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The most impressive of the Canary Islands for those who value natural beauty, the island of Lanzarote is a favourite cruise destination. Ships dock in Arrecife, the island’s capital, at Puerto de Naos. From there, you’ll have easy access to a whole host of attractions on a Lanzarote shore excursion.
Often, the island’s landscape is described as lunar, covered in thick dust and volcanic ash from previous eruptions. There are craters and mountains as well as flat, dry desert landscapes, though these are complemented by beautiful green spaces, lagoons and beaches.
Few people choose to spend their entire shore excursion in Arrecife, as it’s incredibly easy to travel around the island and to visit some of the more popular tourist resorts. You’ll love the island’s natural beauty spots, including the mystical El Golfo lagoon which is yellow-green and has surrounding caves. Throughout the year, this dry, arid island has more than enough to impress visitors of any age, though a visit in February might coincide with one of the world’s most spectacular festivals – the Carnival of Santa Cruz. Whenever you visit, you can enjoy a wide range of permanent attractions that are guaranteed to make your Arrecife cruise excursion a particularly memorable part of your cruise:
The Mountain of Fire
Lanzarote’s most popular attraction is this dormant volcano, surrounded by a dusty, hot and sandy landscape. The Fire Mountains are covered with hardened streams of lava and with deep volcanic craters. The ground is exceptionally hot, and can instantly set a piece of grass alight. This whole area is surrounded by vineyards, many of which offer tours and wine sampling.
Throughout the island, you’ll find various companies offering camel rides. This is an unforgettable experience and a chance to enjoy the landscape from a different point of view. Typically, camels will have two wicker chairs strapped to their backs, with visitors paired with someone of a similar weight to provide balance.
This extremely popular venue is a ranch-themed animal park complete with lasso shows and a saloon restaurant. As well as seeing a wide variety of animals, you’ll be able to enjoy other on-site attractions including a swimming pool and splash zone, sunbathing spots, a lagoon for canoeing, a colourful garden filled with tropical birds and the ‘Gold Mine’, where you can try your hand at panning for gold.
Markets in Arrecife, and throughout the rest of Lanzarote, are perfect places to find bargains and to buy local souvenirs. Embroidered products including bags and decorative items are some of the most popular souvenirs, though the people of Lanzarote can also produce impressive traditional wood carvings that are ideal if you’re looking for something slightly more ornamental and long-lasting.
As well as traditional souvenirs and crafts, you’ll be able to buy everything you’d expect to see at a shopping centre in the UK. Some top designer fashion brands have their own stores on the island, ensuring that you’ll have no trouble finding new clothes and shoes to take back to your cruise ship.
Seafood dishes, including paella, are island staples. To enjoy a full choice of restaurants you’ll need to leave Arrecife and head to one of the more popular tourist resorts. Lanzarote’s sauces, known as mojo, are a favourite accompaniment available on most menus. Consider a dish flavoured with red chilli or green pepper sauce.
Though heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine, Lanzarote is also known for restaurants that serve typical English fayre. The people of the island enjoy fast food and traditional roasts alongside their selection of fish dishes. You’ll find a great choice of vegetarian restaurants, and will have no trouble seeking out papas arrugadas, which are salty, boiled potatoes and are another Canary Islands favourite.
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