13 Best Things To Do in Arrecife - Visit Lanzarote's capital

Published on October 31, 2023
LanzaroteArrecifeThings to do in Arrecife
visit arrecife lanzarote canary islands
Aerial view of Arrecife, the capital of Lanzarote (Canary Islands)

Arrecife is the capital of Lanzarote and you can easily spend at least half a day walking around the city. There are plenty of things to do in Arrecife, from going to local markets to visiting an art museum situated in an old stone fortress.

What to do in Arrecife - Lanzarote's capital

Arrecife is not only the capital of Lanzarote but also the island's largest city, at around 57,000 residents. 

How to get to Arrecife

By car

If you have a rental car you can drive here but keep in mind that the traffic in Arrecife can sometimes be crazy and it's hard to find a parking place. So look for the paid parkings around Charco San Gines if you want to be close to the best sightseeing places in Arrecife. 

By bus

Coming to Arrecife by bus is another easy and handy option. Since this is the capital of Lanzarote there are direct buses from most places on the island.

Direct bus lines to Arrecife:

  • From Puerto del Carmen - bus line 2 
  • From Costa Teguise - bus line 1
  • From Playa Blanca - bus line 60
  • From Puerto Calero - bus line 24


Also, there's always the option to actually walk to Arrecife if you're staying either in Puerto del Carmen or Costa Teguise, but you'll probably be tired by the time you arrive in town. Also, there's no shade on the coastal walks so it should be avoided during the hot days and midday hours in general.

Best places to stay in Arrecife

Is Arrecife a good place to stay in Lanzarote?

If you're a city person, then Arrecife is probably the best place to stay in Lanzarote for you since it's the largest city on the island.

Also, if you want to use the bus system to visit Lanzarote, Arrecife has the best connections with all the places since it's the island's capital. It also has a beautiful beach, many restaurants & cafes and a long promenade for evening walks.

Where to stay in Arrecife

1. Artisanal tourist market in Arrecife

This market is held in Arrecife every Saturday and you'll find everything from fruits and local products to souvenirs and other handicraft items. Enjoy a shopping experience in the historic centre of Arrecife and after you're done you can stroll around towards the charming Charco San Gines.

  • Days: Saturday
  • Location of the market: Plaza de Las Palmas
  • Market hours: 09:00 - 14:00 h

2. Walk around Charco San Gines

charco san gines arrecife
View of Charco San Gines in Arrecife - capital of Lanzarote 

Charco San Gines is a lagoon of natural seawater, situated right in the heart of Arrecife. The area has a lovely vibe, with old buildings and a lot of fishing boats. There are some restaurants and cafes around Charco san Gines, or you can walk on the palm tree promenade, that will take you towards Castillo de San Gabriel. The area of Charco San Gines is a popular lunch spot when visiting Arrecife, with lots of places that serve fresh fish or paella.

You could also stop for a visit to the Church of San Gines while in the area.

3. Visit Castillo de San Gabriel (Castle of Saint Gabriel)

castillo san gabriel arrecife lanzarote
Castillo San Gabriel in Arrecife

Castillo de San Gabriel was originally built as a wooden fortress and was then rebuilt as a stone castle after pirates had burnt it down.

It is located on an island called Islet of the English and it will offer you a gorgeous view over the Atlantic. The waters surrounding it are of turquoise color, very calm and shallow, especially during low tide.

The walk around Castillo de San Gabriel is very pleasant and you can admire the place and the views. Also, if you wish, you can visit the Museum of History for Arrecife, which is hosted inside the fortress.

4. Castillo de San Jose

castillo de san jose arrecife lanzarote

A visit to the Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, MIAC-Castillo de San José is a must if you have a passion for art.

The museum is the result of a collaboration between the Cabildo and Cesar Manrique, so you will be following in his footsteps here.

A complete visit takes around 1 hour. You will certainly enjoy also the gardens and the top terrace, with amazing sea views.

Castillo de San Jose is actually a bit outside of the city center, but even though you don't plan to visit the museum inside, you should still go for the views.

5. Walk around the pedestrian street of Arrecife

arrecife city center
Pedestrian street in Arrecife - a good place to enjoy a cup of coffee with some churros

Arrecife is an old town and the pedestrian street in the center is quite lovely, full of small shops and cafes. You can join the locals and order a cafe and churros, for a well-deserved break.

If you love the Spanish lifestyle, laid back and relaxed, then a walk around the center and Charco san Gines is what you need. This is one of the best things to do in Arrecife, as it will give you the chance to sample the local lifestyle.

6. Shopping at Centro Comercial Marina Lanzarote

If you want to do some shopping, then the Centro Comercial Marina Lanzarote is the best place you can come. You will find some local brands and also big international brands, a Hiperdino, rental car offices and also a food court.

Address: Avda. Olof Palme s/n 35500 Arrecife

7. Playa del Reducto in Arrecife

playa reducto arrecife lanzarote
Playa del Reducto, a beautiful spot to spend a day sunbathing in Arrecife

Playa del Reducto is the main beach in Arrecife, with golden sand and palm trees. The water here is very calm and good for swimming since the beach is protected by natural reefs.

After a few hours of walking through the town streets, you can take half a day to relax on this beautiful beach while enjoying the view and the change of scenery from your usual beach in the resort. 

8. Arrecife carnival

Every year, sometimes between the months of February and March, there's a carnival in Arrecife and the entire town is celebrating.

You can find in our dedicated article more info about the next edition of the Arrecife Carnival, including the dates, theme and other important information.

9. Lunch with a view at Arrecife Gran Hotel's top-floor restaurant

things to do arrecife lanzarote
View from Arrecife Gran Hotel

The Arrecife Gran Hotel is the tallest building in Arrecife, and also the tallest in all of Lanzarote.

It was built before Cesar Manrique put in place the height rule regarding new constructions, which says that no building should be so tall that it obstructs the views of other buildings and becomes an eyesore for visitors.

The restaurant on the top floor offers amazing views though, so if you come to visit Lanzarote you should go up there to have at least some cocktails, if not a proper lunch. The restaurant offers a gorgeous view of Playa del Reducto, especially during sunset, so it's a nice place to visit for a romantic date. A visit to this iconic place in Arrecife could be the best ending to a full day of visiting Lanzarote's capital.

10. Marina Lanzarote

This is a new and modern marina in Arrecife, which has a few shops and restaurants, where you can take a break if you've walked here from town. 

This stylish marina is quiet on some days and it usually comes to life when the big cruise ships arrive in port. On the rest of the days, you can walk on the waterfront and admire the beautiful yachts, do some relaxed shopping and maybe enjoy a drink at sunset, taking in the view. 

11. Shopping at Lanzarote Open Mall Shopping Centre

open mall arrecife things to do
Image source: Open Mall Lanzarote Facebook Page

Lanzarote Open Mall is the newest and most modern shopping centre in Arrecife, plus it's home to the only Primark store in Lanzarote.

It has an open floor type of concept, with a modern design and you can easily spend a few hours here if you want to skip the beach for a day and visit Arrecife.

The mall offers big underground parking, lots of options for kids' entertainment, plus many restaurants to grab something to eat if you're hungry after all the shopping.

12. The shipwreck in Arrecife

shipwreck arrecife lanzarote
The name of the ship is Telamon

If you drive on the old road by the port Muelle de Los Marmoles, you will be able to see the remains of a ship that was built in Dundee, Scotland in 1954. The ship was called Temple Hall when it was first launched, but it later changed owners and was renamed Telamon.

Many tourists come here just for the photos and you can easily enter by car in the industrial marina, in order to take better photos of the shipwreck.

You could also walk here, but it's not really worth the effort to walk all the way here just to see the ship. But if you happen to be in the area, especially by car, and you can spare a few minutes to make a detour, you can stop here for a few photos maybe.

13. Mercadillo de Arrecife - SUSPENDED

This market is currently SUSPENDED.

The market in Arrecife is held every Wednesday and Thursday, usually during cruise season, and you can find everything from local food to souvenirs.

It's smaller than the market in Teguise, but it's less crowded also. Parking is still difficult since the city has lots of narrow streets and you will have to find a paid parking place for 2-3 euros.

  • Days: Wednesdays & Thursdays
  • Location of the market: in the old quarter of the city - around El Charco and the Church of San Gines
  • Market hours: 09:00 - 12:00 h

Short guide to Arrecife - FAQ

Is Arrecife worth visiting?

Arrecife is not the prettiest city in the Canary Islands, but if you've visited all the other major attractions in Lanzarote and you want a day out to do some exploring, then Arrecife is worth visiting.

What is Arrecife like?

Arrecife is the largest city in Lanzarote so in consequence, it's busy and parking can be difficult. Arrecife is an old town, with narrow one-way streets, lots of authentic restaurants and cafes and historical buildings.

Does Arrecife have a beach?

Yes, Arrecife actually has a lovely urban beach called Playa del Reducto. It's a nice beach to spend a day soaking up the sun and afterward you can go to the nearby Arrecife Gran Hotel to grab for some stunning aerial views and to grab a coffee and cake.

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