If you want to catch a more modern and metropolitan side of Lanzarote then visit Arrecife, the islands capital. Here you will find a lively port city, shaped both by its seafaring past and its current, rapid regeneration.
Arrecife is home to around half the island’s inhabitants, with a population of some 45,000 and boasts shopping galore, beaches, parks, promenades, nightlife and all of the attendant urban hustle and bustle.
Main Resort Towns
There are four main resort towns on the island of Lanzarote.
One of the island’s longest established resorts, Costa Teguise started to be developed in the 1970s and was really designed as a tourist resort from the start.
There are many things to do in Costa Teguise, from lazing on the beach to a round of Golf or revitalising your senses with a blast on a windsurfer.
The Lanzarote resort of Playa Blanca has seen rapid development over the last few years, although thankfully due to the islands strict planning laws, none of this has been high-rise.
Although it continues to develop, it has retained its more relaxed atmosphere and is still continued more upmarket by many, than Costa Teguise or Puerto del Carmen.
A very new resort — much smaller than Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca or Puerto del Carmen — and definitely more upmarket.
Puerto Calero represents one mans dream and is definitely a place to visit if you appreciate the finer things or have a love of boats, as the marina here is excellent.
The oldest resort on the island and still a firm favourite with many people. Originally built around the old harbour it has extended along six kilometres of golden, sandy beaches.
It offers a wide range of holiday styles from studio apartments overlooking the lively beach road to luxury private villas in the exclusive Los Mojones area perched on a clifftop overlooking the harbour and out to sea.
Widely known as the valley of 1,000 palms, Haria has much to offer the visitor who wants to see a real slice of Lanzarote.
A rural community, cut off from much of Lanzarote, the town is starting to recover it’s golden past.
San Bartolomé lies right in the heart of Lanzarote — both geographically and culturally.
La Villa de Teguise
Teguise was the capital of the island for hundreds of years, until it lost this title to Arrecife.
Now largely ignored by tourists — other than for the Sunday Market — it remains a great place to visit in the week, as it has some excellent architecture and remains relatively quiet.
Despite being one of the oldest and most important towns on the island Tias doesn’t often feature very prominently in many tourist guides and, on the face of it, appears to boast few major attractions.
Yet this busy town, overlooking the main resort of Puerto Del Carmen, is home to a Nobel prize winner as well as a growing army of ex-pats. It also boasts a growing reputation as a destination in it’s own right and is the conduit through which the vast majority of the island’s sizeable tourist revenue flows.
Voted the Prettiest village in Spain on more than one occasion, Yaiza is a quiet and tranquil place to explore.
Lucky to still be here at all, because of it’s proximity to the volcanoes at Timanfaya, it should be on any visitors list of places to see.
There are still a number of small, sea-side villages which have escaped the developers excesses found in the main resort areas.
Small fishing village on the North-West coast, which is highly popular with local and international surfers.
With some stunning views, bracing walks and a selection of nice — if simple — restaurants, it has much to offer if you want to chill out for a while.
Just a few kilometres South of Puerto Calero, this is a very small village, where the houses spill right onto the black, volcanic beach.
It certainly offers an insight into what Lanzarote used to be like, before it was discovered by the tourist trade.
Recommended places to visit:
Many visitors will shy away from venturing into the busy capital of Lanzarote. Where else can you find a busy city with a beautiful beach? Follow the coast road through and you will find the new parks, beach, Castillo San Gabriel, El Charco – the inland marina for small fishing boats, Castillo San Jose and the port. For shopping park when you see the first castle on the coast and where the road leads to the castle, enter the pedestrian area opposite for the main street. The shops are found within small arcades and along the streets leading onto this road. The second castle towards the port is an art gallery including a bar and restaurant.
This is the wine region of Lanzarote. Drive through the lava fields that have been sculpted with Zoccos to keep the wind from spoiling the vines, it looks like craters on the moon. There are numerous Bodegas you can stop at to taste the local produce.
Loved by surfers but not for beginners, this area has ferocious waves with a rocky coastline, great to watch and not for the faint hearted. There is a large sports resort here that numerous sports athletes and teams have stayed at to train.
Matagorda (Puerto del Carmen)
This area is popular with windsurfers and plane spotters. The promenade runs around the airport runway to Playa Honda and there are numerous sandy beaches with good snorkelling along the coast.
Playa Honda (Next to the airport)
Here you will find the industrial estate, Deiland shopping centre complete with cinema and ten pin bowling. This is not a tourist destination but a popular residential area. If you head past the side of the Deiland centre to the beach we recommend that you stroll along the promenade stopping at the tapas bars for sustenance.
On a Sunday this village is swamped by tourists for the large market. The market has hundreds of stalls and is very popular. If you visit on any other day you will find a lovely quiet village with cobbled squares and individual shops and restaurants.
On a Sunday this village is swamped by tourists for the large market. The market has hundreds of stalls and is very popular. If you visit on any other day you will find a lovely quiet village with cobbled squares and individual shops and restaurants
This is undoubtedly the best tourist attraction on the island. The scenery is absolutely stunning, you can choose to drive through the area and visit the free volcanic centre but we would advise to pay and visit the Timanfaya Mountains, where you can stand and feel the heat of the only live volcano on the island. There is a restaurant complete with a volcano BBQ!
Arrieta & Punta Mujeres
These villages are side by side on the Northern coast. They are one of Lanzarote’s best kept secret. The beach at Arrieta has two tapas bars open at the weekend and the Paella smell wafts out to entice the sunbathers for a portion with ice cold cerveza. Punta Mujeres does not have a beach but a number of sea water swimming pools built into the rocks.
Charco del Palo
This small village accessed from Mala is a naturist area, the inhabitants can be found bearing all even in the supermarkets and restaurants. The area is renowned for fantastic snorkelling and diving.
The Cesar Manrique cactus gardens are found here, just look for the huge plastic cactus!
The village has a craft market each Saturday morning in the main square. There are a number of tapas bars and restaurants to rest at. The area is very picturesque and green, or yellow and purple depending on the time of year. The wild flowers look like a carpet over the mountains. There are over 1,000 palm trees as the villagers’ plant 2 for every boy and 1 for every girl born there.
At the far Northern point of Lanzarote is a small fishing village with a number of restaurants, the ferry to La Graciosa leaves from here. Great fish restaurants, with a spectacular drive on either approach road, from Haria – mirador and from Arrieta – numerous white sand beaches.
As you come into the village, park on the right and walk to see the sea volcano with a green lagoon. The village has a number of restaurants that serve the catch of the day looking out to the black beach.
This tiny Spanish village located at the top of the mountains between Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca has a fantastic view over Playa Blanca and Fuerteventura. We suggest that you dine out at one of the restaurants whilst watching the sunset.
Janubio – El Golfo coast road
This is best visited on a full tide with strong winds, the wave’s crash onto the shore into natural caves and blowholes. Please be careful with small children.
The best beaches on the island are hidden within the national park area. Dropping down from Femes the beaches are signposted on the first main roundabout. There is a small charge to drive your car along the dirt roads with tracks leading off to several beaches. There are no facilities so take food and drink to enjoy whilst overlooking Fuerteventura and watching the boat trips from Playa Blanca and Puerto Calero anchor off the bays before heading back.