As a relatively small island, Lanzarote is often assumed to be just a beach holiday destination. But its incredible climate also makes it a very popular place for sports enthusiasts and more generally lovers of the great outdoors.
The clean atmosphere and usually clement weather make it an ideal spot to pursue various sporting activities, with everything from hang-gliding to surfing, horse-riding to cross country trekking on offer. And whilst some past times require specific conditions, such as thermal currents for hang-gliding, many other sports can be practiced all year round.
This is much in evidence amongst the many visitors to Club La Santa on the north west coast of the island, as the resort is a leading favourite among athletes who wish to train all year round. Cyclists, marathon runners and swimmers all use the facilities at the Club when other European destinations have to be ruled out in winter.
It is here as well that contestants often stay when taking part in the Lanzarote heat of the Iron Man competition. The gruelling triathlon that takes place every May is the ultimate qualifying stage before competitors go to the finals in Hawaii.
However, it isn´t just visitors that pursue an active agenda during their time on Lanzarote, as many of the local residents engage in a range of sports and healthy activities as part of their everyday lives.
It is often the reason why immigrants to the island have chosen Lanzarote as their new home.
After all, being able to practice yoga or tai chi on the beach is much more appealing than going to an indoor venue.
Even the more sedentary residents will cite the year round sunshine as a major incentive for living on the island, as it enables them to potter around in pursuit of their hobbies from January to December.
Walking is also an extremely popular pursuit and with countless paths criss-crossing the countryside it affords very different views of the rural scenery than you will get from just following the roads. Amongst Canarian residents, walking used to be one of the only ways in which locals could get around easily.
In fact, walking has been incorporated into many of the unique fiestas that Lanzarote holds each year, with the pilgrimage to Mancha Blanca being the largest and most widely undertaken. This particular celebration sees islanders walking from all corners of Lanzarote to the church in Mancha Blanca to give thanks for the miracle of Dolores, a local patron saint. Which is an apt illustration of how healthy the lifestyle of local residents on Lanzarote has long been.
Gary Smith is a long term island resident and writes extensively about Lanzarote for various sites and blogs. Anyone searching for villa accommodation in Playa Blanca on Lanzarote can visit his site at www.a1lanzarotevillas.com.