Why you should visit Lanzarote in the winter

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Autumn has officially hit the UK and the cooler nights are setting in. So you’d be forgiven if you find yourself browsing holiday destinations looking for winter sun.

If you are looking for a quick holiday to break up the darker nights, we thoroughly recommend the island of Lanzarote. It’s fantastic all year round, but there are a few things that make the winter season extra special.

1. The Lanzarote weather

The most obvious reason to visit in the winter months is the weather. Daytime temperatures in winter vary from 19 to 26 degrees, falling only to 16 to 19 at night. Even the surrounding ocean doesn’t dip below 19 degrees. There’s also a chance that you’ll get a better tan during the winter too, as the UV factor isn’t as fierce so you can stay out in it longer.

2. Hiking

Lanzarote is an outdoor enthusiasts dream, and many energetic visitors prefer the later months of the year when the air is a bit cooler. Hillwalking and hiking are especially popular in the winter.

3. Watersports

Lanzarote loves watersports, and they are available all year round. Windsurfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are especially popular.

4. The Lanzarote landscape

Lanzarote is famous for its breath-taking lunar-esque landscapes. But something changes about them in winter, aka the start of the island’s growing season. The hills tend to blossom with the most amazing wild flowers, and you’ll see blossoms and fruit all over the hills.

5. Whale-watching near Lanzarote

More than 26 species of whales and dolphin reside in the warm waters of Lanzarote – many of them permanent residents.

6. Carnival

February is Carnival time in Lanzarote. It is a huge affair with outlandish costumes, music, dancing in the streets, drag queen competitions, a Carnival queen contest and performances. A new theme is selected every year, but there’s always a float and the Burial of the Sardine Parade – where locals pretend they are actually at the ‘funeral’ of a sardine, where it gets cremated in a huge bonfire, marking the end of the Carnival celebrations.

7. Gastronomy-themed festivals

The island’s biggest food festival, Tasting Lanzarote Enogastronomic Festival, is held every November in La Villa de Teguise with many visitors booking their holiday to coincide with the dates. Lanzarote boasts a delectable local foodie scene – including fresh Atlantic seafood, award-winning cheese, and volcanic wines – so it’s well worth visiting when the locals bring it all together.

8. The Three Kings Parade

Christmas works a little differently in Lanzarote. On the 5th of January, Lanzarote has a camel procession that includes the Three Wise Men (who bring the children their gifts) who will go through the towns handing out sweets to children. You’ll also find a variety of cakes available, some with a king hidden inside and some with a bean. If you get the king you get the cake for free (but pay if you find a bean).

Have you ever visited Lanzarote in the winter? What was your favourite thing about the island in the later months?

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A family dining in Lanzarote, the building behind them in white and green.

A foodie’s guide to Lanzarote

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If you love food, then you’ll love Lanzarote. This stunning Canary Island takes pride in its locally grown produce and borrows gastronomic influence from Spain, Africa and Latin America thanks to its historical position as a former trans-Atlantic port. Whether it’s freshly caught seafood, vegetables grown in volcanic sand or unique vineyards, Lanzarote boasts plenty of distinctive but delicious flavours for the discerning traveller.

Freshly Caught Seafood

Being an island, it probably doesn’t surprise anyone that Lanzarote restaurants offer several delicious seafood dishes. Two local delicacies that you’ll see popping up regularly on menus are the local fish Cherne, (wreckfish in English) mero (in English dusky grouper) and vieja (parrotfish). Make sure at one point you also try some Sancocho Canario, a stew made with salty fish, sweet potato, mojo and gofio bread. Fresh Tuna Steak, Calamari and Octopus are also common.

If you want to taste the best seafood Lanzarote has to offer we recommend heading to the towns of El Golfo and Arrieta where much of the fish came out of the water earlier that day.

Meat

While locally caught fish tops the menu, meat is also very popular. Goat and rabbit are two meats that are very common and are primarily used in stews. Young goat especially is very popular – and is normally served fried or cooked in the oven.

Papas Arrugadas

If you read any food and drink guide concerning Lanzarote, this local potato dish will make an appearance. In order to get the skins ‘wrinkly’ texture, the potatoes are boiled in sea water and then to add flavour they are served with Mojo, a traditional Canarian sauce made with garlic and herbs or paprika.

Cheese

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Cheese fiends are definitely not left out on a holiday to Lanzarote. The cheese found in Lanzarote is award-winning and can be made from goats, cows or sheep milk. You can find fresh, semi-fresh, smoked or cured cheese in many shops and restaurants, however cured cheeses are also sold with a mixture of olive oil and paprika or gofio creating a unique flavour.

Bienmesabe

You might not be immediately familiar with this dessert, but it has been called “the most famous dessert in the Canaries”. Traditionally it is made using honey, egg yolk and ground almonds – but additional ingredients can include sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and sweet wine or sherry.

Volcanic wines

The vineyards that grow out of the dark volcanic sands have been attracting wine connoisseurs to Lanzarote for years, and have also been awarded Protected Designation of Origin status. All the wines are grown in the fascinating La Geria region, with single vines protected from the trade winds by a semi-circular wall. Malvasia is the wine mostly associated with Lanzarote, and is defined by its characteristic light fruity flavour and are very crisp and dry making it a great accompaniment to the fish dishes that are popular on the island.

Other wine varieties found across the island include Muscatel, white and black lists, Diego, and Burra White Negramoll.

Dining in a volcano

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Lanzarote locals sure put their volcanoes to good use. In the hills of Timanfaya National Park, lies the El Diablo restaurant that cooks its food by placing a grill rack across a volcanic vent. Then there’s also Jameos del Agua in the north of the island, a restaurant found in the volcanic tunnels created by the eruption of the La Corona Volcano. Every Tuesday and Saturday you can enjoy the Jameos Night and be treated to a la carta dinner with live music.

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