Large and lively
Lanzarote’s largest and liveliest resort long ago outgrew its fishing village status. Today, international visitors - many of them British - flock here to stay in the mostly mid-range hotels and self-catering accommodation and to sun themselves on the 6kms of beaches.
Despite its size and popularity, Puerto del Carmen remains an attractive resort, with low-rise whitewashed buildings, thanks to the dedicated efforts of local architect, César Manrique to keep all development sympathetic to the natural surroundings.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...
A long promenade lines the seemingly endless Avenida de las Playa, stretching for 3kms (2 miles) along the resort, with a dense concentration of bars, shops and restaurants. The old town and harbour is the prettiest and most atmospheric part of the resort, with some lovely restaurants looking out to sea where fishermen still bring in their catches as they have done for centuries.
The aptly named ‘Big Beach’ of Playa Grande is a 3km (2 mile) expanse of dark golden sands. Visitors can take it easy on one of the many lines of sunloungers, or take to the water in a banana boat or pedalo. Nearby are the somewhat quieter beaches of Playa de los Pocillos and Playa de Matagorda.
Something for everyone
Puerto del Carmen has the biggest range of shops on the island, from duty free outlets and souvenir shops to fashion boutiques and a modern shopping centre. It is also the best spot for nightlife on the island, where bars and clubs stay open until the early hours. See my Shopping in Puerto Del Carmen and Puerto Del Carmen nightlife pages for more information.
Travel west along the coast for 5km (3 miles) (by car, bus or even water taxi) to a different world and the sedate, upmarket marina of Puerto Calero, where there are swish fashion shops, a museum of whales and dolphins and a small art gallery. A number of pretty cafes overlooking the marina, from where cruises leave for Papagayo beach, make a good spot for people watching.