Located on the south-east coast of Lanzarote, the capital city of Arrecife is the island’s commercial center. It boasts beautiful walking paths with palm trees, sandy beaches with a gardened promenade, and two small castles.
Arrecife is also the main port, administrative center, and shopping center of Lanzarote with a variety of nice malls and bazaars. Calle Leon y Castillo in particular is not only the most popular shopping street in Arrecife but in all of Lanzarote.
Arrecife started centuries ago as a small fishing village, then became Lanzarote’s capital by the second half of the 19th century in 1847.
Throughout its history, the city had a historical role as a strategic defense port, as well as a powerful point for traders and international commerce relationships, from and to both the new world and the old. A long time ago, it was considered the Venice of the Atlantic Ocean.
He was the artist and architect, originally from Lanzarote Island who during the 20th century contributed to the entire visual remodeling and decorating of the Canary Islands. His contribution to the touristic appeal of the island was huge.
When to Visit
The average temperatures in Arrecife vary just a little throughout the entire year. There will be an average temperature of 22 during the cold season, which involves you getting some warmer clothes for the evening, and an average of 30 during the summer.
If you want to travel here for the heat, then July, August, and September are most recommended. This is also when the crowded touristic period is.
The next fully booked period is around Christmas. But you can choose any other month of the year if you want to avoid too many tourists. The attractions await you all year long no matter the weather.
This is not your typical modern resort town, with bright lights and aligned hotels along the coastline. Though you will get that, too. But if you come here, you will discover a specific traditional Spanish atmosphere, with narrow alleys, white houses, and exotic vegetation and trees, neatly aligned.
More of a relaxed provincial place, than a busy metropolis. The city has a hip air and a mixture of architecture from various ages. Since the city does not mainly rely on tourism for its economy, most of the time it will be peaceful and authentic.
You will get a peaceful vacation, yet combined with days on the easily accessible beach, some culture, history, and nightlife, too. It is a great place for a whole family vacation.
There are surprising number to things to do in Arrecife, including a large number of museums that go beyond the normal expectations for a town that’s not as touristy as the more famous resorts towns in Lanzarote.
The pedestrian street, full of shops: touristic souvenirs, traditional products, clothing, shoes, perfumes, jewelry, etc.
Ones o the best beaches in the area, with golden sands and calm waters. It is a 500 m urban beach with easy access right from the city center and protected by a reef that you can admire during law tide.
It is a wonderful small museum, in the center of Arrecife. Visiting it won’t take you long, however will immerse you in Lanzarote’s history.
This is the Arrecife Lagoon, which led to the Venice comparison. It has been remodeled by the architect Ceasar Manrique, and it is Arrecife’s main reference location. It is still functional, for small leisure or fishing boats. Everything is touristic, recreational, with lots of cafes, restaurants, and a holiday joyful atmosphere.
A pretty small yet attractive castle dating from the 16th century. Inside you’ll find also an art museum.
This is close to the port, so you will have a good view of it, on the beach. It has an industrial feel and represents a great location for a photo session, as well as being a great place to snorkel.
The architect Cesar Meringue declared a rule that no building in Arrecife should get above 7 stories, for visual harmony. However, before this urbanistic rule, Arrecife Gran Hotel was built, with 17 stories. This is the highest place on the island. On the 17th floor, there is a café with affordable prices, which will let you have a unique view of the surroundings.
What To Eat
The cuisine in Arrecife is influenced by mainland Spain. The restaurants in town have menus that offer wide variety of seafood and fresh fish. Enjoy limpets and parrotfish, together with papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes) garnished with mojo sauce. You can come to the coastal tourist restaurant areas or try directly the food street.
What to Drink
While the nightlife in Arrecife in extensive, try sampling he local beer by going to the picturesque brewery in the industrialized area. They have a bar zone that serves you the handcrafted beverage, while you can also watch the entire process.
Don’t leave Arrecife before trying the Malvasia wine, a specialty of the Mediterranean area and the Balearic and Canary Islands. The ultra-sweet variety of Malvasia wine, called Malmsey, was depicted by Shakespeare in some of his plays. You can also spend a day just visiting Lanzarote’s vineyards.
Arrecife and the entire Lanzarote Island are quite small. The whole city (22,72 km2), can be crossed by walking from one side to the other in around 20 – 30 minutes.
A good idea is to rent bikes or electric scooters, which is quite a frequent practice and a relaxing way of sightseeing. The city is bike-friendly. The streets have limited inclines and the bike lanes cover the entire city.
You could rent a car, which allows you to easily visit the entire island. The bus is another easy and cheap variant. Arrecife is a bus center with lines that can transport you to all the main attractions.
A good option, since the prices are not high, due to the short distances. You can take a taxi from both ports, from any tourist and historic point in the city, and as well towards and from the other cities along the coast.
You could arrive on Lanzarote Island either via airplane, at the Cesar Marinque Airport, 5 km from Arrecife, or by sea. There are two locations for cruise ships. Usually, you don’t know in advance where your ship is going to dock, as it depends on the naval traffic. Most cruise lines will ensure you a shuttle service to take you there, or you can just take the taxi or the bus.
La Boca de Puerto Naos
This is only 1 km close to the center. If you decide to walk this short distance, you will get next to many restaurants, and cafes. This is the main touristic port, currently, and the docking place for the majority of cruises.
Muelle de Los Marmoles
7 km away from the city center, and is not used very often unless in La Boca de Puerto Naos is completely full.