Lanzarote is the most easterly of the seven major Canary Islands and lies in the Atlantic Ocean only some 100 km (60 miles) from the coast of Africa and 1,000 km (600 miles) from the Iberian Peninsula. The island enjoys an average temperature of 24ºC all year-round due to its advantageous location in the Tropic of Cancer. Lanzarote is made up of seven municipalities: Arrecife (the capital), Teguise, Haría, San Bartolomé, Tías, Tinajo and Yaiza, with an official population of nearly 100,000 inhabitants, mostly residing in the south-central part of the island.
The island was named after a Genoese navigator called Lancelotto Malocello who arrived on the island during the second half of the 14th century opening the way to successive expeditions of French, British and Spanish sailors and merchants. Previously the isles were known as the Fortunate Islands. Fishing and agriculture once formed the basis of the island's economy but have since been overtaken by the excellent quality of its tourism industry.
Arrecife is the political and commercial capital and home to half of the island's population. Five minutes away is the international airport with its daily flights to the other Canary Islands as well as to mainland Spain and continental Europe. Lanzarote, including the small islands of La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este y del Oeste, covers 900 km² running 60 km north to south and only 20 km at its widest point. Local authority regulations on the amount and style of development mean that there is no billboard advertising and no high rise buildings in Lanzarote (with the exception of the Grand Hotel in Arrecife).
As with the other Canary Islands, Lanzarote is Volcanic in origin. Due to the recent eruptions in the 18th and 19th Centuries, many parts of Lanzarote appear to be from another world, often described as 'lunar' or 'Martian', so much so that parts of 'Planet of the Apes' were shot here. The dry climate (and lack of erosion) means that the Volcanic Landscape appears much as it did just after the eruptions.
Among the many stunning Volcanic features of Lanzarote is the longest Volcanic Tunnel in the world, Cueva de los Verdes, which is over 7 km long, whilst Timanfaya National Park is literally covered in encrusted lava. Despite the Volcanic nature of the island, Lanzarote has several beautiful white beaches such as at Playa Blanca and Papagayo.
Lanzarote capital Arrecife
Volcano at Timanfaya