Arrecife is little-known by most tourists, as well as many residents who are worried about getting lost or encountering language problems. Here’s our guide on visiting the island’s capital.
Buses will take you to the interchange at Playa del Reducto, which is probably the best place to head into town along the seaside. You can also park around here or at the Marina on the other side, and stroll in. The carpark under the Gran Hotel is more expensive but more central. Attractions in Arrecife include:
THE CHARCO DE SAN GINÉS
The picturesque lagoon at the heart of Lanzarote’s fishing barrio, Valterra. This zone is one of the dining hotspots in Arrecife, and there’s a real buzz there on any evening from Thursday to Saturday. It’s also the home of Arrecife’s large, elegant Cinema Atlantida, which shows Englishlanguage films frequently.
One of the best city beaches in the Canaries, Reducto is a clean crescent of pale sand overlooked by the 17-floor Gran Hotel, where you can get a meal or a drink and enjoy the best view in the city.
It’s hard to believe now, but Arrecife’s main shopping street was filled with cars before it was pedestrianised in the 1980s. You can still find interesting shops here, or on the side roads that lead off it to the left, and it’s a great place to have a coffee and watch the world go by.
César Manrique and friends set up this arts centre with Andy Warhol’s Factory in mind, and the mark of the great artist is still very much evident, especially in the lovely little café/bar.
THE SATURDAY MARKET
Tucked away just behind the seafront is the Church of San Ginés, and the square it overlooks hosts a small but lively market every Saturday morning. There’s always a buzz here, and as Christmas approaches, you’re likely to come across special festive events, too.
CASTILLO DE SAN GABRIEL
This ancient fort lies on an island just off the shore of Arrecife and is accessed on foot only by two bridges – one of which is the Puente de las Bolas, named for its large stone spheres.
There are sandy beaches near the castle and a museum inside where you can see all sorts of items from the island’s history on display.
CASTILLO DE SAN JOSÉ
The Castillo de San José perches on a rocky outcrop overlooking Lanzarote’s busy commercial port. Once the most important military building on the island, it is now one of the island’s seven centres of art, culture and tourism created by César Manrique.
In addition to the museum, the castle also has a restaurant below with panoramic views of the port and occasionally hosts concerts at night.