ARRECIFE (Canary Islands)
Nestled on the east coast of Lanzarote, Arrecife takes its name from the rocky reefs and outcrops that dominate its coastline. This pretty working city has a friendly, authentic feel, and has managed to remain true to its roots as a historic fishing village. There’s a lot to explore, and whether you want to lie back on long swathes of opulent golden sand, or strap on hiking boots to crunch across Lanzarote’s scorched volcanic scenery, this versatile capital has so much to offer. With castles, caves, sleepy beaches, and a glittering saltwater lagoon, Arrecife is the perfect place to get acquainted with the sun-kissed appeal of the Canary Islands.
Lanzarote’s charcoal desert vistas radiate a remarkable luna-like quality, but dotted cacti, waving palms, and bursts of vibrant wildflowers add an accent of colour to the canvas. Arrecife itself boasts apricot-coloured beaches and labyrinthine lanes of white-wash buildings within its Old Quarter, where you can smell fresh fish grilling, and see locals dipping delicious local salty potatoes - papas arrugadas - into colourful sauces. An evening stroll along El Charco de san Gines is a must for watching fishing boats bobbing gently on the lagoon, and watching spectacular sunsets burning across the sky.
Standing tall for more than four centuries, Castillo De San Gabriel is located on the tiny island of Islote de los Ingleses, and was once a target for pirates, who would appear menacingly on the Atlantic’s horison. The stalwart 16th-century fortress now serves as the History Museum of Arrecife, and exhibitions inside explore the evolution of the city, and the ancient culture of Lanzarote. The International Museum of Contemporary Art, meanwhile, displays modern and abstract works within the 18th-century San José Castle’s refined setting. See works from Cesar Manrique - the prominent artist and architect whose slick sixties style flair can be admired across the island.