What to expect on a winter visit to the Canary Islands: sun within easy reach
Wednesday 21 November 2012
Q. We would like to travel to Lanzarote in mid-January. Is it a good time of the year to go there? Philipp Mandel, London
A. Good plan: Lanzarote, like the other half-dozen Canary Islands, is warm year-round, as well and welcoming and intriguing. The Canaries provide a blissful escape route for British travellers. They are emphatically Spanish, which spells great food, drink and hotels, well-preserved culture, and good organisation for everything from roads to medical care.
Yet the geographic location is African rather than European, which brings blessings for anyone seeking winter sun. Lanzarote is on the same latitude as Orlando in Florida and Eilat at the southern tip of Israel. But it is much easier to reach, just a four-hour flight from many UK airports including Stansted, Luton and Gatwick.
Right now the sea is still reasonably warm. By January the Atlantic will have cooled significantly, and the first few weeks of the year are also when the average daily high air temperature briefly sinks below 20C. But Lanzarote will still be highly appealing. Puerto del Carmen, with its sublime harbourside location, is an excellent place to stay; it also offers the chance of a day-trip across to Fuerteventura. But the beaches of Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise also appeal, and have more accommodation options.
There are plenty of activities if the beaches prove too breezy. Inland, there is much to explore in the dramatic volcanic landscape, intricately decorated by the island's favourite artist, César Manrique.
For the best value on a week's holiday, consider a package with a tour operator such as Thomas Cook, Thomson, Monarch or easyJet Holidays (though when comparing prices be aware that transfers and baggage allowance are not included with the latter). You can pay £300 per person or less for a basic week in two-star self-catering accommodation, including flights and transfers.
Incidentally, pretty much all of this applies equally to Madeira (substituting "Portuguese" for "Spanish"), about 100 miles north – which is slightly cooler and damper, but even more fascinating in terms of its human history.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Dramatic GoPro video shows backpacker Alexander Hennessy warding off armed robber in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Best Place To Be Today shows 365 of the world's most amazing places - and the perfect time to visit them
Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
Best airports for a layover
Love hotels: in pictures
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 There is literally not a single woman in this iPhone 6 queue
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...
Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...
£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...
£15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...