Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids 01-playa-del-risco-01

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Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids 

Sure you can go on holiday to relax – but why? 

 

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Photo and top photo credit Turismo Lanzarote

Landing on Lanzarote, the easternmost of the Canary Islands, is like touching down on some kind of post-apocalyptic Mad Max universe. There are no palm tree lined boulevards or other bits of fabricated tropical grandeur by which you can set your holiday-goer bearings. Instead, the terrain is flat, brown and dry with a chain of volcanoes standing in a line down the middle, a few small towns and faint clouds of grey dust rising up in the distance.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Photo credit Turismo Lanzarote

Historically, the island suffered at the mercy of marauding pirates and slave-seekers from North Africa but managed to sustain a few small fishing villages and vino-culture dating back to Shakespearean times. A series of volcanic eruptions in the 1730s, however, wiped out many of the original settlements and traditional vineyards and gave rise to the omnipresent black lava rocks which dot the landscape in all directions.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Nonetheless, the strangeness of the topography, the quiet cautionary-tale feeling of the atmosphere and mildness of the climate (year-round temps average in the 23 degree range) are welcoming and intriguing, and there is much to discover.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

The warm sun, consistent breeze and varied coastline make the island ideal for beach-goers. Within a 20-minute drive, you encounter ragged lava-rock fields with crashing surf, soaring cliffs as well as smooth white and black sand coves.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Beaches

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Photo credit Turismo Lanzarote

The biggest beach and resort area is Puerto del Carmen about 10 minutes from Arrecife, the capital. What started out as a fishing community is now a long, wide six kilometer beach surrounded by a busy and thriving resort town. Shunning high-rise Miami Beach-style hotels in favor of white-washed villas and medium-sized resorts, there is a lively boardwalk and casino area and a Celtic tour that highlights the town’s many Irish pubs. Other resort areas include: Costa Teguise, another beach resort area and Playa Blanca, a marina resort town.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Photo credit Turismo Lanzarote

Timanfaya Volcano National Park

There is also a collection of pretty unusual tourist stuff. You can get face-to-face with lava time bombs in the Timanfaya Volcano National Park, gaze at 10,000 kinds of spikey plants at the famous Jardin de Cactus in Guatiza, and explore Cueva de los Verdes, a 2km-long labyrinth of volcanic tunnels in Haria. After discovering that the volcanic soil is surprisingly fertile, there is also a growing winery scene and Bodega-tour culture in the La Geria Valley.

Armed with a good book and cocktail, we could have relaxed, enjoyed the beach and taken in a few sights. But, on the advice of Danish marathoner friends, (always a risky venture), we went a different direction and explored Lanzarote’s well-known sporty side.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Photo credit Turismo Lanzarote

Club La Santa

A hub for this is Club La Santa, in Las Palmas, on the northern side of the island. Danish-owned and run, it bills itself as “the world’s number 1 sports resort,” and it’s easy to see why. High-quality equipment and facilities for over 40 sports are available on the property. The bike shop stocks Cannondale road and mountain bikes for adults as well as four-year-olds. The windsurfing hut, tennis shack and scuba outfit also offer expert-level gear for everyone from the jaded veteran to the “I’ve just got to try this” experimenter.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

Photo credit Turismo Lanzarote

Activities

It’s rare to find a hotel that offers windsurfing, scuba diving and surfing alongside intensive triathlon training, 50-meter swimming pools and active kids clubs. It’s even rarer to be walking from the bike warehouse to the beach volleyball court, hear booming salsa music and get drawn into the last 20 minutes of a Zumba class. But such is the daily grind of a La Santa day.

Lanzarote: Sports Holiday on Steroids

In addition to the gear, and possibly most importantly for parents, the hotel organizes a daily roster of instructional, social and competitive activities for all levels and ages. Your 10-year-old can attend a windsurfing instruction class at 10am, social football tournament at 12pm and group Padel ball lesson at 2pm. The Green Team, a young energetic group of quasi camp counselors leads these activities and pumps up the fun factor. The hotel hosts a yearly Ironman competition in May, and many conditioning activities center on various aspects of personal-best-pushing triathlon training.

In addition to the roster of activities, personal highlights from our experience included family-oriented scuba diving, mountain biking up and down nearby volcanoes and a thrilling surf excursion to La Famara.

Diving at Club La Santa Lanzarote

Club La Santa Website

Beaches in Lanzarote

Photo credit Turismo Lanzarote

Beaches to visit

Papagayo picturesque, family friendly

Puerto del Carmen touristic, busy

La Famara protected cove known for surfing

Costa Teguise

Sights

Park Timanfaya and Fire Mountains

Cueva de los Verdes

Jameos del Agua

Wineries

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Article written  by Jennifer Lisle. Jennifer is a  Zurich-based freelance journalist who has written for The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and Elle, among many others.

Photos by by Truism Lanzarote. All unannotated photos by Jennifer Lisle

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