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12 Top Things to Do in Arrecife – A Lanzarote Cruise Port Guide

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If you are cruising the Canary Islands, chances are you will have Lanzarote as part of your itinerary. Most cruise ships dock at the Arrecife Marina, located on the south coast in the island’s capital. This sleepy spot is more like a small town than a hectic capital city, making it nice place for a leisurely day. If you want to stick around and have a relaxing day in port then this guide is for you. Read on for our top things to do in Arrecife (or near enough).

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Getting into Arrecife

The walk from La Boca de Puerto Naos takes around half an hour to town if you are taking it at a very easy pace. There is some shade if you follow the suggested line but not once you leave the marina area. Bring a hat, sun cream and all that other good stuff. As you walk through the port, you will be walking around the marina so there are some nice small yachts to gaze at. You can catch a taxi from the edge of the port but you are nearly there by that point.

Some bigger ships dock 6km away at the Muelle de los Marmoles. Taxis are readily available from here but there is also bus from the port. It costs around €6. Remember that everyone is trying to get there and back at the same time so you may be waiting in long queues for the transfer. Leave plenty of time to get back.

12 Things to Do in Arrecife

1.) Circumnavigate the Charco San Gines Lagoon

A small salt water lagoon, dotted with boats greets passengers as they make their way into town. This is where the small fishing settlement of Arrecife was founded. Taking a walk around this lake is a lovely, relaxing way to start or end your visit to the city. Around the edge there are lots of little cafes, restaurants and bars so it is a nice place to grab a snack or drink. Look out for fresh seafood, papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes with bell pepper sauces) and the local dry white wine called Malvasia.

2.) Stroll the Arrecife Centro Zona Comercial

The whitewashed walls and cobbled streets of the Centro Zona Comercial are extremely photogenic, especially when the flowers are out. Take a quick peek into the Parroquia de San Ginés church, snap some gorgeous holiday photos and enjoy the peace and quiet of this area.

3.) Explore the Museo de Historia

Cross the 175m long stone Puente de las Bolas to the Castillo de San Gabriel. (this surface is very uneven so stick to flat shoes for this one). The bridge was built in 16th century to connect the mainland to the fort. The San Gabriel Castle now houses the Museum of the History of Arrecife which tells the story of the building and the history of the city it protects. Hours are 10:00 – 17:00 on weekdays and 10:00 – 14:00 on Saturdays. They are usually shut on Sundays unless a few large ships are in port.

4.) Hit Reducto Beach

Playa Del Reducto is a half kilometre sweep of of gorgeous beach. The sand is a pale yellow and the sea is rather calm. The reef out to sea keeps it protected and makes it a wonderful place for a shore scuba dive too. There is a football pitch, a volleyball court and a skating rink for those looking for some sporty fun. If you just want to relax, a sunbed will set you back €3 and an umbrella umbrella is €2. That is pretty good value for a popular tourist area! There are changing rooms, bathrooms and beach bars aplenty.

5.) Marvel at Islota de Fermina

Another spit of land extends from the promenade, and at the end sits the most unusual islet. The Canary Islands raised a gentlemen called César Manrique (remember him). He was an architect, artist, sculptor and activist for attractive public spaces. On the island, there are bright white pools, filled with tempting blue water. Unfortunately, at the moment, these are just to be seen and not swum. Hopefully, they will reopen for public use one day. In the meantime, you can grab a drink or snack at the Cafetería Islote de la Fermina. They have a nice variety of freshly squeezed juices which feel so tropical with the pretty view.

6.) Head Up the Gran Hotel

Just behind the Islota de Fermina is the monstrous tower block that houses the 5* Arrecife Gran Hotel and Spa. After the building’s construction Cesar Manrique campaigned to ensure no more skyscrapers were build here. He had seen the ugly overdevelopment elsewhere in Spain and campaigned to keep it away from Lanzarote. It was decided to keep this one though, as a less than beautiful reminder of his point. Now, I am not saying it is a lovely piece of architecture…but it does have a wonderful view.

Taking the glass lift up to the 17th floor, you can go to the Blue17 cafe bar. From here, the view across the Playa Reducto and back across the town are super. Food and drink prices here are not bad for a spot with the best view in town so grab a cocktail and and seat by the window. There is an open air smoking terrace too which would be a lovely place to enjoy the sea breeze if you have it to yourself.

7.) Mooch Through the Museums

If you love a good gallery or learning more about the ports you visit, there are several museums you can visit. As well as the history museum we have already mentioned, here are some of our favourites:

  • International Museum of Contemporary Art (MIAC) – Located within the Castillo de San José (another old fort), this also has the fingerprints of Cesar Manrique. It has been open since 1976 and houses a great collection of modern art. This is a little out of town but if you love modern art, it is worth the trip. There is a nice restaurant on the terrace in front with lovely ocean views.
  • La Casa Amarilla – The Yellow House is the nickname for this former government building. On the gorund floor you may come across a temporary exhibition, usually themed around the island’s history and its ethnography.
  • Museo Arqueologico de Lanzarote – Nestled within a beautiful mansion, this museum traces Lanzarote’s architectural fashions through time. There are some great multimedia displays. The museum is temporarily closed so do contact them before you visit.
8.) Travel to Puerto del Carmen

A short bus ride away, down the coast is the tourist centre of Puerto del Carmen. It is the biggest and buzziest town on the island, full of restaurants bars and clubs. The main area is called Centro Atlantico, at the centre of the Las Playas avenue strip. Playa Grande is the most popular beach due to its beautiful natural setting, it has lovely palm trees, and its abundance of facilities.. The northern end is safer for swimming as the slope is much more gradual and there is les of a tide. Just leave plenty of time to get back to Arrecife.

9.) Do a Spot of Shopping

If you are in town on a Saturday, head to Plaza de Las Palmas (opposite the Iglesia de San Ginés) for a fun market. It is definitely a little touristy but there are some great handicraft finds from local artisans and lots of delicious local food and drink. The market is on for three hours in the morning 9:00 – 12:00. On weekdays, search out the La Recova municipal market building for delicious fresh food. It is also near the Iglesia de San Ginés.

Arrecife has a pedestrianised shopping street, Calle Léon y Castillo, lined with high street favourites, small cafes and independent boutiques. It is a bustling centre for all things retail. Of course, if the weather is less than ideal, there is a large mall so if you need a shopping fix, there are plenty of options.

10.) Browse the Teguise Market

This shopping option takes you a little further afield but if you are in town on a Sunday, it is almost your only option. Most of the shops and restaurants in Arrecife are shut on a Sunday. Instead, hop on a bus to the former capital of Lanzarote, Teguise. The Teguise Market takes part every Sunday between 9:00 – 12:00 (or so). There is a huge selection of clothes, homewares and foodie treats. It is one of the largest markets in Europe with over 400 stalls so bring your walking shoes!

11.) Promenade the Promenade and Jose Ramirez Cerda Park

Taking a walk along the seafront is a classic holiday activity and here, there is a newly redesigned promenade to do so. If you are lucky, you will see one of the many events staged here all summer. There are benches at long intervals and but not a lot of shade.

The beautiful wooden is a recreation of replica of the original from the 1950s. Bands used to play here for the public, leading to lovely dances. Now it houses the tourist office so the dancing is very optional. Opposite, there are steps that lead down to the water and you can swim here but there aren’t any lockers for your belongings so keep an eye out.

12.) Enjoy the Lanzarote Cruise Port Itself

There are a few services located within the new Marina Arrecife development (the one you will probably walk through). You will find car hire, midrange fashion options and a Burger King. That may not sound super exciting but don’t give up on it yet. If your ship is in port late, then you can grab a spot in the karaoke bar!

Final Thoughts on Our Things to do in Arrecife

Arrecife is a lovely lowkey city that is perfect for a chilled day in the sunshine. You can take an easy stroll with and explore some fun things along the way, or just relax on the beach. Whatever you end up doing in this lovely Lanzarote cruise port, have a wonderful time.

Rosie xx

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