About Puerto del Carmen beaches
Puerto del Carmen is the biggest and busiest resort on Lanzarote. It divides quite discretely into ‘old’ and ‘new’. The new face of Puerto del Carmen begins along the beachfront at the landmark hotel Los Fariones (Roque del Este). From here, ‘The Strip’, as Avenida de las Playa is known locally, is a 3km (2-mile) cheek-by-jowl procession of shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and nightspots, overlooking a broad dark sandy beach. North and just inland of Los Fariones is the original part of town, now swamped by holiday developments, but still retaining a few unspoiled pockets. The old port, busy with fishing and pleasure boats, is a picturesque spot overlooked by restaurants and bars, old and new, some occupying a grandstand balcony position on the hill above.
The main town beach, Playa Grande, is a broad stretch of dark sand which stretches for over 3km (2 miles) along the Avenida de las Playas, running almost seamlessly into the satellite resorts of Los Pocillos and Matagorda. Diving is the principal watersport. For parascending and water banana rides head to Playa Chica, an attractive sandy cove just north of the Los Fariones hotel.
Beyond the beach:
The swish marina of Puerto Calero, 5km (3 miles) west of Puerto del Carmen, offers excursions by yacht, submarine or catamaran, and diving opportunities. The new Museum of Canarian Whales and Dolphins here is small but worth a visit; there’s a lively art gallery next door (both free admission). Stay for lunch as there are some very good places to eat and drink along the attractive waterfront. The best way of getting here is by water taxi from the port at Puerto del Carmen.
A trip aboard the Yellow Submarine from Puerto Calero, or the Rancho Texas Wild West theme park are good options close to Puerto del Carmen. Further afield, AquaPark at Costa Teguise offers younger children plenty of watery thrills and spills, while all ages will enjoy a camel trek in the extraordinary Timanfaya National Park.
Lanzarote is a relatively small island and from Puerto del Carmen anywhere is within a comfortable day trip. Don’t miss the volcanic landscapes of the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, the extraordinary black lava vineyards of La Geria, the Cueva de los Verdes and any (preferably all) of the seven César Manrique’s astonishingly landscaped visitor attractions. For many years the poor relation, Arrecife, the island capital, 12km (7 miles) north, has been given a makeover and is now well worth a visit. It has a beautiful new promenade, two fine museum/galleries (make time for lunch at the César Manrique-designed restaurant at the Castillo de San José art gallery in Puerto Naos), plus some very good modern and traditional shopping.
A meal at the Altamar, on the 17th floor of the Gran Hotel in Arrecife might well be a highlight of your holiday in all ways. It’s by far the tallest building on the island and large picture windows and pale wooden floorboards add to the feeling that you are floating above Lanzarote. The food is excellent.