Resorts & Places
There's so much more to Lanzarote than just the three main tourist resorts. Get out and discover historic towns such as Teguise, the former island capital and home to a treasure trove of colonial architecture. Explore the modern metropolis of Arrecife. Discover picturesque villages such as Haria in the Valley of 1,000 Palms and Yaiza, close to the Timanfaya National Park.
If you want to catch a more modern and metropolitan side of Lanzarote then visit Arrecife, the island's capital. Here you will find a lively port city, shaped both by its seafaring past and its current, rapid regeneration.
Arrecife is home to around one third of the island’s inhabitants, with a population of some 45,000 and boasts shopping galore, beaches, parks, promenades, nightlife and all of the attendant urban hustle and bustle.
The capital also lays claim to two historic castles, the Castillo de San José, which is home to the island´s Museum of International and Contemporary Art and the Castillo de San Gabriel. Where visitors can learn more about the history of Arrecife.
There's a small historic quarter that is also well worth exploring in and around the Charco and Church de San Gines. Where you will also find some good, atmospheric restaurants.
The Main Resorts
There are three main resorts on Lanzarote, along with the marina at Puerto Calero, which is also home to a brace of top quality hotels, the Costa Calero and the Hesperia.
Puerto del Carmen
Puerto del Carmen is the oldest and largest resort on Lanzarote and the spot where modern tourism first took off. Originally built around the old town harbour it has now extended along six kilometres of golden, sandy beaches.
It offers a wide range of holiday styles from studio apartments overlooking the lively beach road to luxury private villas in the exclusive Los Mojones area perched on a clifftop overlooking the harbour and out to sea.
One of the island’s longest established resorts, Costa Teguise was first developed in the 1970's under the aegis of César Manrique and was purpose built as a tourist resort from the start.
As a result the one criticism that some visitors have is that Costa Teguise lacks an organic heart - with nothing to match the atmopshere of the Old Town harbour in Puerto del Carmen or indeed the small centre of Playa Blanca, which was once a tiny fishing village.
That being said there are plenty of great beaches in Costa Teguise and the resort is ideally located for exploring Lanzarote's many attractions.
The resort of Playa Blanca has seen rapid development over the last few years, although thankfully due to the island's strict planning laws, none of this has involved high-rise developments.
Although it continues to grow, it has retained its more relaxed atmosphere and is still considered more upmarket than Costa Teguise or Puerto del Carmen by some visitors.
Much smaller than Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca or Puerto del Carmen — and definitely more upmarket. There's no beach here either but tourists can swim from the rocks at either side of the marina and there are two hotels and a number of holiday villas available for those seeking accommodation.
Puerto Calero represents one man's dream and is definitely a place to visit if you appreciate the finer things or have a love of boats, as the marina here is excellent.
Other Towns & Villages
Located in the valley of 1,000 palms, Haria has much to offer the visitor who wants to see a real slice of Lanzarote.
The scenery here is breathtaking whilst the village itself is very atmopsheric. A weekly artisan market takes place here every Saturday, there's a small art gallery located in the old aljibe or water deposit in the main square and César Manrique is also buried in the local cemetry, having lived his final years in a house in Haria.
Teguise - La Villa
Teguise was the capital of the island for hundreds of years, until it lost this title to Arrecife.
Now largely ignored by tourists — other than for the Sunday Market — it remains a great place to visit during the week, as it boasts some excellent architecture and remains relatively tranquil.
If you are hiring a car and exploring the island it´s highly likely that you will be passing through Teguise at some stage as it is en route to many attractions in the North and in quite close proximity to the beach at Famara.
Despite being one of the oldest and most important towns on the island Tias doesn’t often feature very prominently in many tourist guides and, on the face of it, appears to boast few major attractions.
Yet this busy town, overlooking the main resort of Puerto Del Carmen, was home to a Nobel prize winner as well as a growing army of ex-pats. It also boasts a growing reputation as a destination in its own right and is the conduit through which the vast majority of the island’s sizeable tourist revenue flows.
Voted the Prettiest village in Spain on more than one occasion, Yaiza is a quiet and tranquil place to explore.
Lucky to still be here at all, because of its proximity to the volcanoes at Timanfaya, it should be on any visitor's list of places to see.
There are still a number of small, sea-side villages which have escaped the developers' excesses found in the main resort areas.
Caleta de Famara
Small fishing village - and an amazing beach - on the North-West coast, which is highly popular with local and international surfers.
With some stunning views, bracing walks and a selection of nice — if simple — restaurants, it has much to offer if you want to chill out for a while.
This unspolit former fishing village is a real gem and in Playa de Garita boasts one of the best beaches on Lanzarote.
Just a few kilometres South of Puerto Calero, this is a very small village, where the houses spill right onto the black, volcanic beach.
It certainly offers an insight into what Lanzarote used to be like, before it was discovered by the tourist trade