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Arrecife, which is the capital of the Island of Lanzarote and the biggest city with a population of over 46,000. This harbour city gets its name from the numerous reefs that are all around this section of the coast (The Spanish for reef is Arrecife). The main visitor attractions are the good seafood restaurants, historical monuments and good selection of shops.

Arrecife has two castles, the oldest is the Castillo San Gabriel which was began in the 16th century. It is found on a tiny islet just opposite the city, to get there just cross the causeway. Inside the fort is a small museum with exhibits about the original inhabitants of the island. On the outskirts of the city above Puerto Marmoles is the bigger Castillo San Jose, which has a nice Art Gallery. The castle also has a good restaurant originally designed by the sculptor plus architect, Cesar Manrique.

The most dominant landmark in Arrecife is the fine Gran Hotel. Apparently when Cesar Manrique returned to Lanzarote from a trip to New York in the sixties, he was appalled seeing this modern tower hotel being constructed on the front. Manrique used his contacts to halt its building, and the construction was left uncomplete for many decades. It has now been finished, but to stop Lanzarote being ruined with tower apartments, the government stopped all new construction over 4 storeys. Manrique carried on to design many of best known Arrecife attractions.

One of the more unusual natural features is the lagoon the Charco San Gines, surrounded by a nice area with old houses, tapas bars and good restaurants. The main beach of Arrecife, the Playa del Reducto, is located near the Gran Hotel. Along the beach is a nice esplanade lined with palms and bars which are perfect for a relaxing stop.

The main Arrecife shopping area, with a selection of womens boutiques, electrical shops and pavement cafes, is Calle Leon y Castillo. You may have to haggle to get the best deals. Prices in local supermarkets are mostly cheaper than in the holiday resorts. The nightlife in the city is generally quiet, and is mostly centered on local cafes and music bars. Arrecife is a good pick if you wish to sample typical Canarian food.

The biggest of the Arrecife fiestas, the Feria de San Gines, which is held in honour of the patron saint of Arrecife, sees traditional Canarian wrestling and some popular processions, finishing in a massive firework show on the front in late August.

Arrecife is situated just over 3 miles (or nearly 5 km) from the international airport. There are regular services from there to Playa del Reducto and Estacion de Guagas. The journey takes nearly 20 mins, with a single ticket costing about 2 euros. There are regular services from Arrecife to Tias, Puerto del Carmen and Teguise. A cab from the airport to the Arrecife costs roughly 15 euros.
For loads more info and tourism advice about Arrecife, Lanzarote, please visit Arrecife Canary Islands, Spain.

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