As much as I love living in Ireland, the winters are long and dark, often necessitating a desperate escape to some winter sun wherever you can find it. This is why I’ve fled to Lanzarote on three different occasions over several years to break the winter. Anything for a quick dose of sunshine. (While sunshine is not guaranteed, January is their coldest month with an average of 17 degrees Celsius so at least it will be mild.)
So, on my first two trips to Lanzarote, I was there for the sun, but with regard to everything else, I had to grin and bear it. Why? Because there’s a certain tackiness that comes with some resorts in Lanzarote. I have no interest in finding Irish pubs or British breakfasts in Spain. I don’t need egg and chips or pork chops; I’m not looking for a pub with Sky Sports on a wide-screen TV. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things but they’re not for me and I always think it’s a bit sad when you visit a part of Spain where Spanish language and food are largely absent. And the food is just awful in some resorts which shall remain nameless. But on my third visit, I found somewhere very pleasant on the island of Lanzarote – Playa Blanca. It’s still a purpose-built tourist resort but I think it’s a lot nicer than Puerto del Carmen and Mata Gorda.
I stayed at the H10 White Suites Hotel – for adults only! It’s decent four-star accommodation and the staff are excellent at their job. They’ve got a couple of bars but I especially like their Moroccan caravan-style bar where you can also do yoga classes in the morning. Playa Blanca has lovely coastal walks and a good range of restaurants and shops (not just for souvenirs). It’s also pretty quiet.
Landscape and culture:
There are lots of good day trips you can do to discover the distinctive, volcanic black landscape, the home and architectural legacy of Cesar Manrique, Manrique’s stunning cactus garden, Los Jameos del Agua and Omar Sharif’s house.
It’s well worth doing an island tour or renting a car and getting around yourself – the landscape really is unique and striking. If it looks strangely familiar it’s probably because you’ve seen it in movies before. (It worked very well in Almodovar’s film, Broken Embraces.)
If you live in Western Europe you can usually fly there in under four hours from most places. Personally, I’d take a chance on the weather and hope for the best- otherwise, you stop believing in summer and you go a little bit crazy.