Lanzarote, Spain

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Cruising to Lanzarote

The Martian Canary Island

Lanzarote has earned itself this interesting nickname, due to its rocky, volcanic terrain and interesting landscape. It is frequently compared to Mars, as the land seems as seemingly inhospitable as the Red Planet.

Much of the volcanic terrain - for which the island is famous - is relatively young, with the MontaƱas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) having been created in the 18th and 19th centuries as a result of some pretty enormous eruptions. Taking a trip to the Timanfaya National Park is a great way to learn more about the amazing geological processes that are still ongoing here, with temperatures just a few metres beneath the ground reaching 500 degrees Celsius. On a camel ride across the park, for example, your guide might demonstrate how water poured into a hole in the ground is immediately ejected upwards as a plume of steam. It really is one of the most alive landscapes on the planet.

Of course, if all this sounds a little intense, you could always just relax on the white sandy beaches that can be found around the island's perimeter. El Reducto, which is the closest beach to the capital Arrecife, is perhaps the liveliest of the lot, with plenty of bars and restaurants lining the waterfront. Alternatively, if you fancy getting active you might want to check out the Costa Teguise, which is known for being one of the best windsurfing spots in the world.

Lanzarote is also home to the largest aquarium in the Canary Islands, Lanzarote Aquarium. If you'd like to get on the other side of the glass and see the fish close up, the option to go diving in the shark tank could be right up your street.

Speaking of marine life, the local cuisine makes excellent use of Lanzarote's natural resources, with seafood being a real delicacy. Pescado a la sal (salted baked fish) and soncocho cananrio (a type of stew) are both worth trying. When it comes to wine, the porous volcanic rock provides unique conditions for grape-growing, with Malvasia being the most commonly produced variety on the island.

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