury yachts and exclusive shops and restaurants and on to the crystal-blue waters of Papagayo Beach, which is 4km down the coast from Marina Rubicon. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Marina Rubicon has a famous market which attracts visitors from all around. The waterbus is glass bottomed so you can see the teeming marine life while lapping up the sun on deck. The waterbus moors off Papagayo beach and are brought ashore on a dinghy.
3. TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK
No visit to Lanzarote is complete without visiting Timanfaya National Park in the south-west of the island. This exotic landscape is home to the stunning Montana del Feugo (Mountains of Fire) and is covered in extraordinary lava fields, caused by massive volcanic activity in the early eighteenth century. The bus tour takes you to the top of one of these mountains where lava is still trapped deep below the surface. You’ll see geothermal vents in action and get an understanding of the incredible heat generated by the trapped lava.
Other highlights of the bus tour include El Golfo’s Green Lagoon, the wine region of La Geria, the rugged coastline of Los Hervideros formed when the rivers of lava reached the sea and the salt pans of Janubio. The best way to see the park is on a tour bus as the roads leading up the mountains are not only steep with hairpin bends but also the car parks get very busy. There are a number of tour companies that do day trips by coach and the cost for the tour is circa €35 per person. This includes a tour guide and being collected from your accommodation (around 9-9.30am) and dropped back (around 4-4.30pm).
4. FERRY TO FUERTEVENTURA
Hop on the ferry or catamaran and head to Corralejo on the north coast of Fuerteventura. The trip takes just 40 minutes and there are regular crossings throughout the day. The promenade from the harbour leads into Corralejo town which is overlooked by a beautiful Caribbean-like beach. Indeed, there’s more than one beach in the actual town and each are worth exploring. If you have just a few hours, you could take the mini-train around the town. This costs just €5 and takes just half an hour. It starts and ends at the harbour, giving you a chance to relax and take in the bars and restaurants and the other attractions that Corralejo has to offer. These include Corralejo Grandes Playa which is just a quick trip by bus, taxi or car. Here there are about 10km of shoreline to explore and you can enjoy beautiful views towards Lobos Island just off the coast. Corralejo Natural Park is also highly recommended with long stretches of beautiful beaches and unspoilt dunes.
5. WINE AND DINE IN MARINA RUBICON
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Marina Rubicon is a beautiful marina with a wide variety of bars, restaurants, shops, boutiques and supermarkets, all with a view of the marina. It’s a great place to spend a few hours - day or night. There are lots of good restaurants including El Mirador, La Casa Roja, Harbour View, Casa Brigada and Lady Russ. Café Terraza is a nice place for a pre-dinner drink. It has a lovely boardwalk and large ponds with fish and even a swimming pool which is open to the public. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, there’s a market with lots of stalls which is very popular with visitors. Just a few hundred metres from Marina Rubicon is Castillo de las Coloradas. The castle dates from the 18th century and was built to stop marauding pirates from attacking the island. The views of the sea and surrounding cliffs are spectacular.