Lanzarote is a real beach lover's paradise. The island is home to close to 100 superb stretches of sand, some of which are regarded as amongst the best in the Canaries, such as the huge sweeping bay at Famara on the rugged North West coast and the interconnected coves of Papagayo, located close to Playa Blanca in the south. And best of all the vast majority boast golden grains, not the black volcanic sand prevalent on some other Canary Islands.
Land of Sand
Whilst Lanzarote has many attractions the island's climate and beaches are the main draw for the vast majority of visitors. All of the main resorts of Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca boast some excellent Playas, most of which were created for tourists using sand imported from the Sahara. But the island is also home to some spectacular, all natural beaches which are well worth exploring.
The Canary Islands are often associated with black sand beaches, but there are few of these on Lanzarote, despite the relatively recent volcanic eruptions on the island. If you do want to discover these then head for Playa Quemada, close to Puerto del Carmen or El Golfo, which is en route to Playa Blanca -- as these are both great examples.
Blue Flag Beaches
As you'd expect, all of the three main resorts - Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca – have an excellent selection of Blue Flag beaches. These are well maintained, cleaned regularly and offer all of the usual facilities, such as loungers, sun shades and toilets.
Inevitably though the beaches in the main resorts can get busy, especially during peak seasons such as summer, Christmas and other school holidays.
So should you tire of sharing the sand with hundreds of others there are plenty of other options to explore.
Off The Beaten Track
The most beautiful beaches on the island are a bit more off the beaten track and generally less crowded than the beaches in resort. They have also been largely left in their natural state - which means most have no facilities and any cleaning is left to the tide.
As beauty is in the eye of the beholder its tough to rank one above the other. However most locals would agree that the beaches at Papagayo and Famara are the most stunning on the island.
Both are very different. Papagayo is a picturesque collection of coves whilst Famara is a nine-kilometre stretch of sand.
Crucially though, Papagayo generally enjoys far better weather as it lies at the southern tip of the island. Famara, on the other hand, sits on the north west coast, which means it isn't really suitable for sunbathing during the winter months.
Even at other times of the year strong winds can also make Famara better suited to activities such as walking or kite surfing.
Orzola at the northern tip of the island is home to a number of wild and natural beaches. The best known of these is Caleton Blanco, the last beach before you hit the village on the road from the Jameos del Agua.
Just north of Orzola lies Playa de la Canteria, another beautiful beach but with big breakers, making it dangerous for swimmers but a firm favourite with local surfers.
Further north, beneath the Mirador Del Rio, lies Playa El Risco, This is probably the wildest beach on the island and it is difficult to access – by boat from Orzola or by coming down a cliff path just close to Guinate Tropical Park. A serious one-hour hike that feels twice the distance on the uphill return.
Families or those who prefer to have a few more facilities on hand should head for Playa Garita at Arrieta. The beach here is around 1km long and has a couple of restaurants right on the sand. There are also well-maintained showers and toilets.
Sand & The City
Around half of the island's population of 140,000 lives in Arrecife and they've got an excellent beach right on their doorstep. The palm fringed beach of Playa Reducto is right in the centre of town. Great for swimming due to the reefs that surround the capital's shoreline.
El Cable lies just outside Arrecife and the little conurbation here has the feel of an up-market housing estate. There is a nice little beach here though which can also be reached on foot via the coastal path that now runs all the way from Arrecife through to Puerto del Carmen.
Playa Honda is a large seafront conurbation close to the airport and there's a 5km long expanse of beach here called Guacimeta. The beach is backed by a picturesque, well-planted walkway and there are a few bars and restaurants dotted around too.