The Canary Islands are often regarded as just a cheap holiday option for the bucket and spade brigade. Four-hour flights, year round sun and tax-free prices attract flocks of mass-market sun seekers to these seven specks of Spain, just off the coast of Africa.
But Lanzarote has also become something of a mecca for independent tourists, thanks partly to the advent of more budget flights to the island. Along with the fact that many tourists return year after year - intent on connecting with the real Lanzarote that lies away from the main resorts.
As a result, the larger and more populous islands, such as Tenerife and Gran Canaria have long since traded authenticity for Full English breakfasts and swathes of the countryside sport more concrete than a Mafia victim.
But the Canary Islands are not all birds of a feather. On Lanzarote it is still easy to savour the flavour of traditional Canarian culture and enjoy peace and tranquility away from the three main resorts.
Rural Heart and Soil
Lanzarote is, essentially, a rural island in the sun. Today tourism is the motor of the island economy, but for centuries agriculture was the heart and soil of commerce.
This legacy is evident all over the island. Many locals still maintain and cultivate fields and plots, growing staples such as tomatoes, potatoes and spinach. Wine is produced in the La Geria region and little Lanzarote even manages to account for an eye-watering one-third of Spain’s annual onion quota.
Museo al Campesino
This pastoral past is celebrated by the ubiquitous César Manrique at the Museo al Campesino, just outside Mozaga. Here visitors can experience a beautifully restored traditional farmhouse and watch local artisans engaged in authentic handcrafts, such as pottery and weaving.
Agricultural Museum El Patio
Tiagua, a little further to the north is home to the Agricultural Museum El Patio.
This excellent exhibition is housed in one of the biggest and best old rural houses on the island — where traditional crops are still cultivated and farm animals roam free.
The Real Thing
As Lanzarote is manageably small the sand-starved are never far away from one of the islands 90 plus beaches. Consequently, a growing number of visitors are now opting to experience this more authentic and tranquil island existence, away from the hustle and bustle of the resorts.
As a result, a number of rural retreats have opened their doors over the last decade or so. They all offer good quality accommodation in peaceful surroundings, with many located in areas of incredible natural beauty.
View our rural villas page to find your ideal accommodation.