Island Getaway in Lanzarote

It’s taken me a while to write about my long weekend in the Canary Islands, mainly because as soon as we got back to Germany and I felt the cold air again, my mind switched to Christmas mode. However, relaxing at an all-inclusive in Lanzarote was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Our fall trips to London, Lisbon, and Scotland were full of nonstop sightseeing, so we decided to spend our long Thanksgiving weekend somewhere where all we had to do was lay by the pool in guaranteed warm weather. Owned by Spain and located just off the coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands were the farthest south we could get in Europe, where temperatures would reach about 75 degrees each day we were there.

We stayed at a the Occidental Lanzarote Playa in Costa Teguise where we got a great deal on the all-inclusive option. For four days we ate all we could for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and had unlimited access to sangria, which was my favorite part! It was nice having everything we needed right at the resort, especially considering that finding the right restaurants in unfamiliar cities one of the most stressful aspects of traveling for me. The pool area was huge with lounge chairs everywhere so that’s where we spent most of our time. And as an added bonus, our room had a balcony with an ocean view where we watched the sunrise every morning.

elancla.jpg
El Ancla – “The anchor,” a beach right outside our hotel

Thanks to our balcony, I was able to roll out of bed every morning and record a timelapse of the sunrise. This one turned out to be my favorite:

 

This was also the first trip where I knew I would be able to 1.) fit running clothes into our extremely limited carry-on baggage and 2.) actually have the energy to run considering we wouldn’t be walking around a city all day. Plus I knew that if I exercised, I would have even more of an appetite to take advantage of the buffet! A running/walking path along the water was right outside our hotel and I followed it all the way up to Playa de las Cucharas, one of the bigger beach towns in Costa Teguise. I’ve never been a morning runner before, but the views of the water as the sun rose definitely converted me for those few days.

For one of the days, rather than laying by the pool we decided to take a tour of the southern part of the island. The landscape is basically just dormant volcanoes and rock formed by eruptions in the 1730s and in 1824, so it lacked the lush vegetation one may expect from a tropical island. We drove through vast lava fields of nothing but black rock and even saw black sand beaches. It was so different it felt like I was on another planet. We got to see El Golfo, a famous green lake that gets its color from algae, and Los Hervideros, cliffs of solidified lava cut by waves from the ocean. We also went to Timanfaya National Park, where we got to see demonstrations of the volcanic activity. First, the guide put pebbles from the ground in our hands, and they were so warm I had to drop them almost right away. Then, he put hay down a hole where the temperature was around 400 degrees Celsius and we watched as it burned just from the heat right below our feet. Lastly, he poured a bucket of water down a pipe to an opening about 10 meters down and it quickly boiled and came rushing back out like a geyser. There was even a restaurant that made a grill over a hole in the ground and cooked meat using the heat of the volcano! Then our driver skillfully maneuvered our bus through the winding volcano route to see craters of imploded volcanos and other rock formations. I really wish the pictures could do the scenery justice because although the land looks dull and barren, that’s what makes it unbelievable.

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On our last day, we ventured out of our hotel again to Puerto del Carmen, a larger town toward the south of the island. It was much more built-up and lively than where we were staying so if we return to Lanzarote, we would probably opt to stay there. We had happy hour cocktails as the sun went down on our vacation.

carmen

It was difficult to leave knowing we would return to the cold, cloudiness of Germany, but luckily Christmas market season has made it a little bearable. And at least we’ve now discovered an incredible getaway if we need to escape winter again next year!

 

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