human settlement in Las Palmas Province, Canary Islands, Spain

Arrecife is the capital city of Lanzarote, with the island's airport and sea port, and a population in 2022 of 63,750. It's a workaday commercial and administrative hub with limited tourist sights, and most visitors are bussed straight from the airport to their beach resorts further along the coast.

Understand edit

"Arrecife" means reef, the line of coastal volcanic rock that acts a breakwater, a barrier to larger ships but one that small craft could shelter behind when pirates hove into view. Those pirates would loot or burn whatever they could and take prisoners to be sold as slaves. There was a small fishing settlement here from the 15th century, and the Castillo de San Gabriel was built on an islet at the end of the 16th century. There was always trade with mainland Spain but more lucrative were the routes to Spanish colonies in the Americas. The church of San Ginés was built around 1630 and the fortress of San José was built around 1770. Arrecife gained the status of a city in 1812, and in 1852 it became the island's capital, replacing Teguise.

Get in edit

By plane edit

1 Arrecife Airport (ACE IATA), Apartado de Correos 86 (5 km west of city), +34 913 21 1000. The island's only airport has budget flights year-round, especially from the UK, Ireland and Germany. Domestic flights are from Barcelona, Madrid and Santiago de Compostela. These all use Terminal 2, while inter-island flights by Binter Canarias link Las Palmas, Santa Cruz and Tenerife several times a day, using Terminal 1. The terminals have the usual facilities including car hire.    

To town edit

  • Bus 22. Runs M-F from 6:20 to 22:40. About every 25 min, taking 10 min. At weekends and public holidays take Bus 23 from 07:10 to 21:10 every 50 min. Buses also run direct from the airport to Playa Blanca, Playa Honda, Puerto Calero, Puerto del Carmen and Yaiza, see Arrecife Bus website. The fare in 2023 is €1.40.
  • A taxi ride into town costs €18 in 2023.

By boat edit

Naviera Armas sail to Arrecife from Cádiz once a week (31 hr 30 min) and from Huelva once a week (26 hr 30 min). They also sail from these ports to other Canary Islands.

They sail daily to Arrecife from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, taking 6-7 hours. From Santa Cruz on Tenerife a daily ferry takes 10 hours.

From Fuertaventura a frequent ferry plies from Corralejo to Playa Blanca, taking 30 min. There are no ferries from Morocco, you have to back-track via mainland Spain.

2 Arrecife Port is east edge of the city. There is car hire but no bus: you have to walk 1 km north to the main highway, which has frequent buses between town and Costa Teguise.

Cruise ships often call at Arrecife, docking at the harbour south side of the channel of Puerto Naos.

Small craft should use the marina near the cruiser harbour. Arrecife is a Port of Entry into Spain so you can clear immigration and customs here. Expect this to take some time if you've sailed here from Morocco.

By bus edit

The Canary Islands' word for bus

Guaguas – pronounced wah-wahs – is a South American slang word for a bus which for some obscure reason is used in the Canaries instead of the usual "autobus".

It literally means a howling baby and may derive from the sound of the horn.

  • 3 Estación de Guaguas. Has buses from all corners of the island – see individual town pages. Some you might use are Bus 22 / 23 for Playa Honda and the airport, Bus 1, 3 or 25 for Costa Teguise, Bus 2 for Puerto Carmel, Bus 7, 9 and 26 for Teguise town, and Bus 14 on Sunday for Teguise market. They're all unreliable, dirty and overcrowded.
  • 4 Intercambiador de Guaguas. A bus interchange on the west side of town next to Parque Temático and Playa del Reducto beach. From west of town (e.g. Playa Honda or Puerto del Carmen) you're as quick walking to downtown from here as from the bus station.

Get around edit

Castillo de San José is an art museum

By foot edit

Walking will get you most places.

By bus edit

There isn't a separate city bus system. For the art museum in Castillo de San José, take any bus towards Costa Teguise along C Los Marmoles. In 2023, a single ride within Arrecife costs €1.40.

By taxi edit

Taxis are plentiful, and greet the cruise ships in hungry swarms, but there's no e-hailing system on Lanzarote.

By e-scooter edit

Arrecife, Puerto del Carmen, Playa Honda and Costa Teguise are covered by Superpedestrian Link Scooters, which can be used with their app. You can take and leave an e-scooter at any point shown on the app. In 2023, one ride costs €1 to unlock and €0.30 per minute.

See edit

Iglesia de San Ginés
  • 1 Iglesia de San Ginés, Plaza de las Palmas, +34 928 811396. Daily 09:00-13:00, 17:00-20:00. This stands on the site of a 17th-century chapel; the tower was added in 1842. It ranks as a parish church - the cathedral is in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Its patron saint day is 25 August but nothing is reliably known of Saint Ginés or Genesius, who may not even have existed, or may be several people including Genesius bishop of Clermont (d 662). His august patronage covers vineyards, farm labourers, storm-tossed sailors and childhood hernias.    
  • 2 Calle León y Castillo, often called Calle Real, was the historic highway from town to Teguise the former capital. Its lower section is pedestrianised and has a few remnants of 19th-century architecture. Edificio Segarra at 23 / 25 is the facade of an old tobacco factory, messed about by part-conversion to a shoe shop. Further out the narrow street is one-way northbound for traffic and lined by unremarkable low-rise breeze-block and concrete.
  • 3 Charco de San Ginés or Bahía de Arrecife is a seawater lagoon in the heart of the city. Cafes line its west and north shores, and you can make a circuit via two bridges.
  • 4 Pescador con Marlin - "fisherman with marlin" - is the statue at the west end of Puerto Naos. He's a wizened figure out of Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea who the marlin will reckon is below minimum catch size and should be thrown back. This is probably the best view of Puerto Naos, the town's eastern harbour - north shore access and views are blocked by buildings. Av Olaf Palme crosses to the long breakwater island created by fusing Isla del Frances and Isla de Cruces. This has restaurants and a sports centre, but is industrial as you approach the cruise terminal, and there's no access to the walkway along the high sea wall.
  • 5 Castillo de San Gabriel, C Punta de Lagarta, +34 928 802824. M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-14:00. Island fortress guarding the harbour, now housing the local history museum. The Castillo was first built in 1573 to protect against pirates, but it was wooden so the pirates had fun torching it. The present stone fort was built during the 1590s. Access is by either of two causeways: better is the traffic-free Puente de las Bolas (built 1771), a drawbridge with two columns topped by stone balls, hence the bolas.  
  • 6 Faro Punta de la Lagarta is reached at the end of those causeways. It's just a harbour light on a metal tower, but you get a good view of town from the breakwater.
  • 7 Islote de la Fermina is another islet reached by causeway. There's a cafe and a pool which is too elegant for any grubby mortal to use.
Puente de las Bolas towards the Castillo
  • 8 Castillo San José (Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo), Ctra los Castillos, +34 901 200300. Museum daily 11:00-18:00, castillo to 23:00. The Castillo was built in the 1770s, partly for defence but mainly as a work-creation programme when the island was blighted after an eruption. It was remodelled in the 1970s by César Manrique to house a museum of contemporary art. The artworks are mostly from 1950 to 1980: MIAC is the permanent collection, Canary Island Artists Room includes Manrique himself, and Pancho Lasso Room exhibits that local sculptor. Museum adult €4, child €2.    
  • 9 Lanzarote Aeronautical Museum. An old passenger terminal. The museum facilities are configured around eleven thematic rooms, displaying models of aircraft from all periods, photographs, videos, various documentation etc. Much of the visitor experience is supported by new multimedia technologies through touch screens and image projectors.  
  • 10 Tahíche (north on the LZ-1). See Costa Teguise for this village, where the main attraction is César Manrique's former studio and home.    

Do edit

Beaches edit

  • 1 Playa del Reducto. The town's main beach, lined with bars, restaurants and hotels, and suitable for kiddy-bathing. You can hire sun-loungers and parasols.
  • 2 Playa del Cable. A small beach 2 km (1.2 mi) west of town, which you'll probably have to yourself.
  • Playa Honda. A bigger beach and resort another 2 km (1.2 mi) west but it's right up against the airport.

Parks edit

  • 3 Parque Islas Canarias. A small plaza on C Dr Rafael González. It's supposed to reflect the designs of César Manrique, but there are just a few sculptures, and late afternoon this fierce opponent of high-rise finds his legacy cast into shadow by Gran Hotel the city's tallest building.
  • 4 Parque José Ramirez Cerdá. A paved plaza looking out to the castillo. Nice when it's buzzing, with the fleamarket or evening vuelta, but when it's quiet it's achingly empty.
  • Parque Temático. On the shore in front of Guaguas Interchange. It's better to go with the flow of the arid climate, instead of municipal green. There's a children's playground, skate ramp and dog-walking area. Just east is Playa del Reducto.

Football edit

Two clubs play soccer away down in the minor leagues:

  • 5 Ciudad Deportiva de Lanzarote (1 km (0.62 mi) north of the city centre on Av Alcalde Ginés de la Hoz.). They share a stadium that has a capacity of 7,000.    

Golf edit

The nearest golf courses are Costa Teguise GC and Lanzarote Golf in Puerto del Carmen.

Buy edit

Castillo de San Gabriel
  • Calle León y Castillo or Calle Real is the main retail strip. Duty-paid items here such as cosmetics may undercut the so-called "duty-free" price at the airport, but that's nothing unusual.
  • Supermarkets include Aldi near the Interchange, a group of four towards the bus station, Eurospar and Los Vecinos near Playa del Reducto (with Las Buganvillas an empty shell), Spar on C Canaljos, and SuperDino Atlántida by the lagoon.
  • Saturday morning market is held in the square outside San Ginés.
Playa Honda market is on the third Saturday of the month on C Mayor in that resort.
  • Mercadillo on Plaza de Las Palmas is closed and the building is demolished. Neither are greatly missed.

Eat edit

Budget edit

  • Hamburguesería Superguay, C Canalejas 51 (100 m north of Gran Hotel), +34 928 807627. W-M 18:00-00:00. Reliable popular place for burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and so on.
  • The V Factor is a vegan cafe 50 m north of Superguay on C la Porra, open M-Sa 12:00-15:30.
  • Pinsa Romana (Don Albahaca), C Dr Rafael González 15 (opposite Parque Islas Canarias), +34 602 437124. M-Sa 12:00-15:00, 18:30-23:30, Su 18:30-23:30. Good pizza and other Italian food.
  • La Miñoca, Av Cesar Manrique 22 (30 m west of Divina Italia), +34 650 23 1157. Tu-Su 11:00-14:00. Friendly place for tapas overlooking El Charco.
  • 1 Pizzería Amore Mio, Av Fred Olsen 1, +34 928 077601. W-M 13:00-16:00, 19:30-23:00. Quality Italian food, good service, inexpensive and right on the beach.

Mid-range edit

Lava landscape around Tahiche
  • Barbacana Bar & Grill, C Ginés de Castro y Álvarez, 10 (just north of Hotel Miramar), +34 928 983310. Tu-Sa 12:00-16:00, 19:00-22:00. Great reviews for the Uruguayan food in this friendly little restaurant.
  • Bar Strava and Bar Andalucia 1960 are next to Barbacana.
  • 2 La Puntilla, Av César Manrique 51, +34 928 816042. M-Sa 13:00-16:00, 20:00-22:20. Pretty little restaurant on El Charco with excellent food and wines, especially the tasting menu.
  • Tandoori Palace next to La Puntilla serves Indian cuisine M-Sa 12:00-16:00, 19:00-22:30.
  • 3 Naia, Av César Manrique 33, +34 928 805797. Tu-Sa 13:00-15:30, 19:30-22:30. Limited menu but great quality food on El Charco north quay.
  • Papá Miguel and MAWI Grill are next to Naia.
  • 4 Divina Italia el Charco, Av César Manrique 16, +34 928 835359. Tu-Sa 13:00-23:00, Su 19:00-23:00. Pleasant trattoria overlooking El Charco, good vegan choices. They have another branch in Costa Teguise.
  • Restaurante Cala by Luis León, Av César Manrique 18 (next to Divina Italia), +34 928 399687. W-M 13:00-23:00. Cosy restaurant by El Charco with Spanish fare.
  • Others almost next door on El Charco north bank are Restaurant Chapo, Tasca La Raspa, La Casa del Miedo (meaning "House of Fear"), La Chalana Del Charco and Salitre, Cervecería y Tapas Bar.
  • Asiático Marina serves Chinese food on the quay 100 m south of Lilium (below). It's open W-M 11:00-23:00.

Splurge edit

  • 5 Restaurante Lilium, Centro Comercial Marina Lanzarote, Av Olof Palme, +34 928 524978. Tu-Sa 13:30-16:00, 20:00-22:30. When they get it right, as they mostly do, it's about the best place in Lanzarote for a fine dinner. But at these prices they need to be more consistent, and several customers were disappointed.

Drink edit

  • Playa del Reducto has a strip including:
    • La Cerveceria.
    • La Botica.
    • Bar Asturias.
    • Mojito's.
    • Manhattan Cocktail Bar.
  • Wine: There's a string of vineyards to the west on the volcanic slopes.

Sleep edit

Sleepy sculpture in Parque Temático
  • 1 La Casita de Arrecife Hostel, C Doctor Juan Negrín 83, +34 661 66 2456. Cosy little hostel with two four-bed dorms and one private room. Bunk €23 ppn.
  • Pensión Cardona, C Democracia 11 (100 m north of Gran Hotel), +34 928 811008. Friendly clean helpful pension; it's no longer a hostel. Single room €40 ppn.
  • 2 Gran Hotel, Parque Islas Canarias, +34 928 800000. Easy to find, it's much the highest building in Lanzarote. High scores for comfort and service. The bar on the 17th floor commands a nice view over the city. B&B double €180.
  • Hotel Lancelot, Av de la Mancomunidad 9 (100 m west of Gran Hotel), +34 928 805099. Clean efficient hotel on the beach front. B&B double €90.
  • El Hotel Diamar, Av Fred Olsen 8 (200 m west of Gran Hotel), +34 928 971750. Inexpensive hotel in a convenient location. B&B double €100.
  • 3 Hotel Miramar, Av Coll 2, +34 928 810438. Friendly inexpensive place. Some rooms are dingy but renovation is promised during 2023. B&B double €100.

Connect edit

As of Oct 2023, Arrecife and its approach roads have 5G from all Spanish carriers.

Go next edit

  • Teguise – the former capital has lots of old Spanish architecture and a Sunday market.
  • Timanfaya National Park – has the best of the island's volcanic scenery, created by multiple eruptions in the 1730s.
  • Haría – in the north is a contrast, the only green fertile corner of Lanzarote.
  • Costa Teguise – resort town to the east on the LZ-14 road
Routes through Arrecife
Órzola ← Arrieta ←  N   S  END
Playa BlancaYaiza (Timinfaya National Park) ←  W   E  END

This city travel guide to Arrecife is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.