If you’ve heard of Lanzarote, there’s a good chance you associate the name with sunburnt Brits and souvenir shops. But dig a little deeper into the history, geography and culture of this beautiful Spanish island, and you’ll find a holiday location that offers everything you want from a happy, healthy, and awe-inspiring break.
When you factor in affordable flights and all-inclusive resort deals, Lanzarote is also a great destination for physical and mental wellness holidays on a budget. If you need more convincing reasons, here are seven activities that could keep you busy during your stay…
1. Explore Timanfaya National Park
On the southwestern coast of Lanzarote, you’ll find Timanfaya National Park, a remarkable natural area sculpted by hundreds of years of volcanic activity. Enclosed within the park are the Montañas del Fuego, or Fire Mountains.
While the strange, alien landscape is largely bereft of plant or animal life, it offers a strikingly beautiful spectacle. Spend half a day or so in this stunning otherworldly place and contemplate the wonders of the natural world.
Image Credit: Blinking Idiot via Flickr
2. Take a Diving Tour of the Museo Atlantico
Since 2006, British artist Jason de Caires Taylor has been creating underwater sculpture installations around the world. His most recent endeavour has taken place just off the coast of Lanzarote and is known as the Museo Atlantico – the central attraction being a piece called The Raft of Lampedusa, which depicts refugees on a sunken lifeboat.
If you’re planning a trip to Lanzarote, make sure you set aside the time to get your diving or snorkelling gear and take a guided tour of these fascinating sculptures. You’ll be blown away by their power.
3. Book a Yoga Retreat
If you’re not already doing yoga, you should! With its gorgeous protected landscapes, stunning sea views and clear air, Lanzarote is the perfect place to practice yoga if you have already discovered its health benefits.
The good news is that you’ll find plenty of retreats across the island that offer competitively-priced yoga sessions. The bad news is, you might never want to leave…
Image Credit: We are Social vis Flickr
4. Marvel at the César Manrique Foundation
Ask any Lanzarote native and they’ll tell you how important the artist and architect César Manrique was to the history of the island. Manrique was fiercely opposed to the over-development of Lanzarote and fought against the tide of concrete resorts in the 60s and 70s by building his own ecologically-sound creations.
One of the most impressive thing is his house in the village of Tahiche, which was constructed in an area of black volcanic rock, using five lava “bubbles” to form a series of connected chambers. The foundation is open seven days a week to the public, and is free for children under 12. Just go for a visit, expand your mind and revitalise your spirits!
Image Credit: Kent Wang vis Flickr
5. Swim at the Jameos del Agua
No stay on Lanzarote would be complete without a trip to the Jameos del Agua. A natural volcanic cave system was adapted into a public complex featuring an auditorium, swimming pool, restaurant and garden with the help of César Manrique (we said he was important!). The whole complex is a delight to explore, but make sure you give yourself time for a relaxing swim in the gorgeous white swimming pool.
Image Credit: Jordi Payà vis Flickr
6. Sample the Local Delicacies
If there’s one thing guaranteed to boost your mood and get you in the holiday spirit, it’s a gorgeous dinner with a glass of fine wine. Lanzarote is known for its excellent and diverse cuisine, but the real highlights are the fresh and healthy local delicacies: papas arrugadas (“wrinkled” potatoes), mojo (spicy pepper or herb sauce), and grilleddorada (seabream).
You’ll also want to sample the island’s famous local dessert wines, preferably while eating a bowl of bienmesabe (sweetened almond cream). Consuming dessert and alcohol may not seem like an ideal path to physical and mental wellness, but a balance of moderation and enjoyment works wonders for the soul!
Image Credit: Alf Altendorf via Flickr
7. Unwind on a White Sand Beach
Though Lanzarote is certainly the place to be if you’re seeking mental stimulation and physical activity, it’s also a place to let your body relax and rest, away from the demands of everyday life. The island is famous for its black volcanic sand, but some of the best beaches are the ones with white sand – Papagayo on the southern tip of the island being a particular highlight.
If you’re seeking a truly secluded experience, you might also consider the beautiful white sand coves of Caléton Blanco near Órzola, which are perfect for sunbathing and snorkelling. Just don’t forget the sun lotion!
Image Credit: Dario Garavini vis Flickr
Wherever you choose to stay on Lanzarote, remember that some of the most memorable holiday experiences are about getting away from the hustle and bustle, letting your mind forget about everyday worries, and spending time in gentle contemplation.
Featured photo credit: Dario Garavini via flickr.com