Pic: Turismo Lanzarote
With its incredible landscapes, year-round warm temperatures and clear blue seas, it is easy to see why Lanzarote has long been popular with tourists.
If you've yet to book your getaway in the sun, check out what the island has to offer to see if it's your ideal holiday destination.
About the island
Situated just 79 miles off the coast of Africa, Lanzarote is the easternmost of the Canary Islands. The entire archipelago was the result of volcanic eruptions during the 18th and 19th centuries, and as such, the south of the island boasts an astonishing 'lunar' landscape. With temperatures ranging from 21 degrees in winter to around 29 degrees in August, and with an average annual rainfall of just 140mm, a warm and sunny break is almost certainly guaranteed.
What to do
Lanzarote is home to a variety of fabulous beaches, from those in the capital, Arrecife, where you can enjoy a cocktail or coffee at one of the bars lining the beach, to the white sands and turquoise waters of Caleton Blanco in the north of the island.
Papagayo, near the southern resort of Playa Blanca, is a beautiful stretch of golden sand, though there are little or no services. Both Puerto del Carmen and Playa Matagorda are large beaches that are great for families, and provide sunloungers for those who wish to relax in a little comfort.
Being surrounded by water, it's hardly surprising that there are plenty of water-based activities on offer on the island. Famara and La Santa are great spots for body boarding and surfing, while Las Cucharas, near the northern resort of Costa Teguise, is perfect for windsurfing enthusiasts.
Meanwhile at Playa Chica, a small beach in Puerto del Carmen, the shallow waters are ideal for snorkelling, and paragliding, diving and jetskiing are also available. Given its size, however, it can get busy quickly during the summer months.
Tours of all kinds are on offer in Lanzarote, from guided nature treks in the Ajache Mountains, to visits to the Timanfaya National Park and the salt pans of Janubio. If it's the underwater world that fascinates you, you could do worse than book a Submarine Safari from the Puerto Calero marina, during which you might just glimpse some of the incredible sea life, including dorada, parrot fish, sting rays, angel sharks and moray eels, amidst the crystal clear waters.
For those keen to learn more about the island, its landscapes and history, there are plenty of attractions worth visiting. The Jameos del Agua, for instance, is a complex of caves featuring a natural concert hall and subterranean lagoon, while the caves of La Cueva de Los Verdes were created by underground lava flows, and the result is quite spectacular.
Also worth a visit is the Cactus Garden, created by local artist Cesar Manrique, who was instrumental in keeping Lanzarote free of high-rise buildings, and the Castillo de San Gabriel, a 16th century fortress overlooking Arrecife harbour.
Where to stay
As you might expect, Lanzarote is awash with hotels and tourist accommodation, so there is something to suit all budgets and requirements.
For a five-star resort with excellent facilities and a short hop to a white sand beach, the Gran Melia Salinas caters for everyone from families to couples on honeymoon, with prices from around £164 a night, while the Princesa Yaiza, at Playa Blanca, is currently the top-rated hotel on TripAdvisor, and has rooms from around £139 per night. But if you're looking for something a bit easier on the wallet, there are plenty of self-catering apartments, B&Bs and guesthouses from as little as £21 per night, so it is always worth checking for cheap packages from the major travel agents.
Are you a regular visitor to Lanzarote? What hotels, areas and activities would you recommend for those making their first trip? Leave your comments below...