Arrecife - the friendly capital of Lanzarote

by Nicola Quinn
'Fisher boats at the laguna Charco de San Gines, city of Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands' - Lanzarote
'Fisher boats at the laguna Charco de San Gines, city of Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands' David Ionut / Shutterstock

The bustling and friendly capital of Lanzarote, Arrecife offers travellers a completely different view of the island, when compared to popular tourist resorts such as Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca. Like many resorts in the Canary Islands, this city began life as a small fishing village and still holds onto many of its maritime roots today.

The skyline in Arrecife is broken up by the tallest building in Lanzarote – the Grand Hotel. If you get a chance to visit the capital, try and make dinner reservations at the hotel’s restaurant – it’s located on the top floor of the building and offers amazing views which stretch across the city and out to sea.

Arrecife translates into ‘Reef’ in English and is named after the superb reefs and islets which are found along the coast of the city. These natural formations create a number of wild harbours and a magnificent sea front promenade, providing a wealth of photo opportunities.

There is a plethora of things to see and do in the capital, with something for every type of traveller to enjoy. El Charco de San Gines is a salt-water lagoon found in the centre of the city and surrounded by traditional fishermen’s houses. Close to a number of amenities, including parking, a restaurant and children’s playground, this natural attraction is a must-visit.

History buffs won’t want to miss the chance to visit La Casa de Los Arroyo. This historical monument is one of the most well-known landmarks in Lanzarote and is home to the Blas Cabrera Scientific Centre. The Castles of San Jose are also worthy of a visit and house the International Museum of Modern Art.

Although Arrecife mainly caters for residents, there are also plenty facilities and services available for visitors to enjoy. Castillo y Leon, sometimes called Calle Real, is the main commercial street and is packed with shops selling everything you can imagine – from electronics and perfumes to household goods and clothes. This street is also teeming with traditional cafes, bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a bite to eat or a refreshing drink.

Arrecife is a wonderful place to visit if you want to catch a glimpse of the cosmopolitan side of Lanzarote. It’s not really a suitable place to spend a week, but if you’d like to break up your holiday with a short stay in the capital there is a handful of great hotels where you can lay your head for a few nights.

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Hotels and apartments in Arrecife