My Summer in the Hawaii of Europe …

I recently got back to England after spending a big part of the summer on a small Spanish island close to the coast of Morocco – yep, one of the Canary Islands…. but before you start picturing row upon row of sunburnt bodies splayed out on loungers, let me explain why the island is so different!

Dubbed the ‘Hawaii of Europe’ because of its black volcanic landscape, undulating mountains and strong surf,, Lanzarote is not your typical holiday island – forget any preconceived ideas of socks & sandal clad tourists or drunken groups piling out of nightclubs and headfirst into a fry up in the morning… I’ve been living on a charming island which is full of art, award winning wine grown at the foot of undulating volcanoes, miles of rugged coastline with crashing, dramatic waves  – all under an ever-changing, breathtaking sky.

I’d always hoped I could live abroad and in all honesty, I really love exotic places – so if I had my absolute choice of anywhere to spend prolonged periods of time it would probably be somewhere in Asia or Australia… but that’s not realistic when it comes to also wanting to be near family.

I’ve travelled extensively and never imagined revisiting the same place repeatedly, but the weirdest thing happened to me the moment I first landed in Lanzarote – I felt like I’d come home ….

Something that’s always amazes me about this little island is the quality of the light … it’s hard to explain, but on certain days you can look at the mountains and see every single little detail of texture and colour, like you are seeing it in HD …  those are great days to go round the National Park because the volcanoes will be a deep red glow against the sky.

It’s a wonderful island for photography and the sky is one of the key reasons – it always looks huge…. a very influential resident Artist agreed with the authorities years ago that there should be limits to the height of homes allowed to be built on the island, so you always get a huge expanse of space in front of you.

Combine that with the quality of light I mentioned, the rugged volcanic mountains and also the weather around the island which creates amazing, multi-layered cloud systems… and you’ve got something pretty spectacular to see most days.


I always find my creative brain goes into overdrive when I’m there, I think it’s a combination of feeling more relaxed but also because of the stimulating surroundings, so with the island having such a large amount of art and therefore artistic residents, it always gives me non-stop inspiration.

One of my favourite places to go for a little trip out is a village called Yaiza which is full of art and sculpture studios, an artists cafe that serves gorgeous locally produced food and a charming village square with its church and huge trees with benches under to sit and watch the locals go about their business – it also happens to be right opposite the bar that the local policemen seem to frequent 😉 #bonus

 


Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to hear I love going up into the wine region…. but honestly it’s not actually to do with the wine, although that is nice… but it’s the scenery – a smooth, winding road which climbs up through the mountains, with little vineyards off to the sides and loads of places to pull over to get good shots of the undulating grape crops.


I don’t really ‘do’ beaches – if I’m on a tropical island somewhere I might lie there for a couple of hours, but it isn’t massively my thing – however there are a couple of places I love to go – one being Famara which is a huge windswept beach with a little town on one side and giant cliffs on the other.

It’s the surfers beach where the waves are always dramatic and crashing, which is magnificent to watch…

But generally if I want to be by the water I will head to El Golfo, a little fishing village on a very rugged part of the coast which is particularly great on a stormy day because the waves are incredible against the huge rocks…

– or pop down to the Marina for a spot of shopping and a chilled lunch!


Road Trip! It’s a very easy island to drive round and you don’t have to go far at all to see the dramatic landscape with smatterings of quirky buildings built into the lava…

 

You can drive round the edge of the National Park without paying to go in, although there are plenty of tourist attractions – personally I prefer to look at the volcanoes than the overworked and depressed camels climbing them … that’s probably the only thing I don’t like about the island – animals are not necessarily respected – dogs constantly get abandoned (that’s why I have one of them back in the UK!) and dolphins were recently introduced to a wildlife park which has caused a lot of upset – like anywhere, there are always less pleasant things going on behind the scenes.

So if you do happen to visit Lanzarote, I would beg you not to support these types of tourist offerings – with either your money or attention – there are plenty of natural wonders to look at which won’t cost you a penny ….

 …. and there are also plenty of wonderful people on the island who do an awful lot of good … so it’s still my happy place!

So that’s what I’ve been up to recently and a few of my favourite places on the island – I’ve come home to Autumn in full swing so while I acclimatise have had the heating up full blast and spent my first weekend back home digging out all my cosy jumpers!

 

 

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20 Comments

  1. October 8, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    you take the most beautiful photos.
    I need to visit the Hawaii of europe ASAP… seriously sounds like the best time

    • October 8, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      Thank you! Yes it is a pretty Island and so handy only being a few hours from the UK.

  2. October 8, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    This is so beautiful place, I like how you described everything and the pictures are just breathtakingly beautiful, I am definitely going to add this to my travel wishlist. You look so pretty!

    • October 8, 2017 / 6:58 pm

      Ah Thank you! I do love being able to get out around the island to take some photos. England feels very cold now 😂

  3. October 8, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    Omg I live in the Canary islands, I used to live in Fuerteventura and could see Lanzarote from my house, and now I live in Gran Canaria.

    • October 8, 2017 / 6:56 pm

      Oh wow it’s beautiful there… I love the mountains in Gran Canaria and the amount of greenery you have!

  4. October 9, 2017 / 11:37 pm

    I love the name! The volcanic rock does remind me of Hawaii – beautiful!

    • October 13, 2017 / 3:42 pm

      Thank you! I am lucky to have been to the real Hawaii and that’s one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been to… but Lanzarote is much closer to the UK! 😉

  5. October 11, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Oh my goodness these photos are so beautiful – some of the prettiest pictures I’ve ever seen of Lanzarote! Yaiza sounds like such a lovely place xxx

  6. October 11, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    These photos are seriously gorgeous. The water is so beautiful.

    • October 13, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      Thank you! Yes the sea is wonderful there, it’s always really dramatic.

  7. October 13, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    Tiff, I’m so sad this post came to an end! The pictures are absolutely beautiful, I could look at them for hours, the landscapes are breathtaking and you look really lovely out there too! To be honest, a guy my cousin fancies is from Lanzarote so the place has been a subject of our conversations every now and then but I’d never expect it to be so spectacular! Somewhere at the back of my head I imagined all the tourists and stuff… how wrong I was! It’s simply dreamy! It really sucks about the dogs but… hey, does this mean that Alfie is Spanish?! 😀 Oh and I absolutely loved the part about buildings’ height regulation! Xxx

    • October 13, 2017 / 3:39 pm

      Thank you so much for such a lovely comment! I’m really glad you like the look of where I spend so much time, there are a couple of touristy parts of the island but we stay away from the resorts and the landscape is spectacular 🖤… oh and yes, Alfie is Spanish! He’s never adjusted to the cold English weather bless him!

  8. October 13, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    I know what you mean about the scenery being in HD. We get that up here in Canada when you’re driving through the rocky mountains. Ive even felt that same thing at the Grand Canyon. It feels overwhelming as if its not even real or like you’re looking at a painting.

    • October 13, 2017 / 3:32 pm

      Yes that’s exactly what it’s like! amazing x

  9. October 13, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    I have never heard of this but it is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

  10. October 15, 2017 / 4:25 am

    I had never heard of this place before! Though I am maybe mayyyybeee thinking of moving back to the UK for a little while next year. This could be a good travel spot! Your pics are gorgeous too, Tiffany! x

    • October 15, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      Ooh exciting times for you, the whole of Europe would be at your feet!

  11. October 16, 2017 / 12:38 am

    Absolutely breathtaking! What a beautiful place to be. Thank you for sharing and the photos are outstanding. Adding this place to my list!

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