12 Top-Rated Beaches on Lanzarote
Authors Michael and Lana Law spent several weeks island hopping through the Canary Islands and enjoying the beaches in the fall of 2022.
Lanzarote is the best place in the Canary Islands for those who eschew the mass-packaged tourism-type holiday but still want a beach vacation. With little effort and an adventurous spirit, you'll be able to easily locate a fantastic beach on Lanzarote.
Beaches range from stunning arcs of sand set beneath towering headlands through to black-sand spots with a perfect surf break on one side to beaches created by the hand of man protected from the ocean and featuring glass-calm water. North, south, east, or west — whichever way you decide to go, a beach is waiting for you.
Not a beach explorer? Don't despair, many of the best beaches have hotels on or near them, making finding the surf and the sun an easy task.
Read on to chart your course to the best beaches in Lanzarote.
1. Playa Dorada
Lanzarote's volcanic environment doesn't always lend itself to natural beaches, so the enterprising Canarians just went and built several. One of the most popular is the Playa Dorada, located in the town of Playa Blanca.
This is one of the best beaches on Lanzarote for families. Protected from the ocean by two curving breakwaters, the swimming here is in calm and shallow water, perfect for small children. The soft sand is imported and is a pleasant blond color.
The beach has extensive services, so grab one of the comfortable sun beds, set up the umbrella, and settle in for the day. If you get hungry, several beach restaurants offer up typical beach fare, or if you are staying at the beautiful Dreams Lanzarote Playa Dorada Resort & Spa, wander back and dig into the buffet.
2. Playa Papagayo
Playa Papagayo has the most beautiful setting when it comes to beaches in Lanzarote, and although it's off the beaten path, it is the one beach that everyone must visit.
Located in the far south of the island and sandwiched between two headlands, this beach photographs 10 out of 10. It's a beautiful arc of sand lapped by azure waters and is backed by dramatic cliffs and a cave.
The location of the beach, facing southwest, ensures it's protected from the predominant winds out of the northeast. Playa Papagayo also is a relatively calm and safe place to swim, with the headlands providing cover from the large surf. The clear water and interesting underwater rock structures attract all manner of marine life; it's worth bringing your snorkeling gear.
Although the beach is popular, it's large enough that you'll still be able to find a pleasant patch of sand to set up your beach gear. A couple of basic restaurants are perched above the beach and have good patios offering wonderful views to the scene below.
Note that Playa Papagayo is reached via a four-kilometer-long dusty and rough road. Although the ride is bumpy, any passenger car can handle it. The beach is located in Los Ajaches Natural Monument and a fee (credit card only) is charged to enter.
3. Playa Las Mujeres
Located just down the road from Playa Papagayo, many say Playa Las Mujeres is the better beach. Although the setting is not nearly as dramatic, it's still quite stunning, with small barren rocky headlands at each end.
The beach is big, about 500 meters long, and unlike many beaches on Lanzarote, it's deep, meaning that there's lots of space for everyone. Golden soft sand greets you as you walk down from the large parking lots, and a tough decision awaits: where to set up?
The center area of the beach is the most lively, and the farther south and north you go from here, the more private and quiet it gets. If you truly want your own private beach, walk up and over the headland at the eastern end of the beach to a set of two tiny coves.
No matter where you choose, the waters are clear and perfect for swimming, although some people may find the water a bit bracing. If you manage to look up from your book or e-reader, off in the distance on a clear day, you'll be able to see Fuerteventura.
Playa Las Mujeres has no services, so be sure to bring everything you need with you.
Playa las Mujeres is reached via the same dusty, rough road as Playa Papagayo. The beach is located in the Los Ajaches Natural Monument and a fee (credit card only) is charged to enter.
4. Playa de la Cera
Just over the headland and reached from the same parking lot as Playa Papagayo, Playa de la Cera is a small, picturesque beach. It has much of what Playa Papagayo has but with less people and slightly easier access.
The roughly 100 meters of sand is soft and golden brown, and the entry to the water is fairly level and shallow, making it an ideal place for those who are less than confident in their swimming ability. That said, there are no lifeguards here so bear that in mind.
The beach doesn't have any services on the sand, but two restaurants are located on the headland to the east. The beach is located in the Los Ajaches Natural Monument and a fee (credit card only) is charged to enter.
5. Playa Blanca (Playa Grande) in Puerto del Carmen
The tourist town of Puerto del Carmen has one of the finest beaches on the island: Playa Blanca. Also known as Playa Grande, this huge beach has long been a very popular beach destination for sun-starved northerners.
Unlike other built-up beaches on the island and in the Canary Islands in general, the beach is not dominated by huge resorts. Here, the beach is open to all, and back from the beach is a lively strip of restaurants, shops, small hotels, and low-rise beach condos.
Although the name Playa Blanca may lead you to believe the sand is white, it is actually a golden brown color. The beach is exceptionally wide and runs for just over a kilometer. Bring your own beach gear or rent (at a reasonable rate) a sun lounger and umbrella from one of the beach vendors. This is one of the few public beaches with lifeguards.
At the back of the beach are permanent beach volleyball courts, games are generally ongoing throughout the day, and the folks playing will usually invite you to play. Parking is challenging along Avenida de las Playas, but a huge parking lot is located at the mall where the Mercadona grocery store is located.
6. Playa Flamingo
Playa Flamingo is the place to come if you want ultra-calm water. At this manmade beach, two large breakwaters almost completely close the beach off from the ocean. This ensures that the waves rarely reach the shore. The breakwaters also hold the water in the shallow enclosure and allow the generally quite chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean to heat up a bit.
You can wade into the shallow waters on the soft sand without worrying about waves. It's perfect for children.
Sun loungers and umbrellas are available for rent, and at the back of the beach are a wide variety of restaurants with shady patios, ideal places to while away a few hours. Flamingo Beach is located at the western end of the resort town of Playa Blanca.
Mere steps from Playa Flamingo are two huge resorts: the Iberostar Selection Lanzarote Park and the TUI BLUE Flamingo Beach. The resorts attract guests from all across Europe and offer rooms ranging from basic right through to very luxurious. Both hotels have a family focus with lots of activities for the kids while mom and dad relax by the pool.
7. Playa Chucharas
Located in the resort area of Teguise, this delightful beach has everything a person on vacation could need. Calm, clear waters lap against the golden brown sand making it a perfect place to wade, swim, or play with your latest water toys.
If you happen to glance up from the latest bestseller, you'll be greeted with a vast panorama of cobalt-colored water with the odd stand up paddleboarder or windsurfer doing their thing. In behind the beach runs a walkway where you'll find various restaurants and beach shops selling everything you might need.
Near the beach are several large hotels, ensuring that the beach is generally quite busy and a perfect place for some serious people-watching.
8. Playa Blanca in the Town of Playa Blanca
Not to be confused with the other Playa Blanca in Puerto del Carmen, this Playa Blanca is located in the town of the same name in the far south of the island. The beach is small, but for what it lacks in size, it more than compensates for in the services it offers.
A pleasant walkway runs behind the beach, and along here you'll find restaurants, shops, and ice-cream stands. See if you can find the famous "Spoon in Concrete," it's located in the walkway leading to Playa Dorada. The beach is reached by walking down a pathway from Calle La Tegala, where you'll also find parking.
9. Playa de Farmara
The largest beach on Lanzarote is the wild and wonderful Playa de Farmara. Stretching for an impressive six kilometers, this wide-open beach faces the full brunt of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a popular surfing beach; the surf rolls in unencumbered by offshore reefs or protective headlands.
If you really want to get away from it all, this is the beach to visit. The black sands stretch as far as you can see and behind the beach are dramatic cliffs. Dotted throughout the beach are small hillocks of grass.
Take a look at the weather before visiting, though; it can get very windy here.
10. Playa el Golfo
If you've come to see the wonderfully impressive Charco de los Clios, you can't help but notice the beautiful black-sand beach on one side of the shimmering green lake.
This beach, which you'll probably have mostly to yourself, is washed by large surf from the Atlantic Ocean. A visit here is best planned for the afternoon, when the western-facing beach receives the full sun. Be careful when swimming — there are no lifeguards on duty, and if you get into trouble here, it could end badly.
Getting to the beach takes a bit of effort. You'll need to descend a trail to the water's edge and then walk across the sand to the main beach area. If you aren't up for the big hike or are uncomfortable with the large surf, a smaller beach is located right where the trail meets the water.
Note that the green lake is not accessible, it's fenced off to ensure the ecologically sensitive area remains untouched.
11. Playa Caleton Blanco
Perhaps one of the most unique beaches on Lanzarote is Playa Caleton Blanco. Here, shallow sandy pools form amid an ancient lava flow.
A visit here takes a bit of planning and a quick look at the tide charts. Time it right, and you'll be able to wade out and wallow around in warm, shallow water. Time it wrong, and you'll come to an area devoid of water and will wonder why you made the trek out here.
The other factor to consider when visiting here is the wind. If it's blowing, which it generally does, spending time here becomes unpleasant.
Playa Caleton Blanco makes the list because it's so different from other beaches; however, unless you time it right with the tides and wind, it's not worth going.
12. Playa de Montana Bermeja
One of the easiest-to-access black-sand beaches on Lanzarote is Playa de Montana Bermeja. Just park your car in the large lot across the roadway and walk to the water's edge. The beach is a small arc of black and grey sand with some polished pebbles. Bring your sandals; the dark-colored sand gets uncomfortably hot on bare feet.
The setting is truly spectacular, with jagged rocks on either side of the beach and red pumice mountains behind. Surfers try to catch a ride on the break to the right side of the beach; their antics provide non-stop entertainment.
Combine a beach day trip here with a stop at Charco de los Clicos and the sea caves of Los Hervideros. Both of these are nearby.