Driving in Lanzarote
Driving in Lanzarote is pretty safe and pleasurable – especially if you are used to labouring through rush hour traffic in the UK or Ireland. There are no major motorways of more than two lanes on the island. And once you are outside the main resorts there is often little traffic to contend with. Jams are unheard of, petrol is cheap and car hire is both readily available and affordable.
Hiring A Car
Most important of all – hiring a car and driving is the best way to explore the island. As this is the most convenient and cost effective way to visit Lanzarote attractions such as the Timanfaya Volcano Park and the Jameos del Agua. As well as being the best method of simply enjoying the incredible scenery and natural beauty of Lanzarote at your own pace.
There are numerous hire car offices in all of the main resorts and hiring a car in Lanzarote is easy and straightforward. There is some variation in price between companies – but this isn’t so great that it warrants hiking round resorts in search of the best deal.
Car Hire From €15 per Day
As a broad rule of thumb tourists can book Class C models such as Opel Corsas and Seat Ibizas from around €15 per day. This price usually includes unlimited mileage and insurance.
You will need to present your UK/EU driving licence and passport and some companies will also ask for a small cash deposit – usually around €50 – which is fully refundable on return of the vehicle.
You have to be over 23 years of age in order to hire a car on Lanzarote.
Drivers are asked to return cars with approximately the same amount of petrol in the tank as was present on the first day of hire and companies here don’t usually carry out an inspection of the vehicle before and after hire.
So if your hire vehicle does have any obvious defects – such as bodywork dents - it is worth pointing these out the company in question prior to driving your hire car away.
Spanish Highway Code
The driving laws in Lanzarote are the same for the rest of Spain.
In brief, this means driving on the right hand side of the road and observing national speed limits of 100km per hour on dual carriageways and 50km per hour in built up areas – unless otherwise indicated.
Do's & Don'ts
All occupants of a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Using a mobile phone whilst driving is against the law. Drivers must carry their passport and licence at all times.
Drivers are prohibited from wearing flip flops.
It is worth noting that the Guardia Civil maintain a high profile on the roads here and often set-up spot check points at roundabouts and junctions. Tourists are rarely stopped – but do ensure that all occupants are wearing seat belts and that you are not under the influence of alcohol when driving (the blood alcohol limit in Spain is now 0.05% - which is lower than in the UK).
There are a number of cultural differences that are also not encoded in law but which are well worth noting.
Amongst the most important: indicators are not often used by local drivers when making a turn – which can obviously create a dangerous situation for the unwary motorist. However - indicator lights (not hazards) are often used when slowing down at a zebra crossing or for a hazard up ahead – such as traffic suddenly slowing.
Parking is free and usually plentiful at most of the main tourist attractions on Lanzarote.
In Arrecife, the island capital, and Puerto del Carmen there are pay and display regulations in place. Denoted by bays with blue lines – which are prominent for example on the main Avenida de las Playas in Puerto del Carmen.
If your are planning to visit Arrecife then the easiest places to park is the parking area next to the Charco San Gines.
Accidents & Break Downs
The accident rate in Lanzarote is pretty high – a combination of tourists driving more slowly and hesitantly than they might normally and some local drivers motoring above the speed limit can be a bad combination.
However, hundreds of thousands of tourists enjoy driving in Lanzarote every year without incident. Ensure that your car hire company gives you a number to call in the event of any accident or breakdown.