Aerial view of Arrecife
Aerial view of Arrecife
Flag of Arrecife
Coat of arms of Arrecife
Coat of arms
Etymology: Spanish for Reef
Municipal location in Lanzarote
Municipal location in Lanzarote
Arrecife is located in Lanzarote
Location in Lanzarote
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Arrecife is located in Province of Las Palmas
Arrecife (Province of Las Palmas)
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Arrecife is located in Canary Islands
Arrecife (Canary Islands)
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Arrecife is located in Spain, Canary Islands
Arrecife (Spain, Canary Islands)
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Coordinates: 28°57′45″N 13°33′2″W / 28.96250°N 13.55056°W / 28.96250; -13.55056Coordinates: 28°57′45″N 13°33′2″W / 28.96250°N 13.55056°W / 28.96250; -13.55056
Country  Spain
Autonomous Community  Canary Islands
Province Las Palmas
Island Lanzarote
 • Mayor Ástrid Pérez Batista (PP)
 • Total 22.72 km2 (8.77 sq mi)
20 m (70 ft)
 (2018) [2]
 • Total 61,351
 • Density 2,700/km2 (7,000/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+00:00 (WET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (WEST)
Postal code
Area code(s) +34 (Spain) + 928 (Las Palmas)

Arrecife (/ˌærəˈsf/; Spanish pronunciation: [areˈθife]; locally [areˈsife]) is a city and municipality in the Canary Islands (Spain) situated in the centre-east of the island of Lanzarote, of which it has been the capital since 1852. The city owes its name to the rock reef ('Arrecife' is Spanish for 'reef') which covers the beach located in the city. The city also gives its name to the nearby Arrecife Airport.

The population of the municipality is 61351 (2018),[3] its area is 22.72 square kilometres (8.77 sq mi).[1] It is south of Teguise, east of San Bartolomé and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to its southeast. Arrecife is a port town on the east coast, served by ferries to the other islands and also Europe and mainland Africa. The LZ1 road connects Arrecife to the northeast of the island, the LZ2 road connects the capital to the island's southwest, and the LZ3 road serves as the city's beltway. The tallest building in Lanzarote is the Arrecife Gran Hotel, which is located on the seafront alongside the harbour.


The earliest records of Arrecife date from the fifteenth century when it was a small fishing settlement. The name, given then as Arrecifes, refers to the black volcanic reefs behind which boats could hide, protected from sudden pirate attacks.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century the settlement began to grow in response to a need for accommodation and warehousing to support growing trade between the old and new worlds. The first church was constructed at this time, consecrated to the first bishop of Arrecife, San Ginés. Growing prosperity increased the attractiveness of the town as a pirate target: in 1571 a notorious pirate named Dogan plundered and almost completely destroyed the little port town.

In 1964 Arrecife became the site of Lanzarote's first sea-water desalination plant, which was still operational in 2010.


Lanzarote has a marine desert climate according to the Köppen climatic classification.[4] The little precipitation is concentrated in the winter months.

Historical population

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1996 38,091 —    
2000 43,711 +3.50%
2005 53,920 +4.29%
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2010 58,156 +1.52%
2015 56,940 −0.42%
2018 61,351 +2.52%
Source: Centro de Datos, Cabildo de Lanzarote[3]


The Port of Arrecife is the main port facility for Lanzarote and the second busiest in the Canary Islands in terms of passengers.[6] It handles passenger ferries, cruise ships and ro-ro cargo, but also bulk, breakbulk, containers, liquid bulk, and has a large fishing port.[7]


  • Urbanización Playa Honda (subdivision), south

Sites of interest

  • Playa Reducto, Arrecife's town beach
  • Castillo de San José, 18th-century fortress that now houses a collection of modern art
  • Puente de Las Bolas, bridge leading to the Castillo de San Gabriel
  • Charco de San Ginés, man-made lagoon used by fishermen


See also


  1. ^ a b Instituto Canario de Estadística, area
  2. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  3. ^ a b "Población de derecho de Lanzarote según municipio. Evolución (1996-2019)" [Legal population of Lanzarote by municipality. Evolution (1996-2019)] (in Spanish). Centro de Datos, Cabildo de Lanzarote. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Guía resumida del clima en España (1981-2010)". Archived from the original on 2012-11-18.
  6. ^ "Port of Arrecife". Puertos de Las Palmas. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Port of Arrecife, Spain". Shipping Guides Limited. Retrieved 11 April 2021.

External links