Guide to enjoying Lanzarote’s winter without checking your watch
Boxes of nougat are already occupying pride of place on supermarkets shelves. The Earth has barely forty days left to complete another orbit around the sun. The official start of winter is just around the corner and Lanzarote will receive it with its usual warmth, offering an exceptional alternative to Europe’s freezing December.
Winter tastes different in Lanzarote.
The constants of the island are softened with the arrival of a few sculptural clouds and warm and comforting weather that allows us to swim at a pleasant 21ºC, the same as the atmospheric thermometer.
Soups and stews dominate the seasonal gastronomy. It’s time to welcome caldomillos, traditional casseroles and vegetable creams. Christmas sweets appear on the shelves in the form of truchas and mantecados. The sunsets come early and dark arrives at six o’clock in the evening. The night invites you to go out for coffee, tea, wine and an exhibition. It’s time to savour things slowly.
All these signs and symptoms of Christmas coexist happily with Lanzarote’s classic features: life linked to the sea, fresh fish, sandals, volcanic landscapes of an extraordinary geological singularity, spaces for art and culture…
We’ve compiled some plans for people who like to travel calmly, wanting to understand the culture of the places they visit.
Bikes, binoculars and a lot of art
We set off pedalling our bikes at a leisurely pace, enjoying the toasting of the morning sun. We’ve got our water, sunscreen and binoculars.
The morning made a gift of a white heron preening on the El Reducto beach. The water looked like cellophane paper and, like us, the birds were enjoying the morning’s warmth.
Hours later, in the Charco de San Ginés, we saw some adorable birds with bright orange, almost red legs. They were walking along the shore, turning stones with their beaks, looking for insects and crustaceans to feed on. Their popular name: turnstone. They form part of the group of birds that migrate from Arctic latitudes in search of a warmer winter, just like us.
Arrecife’s marina is an unbeatable place to enjoy this pleasant ornithological route that can also be complemented with a visit to cultural spaces such as the El Almacén Cultural Innovation Centre, the Casa Amarilla, the History Museum or the International Contemporary Art Museum MIAC – Castillo de San José.
Wine (and water) route
The last weeks of autumn bring out the best colours of La Geria, which displays its black, sparkling minerals, surrounded by red and cinnamon mountains.
The well-known wine route of the Lanzarote Denomination of Origin allows you to taste the wines of 21 different wineries. Although many of them are in the natural setting of La Geria, others are located in different parts of the island and it is well worth contacting them to find out if there is a possibility of tasting their wines in their bodegas or if they can tell you in which restaurant you can sample them.
Less well known is Lanzarote’s water route, a particularly interesting chapter of history that can be read on the rural landscape. The maretas of Montaña Blanca and Guatisea are two fascinating examples of popular hydraulic engineering. Both were responsible for collecting and storing runoff rainwater in huge tanks, with filters in place to remove sediment, and channels that reached the towns of Tías and San Bartolomé. There is an ambitious plan to recover this water culture on the island.
My first time on a wave
A seabed with good visibility, a winter that doesn’t seem like winter at all and a multitude of diving professionals at your disposal.
It’s difficult to find a better place for a diving baptism or to learn to surf the Atlantic waves, which requires balance, flexibility of mind and good teachers. The latter is guaranteed. If you don’t have the first two skills, no problem: you will still enjoy a tremendously fun experience, in a unique landscape like that of Famara Beach, standing at the foot of a cliff, with a fishing village with sandy streets and a multitude of restaurants, bars and cafes where you can satisfy the appetite that you will surely work up during your training.
In search of km 0
The so-called “gastro holidays” are one of the most appealing winter holidays and Lanzarote offers tremendous possibilities to satisfy this type of desire.
What do you fancy?
- 100% traditional Canary Island food?
- A fresh and contemporary reinterpretation of local products?
- How about a mix of foods grown on the island, but used as ingredients in Italian, Mexican or Japanese-Peruvian taverns?
A good starting point is the Saborea Lanzarote website. From there: check out Instagram, listen to recommendations and let yourself be surprised.
Museums, theatre, cinema and exhibitions
Lanzarote’s cultural programme is a constant trickle of surprises.
To the cultural calendar of the Jameos del Agua Auditorium must be added the events that take place in El Almacén, with weekly film screenings (Sala Buñuel) and exhibitions, and all the activities hosted by the Víctor Fernández Gopar Theatre, El Salinero, named after a famous poet from Lanzarote, born in the small village of Las Breñas in 1844.
Each municipality has its own exhibition space, in some cases in beautiful spaces that once had other uses: a water cistern (Haría), a hermitage (Tías), a convent (Teguise), a casino (Arrecife).
Take your time. Take a break. Explore.
You have all winter to fall in love with the island.