Christmas Under the Lanzarote Sun
If you’re one of those people who don’t like the cold even at Christmas time, you’re in luck, because in Lanzarote the temperature never goes below 20 degrees, and we celebrate the holidays outdoors.
So don’t forget to pack your swimsuit when you set off for a Christmas that, except for the nativity scene, the traditional sweets, the traditional music and the shared enjoyment with your loved ones, will be unlike any you’ve ever had before.
Put your skis on… water skis that is
There is a tradition on the island that pays homage to its unique landscape and environment: decorating a fig tree as a Christmas tree. This nod to Lanzarote’s native plants is not the only one.
The holidays are a time for sweet potato or almond pies, ranchos de Pascua (Christmas musical groups), monumental nativity scenes, street markets and warm, friendly gatherings, often on the seashore. Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy the island’s pleasant winter.
Don’t forget your towel and sun visor so you can enjoy the sun and the sea‘s cool and invigorating waters without prejudice. The quiet, family-friendly beaches that curve alongside coastal towns such as Playa Honda, Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen are visited at this time of year by sandy Santas.
Swap your snow skis for water skis and enjoy the endless range of water sports for all levels at your fingertips. If you‘re a beginner, why not treat yourself to a diving baptism or a windsurfing lesson? We‘re sure the experience will be gift you’ll never forget.
Take a piece of Lanzarote home with you
At Christmas, Lanzarote’s markets are filled with local and artisan products. Take away some of the magic captured in a bottle of wine with designation of origin, in the jars of local fruit jams such as fig, orange or prickly pear, in the local goat cheeses or in a box of mantecados – biscuits made in the traditional way with the same recipes used by our grandmothers.
Arrecife, the island‘s capital, has a few surprises in store for you as part of its Christmas activities programme. You can visit its Christmas market, held until the 5th January in the Ramírez Cerdá Park, with privileged views of the sea and the monuments of the seafront promenade. The programme includes the musical Navidalia on 22nd December at 5.30 p.m., great for audiences of all ages. You can also take the opportunity to do some shopping and have a snack in the streets of the centre or in the Charco de San Ginés. This picturesque inlet, packed with terraces offering menus to suit all tastes, is the ideal place to recharge your batteries after a day’s shopping.
If you visit the street markets of Haría or Teguise, you will add an immersion in traditional architecture to your experience. The village of the Thousand Palm Trees has a lively square that is inundated every Saturday morning with handicrafts and agricultural products from local farms. As for the village of Teguise, its Sunday market is a must for anyone who wants to take home a local souvenir. In the more than four hundred stalls set up in the historic-artistic architectural complex, you‘ll find everything from local agricultural products to handicrafts and even works by local artists.
Essential experiences among volcanoes and nativity scenes
The island, by its very nature, offers a multitude of educational experiences all year round. Young people will be introduced effortlessly to volcanology, speleology or botany in the Cueva de los Verdes or the Cactus Garden, Lanzarote treasures that receive the admiration of the world. Don’t forget that the Three Wise Men set off from the Montañas de Fuego on their camels to collect letters from children every 5th January, before their departure to the five continents.
If you are looking for a surprising cultural and gastronomic evening, the Jameos del Agua is the place for you. The volcanic cave is transformed into a bubble of magical unreality every Friday, during its Jameos Nights. The impressive auditorium, designed by César Manrique inside a volcanic tube, also has a busy programme of performances.
But the essential experience at this time of year is a visit to the monumental nativity scenes in many of the island’s villages. The one in Yaiza, in the Plaza de los Remedios, is a work of craftsmanship that recreates emblematic places such as the Salinas de Janubio or the Montañas del Fuego, including a geyser. The one in Tinajo, in the Plaza de San Roque, comes to life every 25th December with a performance in which the villagers themselves take part and which has become a tradition.
Traditional music and carols in the “Navidad Isleña“
After so many emotions, you may wish to end the day with a quiet and intimate evening listening to traditional Christmas melodies and popular Christmas carols. Lanzarote is a musical island and jealously guards its many styles. One of them is the Christmas rancho de Pascua, the oldest musical manifestation of the Canary Islands, which is revived with concerts all over the island as part of the Navidad Isleña (Island Christmas) event.
The square of Haría is a beautiful place to attend the concert of the Rancho de Pascua de Tías, on Saturday, the 17th, coinciding with the street market. If you prefer parades, Playa Blanca is preparing a street rancho on the afternoon of the 20th in the commercial area; and the theatre of Tías hosts the performance of the historical association Acatife, on 30th December.
One way of getting to know this musical tradition in its natural environment is to attend a concert in the Church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, patron saint of the island, in Mancha Blanca (Tinajo), where the Rancho de Pascua de Haría performs on 23rd December.
The voices are joined by tambourines, timples (a traditional string instrument), swords and guitars to sing Canarian Christmas carols, such as the one composed by Benito Cabrera, which has become an emblem and speaks of the fraternity of the islands: “Come on, let’s sing, we eight share the same sea. Feel the beat of a single pulse, Christmas is here“.