Arrecife is the oldest town on the island of Lanzarote and it is also the capital of the island. It took over as the capital from the inland town of Teguise towards the end of the eighteenth century and Arrecife is currently the commercial and administrative centre for Lanzarote.
Going back over the centuries Arrecife had strong maritime origins still in evidence today by way of its ports which serve the other Canary Islands, Europe and the mainland of Africa. The population of the town accounts for more than fifty percent of the people living on the island as a whole and this is rising rapidly. The main industries of this area are agriculture and tourism.
The word “Arrecife” in Spanish means reef and the town got its name from the many reefs along the coastline. This area is still popular today with its splendid promenade where you can enjoy a pleasant seaside stroll.
The skyline of Arrecife is dominated by the tallest hotel on the island called the Grande Hotel. If you are eating out whilst in Arrecife it is well worth a visit to the rotating restaurant at the top of the hotel where you can take in spectacular views of all over the island whilst eating your lunch or evening meal.
There are several interesting places to visit in Arrecife which is more or less at half way point along the east coast. If you love to lie on a beach you will find the Playa Reducto an excellent place to take in a spot of sunbathing and swimming.
If you are more into sightseeing then take a look at the Castillo de San Jose, a 17th Century fortress which now holds a superb selection of modern art or the archaeological museum called San Gabriel both of which will be of great interest to the art and history lovers amongst us. The 17th Century church of San Gines, an important historical landmark of Lanzarote, is also located here in Arrecife. Named after the patron Saint of the town the area around the church becomes alive with festivities at many times of the year especially at Carnival which is usually in February or March but dates do vary, so if you want to see the Carnival make sure to check out the dates before you go.
El Charco de San Gines is a man made lagoon in Arrecife where the fishermen leave their fishing boats and you can walk alongside the fishermen’s cottages and see them mending their nets before they next take to the seas.
Nightlife in Arrecife consists mainly of traditional Spanish style restaurants, cafes and bars. There are few touristy areas so if you want to get away from the bustling nightlife of your resort Arrecife is an excellent choice to sample the local cuisine and typical Canarian food and entertainment.
Shopping in Arrecife is a must for all your duty free goods to take back home at the end of your holiday. The main shopping street in Arrecife is Calle Leon Y Castillo where you will find everything from designer boutiques to shops selling a wide range of video, audio and electronics in general. Don’t forget to haggle for a good price – the shop keepers just love it and it is all part of the shopping experience.