There’s not much argument about the most beautiful beach on Lanzarote, and the good news is that because it’s at the southern tip of the island and a bit remote, the white sands of Papagayo are not always packed beach towel-to-beach towel like some in the Canary Islands. Actually, there are several beaches in a series of coves in the Papagayo area, several of them favored by nudists. The water is clear, and the view across the water to neighboring Fuerteventura island is a classic.
From Playa Blanca, a resort area on the southern end of the island (and the closest accommodations to Papagayo), head north to the volcanic lunar-like landscapes of Timanfaya National Park and Montanas del Fuego (Mountains of Fire). Have lunch in the park restaurant where traditional Canarian cuisine is cooked geothermally in a volcanic oven. Then swing down to the beautiful-but-busy Puerto del Carmen, the most popular of the island’s three resort areas, where just a short walk away from the holiday scene you can stroll through the quaint Old Town, lined with waterfront restaurants.
Before you hit the road on Lanzarote, stop in a music store and pick up some tunes. (Does that rental car have a CD or cassette?) The traditional folk music of the Canary Islands, featuring the ukulele-like timple has made its way across the Atlantic to Latin America, particularly Cuba (where it is known as musica campesina, or country music). It’s the perfect soundtrack for cruising around the isle – and if you’re in a Spanish bar late at night when the singing starts, as it inevitably does, you may be able to join in a verse or two.