– By Ophelie. 7mn reading –
Where to go on a 7 days Lanzarote self drive? I spent 3 weeks on the volcanic island. But I made it to see the best places in a week, at my slow pace like always. So, get inspired by a tested 7 days self-drive itinerary. Adapt it, copy it as you want. To start now exploring the black pearl of the Canary island!
7 days Lanzarote - Complete self-drive
- Airport car pick up
- Playa Quemada
- Playa del Papagayo
- Las Salinas de Janubio
- Sleep at Soo
- Los Hervideros
- El Golfo
- Las Malvas
- Mancha Blanca
- La Santa
- Sleep at Soo or Famara
- Caldera de los Cuervos / Caldera Blanca
- Sleep at Famara
- Sleep at Teguise, Nazaret or Arrecife
Day 1 – Start your 7 days in Lanzarote on the southern coast
When landing in Lanzarote, you’ll get amazed already by the volcanic landscape you see straight at the airport’s exit. It’s a small airport. So it’s no difficulty to find the car rental companies’ desks if you rented one.
What you can do straight after picking up the car: drive to the shopping area next to the airport, to do groceries, and set up the first landmarks on Google maps on your smartphone or GPS. Think also of buying a prepaid Simcard to get Internet. Orange and Vodafone seem to have the best coverage in Lanzarote. I had Vodafone and it was fine to use Google maps.
First stop on Lanzarote 7 days self-drive: Playa Quemada, non-touristy village where you can explore the cliffs and go down to a secluded black sandy beach. The drive to Playa Quemada is really nice, going through valleys and lava fields. Stay 30 mn – 1 hour to explore the place without stress.
Papagayo – the beach of pastel colors
The ‘off-the path’ version of its resorts neighbors Playa blanca or playa Mujeres! And that’s why I put it in this complete 7 days Lanzarote self-drive. More beautiful, quieter, with space to walk and do photography: Papagayo is a little gem on the coast, with contrasting brown, turquoise and yellow colors.
If in summer, go down to the beach for a swim. And if you want to keep it short, the view from the hill is very impressive. You can do landscape photography from there, without being disturbed. Stop the car on the parking spot, and go to the cliff Mirador del Papagayo.
Las Salinas de Janubio – The colorful stop-over on a 7 days Lanzarote’s drive
Las Salinas is a quick and easy stop to make. Salt marshes with shades of pink and blue. Take photos from the lookout, when the sun starts going down at late afternoon.
Where to sleep on your road trip in Lanzarote, day 1?
For me, the most convenient was to stop at Soo. It also appeared to be one of the best places to stay in Lanzarote. It’s a quiet Spanish village, laying at the bottom of a volcanic crater. More authentic, you can’t! There is also a groceries shop and it’s located strategically in the middle of our next stops. I found an affordable guest house, with other solo travelers – Surf oasis house. I made it my base for a few nights.
Day 2 – Off-the-path
On a 7 days Lanzarote’s drive, you can’t really miss this iconic spot: a natural sea cave, where turquoise waters rush inside the natural excavation made by black volcanic rocks. Be aware: it’s one of these touristic places where you really want to avoid the crowds! Best is to go early morning, or late afternoon.
It’s again a highlight on the Southern coast, but less crowded than Los Hervideros. El Golfo is an ancient fishing village, and its little eye-catcher is a vivid green emeraude lagoon, colored by a high concentration of algae. It’s nested in a volcanic crater. The narrow bay is accessible by foot from the parking lot, through a dirt path along the cliff. There is also a cafe, though expensive and with not much choice.
Hidden gem in Lanzarote: Las Malvas
I discovered this place totally at random. It’s a very remote piece of volcanic coast, with a black-sandy beach and a hill where to take Instagram-like photos. The perfect hidden gem, to add to your 7 days Lanzarote’s route. Coming from Los Hervideros, it’s a one hour drive, passing through Mancha Blanca.
Hint: Driving on the road Tenesar, you should see a sign ‘playa las malvas’. It’s the unsealed path starting at the curve on the main road Tenesar. Unsealed and full of holes path. I drove on it with a little and low car… I got scared a few times. So, drive slowly and plan more time than said on Google maps.
But the destination will brush the uncomfortable driving part away: a black-sandy beach away from everything, surrounded by black lava stones. I took this picture from the path above the beach – you’ll see when arriving at the end of the path, leading to “costa las malvas”.
Mancha Blanca – the contrasting village
I stopped here to get lunch… and I ended up spending 30 minutes walking and doing nature photography! As its name says it well, Mancha Blanca is a white fleck rising up from the black volcanic soil. Cute white houses, cactus, palm trees with Timanfaya’s volcanos as background make a post-card scenery. There is a groceries shop and a cafeteria with terrace where you can eat.
La Santa - sunset, locals and surfers
Now, drive to La Santa. Best is to go late afternoon / at sunset time. Surfers and locals gather there, either to tackle the ‘professional’ waves of Lanzarote or to watch and try taking photos, for those who prefer the camera at the surf board. I was happy to experience an evening at La Santa, because of the ambience there – people happy to chill and surf here, with a stunning sunset on the coast. And it’s really not a touristy thing to do!
Where to find the surf spot? It’s near the sportive complex Club La Santa. Drive there, and follow the path to Playa de las Isletas. You’ll see cars parked along the road, from where you can see the surfing spoot.
Day 3 – 7 days Lanzarote’s trip through Timanfaya
Mentioned in all touristic guides, Timanfaya’s park is Lanzarote’s highlight. It’s entirely made of volcanic soil, and home to the active volcano Timanfaya. If the last eruptions happened in the 1900s, the volcanic activity is still to be seen – at the famous geyser of steam visited by all tourists.
So, what to do in Lanzarote’s national park without the crowds? Drive on the accessible road and admire the lava fields. Go for an uncommon hike to desolated, impressive craters like Caldera de los Cuervos or Caldera Blanca. Impressive, just by the fact that you can get them only for you if you go early in the morning. It gets hot and more crowded in the afternoon, so best time is before 10.30 am in summer.
How much time to dedicate to Timanfaya? Personally, I spent one morning at the crater los Cuervos, and one mid-afternoon driving around, exploring random paths. You can also integrate the 4h hike Caldera Blanca into your day – go when temperatures are bearable.
Hikes accessible via main road: Caldera Blanca (largest crater), app. 4h, at one end of the national park. Caldera de los Cuervos : easy walk around the crater and easy path go down into the crater, app. 40mn return.
Day 4 Famara
For me, it has been the social and truly relaxed part of my road trip in Lanzarote! It became my base from day 4, until the end of my 3 weeks spent on the island. Alike Soo, it’s conveniently located between south and north of the island. And right next to the most beautiful beach!
So, if you have got only 7 days in Lanzarote, I suggest to you to keep an entire day just for Famara. To have the time to really enjoy this must-see place. And it’ll be also the right time to rest in the middle of your exploring week.
What to do in Lanzarote’s surf hotspot?
- Sunrise and sunset photography
- Hiking trails: Famara cliffs or Mirador Risco give you a stunning view from above on the cliffs and the sea.
- Walk through the village: white cute houses, cactuses and the peer where you can do night fishing.
- Surf lessons, for all levels
Day 5 The northern vibes – Remote, authentic, curvy
On a 7 days Lanzarote’s self-drive, I would definitely not forget the Northern part! Less crowded than the South, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover along the road. It’ another face of Lanzarote, full of scenic drives and cute little villages.
The village of Haria is a great place to start exploring the northern part of the island, 40mn drive away from Famara. It’s one of Lanzarote’s ‘white villages’ and located in the Valley of Thousands palm trees.
My hidden spot: Leave the car on the parking spot, in front of the cemetery – a very colorful place, by the way. Walk up the streets Vista del Valle and Las Piletas. At the end of it, you’ll arrive on an unsealed path, leading to agricultural terraces and stunning view on the valley, the sea and mountains around.
2 easy hikes in Haria:
- Mirador Montana Ganada: moderate difficulty, 2h. Start in the village. Views on the ocean.
- Mirador de Guinate: view on the little island La Graciosa. 1h by foot or 10mn by car.
If you want to see all hikes in Haria and Ye: this website gives a list.
Continue direction Ye, 10 mn from Haria. Further north into the mountain, Ye is a very small place, but with a lot of charm. I spent like 1 hour there, just going to the terraces at the end of the village to do photography.
Though, there are a bunch of short hikes you can also do, like Camino de los Gracioseros. And spend 2 to 3hrs at Ye, until late afternoon.
Since I didn’t do the hikes, I continued my trip this day up North. I drove to the northern coast, stopping by at some scenic spots along the way. It’s quite of a tiring drive, because of the narrow and steep roads. Just make sure to take your time.
Day 6 Sightseeing along the East coast
In my opinion, the East coast has some nice places worth the visit on a 7 days Lanzarote’s route. Plus, you’ll be close to the airport for your departure. The perfect finishing point! From Famara, take the direction to Teguise, 30mn away by car. Costa Teguise is kind of touristy. But the village itself, further in the mainland, is very nice and it’ll be a good base for the day.
If you like geological wonders, go to the Stratified city in the morning. It’s quite unique to see: rock formations changing shape due to the climatic conditions. The fun fact: every rock has its own shape.
Get lunch at Teguise village. Quieter than the touristic beach, Teguise is loaded with History. Known for being the first town founded by the conquistadors in the mid-1800s, it has been a place marked by pirates’ attacks. You wouldn’t guess it now that this cute village is so peaceful.
Not far from Teguise, Tahiche is home to Cesar Manrique’s artisty foundation, our next stop for the afternoon. During your stay in Lanzarote, you’ll hear about Manrique for sure. He’s got a special aura on the island. The artist and nature activist Manrique was born in Lanzarote in 1919. He returned to his home land to build some very cool things. In particular this designer house, built in a lava coulee, and in connection with Nature. The natural volcanic spaces, communicating by lava tunnels, are definitely a unique piece of art.
If you sleep at Teguise or Nazaret, go backwards to Nazaret to have dinner (there is a restaurant), or just to take a walk in another cute village. There is also a peculiar activity for the night: an astronomical observatory, hold by a private. Entrance has a fee apparently.
Day 7 Arrecife
That’s the last and convenient stop on your 7 days Lanzarote route: the (small) capital is next to the airport. The town is quiet and feels mostly touristic without much charm.
You got it, I didn’t like it! But here is a small list of a few nice things to see in Arrecife:
- Charco de San Gines: an artificial lagoon made by Manrique. Good place in Arrecife to do photography, and right next to the city center.
- From the lagoon, you can easily walk to Castillo de San Gabriel. It comes from the 16th century and has got some exhibitions inside.
- Playa del Reducto: also in the same area, you’ll reach it by foot. It’ surrounded by touristic resorts but you till can enjoy the clear turquoise waters.
- To find more things to do in Arrecife: go to this article dedicated to the topic.
Check out other solo travel blog posts!