Cornering the market on Lanzarote’s best resort beaches, Puerto del Carmen is the rightful queen of the tourist scene.
It can be hard to choose between Lanzarote’s three main resorts. Laid-back Playa Blanca boasts mountainside villas and a clutch of small town beaches, while purpose-buit Costa Teguise lures with its four natural bays and time-honoured charms, having first accommodated visitors in the 1970s, but when it comes, however, to sun-soaking, page flipping and sea dipping, Puerto del Carmen is the golden one.
Young families flock here at the peak of summer, but the tail end of autumn, winter and early spring are ideal times to see a different side to Puerto del Carmen, a relaxed, festival-filled period when t-shirts are still en vogue and chilled seafront tipples are just as refreshing.
Here are some of the top things to do in and around Puerto del Carmen.
The island offers an array of beaches. In Papagayo in the south of Lanzarote, you can expect unspoiled, secluded stretches, and Famara, on the west coast offers more rugged sands where the wind dances among the dunes.
Puerto del Carmen’s beaches are wide, golden and just steps away from a fresh-from-the-sea platter or an ice-filled cocktail that rivals the colours of sunset. In short, they’re perfect, and the EU thinks so too - as each has a Blue Flag.
Playa Grande is the queen bee among those honeyed stretches of fine grains, where calm ways roll tenderly onto the shores. Around a mile long and an average of 100 meteres deep, this huge town beach is sandwiched between tranquil waters and a meandering promenade; behind this are shops, cafés and restaurants.
Even bigger than Playa Grande, Playa de los Pocillos runs in front of hotels in the area known as Los Pocillos, which many consider part of Puerto del Carmen. With less protection from the famous Canary Island breeze, the sands of Los Pocillos host kite fliers, while the waters off it tempt windsurfers.
The best of the rest: close to the Old Town and harbour, neighbouring Fariones Beach and Playa Chica, also known as Pila de la Barrilla, are petite but protected. Local children jump from the jetties and scuba divers wade, between sun worshippers, into the underwater world of Puerto del Carmen. At the other end of the promenade (the Avenida de Las Playas), tiny El Barranquillo is hidden by a maze of alleyways - your curiosity will be rewarded.
With average daily temperatures between autumn and spring ranging from 20°C to 23°C, a glorious parade of festivals and events revel in the milder weather and easy-going atmosphere of Puerto del Carmen.
National days and religious holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are celebrated with zeal. Major events include May’s Ironman, which brings onlookers to Playa Grande, where the ocean greets eager swimmers, and finally to the streets, where weary runners complete the gruelling triathlon.
It’s the annual Carnival, however, that gets feet tapping and hips shaking. There’s no controlling it. The colourful parade arrives on its tour from the capital, Arrecife, in February or March, though carnival fever grips Puerto del Carmen for weeks before the main event.
Things to do in Puerto del Carmen
A saunter around the Old Town harbour is the perfect way to start the day. The steep inclines get the blood pumping while breakfast menus are likely to have stomachs rumbling. Boat trips depart from the harbour throughout the day.
Glass-bottom boats, dolphin-watching trips, catamaran jaunts and visits to nearby Fuerteventura are all available.
Puerto del Carmen is one of the best places to shop in Lanzarote. The usual tourist and duty-free offerings line the seafront, though Biosfera Plaza, to the rear of the Old Town, is more likely to have you flashing the plastic. Guess Ray-Ban and Levi's are familiar, while shoppers soon become acquainted with Spanish fashion labels such as Springfield and Pull&Bear. Visit between January and March to hunt for bargains in the winter sales.
After all that shopping and sightseeing, refreshments are available in the myriad bars of Puerto del Carmen, from themed pubs to neon-lit bars by the sea. Dining is also a pleasure here. Top eateries range from tapas bars and steak joints, to curry houses and glitzy Asian-inspired restaurants.
Things to do near Puerto del Carmen
Lush, manicured greens are a welcome treat for the senses on volcanic Lanzarote. The 18 holes at Lanzarote Golf, on the outskirts of the resort, blend a Ron Kirby-designed, 72-par course with spectacular Atlantic Ocean vistas.
The upscale marina of Puerto Calero offers more in the way of boat trips and shopping, though designer tags hang off the clothes rails here. A strip of restaurants and bars lines the harbour, where diners enjoy a soundtrack of clinking cutlery and chattering yacht rigging.
There’s a bracing clifftop walk from Puerto del Carmen to Puerto Calero (just over an hour), or a taxi ride takes 10 minutes.
If you have young family members joining you, you can’t go wrong with a day trip to Rancho Texas. This Wild West themed animal and water park is minutes from Puerto del Carmen and regular buses run from the resort.
Hire a car during your Lanzarote getaway and explore this incredible landscape with ease.
The volcano-dotted Fire Mountains are best seen in Timanfaya National Park, which is just 20 minutes by road from Puerto del Carmen, though it feels like a world away. The route takes you through the wine-producing region of La Geria, so stop by a bodega and find out what volcanic earth and intense sunshine can do for a bottle of wine.
Legendary Lanzarote artist César Manrique adorned his island home with a trove of large-scale masterpieces. Visit the volcanic bubbles turned rooms at the César Manrique Foundation, which is a 15-minute drive from Puerto del Carmen, or journey into the north (35 minutes) where Manrique made over a system of caves - Jameos del Agua.
With some of the finest beaches in the Canary Islands and a strong line-up of supporting acts, holidays in Puerto del Carmen are the perfect antidote to the British winter.
If you want to relax on the sun-drenched Lanzarote shores for your next holiday, check out our Resort Directory below to book your next fantastic break away.
If you own timeshare but are not a member of the RCI Holiday Exchange programme, what are you waiting for? Click Join RCI below to start travelling around the world, one destination at a time.