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Arrecife (; 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 was in 2018 61351, in 2020 it had a population of 64,645, its area is 22.72 square kilometres (8.77 sq mi). 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 canarian islands and Europe as well 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 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.


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

Historical population


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


Urbanización Playa Honda (subdivision), south

Assets of Cultural Interest

The real estate properties of Arrecife registered in the Register of Assets of Cultural Interest are: Casa de los Arroyo Castillo de San Gabriel Castillo de San José Iglesia Matriz de San Ginés Obispo Fachada del edificio Segarra Headquarter of the Island Council of Lanzarote Salinas de Naos Salinas de Bufona

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
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