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Exploring Lanzarote as a winter getaway

Last Updated on January 27, 2014

The winter months usually herald a drab, gloomy cycle of getting up when it’s cold and dark, shuffling out and returning home in the same cold darkness, only to do it all again the next day.

I find the best way to properly vanquish the winter blues is to simply jump on a plane and go somewhere with a bit of sunshine to weather out the worst of the UK freeze. One fantastic destination for catching the winter sun is Lanzarote. This Canary Island, located 125km off the coast of Africa, has a fantastic range of beaches and resorts for soaking up the sun, as well as an array of activities to keep more adventurous visitors entertained.

Walking on the moon

The Timanfaya National Park, named after the sole remaining active volcano on the island, is an eerie and surreal place to visit. In fact, famous Hollywood producer Cubby Broccoli chose the location to film some of the scenes for the James Bond Moonraker film. A guided tour around Timanfaya itself, with a choice between a three hour or five hour hike, offers a really interesting way to explore the volcano, although it’s advisable to book at least 48 hours in advance to avoid disappointment, as there are only a few people permitted on each tour.Festival!

In the run-up to Lent every year (around February and March), each municipality of Lanzarote celebrates with a large, vibrant carnival, with noisy celebrations, music, fancy dress and parades aplenty. The main carnival on the island takes place in the capital of Arrecife, which boasts an extravagant float parade accompanied by local salsa and bachata rhythms, and plenty of dancing.

Hanging out

Lanzarote also caters for adrenaline junkies, with plenty of opportunities to try out high-octane activities like hang-gliding – particularly in winter, thanks to the especially good thermals that occur between November and March. There are five main sites where hang-gliding occurs, the most popular being Famara, which has a maximum cliff height of 1,780ft. Tandem hang-gliding with an experienced pilot is also available at most of the sites for about 120 euros, and there are a range of smaller practice heights if you aren’t feeling overly confident at first.