Pirate stories and wine tastings in Lanzarote’s heartland

A full day itinerary concentrating in and around Teguise, in the heart of Lanzarote. You should consider doing this itinerary on any day of the week except Sunday. On Sundays there is a big and rather touristic market taking place in Teguise old town that detracts from the peacefulness and serenity of the place.

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Live from Lanzarote – an island packed with outdoor adventures for the whole family

We landed in Lanzarote a few days ago and it has been a bit of a mixed experience in the beginning. We were looking for an ‘ outdoor ‘ destination where we can spend time in nature and shake off the European Winter blues. Instead, we were greeted by a flurry of tourist buses to all-inclusive resorts and a purpose-built ‘village ‘ where every other restaurant offers an all-day English breakfast.

When we reached our accomodation in Puerto del Carmen, we were determined to find something a bit more authentic than a street dotted with Irish pubs.  We designed the itinerary of the next days as we went and asked recommendations from the locals. The main objective was to spend time outdoors and enjoy the glorious weather. With an island as compact as Lanzarote, nothing is really too far away.

Our LO was thrilled with all he saw and experienced that day. For the adults, the walk around Montagna Colorada with its lunar landscapes plus the fresh fish restaurant were probably the highlights.

Here is the full day South island discovery itinerary:

Head towards the Timanfaya national park visitor’s center at Mancha Blanca. It is completely free and you can walk around to check out explanations about volcanic activity and the geologic formation of the Canary Islands. Preschool kids seem to find the explanations about the local flora and fauna more interesting.

Once per hour there is a projection of two short movies, one about volcanoes and volcanic activity and a second about the flora and fauna. They are in Spanish but you can use your headphones to listen to an English/french/German interpretation. Bring a pair of headphones if the children would like to watch this short documentary in English. Otherwise, they do sell them at the receptio of the visitor center. Eash movie is about 20 min long.

There are some good photo opportunities when you leave the building and follow the wooden path outside, above the lava fields. The landscape is like nothing you have seen before: rugged lava towers till the horizon.

Before leaving the Visitor center, stop at the info point just before the entrance and ask how is the traffic on the local road leading to the Bus volcano route. If the road is not too congested, head to the bus stop and continue with this tour around the crater. When we visited, the cars were waiting in line for 2 h to reach the departure point so we decided to leave this journey for another day and head for a walk on the lava fields in the Parque Los Volcanos.

If you are accompanied by kids or plan to be pushing a stroller, there are two walks that are recommended for their good accesibility. They are not well signposted but you will find the departure points on local road LZ-56. One is a circular walk around a red colored hill that in recognised locally as Montana Colorada. The other is a walk to a crater rim and back that should last about one hour.

We did the Montana Colorada with the baby mosly in the stroller and it was a bumpy but fun experience. The car park is a few meters after the Km 3 mark on road LZ-56, on the left side of the road in direction Geria. The road is mosly little volcanic rock and sand so make sure your stroller has large wheels. Our McLaren Quest struggled uphill and we took our LO on the shoulders for a few rough patches. It took us about one hour to do the tour, with frequent photo and ‘picking up stones and throwing them back’ opportunities. Bring water, a hat and a long-sleeve. In open spaces, the wind can be quite cold.

The walk completed, we were ready for some fresh fish. A small village on the Southern outskirts of the Timanfaya national park, El Golfo, was recommended by our accomodation. We headed there, at La Rafa del Mar. All waiters were very nice, even if a bit rushed as there were ever more customers waiting for tables. They had high chairs and even a changing mat in the bathroom. The grilled octopus was excellent!

El Golfo has some great views of the ocean waves crushing on the shores. If you continue walking the main street, bordered by all the restaurants, you will reach a modern and colourful playground. On the left of the playground, begins a coastal walk of a few kilometers. The terrain is rough and serious shoes and trekking gear are necessary.

Just before entering El Golfo, a large parking on the left side of the road leads to a high view point of the whole coast. From the same point, one can walk 3 minutes to the Green Lake (Lagoa Verde). The view of the striated rock formations on the background is impressive. El Golfo is actually a half-submerged cone of a volcano, which over time has been eroded by the sea, leaving behind only the striated wall of the crater displaying a myriad of red and russet colours.

Finally, the last stop before returning to our accomodation, was the Salinas del Janubio. Here, water is pumped from the ocean and, once evaporated, salt is extracted the old fashioned way for the local economy.

Next, we planed a full-day itinerary following the footsteps of Cesar Manrique, the architect behind many of the island’s attractions and lanscaped villages. Stay tuned.

Happy travels!

Discovering the European South – Beaches and mountains of Cyprus

We travelled to Cyprus last year, in September. For residents of the European North, September is the month when we start to become itchy for another break in the Sun. This is especially when summer means two weeks with temperatures above 20 in June and two weeks again in August, if we are lucky. September is also when prices start to get back to more reasonable levels as most of schools holidays draw to a close.

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Tenerife- in search of the ‘real’ island in our first family vacation

I travelled well into my pregnancy, with the last trip to Puglia when I was about 7 months along. We also had a gorgeous ‘babymoon’ to Sri Lanka and Maldive that I shared on the blog. Still, after giving birth, I was again eager to discover someplace new and I started looking for a destination that we could share as a family in early April 2016. Friends were travelling at the same time to Tenerife so we decided to tag along.

It was not a package holiday but we did take it easy as regards accomodation and went for half board. We did not know how the baby will adapt (4 months at the time of travel) and preferred to make sure there will be some easily reachable food in case he decides to act up just as dinner draws close. We also rented a car (with a car seat) to give us some flexibility to explore the island.

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Blast from the past – how we spent 5 days in Malta in 2012

Most of my friends travel in August. I am doing everything possible to avoid travelling in August which is the European peak season and corresponds to traffic jams spanning from Spain to Greece (ok, a bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture) and airports testing their passenger capacity limits. My shoulder season preference is however often broken by family and friends visits that, on most occasions, require both a car and plane ride. So, week-end trips aside, I try to stand by the “No travel in August!” rule.

To fill the current ‘non-travelling’ time, I am compensating with some travel writing and travel planning. As I was recently sorting photos, I came across a few nice ones from Malta, so here is a short post of our tour there from a couple of years ago.

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Island discovery – Mauritius outside the 5 star resorts

It is Summer in Europe, therefore the time when everybody travels. I am between travels myself but using the time to catch up on about 6 months worth of trips that I was not able to document due to a busy work schedule. So, Mauritius. First, if you tell your friends that you plan a Mauritius holiday, you will probably get a few ‘wish I were you’ looks. Mauritius is a synonym to paradisiac beaches and infinity pools in 5 -star resorts.

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Komodo Dragons – Island of Flores, Indonesia

There are three things you will find about Indonesia on all travel blogs: 1) relax and visit temples in Bali; 2) dive and go to the beach in the Gillis and 3) visit the Komodo Dragon. You probably wonder why all the fuss about a lizard. Subject of countless documentaries and TV nature programs, the main thing about this lizard is that, like many other rare animals, it is only to be found on two little islands in the vast archipelago that is Indonesia: Komodo and Rinca. This usually involves either a long boat trip from Bali or a flight with a local carrier. These lizards are fierce creatures, the size of a large crocodile but more agile and ready to attack pretty much anything on two or four feet. Komodo National Park is a UNESCO site and is the only place to see the world’s largest lizard in the wild.

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