Why not try a surf and yoga retreat in a warm, welcoming island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? This is how we decided to spend our Christmas holidays at one time. To escape the cold Northern European winter we went to Lanzarote, an island located between northern Africa and Europe. Lanzarote offers the perfect conditions for relaxing, be active, and enjoy a different culture and island life. It is a great place to try new things such as surfing and yoga. You can do all this, against a beautiful backdrop of volcanic landscapes and the Atlantic Ocean.
Neither of us had ever tried surfing before, so we thought it was a good idea. We opted for a 5-day active surf in the morning and yoga in the afternoon. The rest of the time, we spent enjoying and exploring the island. We rented a car and it was the best way to go around the island.
In your Lanzarote itinerary, you can also include a visit to the volcanic island of Graciosa. Located north of Lanzarote, Graciosa is easily reachable by ferry, and it offers small-secluded beaches with beautiful turquoise water that you can swim in. It feels that you are far away and can fully disconnect from everything.
Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands, part of Spain, just off the coast of Africa. The island is quite small. From the most northern point to the most southern point, it takes about 2h to drive through it.
The weather is warm and sunny throughout the year with temperatures rarely going below 16ºC in winter and 25ºC in summer. Water temperatures range between max. 18ºC in December to max. 23ºC in August.
Lanzarote harbors spectacular beaches to do some surf in, rugged coastlines, and unique volcanic landscapes that show off great colors and impressive views. The food is delicious and since it is a Spanish island, the gastronomy is very similar to the Spanish one. That said, they have some unique sauces that you can only find there and delicious wine produced locally (the vineyards grow in volcanic soil).
We went there for roughly one week, during Christmas, when there weren't a lot of tourists and the town we stayed in, Famara, was the perfect combo of surfers, locals, and a few tourists. The weather is sunny and warm pretty much all of the time.
After a day out, you can enjoy a delicious seafood paella by the sea in Puertas del Carmen whilst witnessing a great sunset by the beach.
Apart from nature and outdoor activities (surfing, byking, etc.) you can do, there are also several museums/centers created by the local architect César Marinque (incl. his house) that combine aesthetic ideals of harmony between nature and art with little or no human intervention. The way he embedded the constructions with the local indigenous nature is very impressive and worth a visit. The different attractions are spread out throughout the island and you can easily spend one day visiting these. Still, within the cultural topic, you can visit the house/library of the iconic Portuguese writer/author José Saramago.
You can pay a visit to the National Park of Timanfaya, which is qualified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and is entirely made up of volcanic soil. Timanfaya National Park is located to the southwest of the island, in the municipality of Yaiza. With an extension of more than 5,000 hectares including wide open plains and mountains that were volcanoes not long ago, Timanfaya resembles a bit a picture you can have of Mars, completely alien. You can only visit the park inside a bus that tours you around for 45min. After Timanfaya, we drove passing by famous local wineries and enjoyed nice tapas and wine at El Chupadero.
Located in the southeast part of the island, there are also some natural wonders to check out. The first stop is El Golfo, a seaside village famous for the green lagoon or the Charco de Los Clicos. The volcano on the shoreline to the left of El Golfo has been eroded by the elements to reveal an incredible emerald green lagoon. The color of the water is a stark contrast to the black sand and red, orange, and yellow backdrop of the crater. Next to it, there is a beautiful black sand beach, which is surrounded by big volcanic rocks that act as big barriers where the waves come crashing into. The actual lagoon is roped off, the intense green color is due to the concentration of Ruppia-Maritima algae present in the water. What a sight to enjoy and behold!
During December, the island is deserted and temperatures are ranging between 17ºC to 25ºC. We went for a week and had only 1 day with bad weather. Winter is the best time for surfing and there are very few people around.
Lanzarote is a Spanish Island, so Spanish is the official language. You can also get by with English as they are used to tourists. The currency is € and if you are part of an EU country, you don't need any visa to go there. Lanzarote is not expensive, of course, depends where you go and eat and stay, like everywhere else. Nonetheless, we found it to be inexpensive and a good getaway for 1 week. Here is the breakdown of the costs for 2 people: Surf & Yoga camp 5 days (incl. accommodation) – 990€ + Flights Dublin/Lanzarote – 499.95€.
We rented a car from the airport and used it for the whole week. It was cheap and very practical. We used it every day, after finishing with surfing or when we had days off surfing.