Located at the centre-east of the island of Lanzarote, its capital Arrecife is a small coastal city whose easy, relaxed charm is infectious and enriching. Compared to the rest of Lanzarote, it’s relatively untouched by tourism, but the chic shopping areas, quaint bars and restaurants and a wonderfully sandy beach mean it might not stay that way for long.
A simple, serene city that’s well worth visiting when you’re in port, we’ll guide you through how to get around Arrecife, showcase the sights it offers and the plentiful food for you to feast on while you’re here.
How to Get Around
Since it’s relatively small, Arrecife is great for lazy, sun-soaked strolls, and you probably won’t need transport while you’re here. However, there are a few guaguas municipales, or local buses, that follow circuits around town, as well as a taxi rank next to both the tourist office on La Marina and Calle José Antonio.
What to See and Do
Arrecife’s simplicity extends to its attractions, and serenity is definitely the order of the day here. If you’re looking to enrich a relaxed stroll, or like a bit architectural appreciation with your excursions, we’d recommend the following.
Playa Del Reducto
One of the benefits of Arrecife’s comparative unspoiled status means that its main beach is usually pretty empty. With shallow waters and clean golden sand, it’s flanked by swaying palm trees for a classic picture postcard touch. Plus, with restaurants close by, you don’t have to walk far to sate your rumbling stomach.
Charco de San Ginés
A saltwater lagoon right in the city’s centre, the stunning blue waters of Charco de San Ginés contrast brilliantly with the whitewashed buildings that surround them. Replete with colourful boats, it’s a lovely place for an evening stroll along its palm tree-hemmed promenade. Again, cafés and restaurants are close by, perfect for some post-walk dining.
Iglesia de San Ginés
Another attraction that uses contrasting colours to impress onlookers, this church located in Plaza de las Palmas square, is made from volcanic stone, offset by the brilliant whitewash of its walls and tower. During the week-long Fiesta de San Ginés festival, the church and its surrounding square become a hub of exuberant, vibrant activity.
Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo
If you’re in the mood for a spot of culture, be sure to stop by Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo. Built in the 18th century, it originated as a castle to defend against attacks from marauding pirates. Things have calmed down considerably since then, transforming into a chic, contemporary art museum in 1994, housing some exceptionally important collections from a variety of well-respected Spanish artists.
What to Eat
What Arrecife lacks in local specialities and exotic exports, it more than makes up for with a choice that should satisfy any palate. Here are the finest eateries serving the city’s best food for you to indulge in…
Based in the city’s newly-improved Marina, Lilium does decadent food with ease. Stylish and urbane, you’ll find dishes such as confit duck leg and fig sauce alongside more traditional fare such as almogrote, a blend of goat’s cheese, garlic and chilli. You’ll need to book if you’re scoping this out, but for indulgent cuisine at the heart of the city, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Awash with an array of Mediterranean meze and Middle Eastern treats, the Syrian chef/owner of Café Nizar serves up delicious small plates with real authenticity. Hearty dishes of lamb shoulder and chicken are also on the menu, and served up with copious amounts of flowing Lebanese wine, you can’t really go wrong here.
In the upper echelon of Arrecife’s eateries, Que Mac, situated in the Castillo de San José, is Mediterranean cuisine par excellence. Serving up everything from goat kebabs, tenderloin steak on carrot brownies, to black bass with a creamy coriander sauce – this is the place to visit if you want to give your taste buds something new.
Visit during the day so you can make the most of the ocean views through its large wraparound windows.
For something approaching local, this restaurant is a little different than the ocean-facing restaurants we’ve mentioned, since it overlooks a busy road. But don’t let that put you off, the food here is delicious, with tender Iberian pork and garlic-infused red snapper among the highlights. The owner himself, Pepe, is a welcoming charismatic man with a love of jazz, which often plays throughout the restaurant.
If you’re looking for some Italian cuisine, then stop by this laid-back trattoria owned by a friendly southern Italy native for some of Arrecife’s finest. Rustic and modest, the food is all about tradition: thin-crust Neopolitan pizza and simple, fresh pasta dishes, with plenty of Italian beer and limoncello to be supped too. Keep an eye out for this one, it’s so unassuming you may just walk past it without noticing.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Luc Viatour, Santiago Begueria, IDS.photos