Lanzarote Itinerary: How to Plan a 3 or 4 Day Lanzarote Road Trip

volcanic landscape of lanzarote road with view

Out of all the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is probably the most unique and striking.

This is due in part to its arid, volcanic landscape and in other part to the impressive work of artist César Manrique, who designed several magnificent works aimed at creating harmony between nature, architecture, and art.

I spent over three months visiting nearly all of the Canary Islands, and Lanzarote is the one that stands out the most in my memory for its impressive landscape and gorgeous artwork!

cactus garden in lanzarote

Plus, there’s a good reason why the entire island was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, as the island is a great example of promoting sustainability and conservation of biodiversity!

If you ask me, you could spend well over a week exploring the spectacular landscapes and incredible museums on a Lanzarote road trip.

However, the island is a great destination also for a short trip, as it’s relatively compact and easy to visit.

The Lanzarote itinerary below is ideal for a three or four-day trip, with the fourth being an optional trip to the nearby La Graciosa Island, the smallest and, in my opinion, most delightful of the eight Canary Islands.

This itinerary for Lanzarote is designed with a road trip in mind.

Although most places are able to be reached by public transport, that would take longer, meaning less time for you to actually enjoy the sights if you have a short stay in Lanzarote! 

Getting Around Lanzarote

Long empty street between lava fields leading from Yaiza to the volcanic territory of Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote, Canary Islands.

The Lanzarote airport is just 5 kilometers away from the island’s capital, Arrecife (where I suggest you stay in this itinerary), in the town of San Bartolomé.

This Lanzarote itinerary is quite quick-paced, so it only works properly if you’ve rented a car in Lanzarote (read my tips here!)— I suggest picking it up at the airport right away.

I use Discover Cars to search for the best price on my rental cars whenever I’m traveling Europe (and beyond).

They search through 500+ rental companies, large brands and small local agencies alike, to give you the best possible price on your rental.

They’re also very upfront with all the terms and conditions — what insurance is included, what mileage policies are, how to filter out the kinds of cars you want, etc. — and there’s no bait & switch in their pricing.

Plus, Discover Cars has their own internal rating system for all the different rental companies, so you can check past customer experiences easily, which can give you peace of mind when renting from an unfamiliar local company.

I suggest picking up your car from Lanzarote airport for the best prices and the smoothest start to this itinerary.

Where to Stay in Lanzarote

Coastal view of Arrecife , capital of Lanzarote,Canary Islands,Spain. Arrecife landscape background.

This Lanzarote itinerary has you staying in the capital and centrally-located city of Arrecife.

This city has a wide variety of accommodation options suitable for every kind of traveler — here are a few of my suggestions!

5-STAR SPA LUXURY | A stunning beachfront 5-star hotel, the Arrecife Gran Hotel & Spa is the ultimate place to relax, with an excellent spa (additional fee to access) with a Turkish bath, sauna, hot tub, and massage rooms. It also has an indoor pool and a gorgeous 17th floor restaurant with amazing views — it’s the tallest building on the island!

MID-RANGE HOTEL | Recently renovated last year, the mid-range Hotel Lancelot offers spacious, clean rooms with excellent views at an affordable price, with amenities like an outdoor pool, roof terrace, and fitness center. It’s also right across from Reducto Beach, so the location couldn’t be better!

SEAFRONT APARTMENT | If you prefer apartment-style accommodations, Apartamentos Islamar Arrecife is a great choice with gorgeous design. The vibe feels very boutique hotel-like, but then you have the comforts of home, like a well-equipped kitchen. The balcony views are epic and there’s even a shared hot tub!

Day 1 of Your Lanzarote Itinerary: Arrecife & César Manrique’s art

Have breakfast in Arrecife.

Beautiful quay with historic architecture and boats on blue water in Arrecife, Lanzarote, on a sunny day with just a few clouds in the sky and a spectacular view of the white-washed old town landscape

The perfect way to start your first day in Arrecife is by having breakfast at one of the many lovely coffee shops scattered throughout the old town.

Check out the charming Lemon Love or try the specialty coffee at Cafetería ANTIPØDA

You can also explore the old town for a while, but get in the car early to get to your first stop of the day.

You’ll have another chance to explore more of Arrecife in the late afternoon and evening, so don’t worry about trying to see everything right away!

Visit César Manrique’s Foundation.

volcano in background with white-washed architecture and green succulents against a volcanic landscape with a sunny day and blue sky

What really sets Lanzarote apart from the other Canary Islands is the breathtaking work of César Manrique. 

The artist and nature activist was born in Lanzarote and dedicated his life to enhancing and honoring the island’s beauty through impressive works of art and buildings.

In fact, many of the most important landmarks on the island are his creations.

Dedicate your first day of this Lanzarote road trip itinerary to discovering César Manrique’s legacy!

From Arrecife, drive to the César Manrique Foundation in the small town of Tahiche, just 15 minutes to the north.

The foundation houses the artist’s former residence along with some of his sculptures and paintings.

Manrique’s artwork seems to blend in with the surrounding nature, a characteristic you will find in all his creations. 

Visiting the foundation will give you the perfect introduction to the artist’s life and art and help you better understand his other works as your Lanzarote road trip continues.

Admire the wonderful Jameos del Agua.

After you leave the César Manrique Foundation, drive north for roughly 20 minutes to reach Jameos del Agua, another of Manrique’s creations. 

Manrique transformed this series of lava caves into a unique place where nature blends seamlessly with art for a truly striking effect.

Beautiful facilities like the auditorium, the restaurant, and the bar all work together complete this natural-meets-manmade effort.

Fun fact: Jameos del Agua is also home to a unique species of squat lobster called blind lobsters!

water in the lava cave in jameos del agua a lava tube with water in it

You can see these tiny white crustaceans in the water that partially fills the lava caves, which were formed thousands of years ago after a series of volcanic eruptions.

You can get an entry ticket exclusively for Jameos del Agua or save by getting a combined ticket for some of the island’s other attractions. 

There are six CACT centers (Centros de Arte, Cultura y Turismo) in Lanzarote, including Jameos del Agua, Jardín de Cactus, and Mirador del Río. You can buy tickets for three, four, or all six attractions.

Have lunch in Punta Mujeres.

Lanzarote scenic places. Charming Punta Mujeres traditional fishing village with floral streets and white houses

Next up, it’s time to visit Punta Mujeres, a delightful little town just south of Jameos del Agua.

You can stop here for lunch and to stretch your legs a bit before continuing your trip back to Arrecife. 

A gorgeous coastal path connects Jameos del Agua to Punta Mujeres and takes less than 30 minutes to explore.

Since you’ll likely travel by car, you can check out the trail after lunch instead of walking it all. 

Natural pools of Punta Mujeres (Lanzarote) with two people swimming in the pool next to the ocean with its waves and boats

Punta Mujeres is famous for its beautiful natural pools and lovely whitewashed houses.

If you’re looking for that perfect Instagram photo opportunity, you couldn’t ask for a better location!

Wander around town and stop for lunch at one of the many restaurants.

Try the tasty local dishes at Restaurante Tahoyo or grab a quick sandwich at Bocatería Las Salinas.

Visit the Jardín de Cactus.

 Amazing view of tropical cactus garden (Jardin de Cactus) in Guatiza village and windmill behind the cactus garden

For your last stop before going back to Arrecife, visit Jardín de Cactus, another CACT center courtesy of Manrique.

Succulent lovers will be in heaven: the garden houses an incredible 500+ species of cactus from all over the world!

Manrique chose a former landfill in an area known for its cactus plantations and transformed it into a stunning garden, combining beautiful plants and decorative elements.

The space received multiple awards for its unique mix of architecture, gardening, sculpture, and design.

Check out the first cactus planted in the garden, the Euphorbia Candelabrum, and don’t miss the little pond with its quirky sculptures and cute orange fish!

Have dinner back in Arrecife.

Arrecife Lanzarote Castillo San Gabriel castle and Puente de las Bolas bridge

End the day by driving back to Arrecife and exploring the city. 

Park the car for the night, and walk around the small historical center to soak in any sights you missed this morning.

Stroll along Parque Jose Ramirez Cerda and cross the river to Castillo de San Gabriel to watch the sunset.

If you have any time left before dinner, check out the Church of San Ginés and the wonderful art collection at Casa De La Cultura Agustín de la Hoz, which stays open until 8 PM. 

For dinner, try the tapas at Bar Andalucia 1960 or the tasty dishes at Restaurante El Nido.

For vegan options, head to The V Factor.

Day 2 of Your Lanzarote Itinerary: Parque Natural de los Volcanes and Timanfaya 

Volcanic landscape at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote Island, Canary Islands, Spain

Parque Natural de los Volcanes is a spectacular hiking area with unique landscapes. 

The park is free to access and surrounds the Timanfaya National Park.

The latter is accessible exclusively on foot, by camel (yes, really!), or on organized bus tours and has an entry fee.

If you don’t want to explore the natural parks by yourself, you can also join a guided tour.

Several tours are available year-round, like the half-day Timanfaya National Park Volcanic Craters Tour or the full-day Tour of Timanfaya National Park Area.

Follow the Ruta de los Volcanes.

Timanfaya, Volcanic Landscape in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain. Scenic road

The Timanfaya National Park gets its name from the Timanfaya volcano and was designated a national park following the volcano’s last eruption in 1824.

Other major eruptions occurred in 1730 and 1736 and were responsible for shaping the stunning landscape of Lanzarote as it exists today. 

In the middle of the surreal volcanic landscape, you’ll also find the Manrique-designed Restaurante El Diablo.

Like all the artist’s creations, it aims to combine nature and man-made design effortlessly, so that one flows right into the other without breaking form. 

The unique thing about this restaurant is that the food is cooked using volcanic heat inside a grill chamber!

Chicken legs on the grill grill over the natural heat of a volcano in the El Diablo Canary Islands National Park. Spain Lanserote

While admittedly, the restaurant isn’t known for the best food in Lanzarote, it still offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

From the visitor center, you can set off on the Ruta de los Volcanes bus tour. 

This bus tour will take you through the impressive volcanic terrain so you can admire craters, old lava flows, caves, and otherworldly landscapes.

You will also see Manrique’s iconic statue El Diablo, the symbol of the national park.

Camels at the famous Echadero de Camellos of the Timanfaya National Park on the volcanic island of Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain.

If you want to explore the Timanfaya National Park by camel instead, you’ll need to drive to the Echadero de Camellos.

The camel ride lasts around 30 minutes and will allow you to see the stunning landscape up close on camelback!

The landscape here is all sorts of colors, ranging from reddish-brown to gray to yellowish-beige, creating a unique rainbow palette of colors.

Marvel at the beautiful Charco Verde.

Beautiful view of Los Clicos Beach and Green Lake from Charco de Los Clicos viewpoint, El Golfo - Lanzarote, Canary Island - Spain

After exploring Timanfaya National Park, you can drive around the Parque Natural de los Volcanes to check out more stunning landscapes.

One spot you shouldn’t miss is Charco Verde, an emerald-green little lake shining like a gem  against the background of black sand on Playa El Golfo.

Drive to the small town of El Golfo and hike the short trail to Mirador del Charco de los Clicos.

From this viewpoint, you can admire the impressive landscape and a stunning contrast of colors: the green lake, the black sand, the reddish mountains, and the deep blue ocean.

You can also stop for lunch in El Golfo if you haven’t packed any food for the day.

This area is known for its tasty seafood, so try it at Restaurante El Caleton or El Pescador Casa Barriguita.

Take in the stunning landscape of La Geria and its vineyards.

A beautiful contrast between the black volcanic soil of Lanzarote and the greenery of the vines

You may think that wineries are a bit out of place in such an arid, volcanic landscape.

Well, you’ll be surprised to know that Lanzarote is known for its locally-produced wines, made from grapes grown in lava fields, specifically in the protected landscape of La Geria.  

Driving back from Charco Verde, you can pass by the stunning landscape of La Geria and admire the unique vineyards. 

A geria is a hole excavated in the volcanic gravel where the vine is planted. A short half-moon stone wall protects the vine from the wind. 

The thousands of gerias create a spectacular landscape where the bright green plants stand out in the charcoal black of the lava.

lanzarote vineyards with some cactus in the front

In the small town of La Geria, you can also visit family-owned wineries offering tours and tastings.

The two main wineries in La Geria are Bodegas Rubicón and Bodega La Geria

A little further afield, you can also visit the famous El Grifo Bodega and take a sommelier-led wine tasting and tour.

Hike Caldera de Los Cuervos.

Landscape near El Cuervo volcano at Lanzarote island. Canary Islands. Spain.

If you have any time left before heading back to Arrecife, stop by the Caldera de Los Cuervos for a short hike. 

You can follow a short loop trail across the volcanic terrain and around the impressive volcano crater.

The hike takes around an hour, so it’s not a huge commitment to add to your Lanzarote itinerary if you’re making good time today.

Return to Arrecife for dinner.

In the old part of town Arrecife, with a belltower, whitewashed buildings, palm trees, long shadows in the middle of the day

End your second day in Lanzarote by driving back to Arrecife in time for dinner.

The city offers so many restaurant choices, so you can try different places each evening. 

Barbacana Bar & Grill is a great option for meat-lovers, while Bar Strava is a small and cozy place for local cuisine.

I suggest you try the traditional Canarian papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) with the typical sauces (mojo rojo and mojo verde).  

Day 3 of your Lanzarote Itinerary: Playa Blanca and Surroundings

Wander around Las Grietas.

Unusual canyon like rock formations Las Grietas "The cracks" of Montana Blanca

On your way to Playa Blanca, make a quick stop to explore Lanzarote’s unique little canyons.

Grietas translates to cracks, and these are, in fact, cracks in the side of the volcano! 

To reach Las Grietas, drive toward Montaña Blanca, then turn left at the roundabout just before the town and drive in the direction of Tías.

You can stop at the Parking Grieta Volcanica and explore the area on foot. 

There are several cracks in the side of the volcano, and you can walk for several meters inside some of them, similar to some slot canyons you’ll find in other parts of the world.

There aren’t any directions or signs, so you’ll have to find them on your own, but searching for them is half the fun!

Take a Salinas de Janubio tour.

Janubio salt flats in Lanzarote with different hues of white, beige, and pink salt waters

From Las Grietas, continue driving south until you reach La Hoya.

Here, you can stop for a visit to the salt mines at Salinas de Janubio.

First, head to the Mirador Salinas de Janubio to check out the panoramic view of the colorful salines — it’s a great photo spot.

You can then join a guided tour of the salines to learn about the sea salt-making process, walk around the salines, and even sample the local salt.

Fun Fact: The Salinas de Janubio is the oldest continuously active salt mine in the Canary Islands since its foundation over a century ago!

Make your way to the town of Playa Blanca for lunch.

beautiful clear blue waters of playa blanca in the town of the same name with whitewashed buildings and yellow sand beach

Next, it’s time to drive to Playa Blanca, a town at the southernmost end of Lanzarote. 

The town’s name is pretty accurate, given the thousands of whitewashed houses built all along the coast.

While the town is quite big, the main area of interest is small and revolves around Playa Blanca Beach.

Once you get to Playa Blanca, you can stop for lunch before exploring the town and nearby beaches.

You’ll find that the area offers plenty of dining options, from Spanish restaurants to international ones.

Try traditional Spanish dishes with a sea view at Restaurante la Cuadra or the tasty burgers at Chacho Fresh Burger.

For a change of pace, Avenida 55 serves tasty Italian food if you’re craving pizza or pasta.

Have some beach time at Punta Papagayo.

Wooden sticks fence line leading to exotic Papagayo beach in Lanzarote on sunny day. Dirt path with people on secluded bay on background by turquoise water

The beautiful Playa de Papagayo is one of the most popular and stunning beaches in Lanzarote.

The beach is part of the Los Ajaches National Park and sits below the Punta del Papagayo sea cliff. 

Being such a popular spot, you can expect it to get crowded. Nevertheless, it’s worth visiting for the beautiful scenery!

You can easily get to Punta Papagayo from Playa Blanca, either by car or on foot.

By car, you can access the dirt road that leads to the parking spot for a small entry fee (€3 as of 2023). 

I went there on foot from Playa Blanca, and highly recommend it. The hike offers wonderful views of the ocean and the gorgeous volcanic landscape!

Take in the sunset at Punta Papagayo or visit the natural pools.

beautiful sea landscape - sunset over a rocky ocean cliff.Punta Papagayo, Lanzarote, Spain

As an added bonus, Punta Papagayo is one of the best sunset spots in Lanzarote. 

If you don’t mind driving back to Arrecife in the dark, I recommend staying for the sunset!

Head to Mirador de Papagayo and find a spot to sit and watch the sun sink into the ocean.

Los Charcones area with beautiful green and blue pools of sea water

If you choose not to stay for sunset, you can also take a small detour on the way to Arrecife and stop by the Piscinas Naturales Charcones.

The natural pools are just a 20-minute drive northwest of Playa Blanca.

You could also work this in between some beach time and the sunset if you don’t mind doing a bit of a detour in order to also visit these special pools!

Day 4 of Your Lanzarote Itinerary: La Graciosa Island 

If you have an extra day to spend in Lanzarote, I highly recommend visiting the smaller island of La Graciosa, just off the northern tip of Lanzarote!

To get there, you can catch a ferry from Órzola that takes less than half an hour.

Take in the views at the lovely Mirador del Rio.

Graciosa island seen from Mirador del Rio viewpoint on Lanzarote Island, with turquoise sea overlooking a small volcanic island

Before heading to Órzola to board your ferry to La Graciosa, make a quick stop at Mirador del Rio.

This is another of César Manrique’s works, so you may even have it included in the combined ticket, if you bought one earlier.

The spectacular viewpoint offers sweeping views of Lanzarote’s coastline and the small island of La Graciosa.

Check out the view from the parking lot or enter the café to enjoy a coffee with a gorgeous view!

Walk around the pedestrian-only La Graciosa.

La Graciosa island in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, with whitewashed symmetrical and geometrical houses and a volcanic landscape

Fortuantely, La Graciosa is a car-free island, which means you can enjoy pure, unspoiled nature.

The island is small and easy to explore on foot, but you can rent bikes to cover more ground. I chose to walk and enjoyed admiring the stunning landscape at a slow pace.

Nevertheless, while you can’t take your car to the island, you can join one of the available Jeep safaris.

You’ll notice immediately that the island is not very populated.

Sandy streets in Caleta del Sebo, La Graciosa, Canary Islands

You will get off the ferry in the small town of Caleta de Sebo to notice there aren’t even proper streets, just sand and rocks.

Even the town’s streets are all made of sand!

One place worth checking out on La Graciosa is Casas de Pedro Barba.

House, Pedro Barba village, graciosa island, a small white stone house with cactus and desert landscape

This small village in the northern part of the island consists of just a handful of whitewashed houses built around a small bay with delightful little gardens. 

You can walk there from Caleta de Sebo in just over an hour. Walk along the coast and return inland or the other way around.

When walking inland, you’ll pass by La Aguja Grande and La Aguja Chica, two volcanic peaks offering panoramic views of the island.

Sandy road and inactive volcano Las Agujas Grande with with multi-colored hillsides. La Graciosa. Canary Islands

Along the coast, stop by the beautiful beach of Barranco de los Conejos.

If you rent a bike instead of walking, check out the views from the impressive Montaña Bermeja and the marvelous Playa de las Conchas with its white sand and turquoise waters.

After completing the island tour, which can take anywhere from four hours to a full day, catch the ferry back to Lanzarote.

End your trip in Teguise.

Costa Teguise village square with a church and a brick tower surrounded by streetlights Palm trees and little White Houses on a Sunny summer day.

Before concluding this Lanzarote itinerary, one last place worth checking out is Teguise.

You can stop by the small town on your way back to Arrecife from Órzola. 

Teguise is best known for its Sunday market selling everything from fruits and vegetables to arts and crafts.

If you’re in Lanzarote on a Sunday, you may want to check it out then!

Even if you don’t go to the market, Teguise is worth a visit. The town is one of the oldest on the island and its former capital!

Wander around the charming old town and pay a visit to the curious cemetery with its surreal statues.