Arrecife is a small city and Capital of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. In comparison to other cities I have visited, it is smaller, quieter and easily manageable for any adventursaurus even if you are only visiting for one day.
Cities generally tend to give me slight anxiety, which usually is worsened if I haven’t planned my day well or at least know where I can go to eat. My decision to explore Arrecife was last minute with zero planning beforehand (yet again). I hadn’t even checked the bus times beforehand which resulted in a 2 hour wait to begin my adventure. The bus station is hidden in a residential area of Lanzarote, which meant I got lost (twice) trying to find my way down to the harbour area. I would advise anyone planning on visiting, print a map off before, so you can find your way. I managed to take a photograph of a street map outside of the bus station, after I had walked past it three times. My rant about my sheer lack of direction aside, it is a straight walk along a downhill street to find the town centre.
After my overly complicated morning, which I could have easily avoided, I jumped into the first cafe I found for a well deserved coffee and cake (YAY! another country ticked off on my mission to eat cake in every country in the world). It turned out to be a very good choice going into Pasteleria Jonay. €6 allowed me to have a cappuccino and pastry with this view.
Refreshed and full of cake I decided to see whether I could get a bit closer to the beautiful blue ocean. I seriously cannot get over the infinite shades of blue Lanzarote has to offer (for more blue click here).
I decided to wander over one of the bridges towards the Castillo de San Gabriel. It was originally built in 1573 to defend Arrecife from pirates, but it was burned down by a Berber pirate named Morato Arráez. The Castillo de San Gabriel is located on a small island, Isolte de los Ingleses, which is easily accessible by foot. Sadly the building was all locked up on the day I visited, but that meant there were few people around. The views over to Arrecife and the Atlantic ocean are fabulous, honestly I spent an hour here soaking up the view and taking photographs. Before making my way into the small beach nestled in between the two causeways. The water was so calm and clear, perfect for some plodging.
As I had went over one bridge, going back I chose the alternate one. The Puente de las Bolas (Ball Bridge), a small drawbridge with two cannonballs on top of its pillars. It is the only bridge of its kind in the Canary Islands. It was very exciting to walk across, especially with the water turning glittery underneath it (I wonder if it is magical).
Leaving the coast behind next up was a wander through the streets, where the main shopping area is. Much to my dislike, but my photographer has to feed the addiction to Zara clothes somehow.
Managing to get lost in the cool streets, brought me out at the statue of a Jurassic friend at the side of a small lagoon. The lagoon is big, blue and beautiful (best of all there are boats!). Even though there are numerous tapas bars and restaurants surrounding this, there is a distinct laid back vibe and yes there are a lot of people but no crowds. This may change in the summer! It’s quite a walk around the lagoon, past the sun bleached and peeling white fisherman’s houses. There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the views, the mountains behind contrast perfectly with the whites and blues. I was lucky enough to visit on a day where the water was so clear I could see all of the fishies swimming around, and the boats were reflecting perfectly one the water.
Making my way back the the seafront I found a huge sign, where I decided to stand on it to get one last view of the castle. Then it was time to make my way back to the bus station (without getting lost).
As the buses were once every two hours I got a late bus back, but it meant I got to see the lava fields glowing red as the sun set over the timanfaya national park. Finally watching the sun go down over the Salinas de Janubio (salt flats).
Reflecting on my day whilst on the bus I realised, Arrecife has helped me to overcome my travel anxiety and has helped me realise I am able to go on spontaneous trips whilst abroad. However, I think I will be making sure to do at least some research before visiting bigger cities in the future.
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