WITH the Canary Islands finally back on the Government’s “go” list, people in need of some winter sun could do little better than Lanzarote.
It’s a beautiful, volcanic island and with temperatures around 25C in October and 22C in November, it’s still warm enough to enjoy the beaches it has to offer.
The south coast, around Playa Blanca, is the prettiest area to visit. I travelled to the resort with my family in August — a day after quarantine measures were introduced — and was impressed at how the island had adapted to our new Covid world.
Long before it became a way of life here in the UK, it was compulsory to wear masks in shops and restaurants in Spain unless you were sat at the table.
The beautiful year-round sun means you can often sit outside, reducing your risk, and there was hand sanitiser at the entrance to every restaurant as well as on tables.
No menus are given out. Instead you are encouraged to scan a code and read what’s on offer from your own phone instead.
Sitting with a glass of wine and a view of the sea, I felt a million miles away from two metre-rule supermarket queues and fights over loo roll.
Playa Blanca is a great resort for those with kids. The restaurant staff are super-friendly, with waiters making a real fuss of my three kids, Jacob, six, Olive, three, and Ivy, who is six months old.
Every pizza you order comes in the shape of a rabbit, which went down a treat, and there are ice creams aplenty. Jacob was fascinated with an ice cream parlour called Creperia Happy Child on the seafront.
It sold delicious crepes and waffles as well as ice creams with any topping you could imagine including KitKats and Smarties. A must visit for any ice-cream lover.
The beaches were beautiful and child-friendly and the water was as warm as a bath. We especially liked Playa Dorada, a picture-postcard sandy beach, which was great for little paddlers and a swim.
There were lots of rocks pools at Playa Flamingo — the other end of the resort — where the kids enjoyed crabbing and exploring the coastline. The Aqualava Water Park has big flumes for big kids, a lazy river and splash fountains to keep little ones entertained.
You can walk for hours along the promenade — a one-way system has been installed — and there’s a big marina where you can while away hours watching boats come in and out of the resort.
That’s where to head if you want a fancy meal. We ate at Restaurante Liken, where I had a delicious upmarket Caesar salad. It was beautiful but more expensive than the restaurants near the resort centre.
We liked Restaurante Playa Blanca where you could order everything from chicken burritos to steak or spaghetti Bolognese. It was a great family-friendly option with a wonderful view of the sea.
We stayed in Villa Olive, a pretty and modern secluded villa which is about a 20 to 25-minute walk from the seafront. The villa came with a hygiene pack but had been cleaned and maintained to a high standard.
The pool was pretty and warm enough for the kids to play in for hours on end. The villa was well kitted out with everything you need for your stay, including a barbecue if you prefer to eat at home.
A must is a visit to the Timanfaya National Park, the rugged landscape that covers a quarter of the island. A bus will take you around the landscape and it’s easy to see why Apollo astronauts used it for practice for moon missions.
Older kids might prefer to board a camel to trek across the volcanic rock. While we mainly enjoyed the beach and the villa, the island has become popular for a number of sports too. It’s popular with cyclists and hikers, many of whom head into the mountains and Playa de Famara is popular with surfers.
All in all we had a fabulous stay — it was well worth 14 days stuck in doors when we returned home. The flight was only half full and Gatwick was quiet, making the journey to and from incredibly easy.
Now you don’t have to quarantine, there’s even more reason to get away this winter and after a quiet year so far, the…
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