1. Papagayo beaches. You have to negotiate an unpaved road to get there – and clean your hire car before returning it – but it’s well worth the bumpy ride. Three euros entrance price per car into this national park area. Go to the third beach along for the best snorkelling.
2. César Manrique Foundation – see the house of Lanzarote’s most famous son and artist with its series of gorgeous underground 60s style rooms. His influence can be found all over the island, for example…
3. Jardin de Cactus (Cactus Garden) – this surprisingly colourful multi-level garden has been created in a former quarry near Guatiza village. I don’t particularly like cacti but I still loved this garden. A good place to stop for lunch and admire the prickly wonders below. This was also the last work of César Manrique.
4. Mirador Del Rio – a 479-metre-high lookout in the form of a 1960s futurist fantasy, courtesy of César Manrique. The views across to La Graciosa Island are stunning as you’d expect but the tri-level viewpoint is equally spectacular. We nearly missed this out while packing in the island’s northerly attractions but very glad we took the detour.
5. Timanfaya is the volcanic national park and while it is still a must-see, I found it disappointing to have to see the lunar landscapes from a packed 52-seater coach with reflective windows, endless language translations and viewpoint stop-offs where you had to stay on-board. One good thing is that the coach you can just about spot in this photo does give a sense of scale. Next time, I think I’d book onto a walking trek.
6. Jameos Del Agua – this César Manrique-influence nightclub complex has the look of the island in Thunderbirds with its curved white pool and single palm tree. There are a number of enchanting elements about the Jameos Del Agua but my favourite was the shaft of natural light falling through the cave roof and illuminating the perfectly clear water below. Quite surreal.
7. Cueva de los Verdes – a short hop from from the Jameos Del Agua is this underground cave system. The guided tour of 50 people at a time, all taking flash photography and chatting away, killed the calm underground soul of the tunnels and caverns. But the cave holds a secret – one that only those who visit can experience. Shocking!
8. Monumento al Campesino (aka The Peasant’s Monument) – if you’re crossing the island you’ll likely spot this sculpture made from water tanks which is slap-bang in the centre of Lanzarote. Created by Jesus Soto and Cesar Manrique, it is a monument to the hardship of those who work the land. Take a moment to appreciate this and then join in the tourist fun of climbing in, on and over it. Also, perfect for playing photographic peep-bo.
9. La Geria wine region – the viniculture of La Geria in the island’s centre is fascinating and consists of curved rock windbreaks and scooped out soil to keep individually planted vines safe from Lanzarote’s blustery winds. The bright green vines on the black lava fields are a visual treat on an island with such little flora.
10. El Golfo – remember that iconic Raquel Welsh fur bikini shot from One Million Years BC? Here’s the spot it was filmed. A green lagoon, black sand beach and incredible rock formations complete the prehistoric look.