This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure about affiliate links here.
The Spanish island of Lanzarote was the first place where I travelled solo. It was a safe place to embark on the method of travelling that has become the norm for me. Ironically, Lanzarote is not popular with solo travellers, catering mostly for couples and family package holidays.
This post is an overview of the best place to stay in Lanzarote and the suitability of the resorts for different types of traveller.
BEST PLACE TO STAY IN LANZAROTE
PUERTO DEL CARMEN:
This is the busiest and oldest of the Lanzarote resorts. There are no shortage of facilities here: bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs and a large beach that is excellent for chilling out on and participating in water-sports.
The modern part of Puerto del Carmen (PDC) rolls down the hill towards the coast. At the bottom, a quaint Old Town and harbour gives PDC an atmosphere that regular holiday resorts this size generally lack. Planning laws have kept the skyline low-rise.
With a wide range of accommodation and activities, PDC is suitable for all types of travellers and is considered by many friends and acquaintances as the best place to stay in Lanzarote – Check out the town’s selection on booking.com. However, if you want to get a good night’s sleep, avoid staying in the Avenue de las Playas area.
This is the area immediately north east of PDC. Although some package holiday companies distinguish between these areas and PDC, booking.com doesn’t. So when on that website, search for Puerto del Carmen and move the map towards the right.
A wide selection of the accommodation in the Matagorda/Los Pocillos area has a sea view. You can also watch the planes land at nearby Arrecife airport.
Matagorda/Los Pocillos is a quiet area and I consider it the best place to stay in Lanzarote for solo travellers and older couples. Matagorda doesn’t have the selection of cafes, restaurants and shops that PDC has (Los Pocillos less so) but PDC is only 10 minutes by taxi. In fact, a palm-backed pedestrian/cycle way connects PDC all the way to the airport.
Puerto Calero is a small resort south west of PDC that has its yacht harbour as its focal point. Puerto Calero is an upmarket resort so is suited to travellers who are not on a budget. At the time, I felt it was too reserved for solo travellers.
The other drawback is the lack of a beach near the town centre. The nearest beaches are in PDC and Playa Quemada. The latter is a beach with black volcanic sand. However, if yachting and sea trips are your thing, Puerto Calero is the place in Lanzarote for you. Accommodation is available on booking.com.
Playa Blanca is the most southerly of the Lanzarote resorts. I’ll be honest, my first and last impression was Is this it? Playa Blanca is promoted as an alternative to PDC and, in a way, I can see why.
Firstly, it is a modern resort with excellent facilities that meet the needs of the sun, sand and sea customer. Playa Dorada and Playa Flamingo are pretty central to the town and both are hugged on either side by a man-made jetty. Playa del Papagayo, considered the best beach in Lanzarote, is only a couple of minutes’ drive east of the town.
Playa Blanca felt generic. But given its facilities, it can cater for many types of travellers especially families and groups. A huge selection of accommodation is available in the town on booking.com. The road to Playa Blanca from the rest of the island is scenic and well worth a day trip.
Costa Teguise is a purpose-built holiday resort a couple of miles north of capital city, Arrecife. Given the number of water-sports activities available, this resort is great for young families and sporty types.
I felt there was a little more life and soul in Costa Teguise than there was in Playa Blanca. It was by far the easiest resort to find parking in. In general, it’s a spread-out resort that comes recommended by friends. Check out its selection of accommodation on booking.com.
Like all of the resorts mentioned above, standards of restaurants, shops, cafes etc were high. Several beaches serve the resort.
Costa Teguise is well positioned for sightseeing. Teguise, a town a couple of miles north of the resort, dates back centuries and is well worth a stroll. Mirador del Rio is within a one hour drive of Costa Teguise.
WHAT TO DO IN LANZAROTE
Sun, sand and sea are the obvious draws to Lanzarote. But the island also has some interesting sights.
TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK:
The solidified lava of this park is what remains of the large volcanic eruption of the 1730s. It is one of the most unique landscapes one will find – Mars on Earth.
Drive up to the top of the Fire Mountain to get stunning views of the area plus see the live volcano in action – volcanic heat cooks a barbeque while water poured down holes is turned into a jet of steam.
The park is an unmissable part of a trip to Lanzarote. Tour companies offer day trips from the resorts to Timanfaya.
FUNDACIÓN CÉSAR MANRIQUE:
Manrique was a local architect and artist who successfully campaigned for sustainable tourism development on the island. He influenced planning laws to the extent that high-rise buildings are not permitted on Lanzarote. The foundation he set up is located in his former home, a mind-blowing structure built into a volcanic eruption. There are works by Picasso and Miró on display as well.
MIRADOR DEL RIO:
This is one of the most northerly look-out points of the island. There are stunning views of Graciosa Island and the rest of the Chinijo archipelago to be had from the bar/shop, a building that was designed by César Manrique.
JAMEOS DEL AGUA:
Another César Manrique construct, Jameos del Agua is built from the air pockets created when molten lava cooled. The roof of some air pockets collapsed and Manrique designed a social and cultural attraction out of the remains. I only visited during the day and loved the Bond villain look of the place. I’ve been told that night-time is equally atmospheric with the lighting and live performances in the auditorium.
GETTING TO LANZAROTE
Lanzarote is part of the Canary Islands located off the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara. Even though the Canaries are part of Spain, the islands have a Duty Free tax status. This means cigarettes, alcohol and perfume are significantly cheaper here than the rest of Spain. However, there are limitations on the amount of these products you can bring into other EU countries.
Arrecife Airport is the only airport on the island and is well connected to Europe through charter and scheduled airlines. The Canary Islands are a year-round sun destination.
Lanzarote is connected to the other main Canary Islands – Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura – by ferry and flight.
GETTING AROUND LANZAROTE
Intercity Bus operates the island’s public bus service. For convenience, car rental is the best way to travel the island and was the method I used.