Don't Miss in Lanzarote
In Arrecife itself, you can visit Castillo San Gabriel, a fort dating back to 1590 and now home to the islands Ethnographic Museum. Castillo San Jose, by Puerto Marmolesat, the outer fringes the town, was built to repel pirates and alleviate poverty on the island in the wake of the major volcanic eruptions. As a result it became known as the "Fortress of Hunger." It now houses a restaurant, designed by Cesar Manrique, as well as Museum of International and Contemporary Art.
The main natural attraction of the island is the Timanfaya National Park and Montanas de Fuego (Fire Mountains). The streams of lava that covered 200 sq km have a striking appearance of petrified rivers. Once you ascend into the mountains, there are more than 300 volcanic craters. Islote de Hilario is one of the hottest parts of the islands, with ground temperature of 140C and only 20 cm beneath the surface. You will be shown how cold water poured into the ground turns at once into steam. Likewise, branches or straw placed on a hot spot first smoulder and then burst into flames. You may also ride a camel here -- but luckily, wicker basket chairs are slung over each side of the animal. The park is open each day from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Further south on the west coat is Janubio, a large circular lake located close to the shore. For a long time, it was used as a source for salt, which was obtained by evaporation. Today, only brine is produced, and the area has become a favorite hunt for bird watchers.
A lagoon called El Golfo is known for its yellow green color, and scientists are unsure why the water has that color. Some contribute this to algae, while others suggest that the green olivine, a semi-precious stone found in large quantities here, is the reason. Caves and galleries of Jameos del Agua lay at the foot of Monte de la Corona, one of the many volcanoes on the island. Cesar Manrique, the artist, turned the caves into galleries and today they feature a 600-seat auditorium, plus restaurants, cafes and a museum of volcanism. The Cesar Manrique Foundation, located in Tachice, honors the life of the artist (1919 - 1992) and features work by the artist himself, plus his collection of works by Picasso, Miro and Klee.
If shopping is what you want to focus on, just make your way to Arrecife's Calle Leon y Castila and you can start making use of your credit card. Lanzarote, together with the rest of the Canary Islands, are duty free, which means that cigarettes, alcohol and electrical goods are offered at attractive prices. Traditional crafts like embroidery and wood carving cater to those with a more traditional taste. Shoes and clothing are also sold in many shops, ranging from smaller brand-specific boutiques to large stores like Zara.
Editor's Note: This is Spain, so people like to have their siesta. In Arrecife, shops are open from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and re-open from 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. In Puerto del Carmen, tourism, rather than local life, sets the pace. Its shops' hours are 9:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Also, please note that shops are not open on Sundays in Arrecife, though that does not necessarily apply to Playa del Carmen.
If volcanoes and caves are not for you, then an obvious choice could be to head for one of the many beaches. Playa del Reducto
is located in Arrecife about two miles to the west from the shuttle buses' drop-off point. Avenida Fred. Olsen
, the seafront street, is busy with traffic, but the beach is wide enough so you can escape the noise. Cafes and restaurants along the street will come in handy when you start feeling peckish. Playa Honda
is located just south of the town; Playa Papagayo
and Playa Blanca
at the southernmost tip of the island provide both sand and rocky headlands. Your list of choices also include the busy report areas of Playa del Carmen
and Costa Teguise
If golf is your game, then head to Teguise Golf Club (tel: 928-590512) on Costa Teguise, while windsurfers can enjoy their sport at Playa Matadora and Playa Cucharas. In case you would like to have a game of tennis, then Centro Deportivo los Fariones at Puerto del Carmen, which offers five courts, is an option (tel: 928-5147-90).