Historically, Arrecife was a small fishing harbor, but in recent years it has grown considerably. It was at the end of 18th century that this city became the capital of Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands known for its volcanic landscape. Arrecife gets its name from the same Spanish word, which means ‘reef.’ There is an abundance of reefs and islets along the coast, which has provided many natural harbors and a magnificent seafront promenade.
The Atlantic Ocean is on the east and southeast of the city, on the north are the mountains, the hills lie on the west side and the rest of the city is filled with farmlands.
The ports, Cabildo, Notaries and Courts make this city the principle commercial and administrative area of the Island.
Arrecife’s proximity to the ancient capital, Tequise, and its natural deep water harbor at Los Marmoles, made it the main port gateway to the island.
The View of Arrecife and the Volcanos of Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Around half of the island’s population lives here and it boasts of beautiful parks, promenades, beaches, shopping arcades and nightlife.
It is a bustling but friendly and unpretentious city.
A Little Bit of History
Arrecife’s earliest history has been recorded from the 15th century, when it was just a small fishing settlement.
It was during the 16th century that the settlement started to grow, to accommodate the new settlers. Trade increased between the old and new worlds, and new warehouses were also built.
The first church was built during this time and it was consecrated to the first bishop of Arrecife, San Gines.
Arrecife, Canary Islands
As the town became prosperous, it attracted pirates and in 1571, Dogan, a notorious pirate plundered and destroyed the port town.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the port town was raided regularly by pirates. As the commerce grew, the threat of sea raids deecreased and Arrecife thrived from the 19th century onwards.
The tallest building is the Gran Hotel Arrecife that is located along the harbor.
Shopping opportunities for souvenirs include local embroideries, baskets and native Guanche pottery.
Arrecife does not lack in fun-loving crowd and the festivities here are bigger, longer and louder.
The Carnaval is the most famous celebration with drummers and musicians filling the streets, and spectators dancing through the day.
Fiesta de San Gines is celebrated in honor of the island’s patron saint. The festivity goes on for two weeks and there are various events.
Where is Arrecife?
- 59.6 miles/ 96 km from Antigua, Spain
- 18.6 miles/ 30 km from Haria, Spain
- 71.4 miles/ 115 km from Pajara, Spain
- 4.1 miles/ 6.7 km from Lanzarote Airport, Spain
Things to See
- El Charco de San Gines
- La Casa de Los Arroyo
- Castles of San Jose
- Castles of San Gabriel
- The Iglesia de San Gines
- Puente de Las Bolas
- Centro Insular de Cultura El Almacen
- El Reducto
- El Cable
- Guacineta and Playa Blanca are the other two beaches in Arrecife
- A short camel trek through the Timanfaya National Park
- Bodegas La Geria
- Discover Northern Lanzarote
Due to its close proximity to Africa, Arrecife houses the largest fishing fleet of the Canary Islands.
As the modern and metropolitan side of Lanzarote, Arrecife is a city with a pleasant Mediterranean style promenade and enchanting sandy beach. The sights are scarce but interesting.
We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!