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Lanzarote Towns & Resorts


Arrecife was once just a port - that of Teguise. There were two main fortresses, San Gabriel and San José with a third - Castillo de San Gabriel - located on a small island in front of Arrecife. The third fort was connected to the main one by a drawbridge. It was from these forts that the islanders tried (unsucessfully in the end) to defend themselves against pirate attacks.

A fourth castle, that of Castillo de San Juan, is home to the city's Museum of Contemporary Art. One of the museum's main attractions is the work of Cesar Manrique.

Today, Arrecife is the island's capital. Of the 90,000 residents on Lanzarote, half reside in Arrecife. Along the beach-front there's a wide, palm-lined promenade. The wide, main street through the city is Léon y Castillo and most of the remaining streets of the city are narrow and form part of the one-way system.

The Gran Hotel in Arrecife is the only high-rise building on the island. Since its construction, laws have been passed preventing any further high rises and the hotel itself, closed down and currently unused.

Leon y Castillo is the main shopping street and as you walk along away from the seafront, head to the right as you come to the end of this street and enjoy the view over El Charco.

Here's a strange tip for you; if you're down by the fishing docks when the fisherman return (bearing in mind they can often be out for up to three weeks at a time) and have a plastic bag with you, the generous fisherman are known for giving away samples of their sardine catch. Barbecued sardines are a local favourate.



Located in the center of the island and 220 meters above sea level, Teguise was once the capital until 1852, and was home to the Guanche King. It's also one of the oldest settlements in the Canary Islands. The town was named after the Guanche King's daughter. Little of the origional town remains, having suffered numerous attacks from pirates.

The main feature of the town today is the castle, "Castillo de Santa Barbara", built on the old volcano of Guanapay. One of the more interesting industries of the town is the making of "Timples" - small guitars popular with Canarian musicians.

 For the tourist, well worth seeing are the palacial houses of Spínola's and The Torres, fine examples of the impressive architecture of the town, along with the Church of Nuestra Senra de Guadalupe and the two convents of Santo Domingo and San Francisco. Numerous craft shops and small bazaars offer an abundance of shopping for traditional souveniers, as does the open-air market held each Sunday in and around the town's main square. Also on a Sunday, at noon and after mass, local musicians dressed in traditional costume perform music and dance.

Just outside the town well worth a visiti too are the Church of Parroquia San Miguel and the Museum of Palacio de Spinola.


Costa Teguise

Costa Teguise is the most recently developed of Lanzarote's three main holiday resorts and has been created around the area's beautiful sandy beaches. Prior to the 70s only the beaches occupied this part of the island, the resort itself being devloped over the last 30 years. Initially, one Spanish company "Rio Tinto" bought, built and owned the entire resort but since, the company privatised and the resort sold off in parts.

The golden sands of the popular Playa Bastian beach offer the perfect place to quietly enjoy the sub-tropical sunshine. The "Las Cucharas" beach is a windsurfer's dream! There's an 18 hole international -standard golf course only a few minutes drive away and also nearby there's an aqua park for the kiddies. There's a great selection of bars, shops and excellent accommodation.


Puerto del Carmen
Main street (The Strip) Main Street (The Strip)

Puerto del Carmen is the main tourist resort on the island. There's the "Old Town" area with the harbour-side restaurants and the newer and adjacent purpose-built holiday area with restaurants, shops, and superb night-life with clubs, discos and a casino. It's a place that caters for everyone! In the 1970s, the "Old Town" was all that existed here, the remaining resort being constructed over the last 20 years.

Puerto del Carmen has over 3km of golden beach. The main road through the resort runs the whole way along behind the beach.



A large village 5 km north of Puerto del Carmen which is mainly residential and typically Canarian. There are excellent shops and restaurants in the friendly community and it is a perfect location for those looking for a holiday away from the main tourist centres.


Playa Blanca

This is a tranquil town situated in the very south of the island. Named after the white sandy beaches in the area. Mainly a quiet and unspoilt resort, it's the quietest, flatest and the warmest of the three main resorts on the island. The centre of the town has retained much of its original fishing village charm. There's a good selection of shops and supermarkets and many excellent restaurants. I should mention that in my personal opinion, the resort is going to double in size from 2000 to about 2003 as the resort is extended to the Papagayo beach area to the eastand Montana Roja to the west. Whilst the center of the resort is very beautiful and picturesque, the outskirts are effected by building work.

Playa Blanca has some superb very shallow beaches which are perfect for small children. In addition, the Papagayo beaches, which are some of the most beautiful in the Canaries, are only a few minutes drive away. Ferries depart at regular hourly intervals each day from the harbour to the nearby island of Fuerteventura, just 6 miles away and the island can clearly be seen from most parts of the resort. (If you can see the mountains in the background of the picture below, that's Fuerteventura as seen from Playa Blanca).




The best way to approach the village is from Teguise as this road gives you an impressive view from above as you approach it. Haría is known as the 'village of the thousand palms'. A beautiful village indeed and though there are quite a lot but I wonder if anyone's counted a thousand of them?. ... and why so many? Tradition had it that every time a child was born here , a Palm tree was planted. The trees flourish here as it's the only part of the island that has a supply of water.



A very picturesque town towards the south of the island, on the way to Playa Blanca and Timanfaya if you're coming from the north of theisland. Well worth stopping at, the main claim-to-fame of the town is it was twice voted the most beautiful town in Spain. Along theroadside and built into the sides of the mountaind are terraced plots of land with palm trees and bouganvilla. There's a handful of traditional restaurants and cafes. 'La Era', in particular, a restaurant worth a visit.


La Geria 

Certainly worth a mention here, La Geria is the Lanzarote's main wine-growing area. Although much of the island is covered in volcanic lava and rock, "Picon" was also produced and this rock-like substance, broken into small particles, has a unique property which absorbes moisture from the air and pulls it down into the soil. Small semicirclular walls are built to block the wind, picon is laid and the grape vines thive. Lanzarote whites are better served at room temperature (according to the locals), cooling removes their unique, aromatic properties. The road going through this region - from Yaiza to San Bartolome - is well surfaced but a little narrow in places and the surrounding landscape is lava fields. So, slow gowing recommended.