ADVERTORIAL • December 2019
If you’re in the mood for a spot of winter sun – without the long haul – head to one of Spain’s many islands. Hispanophile and Club contributing editor, Ross Clarke knows there’s an island for every type of traveller, whether you’re on the search for adventure, fine food, wellness or wonder
If you had to describe Mallorca in one word, ‘views’ wouldn’t be a bad one, because from the bright stonework buttresses of Palma Cathedral to the turquoise coves of Cala Llombards, the photo opportunities here are endless. Hire a car and head up the west coast for a little of everything the island has to offer. Cutting through the vast mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana, you’ll stop by charming – relatively tourist-free – towns such as Valldemossa, Deià and Sóller, before winding down to the unspoilt coast with spectacular Mediterranean views at every turn. For the most idyllic setting and Instagram-worthy shots, the coves of Sa Calobra and Cala Tuent are spectacular.
A continent in miniature, Gran Canaria is ideal for delighting children (and big kids) of all ages. The south of the island’s desert-like dunes (or any other of the 13 Blue Flag beaches on the island) are always fun for the kids as well as Aqualand Water Park or the Angry Birds Activity Park. There’s no shortage of family-friendly hotels and resorts either. Take Radisson Blu Resort, with its four pools, kids’ club, padel court and spa in Playa de Arguineguín. Alternatively head north to the island’s capital to paddle in the shallow waters of Las Canteras beach, eat fresh fish with papas arrugadas (salty potatoes) or retreat from the heat inside the interactive Elder Science Museum.
Ibiza might not be the first place that comes to mind for wellness, with its renowned club scene hosting the world’s best DJs, but when the lively summer crowds head home, the island shows its true colours: tranquillity, beauty and nature. Take solace and respite at Atzaró Agroturismo in the centre of the island. Not only do its four-postered rooms ooze calm, but with an impressive range of yoga and meditation classes, and a neatly-appointed spa with soothing treatments, it makes the ideal switch-off retreat. For something sustainable, try La Granja. It’s a farm, guesthouse, restaurant and retreat where you can learn about communal farming and slow-food, while dining out on a truly Mediterranean diet thanks to the farm’s biodynamic produce.
Windsurfing, golf, triathlon, diving, sailing, trekking, running… the list of sports you can try in Lanzarote is endless, which is why it’s one of the top destinations in Europe for active travellers. While quiet roads and trails make it easy to explore by bike or on foot, it’s the landscape that makes Lanzarote so thrilling. Its volcanic lava provides a truly unique training ground, and the clear waters and ocean breezes mean watersports are well catered for. Club La Santa is well known for its sporting and activity credentials but there are plenty of other places for recovery time too, such as Occidental Lanzarote Mar with its hypoxia room and Bkool cycling simulator. If you can allow yourself one small indulgence, make it a cool glass of white wine from one of the island’s award-winning bodegas.
At just under 270 square miles, the island of Menorca is the perfect hideaway. Long stretches of sand fringed by fragrant pine trees; rural hills dotted with hints of its ancient past, and quiet yet captivating cities all lend themselves to a delightfully low-key getaway. Pack your walking shoes and while away the hours along any of the 20 stages of the Cami de Cavalls – a coastal path that loops the island and dates back to the 1300s. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, refuel in the terrace restaurant at Binifadet Winery and sample some local vino. Catch the last few rays at Cala Binibèquer before heading out for tapas at Can Vermut. Order a plate of sobrasada (local chorizo) and queso Mahón (Menorcan cheese) a chilled vermut and… relax.
With its year-round temperate climate, Tenerife has long been a haven for both travellers and agriculture. The island’s northern slopes are dotted with farms and vineyards producing standout wines and cheeses. Historically, such producers would open pop-up restaurants (guachinches) during the year, inviting visitors and locals to sup wine and feast on grilled meat and potatoes. And the island is still home to plenty of guachinches – although these days they tend to be less associated with wineries. If you’re after something a little less rustic, however, the island is also home to no fewer than five Michelin-star restaurants including Nub, which serves a fusion of Chilean, Italian and Canarian cuisines and is located in the historic colonial city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna.