As the major tourist resort on Lanzarote, in the Tías region, Puerto del Carmen has three huge blue-flag beaches, a good range of cheap apartments, villas and luxury hotels to suit any budget and a vibrant strip, the Avenida de las Playas, where most of the action takes place.
Great bars, great tapas and buzzing nightclubs mark out the resort as the most exciting on the island and celebratory events took place here throughout 2007 to mark the 40th anniversary of tourism in Puerto del Carmen. If you missed that then visit next February when it’s carnival time on the island.
The Puerto Tinosa harbour and docks in the old town show off a calmer, more scenic side of the Canaries, with great views from the hills here and wonderful white-washed villas adding to the atmosphere.
Getting there, getting around Puerto del Carmen
Many different airlines fly to the island, which is about four hours from the UK, and Lanzarote’s main airport, Arrecife, is only a 15-minute drive from Puerto del Carmen. It’s easy to catch a bus from the airport and head straight down to the centre.
Walking around is about the best way to explore the narrow streets of the old town, but for heading along the Avenida de las Playas to enjoy the beaches further south, catching a bus is your best option.
To explore areas outside Puerto del Carmen, hiring a car is a good alternative.
Puerto del Carmen beaches
Playa Grande – or Playa Blanca, as it is also known – is the big beach extending around two miles along the Avenida de las Playas. It’s a sandy, family-friendly beach where you’ll be able to enjoy banana boat rides, pedalos and paragliding activities.
By comparison, Playa de los Pocillos and Playa de Matagorda, also bordering the promenade, are quieter beaches with various watersport activities on offer including the opportunity to windsurf. Windsurfing and diving schools can be found around the area.
Puerto del Carmen sightseeing
The museum of Canarian Whales and Dolphins and its neighbouring art gallery in Puerto Calero are worth a look at, but for some of the best sights it’s better to venture slightly away from the resort.
On an island renowned for its volcanic geology the Timanfaya National Park is a must. The fire mountains here are a consequence of intense volcanic activity nearly 200 years ago and the rare plants and other-worldly landscape features and mini-geysers are captivating. It’s possible to travel through the area in the south-western part of Lanzarote on camelback.
The influence of architect César Manrique in foresaking the development of high-rise tourist apartment blocks for more harmonic, cultural structures such as the museum of International and Contemporary Art and the César Manrique Foundation house – a house fashioned from volcanic surroundings – are places really worth seeing and provide an organic and artistic sense of housing which makes the island stand apart from its neighbours.
Puerto del Carmen family attractions
Jump on board a Sub Cat Submarine tour which departs from the old town harbour and allows the family to enjoy the start of the trip on deck before the vessel slowly submerges to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, about 30 metres below. Here the submarine’s viewing portals will thrill the kids as a vivid underwater world springs to life around them.
Back on dry land but just away from Puerto del Carmen, between the town and Arrecife there are opportunities for go-karting at the Gran Karting Club.
Alternatively, the Rancho Texas Theme Park won’t disappoint. Just a 10-minute walk from Hotel San Antonio, the park’s attractions include a zoo and opportunities to go canoeing, pan for gold and ride horses. Special BBQ, country and western and Spanish theme nights are also laid on here.
Puerto del Carmen day trips
Head out underground to the Cuevas de los Verdes, a lava tube comprising one of the longest volcanic tunnels, illuminated by some pretty impressive lighting. It was a hiding place for locals on the island when pirates came to visit and is now a popular attraction on Lanzarote, which can be accessed via the impressive Cactus Gardens towards the south of the island.
The Old Harbour can be your starting point for a day out at sea, with boat excursions a popular way to appreciate Puerto del Carmen’s beaches from a different perspective. Glass-bottom boats, fishing vessels and even a submarine will help transport you around for a fun day out at sea.
If you fancy island-hopping head down to Playa Blanca for a boat crossing to Corralejo in North Fuerteventura. The journey takes around half an hour.
Puerto del Carmen eating
Take your pick from 100 restaurants around Puerto del Carmen, with practically every type of food available along the strip, including authentic regional dishes as well as fast food, Chinese, Indian and Mexican.
In the Old Town around the harbour area is a good choice of fine restaurants including La Cascada Puerto and Tomatissimo. For great views across to Fuerteventura and a modern twist on classic Spanish cooking try eating at Puerto Bahia, while Casa Roja has some great fish dishes.
The island’s home-grown Malvasia wine should be tried alongside tapas dishes, which are available all over the region, and the signature meal, pescado a la sal. Fish baked in salt should also not be missed.
Puerto del Carmen nightlife
Centro is where it’s all at along the central section of the Avenida de las Playas. It’s the main nightclub hub of the island, with a huge number of bars and dancefloors including Caesars, Waikiki and Paradise.
In the Old Town harbour area Rumm is the place to get excited about; designed into three different zones, it only opens its doors at midnight.
Puerto del Carmen shopping
Head down the main beach avenue for everything you need from electrical goods to local crafts and gifts. The Biosfera shopping complex is one of the best places to grab bargains on the island, and particularly good for clothes shopping. Try the Sunday morning market in nearby Teguise as well.
Take advantage of the island’s tax-free status and purchase items such as tobacco, perfume and jewellery.