A local’s guide to Arrecife, Lanzarote: volcanoes, sunsets and seafood

Hotelier María Álava guides us around her home town, with its cool shops and seaside restaurants, and the volcanic crater at the heart of the island


The most beautiful dining area in Arrecife, the island’s capital, is around the Charco de San Ginés lagoon. On its south side, La Puntilla serves an elegant menu on a terrace overlooking colourful fishing boats; dishes include slow-cooked pil pil cod, the island’s goat’s cheeses and papas arrugadas (the Canaries’ traditional wrinkly potatoes), paired with Lanzarote’s up-and-coming wines.

Across the water, Naia serves innovative tapas with local flavours; or try a squid-and-aioli bocata (filled roll) at Casa Ginory. Another favourite is Strava, on a narrow alley opposite Arrecife’s church, good for cheeses, cold meats and seasonal tapas. And Pastelería Lamontagne, on the road towards the beach, has been making French patisserie for almost 20 years.


Don’t miss La Casa Amarilla for a trip into the island’s rural past. This yellow-tiled building was once Lanzarote’s Cabildo (government HQ) and its exhibitions are a marvel: the historic black-and-white photos often feature women at work in the fields or carrying supplies along the steep Camino de los Gracioseros, which leads down to the coast facing the undeveloped island of La Graciosa.

The influence of the 20th-century architect and artist César Manrique is still felt all over the island. The Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, an 18th-century castle which Manrique remodelled in the 1970s, has displays of his paintings alongside work by other Spanish artists. Even the bathrooms have a design twist, with swirling whitewashed stairs and picture windows overlooking the ocean.

After a stroll around the Charco de San Ginés, weave along Callejón Luis Hernández Fuentes, past the 17th-century Iglesia de San Ginés, to reach the centre’s lively pedestrianised streets. Overlooking Plaza de la Constitución, the BySiroco concept boutique stocks handcrafted Portuguese ceramics, vintage vinyl, sustainable fashion and great menswear. Nearby, Naad Beauty specialises in eco-friendly cosmetics. Jaira also showcases small-scale labels, while Caracola, opposite, sells fabulous Spanish-made shoes.

Around the corner is Queso Project, which stocks artisanal cheesemakers; Somm & Company for gourmet products, such as Janubio salt and Stratvs wines; and Algomás, a deli packed with local goodies. In neighbouring Marina Lanzarote, La Corona does amazing handmade chocolates, and a few doors away Boho Espartería has beautiful homewares, including esparto-grass lampshades from Cádiz.

Green space

In town, the golden sands of Playa del Reducto is a peaceful spot bordered by palms and with views across the Atlantic. But I recommend taking a 15-minute drive out into the lunar-like volcanic heart of the island, for a three-mile walk looping the crater of the Volcán del Cuervo near Tinajo. It was the first volcano created by the 18th-century eruptions here, and has a spectacular contrast of colours. Afterwards, pop down the road to El Chupadero in the wine-growing La Geria region for a glass of malvasía while watching the sunset.

The town’s main nightlife area is now over in Arrecife’s marina, where club-bars such as Karma and La Grulla stay open late, though it’s still a relaxed scene. Or head to Niño Salvaje for cocktails and a tapa of croquetas.

A 10-minute drive from Arrecife, my hotel, Álava Suites, has six rooms (doubles from €120 B&B) It is inspired by Lanzarote’s volcanic scenery and set among swaying Canarian gardens. Days start with breakfast by the pool. On the city seafront, the recently refurbished Arrecife Gran Hotel (doubles from €114) has a beachy feel and excellent arroces (rice dishes) and seafood at its restaurant, Alarz.

María Álava is the Lanzaroteña founder of Álava Suites and its sustainably rooted fashion offshoot, Álava Brand

Isabella Noble

The GuardianTramp

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