Approximately 100 kilometres west of Morocco off the African coast lies the Spanish archipelago known as the Canary islands, and the most easterly of these islands is Lanzarote, the fourth largest of the main islands.
There are a number of tourist areas on the island beyond the Capital of Arrecife, which is also a popular stop for cruises doing the Canaries voyage; these are Puerto Del Carmen, Playa Blanca and last but not least Costa Teguise, our choice for this visit.
Originally known as Insula de Lanzarotus Marocelus, Lanzarote was named after the Genovese navigator Lancelotto Malocello, a significant figure who is mentioned frequently in historical sites around the island.
A four hour or so flight from the UK, our destination of Costa Teguise lies around ten to fifteen minutes North East of Arrecife airport, and appears to be the latest resort to be built on the island, started in the 1970’s to provide an upmarket alternative to the over commercialised Puerto Del Carmen.
Costa Teguise is a small resort and this lends to some of its immediate charm. At the eastern end of the resort you will find the Sands beach resort, while at the western end you find the village of Las Caletas. A pleasant promenade stretches across the front of the resort, across the Playa Bastian at one end and finishing near the Gran Melia Salinas hotel by the side of Playa Cucharas. Depending on your walking speed, you could probably make the journey from one side of the resort to the other in less than a hour. Alternatively your always rent a bicycle or motorised scooter from one of the hire shops in the town.
Boasting five beaches in total, the main beach of Playa Cucharas is approximately a kilometre of fine golden sand with a shallow walk into the blue sea ideal for children to play safely. Just around the headline lies two more beaches, the small but sheltered Playa Jablillo and the more extensive Playa Bastian.
Our apartment was situated in the Hotel Galeon complex on the tip of the small peninsula (reviewed separately) and we found it a bit breezy at times, the surrounding buildings seeming to act like wind tunnels, concentrating the sea breeze and making some parts of the resort a bit on the breezy side. Yet, quirkily, turn the corner on to the main stretch of shops and bars on Avenido Del Jablillo and the wind just disappears.
Five minutes walk in either direction from the hotel foyer brings you a collection of cafes and restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and drinks into the late evening.
A short walk into the town brings you to the Pueblo Marinero, a square surrounded by restaurants,some with live music, and host to a small market twice a week. Walking further uptown brings you to a few more shops and pubs, and eventually leads you back down onto the promenade. There are some good circular walks in the resort, and our own favourite which took us from the Hotel Galeon, up to the Pueblo Marinero, across the top to the Black Bull pub and back across the length of Playa Cucharas measured an easy 2.2 miles.
We were on the lookout for a resort that was essentially flat, and Costa Teguise is ideal for that. Even what we thought was the steepest hilly part of the resort was relatively flat and an easy stroll for Sue. Puerto Del Carmen by comparison consisted of a long flat promenade of shops and bars, connected to accommodation in the surrounding hills be quite steep roads. We could see Playa Blanca probably suffered similarly depending which part of the resort you stayed in.
Views from the promenade
While comparing resorts, and bearing in mind this was in late February, Costa Teguise had a quiet, laid back appeal, great for sunworshippers who liked a quiet meal in one of the many restaurants and bars – nightclubs are a rarity; It reminded us very much of our first stay in Majorca in the resorts of Palma Nova / Magaluf before those resorts were overrun with loud bars and even louder drunks.
If that’s your style, then definitely you need to be in Puerto Del Carmen, otherwise stick to Playa Blanca or for my money, Costa Teguise due to it’s proximity to the airport.
One thing that struck us was how well maintained everywhere was -there are no unsightly unused buildings, the streets are clean, roads and pavements in good condition, and everything painted in the traditional white walls with either green, blue or brown accents.
Speaking of bars and restaurants, you are spoiled for choice in Costa Teguise, and while prices are sometimes a bit steep in the central areas, you can find some good value in some of the restaurants on the periphery. And breakfast – full english for €3.50! It certainly isn’t worth taking bed and breakfast at a hotel with prices like these.
Something that we noticed early on was the abundance of English owned bars and shops, which made it feel home from home to some degree, easy to order your meals and read the menus, nice to have a chat with the ex-pats living there, but with very little in the way of traditionally Spanish. If you are looking for authentic Spanish culture, this resort may disappoint.
Futher afield, the resort is just 10-15 mins drive from the old Capital of Teguise, which is well worth a visit; It cost us £38 to hire a car for the day, and driving in Lanzarote is surprisingly easy. The roads are straight, in good condition and in the main well signposted (although you do get caught out occasionally) – the comforting thing is that the island is so small, you will eventually come back to a road or sign leading the direction you want. Close to Teguise is Castillo Santa Barbara, set on the side of a small volcanic crater. Spectacular views from the top, and home to the museum of pirates.
Lanzarote boasts a range of mountains but these are nothing compared to the likes of Mount Teide in Tenerife; there are no real winding mountainous roads with scary drops to be concerned with – the steepest road we encountered was in and out of Playa Blanca, so we would really recommend you hire a car and have a look around the place – we managed to see most of the island in the one day.
Castillo Santa Barbara
Being volcanic, there are plenty of reminders of the fact and you can, for €8 or so go up into the “Fire mountains” and watch someone pouring water into a hole, for it to re-emerge as steam moments later due to the presence of lava just 13m below the surface. However, they really aren’t much in the way of mountains (check out Mount Teide in Tenerife if you want a real mountain experience) and the lava plains surround the area are interesting but not overly breathtaking. While looking huge on the map, we traversed the area in about 10 minutes.
We arrived at the end of February and the temperatures were 16-21’C during the day, mostly sunny with the odd cloud. As mentioned before, the resort is not the most sheltered from the winds (hence its popularity with wind surfers) so expect it to be a bit fresh at times.
Costa Teguise is a lovely little resort, and we felt right at home the second we arrived. We loved it so much we are even considering buying a place there! If winter sun is what you are after in a quiet and relaxed environment, you could do much worse than head off to Costa Teguise.