Many of our readers are old hands who come back to the island year after year. But of course, some of you are coming to the Lanzarote for the first time, so here are some tips for you:
Getting from and back to the airport
You have a few options – airport transfers can be arranged in advance in shuttle buses, taxis at the airport are plentiful and around €20 to €25 to Costa Teguise or Puerto del Carmen. Playa Blanca will be expensive in a taxi, though. There is a public bus service which is really inexpensive, and it’s easy to arrange car hire (which is very cheap here) with collection and drop off at the airport. Car hire
Lanzarote is in the Euro zone, so the currency is Euros and cents, or centimos. There are plenty of shops in the resorts that offer a currency exchange – the rate they use is generally two cents below the mid bank rate, which you can Google. Euro notes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and even €500 denominations. Hundreds, two hundreds and five hundreds are quite hard to use, so change them in a bank for 50’s.
Driving here is pretty straightforward – traffic is light and road signs are good, and as you can almost always see the ocean, it’s easy to orient yourself. We drive on the right. Look out for pedestrian crossings in the resorts, as there are many, and people tend to step out in front of cars, often looking the wrong way! Roundabouts can feel odd – the law here is the cars in the outside lane have priority, and when entering a main road up a slip road, you must give way to traffic.
Fuel is quite cheap, especially diesel, and most filling stations employ attendants who will pump your fuel. “Full up” is “Lleno” in Spanish, pronounced “Yay no.”
The island is duty free and our equivalent to VAT is only 6.5%. That means bargains on perfumes, cigarettes and booze, and you’ll see many shops in the resorts that sell all of those. You’ll also come across loads of electrical shops selling tablets, phones and cameras. They aren’t all 100% genuine, so shop wisely – if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a fake.
The Three Resorts
The island’s three resorts are Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca, and chances are you will be staying in one of those if it’s your first visit. If you can, we suggest getting out of the resort areas for part of your holiday, if only to see the rest of Lanzarote. The capital, Arrecife, is a bustling city, and the rural parts of the island are stunning!
Lanzarote’s weather is good all year round – our mid winters are generally like the best summers in northern Europe. The trade winds blow here quite often, and our UV is very high – both of which are a recipe for sun burn. Do wear high factor, even on cloudy days, and stay well hydrated, as the air is very dry. The island has no natural water.
Good service generally warrants a tip of 10% of your total bill. It’s customary to tip waiting staff after a meal. If you just pop in for a drink, it’s normal to leave the very small change – the same applies to taxi drivers, just round up and tell them to keep the shrapnel. We occasionally tip the fuel pump attendants as well, but it’s not essential.
There are seven “Official” attractions in Lanzarote, and countless dozens of things you can do on the island, ranging from diving in a Submarine to racing Go Karts and tasting wine. You’ll find references to all of them on this website, and you can book excursions here: Lanzarote excursions.
Basically, whatever the weather is doing, you’ll find plenty to do in Lanzarote!
The tap water here comes from desalination of ocean water. It’s perfectly clean, but isn’t recommended for drinking. You’ll find all the supermarkets in Lanzarote sell 5 and even 8 litre containers of drinking water, and pretty much everywhere, you’ll find small bottles to grab to quickly rehydrate – bottled water is cheap here.
It’s perfectly safe to use tap water to cook with and to clean your teeth.
We don’t have cows on the island so fresh milk is imported and has a very short shelf life. You can buy it in some supermarkets, but you’ll find locals all drink longlife milk.
We have pretty fast internet in most places on the island now, so almost all bars and restaurants offer free wifi. Just ask for the code. Public buildings, like libraries and town halls also often have Wifi, without a password, so you’ll see people standing or sitting outside getting online.
There is decent 4g coverage across most of the island if you want to roam on your own tariff.
Everywhere is child friendly on the island, with the exception of a few adult only hotels. Kids are welcome in all the bars and restaurants here and all the excursions offer child places and pricing.
The resorts are serviced by small supermarkets that carry a big range of stuff, including British or Irish items. Some have meat counters, and they all sell alcohol and cigarettes. You do pay a premium at those shops, so if you can get out of resort to a large supermarket in Playa Honda or Arrecife, you will save money. We have Mercadona, Lidl and Eurospar in those areas.
Two things you should do before coming to Lanzarote – get travel insurance and make sure you have an E111 medical card. If you need emergency treatment on the local health service, you need your E111. But we’d strongly recommend travel insurance as well – the local health service will not cover for repatriation, for example, if you have a serious accident, and if you need to be moved to another island for an operation, private cover will get you there, with your family in support, much faster than the local service can.
Here’s a step by step guide to what to do if you need medical help: Medical help in Lanzarote.
We’ll add to these over time. Do feel free to let us know what’s missing via our Facebook Page.