“You’re going to Lanzarote in Winter?” Your friends decide you are delusional.
Little do they know this trip could be the highlight of your year (and not in the ‘how sad’ sense).
For one thing, you’re escaping the teeth-chattering cold. Winter temperatures in Lanzarote are mild at worst and hot at best – no need for thermals here!
For another, Lanzarote’s breathtaking beauty spots will make any photographer feel like a child on Christmas morning.
Get your suitcase ready. We’re about to reveal precisely what this stunning Spanish island has to offer for photographers and travellers in winter.
As Warm as an English Summer
If your hatred for the cold runs as deep as the pacific ocean, you’re in for a treat.
Lanzarote has a year-round sub-tropical climate (hot and humid summers and mild winters). In winter, temperatures rarely fall below 16 degrees, even at night.
Say goodbye to freezing fingers as you try to capture the perfect shot. What’s more, on a good day you could be lazing on the beach in 26 degrees heat (we’ll reveal our favourite sunning spots in a moment).
Also, if scorching temperatures make you miserable, this little island can serve as a cool refuge. Book your ‘summer’ holiday here in winter and enjoy all the perks of being in a warm climate without melting.
Soft Light for Satisfying Photography
You won’t have to squint against blinding winter light in Lanzarote. The lower trajectory of the sun in winter months make daytime shooting gentle on the eyes. This also means your photography won’t suffer from harsh lens flares or overpowering shadows.
Pro photography lighting tip: leverage natural shadows (caused by cliffs, clouds, trees or buildings) to take well-contrasted and detailed pictures.
Lie-in lovers can rejoice too – you don’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn to capture the rising sun. The days are slightly shorter in winter with the sun rising at around 7am.
Likewise, the perfect time for a sunset shot is around 6pm so there’s no need to spend a whole evening chasing the waning light.
A Land Born From Fire
Wandering around Lanzarote’s wilderness is like exploring Mars. Volcanic vistas stretch as far as the eye can see encompassing mountains filled with lava.
Timanfaya National Park is a favourite amongst locals and tourists to experience the might of mother nature. The black basalt and rust-red rocks contrast spectacularly with blue skies.
However, because the Timanfaya national park is a closely protected area, the only way to get up close and personal with the Timanfaya volcano is by coach (you can’t explore this specific area by foot) – which is not ideal for photography.
The good news: there are plenty of areas outside of the of the protected park you can access to photograph this unique landscape. You can find instructions on how to get to these places in our Photographing Lanzarote ebook, on top of other more accessible volcanic wastelands.
Secluded Beaches Brimming With Beauty
If you really want to feel like you’re in the tropics and just some old beach lined by hotels, you need to go off the beaten path: out-of-the-way beaches that can only be accessed by foot.
One such place is the Caletón Blanco beach. Get starry-eyed over its delicate little coves decorated with pure white sand. Beware, though: you won’t be able to resist submerging yourself in its crystal clear pools … you’ll want to stay here for days.
Of course, we can’t talk about Lanzarote’s coastline without covering its famous black sands. Like the famed Viking beaches in Iceland, Playa Bermeja beach will transport you to the shores of Valhalla, with its otherworldly views making for stand-out photography.
We loved Playa Bermeja beach so much that we wrote an entire chapter about it in the Photographing Lanzarote ebook! If you want to get the best shots here, give it a read.
Getting There is a Cakewalk
Lanzarote isn’t far away. There’s no need to fly to far-off places like Hawaii or New Zealand to feast your eyes on a towering volcano or a pristine beach.
It takes around three-to-four hours to get there from a UK airport. And there are a plethora of airlines and operators that travel to the Canary Islands.
Plus, a quick search for flights shows just how cheap it is to get there in winter (a single ticket can be as low as £37).
The island itself has lots of accessible transport options to help you get around. But if you really want to explore the wilderness without limits, we’d recommend renting a car.
The roads here are well maintained, suitably sign-posted and quiet, especially in winter – if it’s your first time driving on the other side of the road, this is a perfect place to start. It’s also super-easy to collect cars from the airport or from any major resort.
Not Just for Photographers
Lanzarote has something for everyone in the family, rain or shine!
On top of the gorgeous landscapes to explore by foot, experience the rich taste of Canarian food which draws from Spanish, African and Mexican influences but also has its own character.
And because you’re on holiday, why not enjoy a few glasses of wine? In the La Geria region, there are a string of bodegas (wineries) producing their own delicious stock. If you want more details on tours here, feast your eyes on our guide.
The islands’ towns are definitely worth visiting too. Visionary architect, Cesar Manrique, is the mastermind behind Lanzarote’s environmentally-conscious building designs.
“For me it was the most beautiful place on earth, and I realised that if people could see it through my eyes, they’d think the same.”
Manrique’s sculptures and art will inspire your photography. He is often hailed as the “Picasso of Lanzarote”, although, like the local cuisine, Manrique has his own distinctive style.
Is It Time You Had a Holiday?
When winter approaches we sometimes wonder: “Hang on, did summer even happen?”
All the days you were planning to sunbathe, drink beer in the sunshine and photograph beautiful places… it just never really happened.
Well, friends, it’s not too late. Why not give summer a second chance? Put yourself on a flight to Lanzarote this winter and enjoy its lush landscapes, delicious food and unique architecture as both photographer and traveller.
The best photography trips are the ones you plan. We’ve made this easy – download our Photographing Lanzarote guide for ideal shooting locations, travel tips and oodles more info on this strikingly-beautiful island.