With what seems like an endless beach, steep cliffs rising straight out of the ocean and stunning views out to the Isle of La Graciosa. Famara is more than just a paradise for the surfers who flock here every year.
Famara - Best Beach in Lanzarote?
The small fishing village of Caleta de Famara has achieved worldwide reknown as a surfers paradise.
With the beach of San Juan playing host to international surf competitions and the geographic position creating ideal conditions, it is a magnet for the European surfing community.
However, there is definitely more to Famara than this.
Where can I find it?
On the North-West coast of Lanzarote — in the municipio of Teguise — Famara occupies a large, curving bay with many kilometres of beaches.
It is somewhat out on a limb with the road from Teguise — the nearest large place — seeming to go on forever, although in fairness the road is only about 15 kilometres long.
What’s it like?
Famara seems to bear the brunt of the tradewinds sweeping in from the Atlantic and the fact that the Risco — cliffs — rise straight up from the depths of the ocean to the highest point on the island mean that it always seems to be damp.
That being said it is a staggeringly beautiful place, in fact Cesar Manrique — the island's prodigal son — loved the place, having spent many summers there as a child.
While there are surf shops, a (small) supermarket and a number of seafood restaurants, there are no banks and it is in many respects far removed from the hustle and bustle to be found in the main resorts of Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise, on the opposite side of Lanzarote.
Famara is essentially split into two parts, the original fishing village known as Caleta and the relatively new — some 18 years old — Bungalows, which nestle right under the cliffs.
Caleta de Famara
This is the original fishing village and harbour — Caleta literally meaning small port — that has existed for many years.
It is a laid back place which does not appear to have kept pace with developments in the rest of the island at all.
Streets are covered in sand and it has a small harbour, which is nowadays mainly used by locals to launch their private leisure boats, as opposed to the small commercial fishing vessels which were the lifeblood of Famara in days gone by.
In fact, now you are more likely to find local children snorkelling in the harbour than anything else.
Bungalows at Famara
The urbanisation of Famara is a development of Bungalows — all of which are semi-circular in shape — built approx. 18 years ago, and which were conceived as a luxury resort.
The development nestles under the Risco de Famara and enjoys excellent views over the ocean, however, it is not to everybodys taste. I have actually seen it described by one person as looking like an oil terminal, a description which I have to say is a bit harsh.
For a variety of reasons this particular development fell into disrepair, it was not exactly one of the most sought after places on the island. Recently, however, it has undergone something of a renaissance with many local people, buying and renovating houses.
There are still many bungalows available for holiday rental and the development has a central reception area, swimming pool and probably the smallest supermarket on Lanzarote.
Famara enjoys possibly one of the longest stretches of beach on the island of Lanzarote, curving round under the cliffs, which stand like sentinels protecting it from the rest of the island.
The strong currents mean that it is not advisable to swim in the sea at Famara — most people you find in the water are experienced surfers — these currents also explain the unusual phenomena that the beach is sandy in summer and rocky in the winter.
The strong winds also mean that it is not the most pleasant place to sit and sunbathe for most of the year; although it is a mecca for lovers of the extreme sport of kitesurfing, whose participants make a fantastic site skimming across the water, pulled by their large, brightly coloured kites.
As with surfing, there are a variety of schools in which you can learn this exhilarating sport.
There is a second, much smaller beach, known as San Juan, which is mainly used by the surfers and which plays host to one of the professional surfing competions every year.
Although not the best for sunworshippers, the beaches at Famara certainly make for a great walk, it is true to say that the scenery is simply some of the best on the island.
If you go in the late evening in the Autumn months, you will be blessed with some fantastic sunsets, as the sun slowly sinks into the Atlantic.
What is there to do?
Apart from the obvious attractions of surfing and kitesurfing, Famara is also a great base for walking.
You can walk a good distance along the Risco — cliffs — which is certainly exciting, although these days, because of erosion, it is difficult and quite dangerous to walk all the way to the salt flats below the Mirador del Rio.
It is also possible to walk to the old capital of Teguise along dirt tracks, although I would suggest that this 10 to 12 kilometre walk be taken the other way around, as the walk from Teguise back to Famara is all downhill and has much better views.
The high cliffs also draw hangliders and paragliders in the Autumn / Winter months, when the thermals make — so I'm informed — for excellent flying conditions.
If you really are hooked on soaking up the sun, Famara is probably not the best place to sunbathe for most of the year. However, in mid-summer, when the wind drops and the temperatures rise you might be forgiven for thinking that I'm not quite telling the truth.
The relatively quiet beaches and gentle, cooling breeze make this an ideal place to be.
To the West of the village, there is a small lagoon with an even smaller beach; which always seems to be free of wind and much more appealing than a crowded swimming pool.
The water is so much safer than at the main beach, so much so, that my kids actually learned to swim here.
If you are staying in Famara and want to do anything more than stay there for your whole holiday, you will defintitely need to hire a car.
The restaurants in Famara could not be described as luxurious, however, there is certainly something to be said for eating freshly caught fish and seafood, virtually on the beach with stunning views over the Atlantic and a sunset to inspire the senses.
Simple but highly pleasurable.
Where can I stay?
There are no hotels on this part of the coast, the nearest would be the sports resort of La Santa, so your choice of places to stay is limited to the bungalows in the Urbanisation or apartments in La Caleta itself.
Some of the bungalows are quite luxurious but it is fair to say that you will generally get a simpler standard of accommodation in Famara, than at other places on the island.
If you’re thinking of joining one of the surf, or other sports, schools, they will be able to help you organise a place to stay.
Famara is definitely not for everyone, but if you would rather invigorate your senses with some fantastic scenery and a chilled out atmosphere than with souvenir shops and plastic food, this is probably a better bet than the main resorts on the other coast.
It is important to note though that the weather here can be cool and cloudy during the winter months, when resorts on the south east coast would be a better bet for those solely in search of the sun.