Beat the winter blues with a fitness break in Lanzarote

barcelo active review lannzarote 2023
'My fitness-focused winter getaway in Lanzarote'Priyankaa Joshi

For many of us, the idea of a perfect holiday involves lying starfished on a sun lounger, cocktail in hand, for two weeks straight, but if fly-and-flop isn’t your jam and you don’t want to abandon your fitness routine when you put on your OOO, Lanzarote’s latest wellbeing hotspot should be on your radar.

Freshly refurbed in 2022, the four-star Barceló Lanzarote Active Resort in Costa Teguise is popular with pro and amateur athletes, who flock to the hotel from all over to take advantage of its impeccable training facilities. We’re talking a heated, 10-lane Olympic pool, a pro cycling centre, a premium gym, a CrossFit box, PT services and more daily fitness classes than you can shake a flip flop at.

barcelo active review lannzarote 2023
Sunrise yoga, in January! Priyankaa Joshi

If you’re able to drag yourself away from the resort, there's plenty of opportunity for running, hiking, cycling and golf, plus all the water sports you could possibly ask for. Basically, it’s a paradise for fitness freaks.

Intrigued? Let’s dive into the details…

Tell me about the area

Before you ask, no, Lanzarote isn’t all package holidays and boozed-up Brits abroad. Sure, there is an element of that but there’s so much more to this Canary Island than its old (unfair) ‘Lanzagrotty’ nickname. Think dramatic volcanic landscapes, plentiful golden sandy beaches to wiggle your toes into and a glittering sea that looks like it’s gone through an Insta filter.

volcanic landscape of timanfaya volcano park
Timanfaya National Park is awe-inspiring Andy Linden - Getty Images

Then there’s Timanfaya National Park, home to the jaw-dropping Montañas del Fuego, picturesque white-washed villages dotted along the rugged coastline and La Geria wine region, where you can sample Lanzarote’s increasingly lauded (and extremely delicious) volcanic wines.

As for the hotel, it’s set on the shores of the peaceful Costa Teguise, with panoramic vistas that make you want to stop scrolling and too many palm trees to count. Bliss.

I’m sold. Talk to me about the fitness facilities

Honestly, they’re pretty spectacular. I’m not usually one to hit up a hotel gym when I’m on my holibobs but after a tour of the swanky 485m space, even I felt inspired to kickstart my day with a full body sweat sesh. A far cry from the dingy, cramped hotel gyms I’ve experienced in the past, this one is bright, airy and brimming with state-of-the-art equipment and machinery, from dumbbells and kettlebells to treadmills, spin bikes and rowers. Not forgetting the outdoor CrossFit box, complete with pull-up bars, rings, battle ropes, suspension trainers and punch bags.

Sadly, my 36-hour trip didn’t allow much time for lengthy gym sessions, but I did manage to squeeze in some classes they run regularly throughout the day and are free for all guests to join (you will have to pay extra for a PT session, however). There’s lots of high-energy stuff like Les Mills Body Pump and Body Combat to get your blood pumping, but I wanted to take the pace of life down a notch, so I opted for sunrise yoga and Body Balance.

I usually struggle to quiet the constant chatter in my mind during my weekly Vinyasa sessions back home, but there’s something incredibly soothing about practising to the sound of lapping waves and rustling palms on a sun-drenched deck overlooking the sea. Truly blissful.

Group fitness not your thing? No problem. Rent a bike from the on-site cycling centre for a leisurely peddle along the smooth coastal promenades or fire up your quads with a challenging ride into the mountains (The Mirador del Río viewpoint in the Famara mountains boasts magnificent views of the tiny Caribbean-worthy Isla Graciosa and is well worth the effort, apparently). There’s also hiking and trail running aplenty, with well-marked routes that snake across the island. If you’re more of a water baby, Famara Beach is a surfer’s paradise, while the crystalline waters of Playa del Jabillo are the dream for snorkelling and diving.

Are there opportunities for R&R too?

Absolutely! When you’re done exerting yourself, make your way to the wellness centre for a well-deserved volcanic stone massage or soothe your tired muscles with some downtime in the sauna. Unfortunately, it was closed for maintenance during my visit, but I have it on good authority that the Lanzarote Experience, one of the spa’s signature treatments using volcanic lava and aloe vera, is not to be missed.

Spa facilities aside, for me, one of the best things about the sprawling resort is the fact you can dip in and out of the action as your heart desires, there’s zero pressure. If you wanted to sway your break more towards rest and rejuvenation, then go for it. Let your S.O. go ham in the gym while you spend your time flitting between the seven (!) aquamarine pools dotted around the grounds. Everyone’s a winner.

It sounds pretty healthy. Will I have to survive on green juice and crackers all week?

Panic not, this isn’t a bootcamp or detox retreat. Yes, you can nourish your body with fresh fruit, grilled fish and rainbow salads, but there’s also plenty of opportunity to indulge. It is a holiday after all, people! Whether you want to dive into the gorgeous island cuisine (do not miss the papas arrugadas con mojo) or mix things up with Italian or Japanese, the resort has no less than 12 restaurants and bars to choose from. You can opt for bed and breakfast or go all in with all-inclusive, which is what we did.

Breakfast at La Dolce Vita was a buffet affair, and it was seriously delicious, with an emphasis on fresh flavours and local produce. I started with a veggie omelette, smoked salmon and avo, before moving on to a yogurt bowl with a mountain of nuts and seeds, raw honey and possibly the sweetest, juiciest melon I’ve ever tasted. I rounded things off with a handful of pastries smothered in blueberry jam and a café con leche. You’re supposed to eat breakfast like a king, right?

In terms of dinner, for me, the stand-out was Koi, an Asian-fusion offering where we dined on crispy prawn and veg tempura with a sticky sweet soy dressing, zingy tuna tartare and oh-so-many sushi rolls. The beautifully presented plates were paired with glorious mineral-heavy Lanzarote wines that slipped down almost too easily. Dessert? A wonderfully rich, gooey chocolate fondant with… wasabi ice cream. We finished off the night with a digestif of Arehucas honey rum at Champs Sports Bar (hot top: stick to one if you’ve got an early class the following day).

What’s the accommodation like?

The resort has a whopping 659 guest rooms, including standard doubles, family garden suites, three deluxe sports rooms which have a dedicated workout area, hot tub and sauna and one hypoxia room, which simulates the conditions of sleeping at altitude. Pay a bit more and nab a Royal Level room for fancier accommodation, private access to certain restaurants and pools and extra touches like a welcome bottle of fizz and daily treats in your room. I was lucky enough to have a Royal Level wrist band, and admittedly, I did feel like a bit of a VIP as I sauntered around the grounds.

What’s the vibe at the resort?

Ahead of the trip, I was slightly concerned the clientele would solely consist of gym bros and wannabe fitness influencers. Thankfully, I was proved wrong the vibe is laid-back and the crowd a friendly, international mix, with plenty of kids in tow.

On that note, little ones will love the Barcy Kids Club, offering heaps of entertainment via an outdoor play area with swings and slides, splash zones and a ball pool, while you enjoy a bit of child-free time. In the evenings, there are family-friendly live music shows in La Plaza, a lively square at the heart of the resort.

So how do I get there?

It’s around four hours to fly to Lanzarote’s buzzy capital Arrecife from the UK (bonus: there’s no time difference), with non-stop flights operating from all major airports. From the airport, it’s a breezy 10-minute taxi ride along the golden coast to the hotel.

Final thoughts

I checked out after two days, feeling simultaneously relaxed and energised, wishing I could sack off work and spend another week (or two) at the resort. I usually come back from a holiday feeling hungover and exhausted, but not this time. I genuinely felt amazing after all that movement, wholesome food, sunshine and deep sleep. In my eyes, it’s the perfect balance of fitness, fun and relaxation.

Would I return? Definitely. The fact that prices for food, travel and accommodation in Lanzarote remain affordable is yet another reason to add it to my wellness wishlist.

Rooms from €160, including breakfast;

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