Lanzarote is the third largest Canary Island, and is closest to Africa, just 64 nautical miles away. The island was shaped by massive volcanic eruptions in the 17th and 18th centuries, and has a stark, almost lunar landscape.
Artist and architect Cesar Manrique was instrumental in defining Lanzarote’s approach to “sustainable” tourism, and there are no high rise buildings on the island – each property, whether a private villa or a five star hotel, conforms to very rigid planning regulations to maintain the tranquil beauty of Lanzarote.
Arrecife Airport – airport code ACE – is located in Playa Honda in the centre of the island. It has two terminals – T1 for international flights and T2 for inter island flights.
There are ferry ports in Orzola (for La Graciosa,) Arrecife (for Gran Canaria and the Spanish mainland) and Playa Blanca (for Fuerteventura.)
There are three main resorts – Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca.
Puerto del Carmen
Puerto del Carmen is the largest, with 5 kilometres of sandy beaches, and a coastal road full of shops, bars and restaurants, as well as a golf course. Puerto del Carmen is Lanzarote’s original resort area, and consists of the “old town,” which is the area around the old harbour, and the “new town” which is The Strip which runs along the ocean front. The new town extends as far as, and incorporates Los Pocillos and Matagorda. Carmen offers the full range of holiday types and has plenty of entertainment late into the night. It’s a hilly resort, with many places up steep hills as you move away from the coast.
Costa Teguise is a man made resort and is more modern. It’s also flat, making it easier to get around on foot. It’s known as the family resort, and has a water park, plenty of family entertainment available and the island’s oldest golf course. It’s quite compact, and features several large, sandy beaches. Playa Las Cucharas is the main beach and popular with windsurfers. Accommodation is mainly in large hotels and apartment complexes, with a few villas available.
Playa Blanca in the south boasts some of the best beaches in Europe, high class hotels, water parks and another marina – Marina Rubicon. This is the island’s newest resort, and once again, the area is flat. The town itself is compact, but much of the villa accommodation is well away from the centre. It’s more traditionally Spanish than the other two resorts. Accommodation is mainly in large, luxurious hotels or independent villas with private swimming pools.
Lanzarote’s capital is Arrecife, a typically bustling Spanish provincial town. Arrecife has the famous Charco San Ginés, a lagoon surrounded by great restaurants and tapas bars, the amazing El Reducto beach, and a newly opened cruise ship marina.
Puerto Calero is a marina situated 10 minutes drive from Puerto del Carmen, there are two hotels and villa accommodation but no sandy beach in this location.
Rural Lanzarote will amaze you, with stunning villages, and a way of life that hasn’t changed since the mid 1900’s. Fabulous sea food restaurants mingle with sociedades and man made sea swimming pools.
Lanzarote also has a naturist village – Charco del Palo, where clothing is optional throughout the village.
Types of accommodation
Lanzarote has a large range of accommodation available. You can literally find something for everyone, ranging from very cheap and cheerful studio apartments to super luxury 5 star properties, taking in apartments, villas, boutique hotels and even yurts in an eco village.
Lanzarote is also justifiably famous for sporting holidays, and is home to the world’s toughest Ironman triathlon event. Windsurfing, scuba diving, water skiing, fishing and sailing are easy to arrange, and the island’s roads and trails are always busy with cyclists and runners.