ARRECIFE – A GUEST BLOG
Jules is the marketing & PR consultant to Lanzarote Retreats, he moved to Lanzarote 8 years ago with his partner and 2 children, now aged 10 & 14. We asked him to write a guest post about life in Arrecife, the capital city of Lanzarote…
So yes Tila, the Lanzarote Retreats co-founder, asked that I give everyone an idea of what attracts locals to our main city – Arrecife. I guess he thought I could best explain to you all why you may want to stay there.
The first thing to tell you is that I don’t live in Arrecife, actually I moved to Lanzarote to escape the many cities I had lived in – they include London, Glasgow, Bangkok, Tokyo & Miami – I have no desire to move back to any of them, I like the peace and tranquillity of not living in them, so maybe Tila didn’t think this through!
My 8+ years on this beautiful island include spells living in Arrieta, Punta Mujeres, Teguise and Costa Teguise. Therefore to explain about a stay in Arrecife, it seemed only right that I should do it whilst staying there myself (or so I told Tila). So last weekend, along with my youngest daughter, we trotted off to Lanzarote Retreats oceanside apartment Arrecife Sands.
To be honest it was more I wanted to stay in a luxury beachside apartment. We didn’t really need to stay in Arrecife as we know the area well, all locals do, we all spend a lot of time there and almost everywhere else as well given that Lanzarote is a very small island. Lanzarote is just 60 kilometres (37 miles) from north to south and 25 kilometres (16 miles) from west to east.
Therefore Arrecife itself, as a city, feels tiny and you can walk the entire city in half a day. If you compare it to a smaller UK city like Canterbury, then it is not even one-quarter of the size of that. So let’s forget the ‘city’ bit… Arrecife feels like a small port town.
Arrecife does have a cosmopolitan feel to it, somewhat multicultural, you get the idea of Lanzarote’s position in the world… a tiny thriving port town nestled close to Africa and a gateway to Europe, but most definitely Spanish and with a rich history that reflects its position.
Arrecife is an area that mixes all the positives of a cosmopolitan metropolis but scaled down to feel like a sleepy seaside town, this is my kind of city these days (whoops that ‘city’ word again). It especially works in a place the size of Lanzarote where the unspoiled beauty, the wine region, the untouched beaches are all a very short distance away from Arrecife Sands, so it feels like the best of all worlds here!
Maybe I cannot kick my urban roots totally. Yes, I love being on a remote stunning beach in Orzola at the Northern tip of Lanzarote, where there is no development let alone signs of commercial tourism. But equally, it is nice to return after a mere 30-minute drive, straight into reserved private underground parking at Arrecife Sands, step out the car into an elevator, then up to the air-conditioned apartment with fibre optic broadband and all the good stuff of modern luxury living.
If you chose to stay in Arrecife during the day as well, as we did on a Saturday, then you have a lovely beach literally on your doorstep. The Arrecife Sands apartment sits on Playa Reducto the main Arrecife beach. I bet not many European cities can boast a beach as clean as this one, nor sea as turquoise clear. During the day Playa Reducto is surprisingly quiet and peaceful. The fact is that the locals come alive later in the day.
Spanish families come to the beach late afternoon, they bring picnics and enjoy the warm evenings on the beach.
A large area of the seafront is pedestrianised, as is the main shopping area, harbour and marina front. Locals walk, jog, cycle. There are even eco-friendly electric scooters found throughout the city. We just downloaded the app, scanned the code on the scooter, then you jump on and explore the area… brilliant.
The Charco de San Gines is a wonderful little harbour, it is about 20-minute walk along the seafront from Arrecife Sands, it is the heart of the capital, surrounded by white fisherman’s cottages it has been referred to as the ‘Venice of the Atlantic’. During the evening this is where Spanish families gather to socialise and relax. The promenade is lined with palm trees, small bridges, cafés and restaurants.
In the evening Arrecife really does come alive, there are many beautiful areas full of bars and restaurants and all kinds of cultural events, fiestas, live music. The locals know how to celebrate life and Arrecife is the place they go to do it.
Arrecife en Vivo is one of many annual events taking place in Arrecife. En Vivo takes place during late Summer over 4 weekends. Every Friday different bands play on four different stages in Arrecife. The fun part is that “street bands” guide fans from one stage to the next and the vibe is fantastic with everyone, literally, dancing in the streets!
The calendar of cultural events in Arrecife is packed full often it is the locals who advise you best and there are not better locals than the Lanzarote Retreats team 😉 So please do ask them for help and advice for planning your time here.
If you are walking along the promenade from Arrecife Sands, on your way to Charco de San Gines then pass through the Central Square the picturesque Plaza de Las Palmas, you will find the Iglesia de San Ginés (Church of Saint Genesius), boasting an impressive square tower with a gleaming white cupola, dominating the square and the old town. It became the parish church in 1798 and was dedicated to San Ginés, Arrecife’s patron saint.
During the Corpus Christi festivities and the weeklong Fiesta de San Ginés around in August, the church and the square form the centre of all activities.
In the small side street called Calle Libre right next to the church, you will find the Arrecife Mercado, a daily market selling fish, fruits, vegetables and spices.
During the evening visit Calle Ginés de Castro y Álvarez, it runs off the square, a small pedestrian street with local bars, also there is often live music outside and locals dancing in the street.
Our favourite is Strava, a must visit for creative Tapas and revelry!
If you are not feeling up to the 20-minute walk from Arrecife Sands to Charco de San Gines, Lanzarote’s best region for tapas, wine and merriment, but you are hungry, then almost on your doorstep is Tabla. A great atmosphere and the most amazing array of gourmet burgers, local wines and micro-beers from local producers.
Really if you want an exclusive, modern, luxury, beachside apartment, that is central to the best of everything throughout Lanzarote, including a great beach, lots of the local culture, entertainment and tons of life on your doorstep, then you will not find better than Arrecife Sands.
Arrecife sands has 3 large bedrooms and ample room for 6 people. There are loads of extra’s too many to list here.
My 10-year-old daughter Maddie wants to move to the city and in an apartment that has all the benefits of Arrecife Sands, I cannot find good reasons to disagree, at least for this city anyway!!
Apologies that all the photos are daytime, I haven’t given you all much of an indication of the vibrant nighttime in a place that truly comes alive after the sun sets. If the opportunity arises then I will be going back ASAP, child-free, to do a night time post!!!
TO TAKE A LOOK AT ARRECIFE SANDS APARTMENT IN MORE DETAIL CLICK HERE.
For more information on attractions in Arrecife, events during your preferred dates, in fact, to ask about anything at all, contact the girls in the Lanzarote Retreats office, they are a cool bunch and like to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call +34 928 826720 or use the live chat on this website.
MORE ABOUT ARRECIFE:
The earliest records of Arrecife date from the fifteenth century when it was a small fishing settlement. The name, given then as Arrecifes, refers to the black volcanic reefs behind which boats could hide, protected from sudden pirate attacks.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century the settlement began to grow in response to a need for accommodation and warehousing to support growing trade between the old and new worlds. The first church was constructed at this time, consecrated to the first bishop of Arrecife, San Ginés. Growing prosperity increased the attractiveness of the town as a pirate target: in 1571 a notorious pirate named Dogan plundered and almost completely destroyed the little port town.
Cross the Puente de las Bolas, a small drawbridge with two cannonballs on top of its pillars and you will arrive on the Castillo de San Gabriel (Castle of Saint Gabriel), it is located on a tiny island called Islote de los Ingleses (Islet of the English).
The castle built originally as a wooden fortress proved completely insufficient for any defence purposes and was eventually burnt down by Berber pirates.
It was then replaced by a stone castle in the 16th Century, finally playing a vital role in the protection of the harbour and the town. The fortress was declared a National Historic Monument in 1972 and houses a small museum. The views from here over the city and the Atlantic Ocean are magnificent.
ELECTRIC SCOOTERS: https://www.wind.co/ Electric Scooters are available throughout Arrecife and other parts of Lanzarote, download the app and it will guide to your nearest available scooters, usually right outside Arrecife Sands. The cost is 20c per minute / €1 per 5 minutes.
EN VIVO http://www.arrecifeenvivo.com/ An annual Arrecife music festival over 4 weeks in late Summer.