Submarines and volcanoes – the highs and lows of a family holiday in Lanzarote

Submarines and volcanoes – the highs and lows of a family holiday in Lanzarote

We review an all-inclusive week full of adventure in the Canary Islands with children

“That was brilliant Mummy, I loved it. Can we get off now?”

Erm, no. We are 100 feet beneath the sea in a (yellow) submarine.

A box looks through the viewport of the submarine to see the fish in the sea

Enjoying the view from the submarine

We’ve passed shipwrecks and divers  and hundreds of fish. And my young son loved every minute. But now he thinks we can just climb out and carry on exploring the pretty port where our hosts Submarine Safaris are based. 

Thankfully, the appearance of a stingray draws our little Octonauts-fan back in to the view outside our viewport. 

We are in Lanzarote – an island of highs and lows.  The day after exploring deep beneath the ocean, we are up among its staggering volcanoes. 


And it’s on a high that the holiday starts with a remarkably relaxing flight with Jet2. 

Thanks to the airline’s generous hand-luggage allowance (10kg per person, double that of our last flight with a different company) we were well-equipped with entertainment for our son and daughter.

Fortunately, the four-hour journey passed without a hitch – we even arrived early. 

Basking in the glow of compliments from other passengers on the children’s behaviour, we left the plane, expecting to further bask in the ‘guaranteed’ winter sun of the Canary Islands.  Unfortunately it stayed firmly hidden behind clouds for the duration of our stay. 


Still, we had a bright welcome from the wonderful hotel staff at the ClubHotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote Resort. 

Family pool at the ClubHotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote Resort

Family pool at the ClubHotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote Resort

It’s in a great location on the outskirts of Puerto del Carmen, sandwiched between the sea and a glorious volcanic vista.

The huge, 600-room, spotless complex, is set in beautiful grounds and we had a fabulous suite away from the reception and restaurants.

We were glad of the longer walk back to the room (and my daughter’s pushchair) after thoroughly tucking in to the sumptuous food on offer.

The hotel is all inclusive with a large, main restaurant and two other options for dinner – an Asian and a world food restaurant which was our favourite. 

Thankfully, most of the hotel’s six swimming pools are heated and our children particularly enjoyed ordering drinks at the swim-up bar. 

Family pool at the ClubHotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote Resort

Another pool


Children are well catered for with a playground and the RiuLand club.

The entertainers work hard to ensure they have fun during the day and at the evening’s ‘Mini Disco’ where a particularly hilarious entertainer kept the adults as amused as the children. 

Beach and nearby attractions

We wrapped up well to enjoy the expansive Playa de los Pocillos beach, which is just across the road.

It was too cold to swim in the sea, but Josh and I went one better with our trip in the tourist submarine, where tour guides talk you through a memorable hour-long view of sea life.

The submarine in the sea at Puerto Calero in Lanzarote

Submarine Safaris at Puerto Calero in Lanzarote

The interior of the submarine

Inside the submarine

There were more creatures to see back on dry land at Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park.

They have sea lion, eagle and parrot shows plus ponies, canoe rides and a water park with slides.

We couldn’t leave Lanzarote without exploring its volcanic history so we hired a car and drove to Timanfaya National Park.  The black, rocky landscape makes it hard to believe the last eruptions here were in 1824. 

Timanfaya National Park

Timanfaya National Park

Staff demonstrate the hot earth by setting dry bush alight, cooking food and creating great gushes of steam out of the ground.

Visitors also take a coach trip around the volcanoes – ours ended with a round of applause.

Whether our fellow passengers were moved by the sights or just grateful to be back in one piece after navigating the narrow, winding mountain roads and sheer drops, I wasn’t sure. 

In conclusion

Thank you Lanzarote – for the volcanic highs, the oceanic lows and everything in between. 

Accommodation: We stayed as guests at ClubHotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote Resort, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Travel: Jet2 – we received a discount for the purpose of this review.

Lanzarote – the best beaches, parks and attractions on a family holiday

Lanzarote – the best beaches, parks and attractions on a family holiday

Five family-friendly attractions for children to enjoy when visiting the Canary Island of Lanzarote

Submarine Trip

This is a real experience, the chance to dive 100 feet down in a tourist submarine from the pretty marina at Puerto Calero with Submarine Safaris.

Tour guides talk you through the memorable hour-long trip and you get the chance to spot a diver, shipwrecks and a stingray amongst other things.

Combine with a visit to the town’s market and you get a great trip out.

The submarine in the sea at Puerto Calero in Lanzarote

Submarine Safaris at Puerto Calero in Lanzarote

Timanfaya National Park

The last eruptions here were in 1824 but the volcanic earth still draws the crowds. Fortunately there is a huge car park and well organised activities.

Staff demonstrate the hot earth by setting dry bush alight, cooking food and creating great gushes of steam out of the ground.

Visitors then take a coach trip around the volcanoes – the roads are narrow and winding with sheer drops but the coach drivers know what they’re doing.

timanfaya volcano and park

Visiting Timanfaya National Park is a spectacular day out

Take a trip to Texas

Well not quite, but Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park has a wild west theme. It is a zoo and water park.

There are sea lion, eagle and parrot shows plus ponies, canoe rides and a water park with slides.

A full day’s entertainment near Puerto Del Carmen.


Hire a car and explore, the children will be fascinated by the volcanic landscape.

Just a few miles inland from the beaches, the land turns black. Young ones will feel like they’ve visited the moon.

black lunar landscape in Lanzarote

Lanzarote’s landscape will wow visitors of all ages


The best in Lanzarote for fine white sand is probably Papagayo beach near Playa Blanca.

The island is second only to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands for good beaches.

Papagayo beach from the air

Papagayo beach is one of the best in Lanzarote

Other options to try are Famara in the north and Playa Quemada – the “burnt beach” – with its black rocks for something a bit different.

Have we missed your favourite? What are your top tips for families visiting Lanzarote?

Where to go on your family holiday in January 2023 to find sun and fun

Where to go on your family holiday in January 2023 to find sun and fun

Where to find the winter sun in January

A family holiday in January gives you and your children something to look forward to and enjoy in the slump after Christmas when it is cold and dreary.

Here are our top picks for the best locations for a family holiday at the start of the year.

Canary Islands

Travel time from the UK: 4 hours

Temperature: 17-21C

The beach at Playa del Papagayo

Playa del Papagayo, Lanzarote

For decent warmth in January, the Canary Islands are the closest option to the UK. Lanzarote is the least high rise island in the Canaries with a great volcanic landscape, good theme parks, a submarine trip you can take and fine beaches.

We travelled there one January – read about the best beaches, parks and attractions for children in Lanzarote.

The other islands are also great options including Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura (read our review of a holiday in Fuerteventura here).


Travel time from the UK: 7 hours

Temperature: 20-25C



The Middle East is only really bearable with children between October and March. Dubai is a fantastic family destination – great beaches, warm sea, huge resorts and lots of attractions.

It is expanding all the time, with a new Legoland recently opened to go with water parks, indoor ski slopes and giant aquariums.


Travel time from the UK: 9 hours

Temperature: 26-28C

A woman sits on a swing on a tropical beach in the Caribbean

January in the Caribbean is peak season for a reason.

Tropical paradise doesn’t come cheap but the weather is perfect and the beaches are stunning sandy white stretches.

The Dominican Republic is more affordable than other areas and accommodation will often be an all-inclusive hotel.

If you want to get out and about, Barbados has villas to rent and Antigua is a small and safe option – both are well served with flights from the UK.


Travel time from the UK: 20 hours

Temperature: 23-26C

A panoramic view of Melbourne in Australia

Holiday season down under, January is when the schools are off in Australia.

The weather is hot everywhere but probably best in Melbourne. There are beaches aplenty and some great sights along the fabulous Great Ocean Road.

Children can enjoy a zoo, an aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in the city. Try an excursion to Phillip Island to spot some penguins.


Temperature: around 2-8C

The lake and buildings at Whinfell Forest Center Parcs

If you don’t want to fly, consider somewhere with plenty of indoor entertainment in Britain.

Center Parcs is at its cheapest in January and you can spend all day in the pool if it is raining.

Or try a city break because the coastal resorts have shut down – how about York which has several indoor museums – Our 10 tips for visiting York with children.

Where do you like to holiday in January, let us know in the comments!

We review a hotel in Lanzarote – Club Hotel Riu Paraiso

We review a hotel in Lanzarote – Club Hotel Riu Paraiso

Will Club Hotel Riu Paraiso prove a success for a family holiday with children?


Club Hotel Riu Paraiso.

Where is it?

Opposite a beach in the resort of Puerto Del Carmen on Lanzarote’s east cost, not far from the airport.

What is it?

A large, all-inclusive resort with 600 rooms, three restaurants and four pools sandwiched between the Playa De Los Pocillos beach and Lanzarote’s volcanic inland area.

Is it family friendly?

Yes, there is a children’s club, plenty of dining options, pools of varying depths and sizes, a small playground, evening mini disco and friendly staff.

The rooms

The rooms are not ultra modern but are a good size with large beds, TV, bath and shower.

A suite bedroom

The further you walk from reception the quieter the rooms but the longer the walk to eat – so all options are covered. The hotel is set in lovely gardens.

Food and drink

Riu’s all inclusive means just that, all your food and drinks are free. There were three restaurants to pick from, all buffet style with a large, main restaurant and two other options for dinner – an Asian and a world food restaurant which was our favourite.


There are shops, bars and restaurants within walking distance. There is a good public playground opposite and the sandy, if a little windy, beach has sun loungers for hire.

Our highlights

*Swim-up pool bar. There are four pools here, including a toddlers pool. One of them has a swim-up bar which our son loved as he could order a juice and sit on a bar stool in the water!

Swim-up bar and swimming pool

*Good range of pools. Our favourite pool in the quieter part of the hotel was a good shape for children to explore with a wide shallow end.

*The children’s staff were great with fun events during the day and a Mini Disco at night, one of the staff in particular kept the adults as entertained as the children.

*Range of facilities. There is a small playground and for older children a range of activities on offer such as tennis and shooting. You can do as much or as little as you want in terms of organised activities.


Club Hotel Riu Paraíso, Calle Suiza, 4 | Playa de los Pocillos, 35519 Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote, Spain.

For more details go to the Riu website.

(We received free accommodation, all views are our own).