Puerto del Carmen is the Island’s busiest and biggest resort. It is home to lots of bars, restaurants, cafes and nightspots. Two out of every three people who visit Lanzarote stay in one of the hotels and apartment complexes that fill the town. To cater to all these people there is a huge range of sports and entertainment on offer in the town.
If you are looking for character, you can visit the old town that sits around the picturesque harbour. The harbour (also known as La Tinosa) is full of small fishing boats and a plethora of pleasure craft. Cafes and restaurants, many of which have seating outside, line the area around the harbour. The Old Town on the hillside behind the harbour is a labyrinth of narrow streets where you’ll find a few local restaurants, bars and shops.
Like many other places in Lanzarote, Puerto del Carmen started life as a small fishing village. It was established as a holiday resort in the 1960s when the Los Fariones and the San Antonio hotels were built. Both of these still exist today. It has since grown exponentially and now stretches several kilometres along the coast. However, the strict planning restrictions in Lanzarote have meant that there are no high-rise buildings in the town.
Beaches in Puerto del Carmen
If beaches are your thing, Puerto del Carmen has almost 6 km of golden sand beaches. All the beaches have a blue flag. This indicates a lack of contamination and cleanliness. The water off the coast here is generally calm and excellent for swimming.
Across from the beach on the other side of the Avenida de las Playas is the “Strip”. This is where you’ll find the Island’s largest concentration of shops, restaurants, nightclubs and bars.
There are four main beaches in Puerto del Carmen. Heading east from the harbour the first beach is Playa Chica. This is only a small beach with rock formations surrounding it. The beach is a favourite with locals and it’s great for snorkelling, there are lots of fish in the water here. There is a dive school right next to the beach if you fancy trying that.
Playa Blanca/Playa Grande
Continue east around the headland and Hotel Fariones to arrive at the Playa Blanca/Playa Grande beach. This is the reason Puerto del Carmen became so popular. The large beach complete with blue parasols, sunbeds and pedalos is very busy. The water here doesn’t have any strong currents and is quite shallow, so the sea temperature is always warm and very safe for swimming, especially for children. The beach is cleaned every day.
Playa de los Pocillos and Playa Matagorda
A rocky stretch about 1 km long with two small sandy coves separates Playa Grande from the next large beach at Playa de los Pocillos. This beach is over 1 km in length and slightly bigger than Playa Grande. As you continue eastwards the tourist area gets more peaceful and the buildings now lining the coast road to Arrecife are mainly residential. The last beach along this section is the excellent Playa Matagorda which is much quieter than the others. However, it is very close to the airport so you do have to brave the noise of aircraft taking off and landing.
Location and getting around
Puerto del Carmen is located on the southeast coast in the central part of the Island. The main airport is only a 10-minute drive away. It is well connected to the road and bus network which makes it a very convenient place from which to fully explore Lanzarote’s many attractions.
The 161 bus connects Puerto del Carmen to both airport terminals and Playa Blanca in the south. This bus route runs through Puerto del Carmen with stops along the main strip and also at the Biosfera shopping centre. Bear in mind that parts of the strip in Puerto del Carmen are a one-way system, so the bus takes a different route back to the airport. You can also catch a bus to Arrecife from outside the Biosfera shopping centre. Once you’ve got to Arrecife you can catch a bus to most places in Lanzarote.
Taxis are not very expensive when they are used for short journeys in and around the resort. However, they can become quite pricey when used to travel further afield.
If you want some exercise the whole of the beachfront has a very nice promenade which stretches all the way to the airport and then onwards to Arrecife if you’re feeling energetic! If you travel west from Puerto del Carmen there is a short walk along the clifftops to Puerto Calero to enjoy.
In the actual resort, there are lots of shops selling beach necessities, clothing, souvenirs, duty-free perfume, tobacco and alcohol. There are also lots of electronic shops, be careful what you buy though!
The old town harbour area hosts a market in El Varadero square every Friday. This has about 100 stalls selling foods, crafts and souvenirs.
Puerto del Carmen has a three-storey shopping centre called the Biosfera Plaza. As well as shops it has an entertainment complex on the roof with cinema, crazy golf and children’s activities.
If you need a supermarket there is a fair-sized Superdino store on Calle Reina Sofia. Smaller Hiperdino Express tourist stores are scattered around the resort although these are more expensive.
Places to Eat and Nightlife
You’re spoilt for choice with restaurants, with over a 100 just on the Avenida de Las Playas. These sell food for all tastes and budgets, from fast food to gourmet dining. However, the best restaurants are located in the Old Town and Harbour area.
Puerto del Carmen is the busiest resort for nightlife. This tends to be centred around the Old Town Harbour and the Centro Atlantico on the strip where you’ll find a number of Disco-Bars. There are also a fair number of Irish Bars scattered around the town.
Other things to do in Lanzarote
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