Lanzarote has a lively programme of events, particularly impressive for an island of this size. One week may see a gastronomic or music festival, another a high profile club night. Lanzarote’s nightlife is pretty low-key, so don’t expect big night clubs that you would find on Ibiza, or even neighbouring Tenerife. Evening entertainment is centred in the island’s bars - both local, Spanish-style affairs, English style pubs and sophisticated spots with an international clientele.
Take the time to seek out some local bars, frequented by Lanzarote residents and may be the occasional expats. These little places may not be big on interior décor, but they are often big on atmosphere and offer a real taste of local life, with friendly people. These authentic watering holes are found all over the island, but particularly out of the main tourist centres, in places like Arrecife and Arrieta and some inland towns and villages.
Look out for sociedades (social clubs) that are great value little bars in towns and villages throughout the island run by local people and offering food (usually there is no menu) and drink. They are often called 'teleclubs' in Lanzarote, dating back to the time when these establishments offered the only television in town.
Eating and drinking
Evening entertainment on Lanzarote is often a combination of eating and drinking. Consider beginning with an aperitif, or a glass of local wine at a beachfront location with a view out to sea, with perhaps a bowl of olives. Move on to a leisurely evening meal, possibly accompanied by some live music, and followed by a digestif.
A number of restaurants in the larger hotels have live pianists during dinner and often put on a show or singer in an adjoining bar to round off the evening.
When eating in local restaurants, remember that people dine late (from 9pm onwards), so it is often easy to get a table before this time.
A spot of culture
Lanzarote boasts some rich traditions and some fascinating local festivals that take place throughout the year. Some of these are typically Spanish; others are unique to the island.
The biggest event on the Lanzarote calendar is the riot of music and dance that is Carnival. Celebrations in the Canary Islands are some of the biggest after Rio’s in Brazil. This is a moveable feast but usually takes place in February or March each year. This is a great time to visit the island, especially if you like to party, as celebrations run until the early hours and the fun is pretty much non-stop. Lasting a week, there are colourful processions with spectacular costumes, and of course music and dancing. Carnival takes place in different locations around the island, but the main action is in the capital and the main resorts. If you do decide to come during this time, though, try to book as far ahead as possible, as it is an understandably popular event.
The lesser-known local festival that is exclusive to Lanzarote - the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores, takes place in August or September each year. Giving thanks to the volcano in the centre of the island for being peaceful for so many years, the celebrations, with plenty of music, food and dancing, go on until the early hours, with all ages joining in.
Other island celebrations are well worthwhile visiting for a real splash of local colour and lively displays of music and dancing. They give a real insight into cultural traditions that have been part of the island’s history for hundreds of years. Most of these celebrations have religious origins, such as the first event in the calendar, the Dia Del Reyes (Day of Kings) on January 5-6. Festivities focus around Arrecife and Puerto Del Carmen, with three kings riding on camels throughout the island, giving sweets to local children.
Dia de Canarias (Day of the Canaries) on May 30 celebrates the day that the islands were granted autonomy from Spain. During this annual holiday, Canarian culture is joyously celebrated with traditional food, music and dance.
Many of the bars catering to tourists in the resorts have happy hours in the early evening from around 5-7pm. Often, two drinks are offered for the price of one. Most bars in the main resorts and towns stay open late - usually past midnight - every night of the week, with those in rural areas usually shutting up shop around 11pm. Bear in mind, though, that in Lanzarote, as in Spain generally, opening and closing times are not strictly adhered to. Clubs close around 3-4am, or even later at weekends.
In the main resorts of Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca, bars play mostly international music, and in Puerto del Carmen you may even see some big name DJs. In rural areas and the less touristy towns, local and traditional music is more likely to be heard, particularly in the capital, Arrecife, along Calle José Antonio and in the casual beach bars of nearby Playa Honda. The caves of Jameos del Agua is the spectacular venue for jazz concerts on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (7pm–2am) with a dancefloor and two bars.