Although Lanzarote is the 4th largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, it is only 60km long and 20km wide allowing cruise ship passengers enough time to visit most of the island during a day in port. Best known as a year round package holiday destination thanks to its sub-tropical climate Lanzarote exhibits a unique ‘lunar landscape’ created by volcanic eruptions in the 18th and 19th centuries. Features resulting from such seismic activity are the island’s main tourist sights together with more recent artistic attractions created by local artist César Manrique.
Port of Lanzarote
Cruise ships visiting Lanzarote arrive at Arrecife on the island’s east coast. They dock either at the Muelle de Los Marmoles just east of the town centre or at La Boca de Puerto Naos which is very close to the centre. Shuttle buses are provided from Los Marmoles into the centre of Arrecife or you can walk there in about 30 minutes. From Puerto Naos it’s a short and very pleasant stroll into town although transport is usually provided.
In spite of the small size of the island some six million passengers per year pass through its airport which lies just 7km west of Arrecife’s main cruise terminal at La Boca de Puerto Naos. Private transfers from Arrecife Airport to and from cruise ships or to holiday resorts all over Lanzarote are available from Shuttledirect.
Getting Around in Lanzarote
Taxis are available at both docks for local transport or for island tours to coincide with your ship’s scheduled departure time. These are a good option for a group of up to four passengers who would like to see the best of the island’s volcanic attractions during their day in port. Typically these taxis charge around 150 Euros for a four hour tour, just be sure to confirm the total price (not per person) before setting off on any excursions. Another fairly cheap option is to rent a car for the day, however, with the availability of excursions offered by the cruise line and the taxi tour availability it hardly seems worth the hassle of driving.
Main Tourist Attractions
Arrecife is a pleasant enough Canarian town but has little in the way of major attractions to offer cruise ship passengers who are in port for the day. If you decide against an island excursion you should take a stroll along the waterfront to El Charco de San Ginés which is an inlet of water surrounded by pretty fishermen’s houses and a number of cafés and restaurants. Heading deeper into the urban area offers little for visitors unless you want to take a walk around the shops on Calle León y Castillo.
Duty-Free Shopping: Lanzarote, along with the other Canary Islands, enjoys duty-free status which means that its taxes are not under the jurisdiction of the European Union. As such, cruise ship passengers can buy various goods such as alcohol, tobacco and perfumes at much lower prices than in mainland Europe.
For a more cultural experience you should visit the Castillo de San José which was built in the 18th century as a defence against pirate attacks. Today is home to the impressive Museum of International and Contemporary Art which exhibits works by a number of famous Spanish artists. Another cultural attraction located just 5km north of Arrecife is the César Manrique Foundation. This unique structure was created by the local artist-architect within a series of lava bubbles with the intention of showing how development of the island’s infrastructure in an age of mass tourism could be achieved in an ecological manner.
Passengers who would simply prefer to visit a beach for the day can easily walk to Playa del Reducto on the western edge of town which is overlooked by some pleasant beach bars. Alternatively, you could head for Costa Teguise or Puerto del Carmen which are two of the island’s main resorts. Both are easily accessible by taxi or public bus from Arrecife.
If you decide to take a shore excursion from Arrecife the memory you will take away with you will be the spectacular volcanic scenery of the Timanfaya National Park on the west coast. Visitors can take camel rides across this almost unimaginable landscape to visit the volcanoes. Other highlights of your day will include the Monumento Natural del Malpaís de La Corona in the north-east which is home to a volcanic cave called La Cueva de los Verdes and the Jameos del Agua cavern which hosts seasonal concerts.
One Night in Lanzarote
If your ship happens to be docked in Arrecife overnight you should head over to El Charco in the evening to enjoy some tapas at a terrace bar overlooking the fishing boats in the lagoon. Tasca La Raspa on the eastern side of the water is a good choice whilst nearby Divina Italia El Charco is very popular with pasta lovers. Both venues offer outside dining with views over the water. For a greater choice of restaurants you’d be better off taking a taxi along the coast to Puerto del Carmen where you’ll find a wide range of international cuisine on offer.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the most established and respected airport transfer provider in Europe and northern Africa. Our friendly local drivers will ensure your safe, economical, and convenient passage to and from the cruise terminal, airport, or major train station of your choice with a minimum of fuss. Book your transfer with our easy to use online booking system and leave the rest up to us!