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Not many destinations can lay claim to being a sunbeds-and-sangria haven and a Unesco-certified wonder of the natural world. But Lanzarote isn’t just any old island.

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The fourth largest of the Canaries – but still a compact hour’s drive end to end – this beautifully barren place strikes a balance between outright relaxation and more rugged appeal. Families love it for the all-inclusive retreats and sun-baked sands, and there’s pulsing nightlife for the party crowd – but there's plenty of intrigue for cultural and intrepid travellers too. 

It’s remarkably easy to strike out from the island’s busy seaside towns (Playa Blanca, Playa del Carmen and Punta Mujeres among them) to more exotic enclaves: from Timanfaya National Park, the 360 volcanic cones of which can be traversed on guided hikes, to the epic surfing hotspot of Famara beach and the low-key natural lidos dotted along Lanzarote’s southern stretches. Finest of all is the ubiquitous artistic legacy of homegrown hero César Manrique – seen in the interventions he made on the Jameos del Agua lava caves; the spiky, succulent-packed Jardin de Cactus; and his hyper-cool home/studio-foundation in Tahiche. For a volcanic rock, Lanzarote brims with life.