For such a small island Lanzarote has a surprisingly large number of attractions that fall under the general, catchall category of museums. Some of these follow the conventional route - with all of the usual trimmings, such as exhibits, displays and gift shops.Others are more eclectic and could be better described as living or working museums offering insights into specific aspects of island life.
Museum of International Contemporary Art - Arrecife
Small but top-quality collection of modern paintings and sculptures by leading artists housed in a beautifully renovated 18th century castle - the Castillo de San José, located in the outskirts of Arrecife.
The Castillo was originally built to repel pirates and alleviate poverty on the island in the wake of the major volcanic eruptions of the 1730s. As a result it became known locally as the Fortress of Hunger.
The Castillo is still filling stomachs today, as it also houses a stylish restaurant, designed by César Manrique.
Museo Al Campesino - Mozaga
Designed by César Manrique as a tribute to the resilience of the island's farmers this is really more of a restaurant and arts and crafts outlet than a museum.
Nonetheless, visitors can still explore the old renovated farmhouse and enjoy watching local artisans creating traditional craft items.
Palacio Spinola - Teguise
This beautiful House Museum dating from the 1730s offers a rich insight into both the lifestyle of a wealthy merchant and the architecture of the period.
A sympathetic restoration project, overseen by the ubiquitous César Manrique helped restore the building to its full glory back in the 1970's and today it is one of Teguise's most important monuments.
LagOmar - Oasis de Nazaret
Step into the incredible grounds and house built for film star Omar Sharif by Jesus Soto in the 1970’s. Newly opened to the public, the Museum at LagOmar perches above the gardens, caves and restaurant and features an exhibition about the architect who created this amazing property.
Legend has it the actor lost the house in a high stakes game of bridge, only days after buying it, which has been immortalised as part of the exhibits.Guided tours of the house are available every half an hour.
The stylish Bar La Cueva (Cave Bar) opens every Tuesday to Sunday from 20.00 until the early hours, making it an ideal venue for late night drinks.
El Grifo Wine Museum - Masdache
Learn more about the unique method of viniculture on Lanzarote by visiting the Wine Museum, which is housed at El Grifo, the island's oldest bodega.
The bodega building is a classic example of local architecture, dating back to the 1770's and the museum houses all sorts of bacchanalian paraphernalia, such as ancient presses and bottling equipment.
Other Museums in Lanzarote
Museo del Tanit - San Bartolomé
This quirky and fascinating ethnographic museum is a collection of every day items of island life from the last 200 odd years, so giving a faithful insight into how real people used to live.
The Museum is housed in the basement bodega of a beautiful 18th century house and also boasts an art gallery and pretty gardens. Admission costs €6 for adults whilst kids get in free and is open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 to 14.00.
Agricultural Museum El Patio - Tiagua
Travel back through time and discover more about the agricultural traditions of Lanzarote. This excellent museum 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.
There is also a small cactus garden, a chapel and a wine museum. Visitors can also buy wine and goat's cheese produced on the farm. Admission costs €5 for adults and €2.50 for kids and the museum is open from 10.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday and from 10.00 to 14.00 on Saturday.
Pirate Museum - Castillo de Santa Barbara, Teguise
Lanzarote´s location as a staging post between the New World and the Old made the island a prime target for pirate incursions. And this museum, housed in the Castillo de Santa Barbara which overlooks the former island capital of Teguise, relates the experiences of the locals as they struggled to cope with repeated raids.
Admission costs €3 for adults and is free for kids and the Pirate Museum is open 10.00 to 15.00 Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays.