Arrecife is the capital of Lanzarote and one of the most important tourist destinations on the island. The city, which is close to the airport, offers a variety of services and accommodations, so it’s a great place to stay while discovering all the best things to do in Lanzarote.
There are a lot of things to do in Arrecife, from visiting ancient fortresses and monuments to exploring its beautiful beaches. A good starting point to introduce yourself to this city is this free tour (in Spanish), where you can take a walk through the historic center and learn some interesting facts about this place.
If you’d like to get to know this area better, here are the 10 best things to do in Arrecife, Lanzarote, as well as the top restaurants and hotels.
1. Charco de San Ginés, a must-see in Arrecife, Lanzarote
El Charco de San Ginés is a marvel that you cannot miss when you visit Arrecife. It’s a natural saltwater lagoon in the middle of the city and looks gorgeous any time of day. Surrounding this beautiful pool, you’ll find all kinds of bars, restaurants, and some of the best nightclubs in Lanzarote so it’s a great place to hang out.
While this natural pool is a huge tourist draw, what makes this area stand out are the small fishing boats docked here, as well as the old homes along the coast, which have blue and white facades.
This pretty scene is one of the best things to see in Arrecife, so I recommend spending the afternoon walking around the lagoon and crossing the bridge to get different perspectives of the city. This is also a lovely place to watch the sunset.
Another interesting sight to see here is a 36-foot whale skeleton. A few years ago, the whale became beached on the coast of Lanzarote, and the skeleton serves as a reminder of environmental awareness.
2. Puente de las Bolas & San Gabriel’s Castle, two iconic places in Arrecife
Visiting the historic complex of the Puente de las Bolas and San Gabriel’s Castle is one of the best things to do in Arrecife. The fort, which was built in the 14th century to protect the city from pirates, is integrated into the sea. The Puente de las Bolas bridge used to be the only way to get to the fort from Lanzarote, but today, there are different ways to get across.
Even so, this monumental stone bridge is quite impressive. It owes its name, Puente de las Bolas (“Bridge of the Balls”), to the two orbs on its columns, which symbolize the world. Walking across the bridge is a wonderful thing to do in Arrecife, not only for the views of San Gabriel’s Castle but also the views of the sea and the city.
These days, San Gabriel’s Castle serves as the headquarters of the History Museum of Arrecife, another place in Arrecife worth visiting.
3. Casa Amarilla, one of the most important sites in Arrecife, Lanzarote
The Casa Amarilla, or Yellow House, is one of the most beautiful buildings in Arrecife, and easily recognizable thanks to its lovely yellow tiles. The building previously housed the Cabildo, or council, of Lanzarote.
These days, the ground floor of the Casa Amarilla serves as a cultural center that features temporary exhibits, most of them pertaining to the history and ethnography of Lanzarote. The center is open Monday-Saturday, and admission is free, so it’s another place in Arrecife, Lanzarote that I recommend visiting.
4. Church of San Ginés, the most famous church in Arrecife
The Church of San Ginés, in the Plaza de las Palmas, is the oldest and most important temple in the city, having been completed in the 18th century. It’s in Arrecife’s oldest neighborhood, La Puntilla, which is characterized by its narrow streets.
The old town of Arrecife, Lanzarote centers around the Church of San Ginés, and its tower can be seen from various points in the city, such as El Charco de San Ginés and the Puente de las Bolas. Interestingly, the church’s tower was inspired by the Church of La Concepción de Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Spend some time contemplating the beauty and elegant simplicity of the church’s interior, which has walls made of black volcanic rock that stand out against the white wooden frames of the building. You can also see two large frescoes of San Ginés de Clermont and the Virgen del Rosario, which were brought from Havana, Cuba. Finally, there is an authentic Mudejar-style ceiling, so this is undoubtedly one of the most impressive things to see in Arrecife.
5. Castillo de San José & the International Museum of Contemporary Art
El Castillo de San José (Castle of San José) is another fortress to see in the capital of Lanzarote. It was built in the 18th century and has remained intact until the present day, so much so that it serves as the headquarters for the International Museum of Contemporary Art (MIAC).
The Castle of San José has a privileged seaside location and sits on a beautiful cliff. When you visit Arrecife, be sure to stop here, not only for the stunning views but to peruse the best collection of contemporary art in the Canary Islands, with works by masters like Picasso and Miró.
Moreover, the ground floor of the castle has a restaurant where you can relax, enjoy a great meal, and get panoramic views of the scenery. Afterward, I recommend taking a nice walk through Puerto de Naos, a port in Arrecife, Lanzarote with a lighthouse.
6. Playa Reducto, the best beach in Arrecife, Lanzarote
When you visit Arrecife, Spain, not only will you find monuments and culture, but you’ll also see one of the best beaches in Lanzarote. El Reducto Beach is Arrecife’s main beach, boasting more than a half-mile of golden sand and beautiful palm trees.
Moreover, the waters here are quite calm, and the surrounding reef is well-preserved, so it’s a beautiful beach in Arrecife, Lanzarote to see marine life. El Reducto Beach is also known for its lively promenade, which has restaurants, beach bars, restrooms, and showers. So, it’s the perfect place to go with family for a comfortable beach day.
7. The music kiosk, a popular place in Arrecife, Canary Islands
One of the most famous places in Arrecife, Lanzarote is the promenade. Here, you’ll find the José Ramírez Cerdá Park, a small green space with lovely views.
This is also where the Music Kiosk, one of the coolest things to see in Arrecife, is located. The kiosk is an exact replica of the kiosk that once sat there in the 1950s. It has become a symbol of Arrecife, commemorating the city’s traditions and customs, and locals will gather here to listen to the municipal orchestra and dance.
Today, the Music Kiosk’s ground floor is the site of the Tourist Information Office, while the upper level serves as a stage for musical events. So, if your visit to Arrecife coincides with one of these shows, I recommend attending.
8. Walk along Calle León y Castillo, one of the best things to do in Arrecife
Another fun thing to do in Arrecife is to take a walk along Calle León y Castillo, formerly known as Calle Real. This is one of the town’s main streets where you’ll find most of the area’s clothing stores.
In addition, this is the site of the Heraclio Niz Mesa statue, representing one of Arrecife’s most important figures. Also known as “El Pollo de Arrecife”, Heraclio achieved fame in the 1950s as a Canarian wrestler. He also appeared in several films and served as the head of the Arrecife Local Police for a few years.
Here, you can also mingle with the locals and get a glimpse of the day-to-day life in the capital of Lanzarote. If you’d like to continue browsing the shops, check out Calle Quiroga near Plaza de la Constitución and Calle Otilia Díaz, which is perpendicular to Calle León y Castillo.
9. Casa de la Cultura Agustín de la Hoz, an artistic place to visit in Arrecife
The Agustín de la Hoz House of Culture is a municipal building that holds lots of history about Arrecife, Lanzarote. It’s an interesting place to visit if you want to learn about the capital’s 19th-century architecture and traditional art.
While the building was closed for renovations for 12 years, it has reopened and remains a cultural benchmark in Arrecife. Inside, you’ll find different free exhibits and murals by Lanzarote artist César Manrique. The murals, which were restored a few years ago, are believed to have been Manrique’s first paintings.
In addition, the House of Culture has several rooms and a spectacular wooden staircase leading to the second floor. During the 20th century, the building served as the seat of the Casino de Arrecife, then Town Hall. For this reason, it has earned a Historic-Artistic Heritage of Arrecife designation.
10. “El Aguaresío” Alley, the most beautiful corner of Arrecife, Lanzarote
Finally, another place to visit in Arrecife is “El Aguaresío” Alley, a beautiful and quiet corner that connects to the Charco de San Ginés and the Church of San Ginés.
Located in La Puntilla, the alley is a hidden gem where you can take stunning photos and admire a beautiful environment. It’ll make you forget that you’re in the historic center of the capital of Lanzarote.
This charming alley was named after Luis Hernández Fuentes, better known as El Aguaresío. He spent most of his 89 years at sea, but he left a legacy and an imprint on the history of Arrecife. Today, El Aguaresío Alley not only pays homage to his life, but also to all those fishermen and seafarers who navigated the labyrinth of reefs and islets around Arrecife, Lanzarote.
Other places to visit in Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
While you’re in the capital of Lanzarote, take some time to explore the surroundings. You’ll discover some charming places, such as Costa Teguise, a paradisiacal beach about six miles north of Arrecife.
Moreover, a little over nine miles south of Arrecife is Puerto del Carmen, a city known for its great diving spots. It’s also one of the best places to see dolphins in Lanzarote, so if you have time, I recommend visiting this city and enjoying its attractions.
Best tours from Arrecife, Lanzarote
The distance between Arrecife and Lanzarote Airport is very short, so many tourists choose this town as their base while exploring the rest of the island. Moreover, some of the most popular tours in Lanzarote depart from Arrecife, so it’s easy to travel around the island even if you don’t want to drive or rent a car.
Best hotels in Arrecife
We stayed at the Arrecife Grand Hotel and Spa, which had an unbeatable oceanfront location next to El Reducto Beach and is one of the best 5-star hotels in Lanzarote. The hotel has a large indoor pool, a delicious restaurant, and a terrace bar with great views. There is even a spa with a Turkish bath and hydromassage services, which you can access for an extra fee. Anyway, it’s one of the best boutique hotels in Lanzarote.
Next door is the Hotel Lancelot, one of the best all-inclusive hotels in Lanzarote. It has an outdoor pool, a solarium, a fitness center, a bar, and a restaurant serving a variety of dishes. The rooms here are spacious, comfortable, and very clean.
The last place to stay in Lanzarote that I’ll recommend is the Hotel Miramar, which is right in front of San Gabriel’s Castle. In addition to its bar and restaurant, which serves amazing local cuisine, the hotel has rooms with lovely views so for me it’s one of the best hotels in Arrecife.
Arrecife has several great places where you can taste typical Canarian food, with the most famous being the Barbacana Bar & Grill. It’s the best restaurant in Arrecife to try traditional Mediterranean cuisine and delicious meats. I recommend reserving your table in advance since this place fills up quickly.
Another great restaurant Lanzarote is El Nido, which also serves Mediterranean dishes as well as vegetarian options.
For the best seafood in the area, I recommend Malecón Restaurante & Copas, where you can order hearty dishes while enjoying beautiful views of the Charco de San Ginés. Not only are the prices great, but the restaurant makes incredible cocktails.
How to get to Arrecife
One of the best ways to get around the capital of Lanzarote is to rent a car at Lanzarote Airport. With a rental car, you can easily get to Arrecife by taking the LZ-2 and continuing along Manolo Millares street to the city center.
You can also take public transportation Monday through Friday via Lanzarote’s Line 22 Intercity Bus, which runs every 25 minutes and departs from Airport Terminal 2. The bus costs about USD $1.50 and takes about 10 minutes to get to Arrecife. On the weekends, you can take the Intercity Bus Line 23, which runs every 50 minutes.
A more comfortable option is to reserve a private transfer from the airport. It’s also worth checking with your Arrecife hotel to see if they offer pick-up service.
Map of Arrecife, Lanzarote
I hope you enjoyed learning about all the places to see in Arrecife, Lanzarote. To help you organize your trip and not miss any sites, I recommend checking our tourist maps of Lanzarote. Keep these maps handy so you can consult them during your trip.
I’m also leaving you with a map of Arrecife with all the attractions I mentioned in this guide.
That’s it from me! If you have any questions or you’d like to share your suggestions or experience in Arrecife, leave me a comment below. Until then, have a wonderful trip!