Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Rugged, volcanic Lanzarote—the northeasternmost island of the Canary Islands, which are part of Spain yet lie less than 200 kilometers off the coast of Morocco—is small enough that you can travel its whole length in less than an hour. Driving between the small towns on the island, dotted with some 300 volcanic cones, visitors pass wineries around La Geria valley; its vast estates are covered by odd little lava stone pits designed to protect individual vines from the wind. (Viticulture has a long history here—El Grifo winery was founded in 1775.) All over the island, the works of celebrated local sculptor, painter and architect César Manrique can be seen in the most unexpected places.
A former fishing village, the port of Arrecife (meaning “reef" in Spanish and named after the offshore reefs that long provided protection from pirates) is now a medium-sized city. Despite its location in the Atlantic, Arrecife has a decidedly Mediterranean feel with seafront promenades lined with palms. El Charco tidal lagoon is a popular venue for strolling and photographing traditional fishing boats at anchor. On Saturdays, a food and crafts market pops up around the lagoon and the Church of San Ginés; every day of the week, small tapas bars are always welcoming.