As a family, we haven’t done the sun holiday thing before. Alicante, Gran Canaria, Malaga- we had each been somewhere like that before we married but not as a couple. Days on the beach or at a pool, as lovely as it sounds, have never been our first port of call when we are lucky enough to go on holiday, so we hadn’t tried it in a bit. However, we knew the kids would love it. We did it-and they did. Love it.
Planning the family holiday this year, we originally looked at campsites in France but were tardy in our booking. A travel agent sent a bunch of options- resorts in Spain and Portugal. Scratching our heads a bit, we promised ourselves we would hire a car one of the days on the trip to see the country more. We picked Lanzarote. We needed air conditioning and we tried an all inclusive package. Otherwise, we put very little thought into it and hoped for the best.
So how does Lanzarote suit when travelling with kids?
Flight: It is almost four hours from Ireland. Our in-flight was OK considering the children are young. No television but we managed. We flew with Czech company Smartwings and they were delayed. Reading about them since, I learned they are always delayed and never answer emails complaining. It was a long day at Dublin airport and we did not arrive until midnight to our apartment when it should have been eight pm. Hungry children, they couldn’t understand what had happened. It was grumpiness and sleep with the hope of a good morning. That’s flights and how they go really.
Hotel: Our resort was called the Paradise Island. I did laugh a bit at this name as we dragged our luggage through the dark and silence at midnight on arrival night. Our apartment was clean and cool, ground floor and perfect for our needs. That morning, the azure green and blues of sky and water contrasting the whitewash buildings all overlooked by iconic palm trees gave validity to the name.
The buffet for our meals was extensive. Seating was plentiful. It could get warm and when you are with kids (and get a bit anxious) it wasn’t always a place of serenity but it did what it should. There was plenty of nice cake which my thighs can attest to. The girls loved the constant icecream. Beer and wine are on tap. There was a lovely grocery shop onsite, not overpriced. You could inflate your floaties instore- or so we found out after Mr. Paper blew out his lungs. Oops.
Activities: There was a ton of pool time. We had the enormous Penneys (Primark in the UK) flying unicorn floaties that we underestimated in size by a country mile. Occasionally the wind would whip under a dazzling gold-dipped wing and I would run to stop the flying inflatable mashing down upon some unsuspecting sun goddess, eyes closed under the latest Jodi Picoult, not for a moment suspecting the impending descent of the pink and gold mythical beast much like the erratic Monty Python foot. There was kids’ club (ours are too snowflake to attend that) and kids’ disco nightly where we sweated along with other parents learning the moves to Spanish songs about chocolate and trains. Eating, entertaining kids and grappling unicorns made up the most part of the holiday on site. Cannon balls, splashing and water fighting.
Car hire: The car hire from our hotel was cheap and uncomplicated. We spent a day driving part of the island, leaving Playa Blanca and moving inland to see Fire Mountain.
Heading north afterwards, we stopped at a coastal town for lunch in a quiet, pretty restaurant where paella was chosen amongst other dishes.
On our drive, we turned a corner through the distinctively blackened terrain (remnants of volancic activity) to witness a site straight from McLean’s Arabia. Dozens of camels, lined up and squatting, tail flicking flies and more carrying the tourists across a well worn path along the hill side, winding like a snake, compelling to watch. We stopped and had a go.
The whole family on one camel seemed harsh on the beast but the minders assured us it was the safest way. A child on each of our knees, our white desert king slowly pushed himself up with only one shriek from his passengers (me). Hats flying away from heads, we were off. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I think the girls will remember it.
We also spent a day at Rancho Texas, a theme I thought unusual in choice, until I learned of the Lanzarote link to the state. This is the kind of thing that interests me, keeping me thinking about the past whereas my family are gone ahead to live in the moment.
This park was filled with wonders that we wouldn’t see at home. I was fascinated by giant turtles and komodo dragons whereas the girls loved the stage coach attraction which involves balance and climbing. A few big cats played hide and seek with us. We went through a volcano simulation that frightened the girls initially but they instantly wanted to do it again. Penguins can only make you happy too and those guys were present and correct. They stared at us and we stared back. Pockets of cacti around every bend, we got a nice flavour of Texas in the Canaries.
We watched the most marvellous sea lion and seal performance. These creatures are just unbelievable. I have seen humans perform live deliver twenty percent of the personality of these gorgeous creatures. There was a parrot show and other bird displays which would take place on our hotel later that day too. It isn’t often you see a parrot riding a bike twice in one day.
There was a glorious dolphin exhibit where they jumped and performed tricks in syncronicity, making us all marvel at the intelligence of these beautiful mammals. The in-park restaurant was large and airy with decent portions and I was impressed by the comfort of it. The park is a great day out but you need hats and water. It was warm!
Walking along the coast in the nearby town of Playa Blanca was lovely. Market day was enjoyable but just walking the marina itself was beautiful on a regular day. We didn’t go there at night but it looked as if it would be a fun place for socialising. A lovely town overall.
Lanzarote was really enjoyable. If you can get past the flight, it is perfect for family. Our three and five year old loved it. We even relaxed.