Arrecife is Lanzarote's 'modern' Capital and is the go to place for locals to shop, sunbathe, and party. The promenade is lined with apartments and bars, and is slightly more built up than the rest of the island.
Running alongside the promenade you will find the sands of El Reducto beach, where you can watch locals play volleyball, build sand sculptures or just relax in the sun.
Once on the promenade, one of the first things that you will notice is the large 17 storey building directly in front of you. This building is completely unique, as it is the only 'skyscraper' on the island. Cesar Manrique, the late local, treasured architect, seeked to ensure that Lanzarote's natural beauty was preserved and the skyline wasn't ruined by building work. One way in which he did this was to ensure that every building here on the island was white, and only three stories high or less. The Gran Hotel was built against his ruling whilst he was away from the island. It stood empty for years to come and was often frequented by squatters but after many years it was allowed to stay, so long as it held touristic value. The building was destroyed by fire in 1994 and stood derelict for a decade until reopening as The Gran Hotel in 2004.
A cafe has been opened at the top of the hotel, where visitors can enjoy a coffee, beer, or a cocktail, whilst admiring the views of Arrecife, the airport, Puerto Del Carmen, and the volcanos of Lanzarote.
Arrecife is home to the Lanzarote Football team (U.D Lanzarote), who compete in the fourth tier structure of Spanish Football. They play their home games against opponents from other Canary Islands on a Sunday at midday.
If you wish to relax and unwind, then we recommend a visit to El Charco de San Ginès. This saltwater lagoon is surrounded by excellent cafes and shops that provide a picturesque view over the torquise waters and the small boats moored in the Charco. This area was once described as the "Venice of the Atlantic" by Manrique and it's easy to see why.
If it's shopping you're looking for then the new Marina is for you. It is home to a number of well known brands and bars and restaurants, although our opinion is that the area is a little bland and given the investment that was spent on the project we did expect a little more. Having said that, it's still a good place to sit and watch the world go by after you've splashed out on those designer clothes and are enjoying a coffee or cold beer by the waters edge. There is a dedicated shopping area in the city that is pedestrianised where you can also find a number of high street shops including Zara. Be warned though than the locals do enjoy a siesta and during the late afternoon Arrecife can appear to be very quiet with little to offer.
Arrecife is also home to the only deep water port on the island. Huge cruise ships can often be seen coming in and out of the port bringing tourists to the island, although many of the cruise go-ers are whisked away on a coach to other famous Lanzarote landmarks.