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
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 Stephen Hawking endorses Labour in the General Election
Business class to New York at economical prices - but will it fly?
French air-traffic controllers strike Q&A: When is the strike and which travellers will be affected?
A380 celebrates first decade in flight - but how long will the Superjumbo's time in the sky last?
The most powerful passports in the world
French air-traffic strike: Planned industrial action called off
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...
£18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...
£Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...