Puerto del Carmen is a large tourist resort on the south coast of Lanzarote, a few km west of Arrecife the capital and airport. It has long sandy beaches (unusual on this island) which are more sheltered than the exposed north and west-facing coasts. It's part of the municipality of Tías but has far outgrown that small town, and in 2022 it had a population of 11,319.
This settlement first appears on maps as Tiñosa in the 16th century. It had the best natural harbour on this craggy coast, and became a port trading with mainland Spain and inter-island. When the Spanish ports were systematised in 1900 it was declared a "Puerto de Interés General", meaning it had international shipping and strategic value beyond the oversight of a single autonomous community. But modern shipping outgrew it and better docks were built at Arrecife, so from 1928 that became the island's chief port. In 1957 Tiñosa was re-named Puerto del Carmen in honour of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, the Virgin Mary in her role as patron of the Carmelite monks. The place was clearly destined to remain a quiet fishing village where everyone went to church on Sunday and crossed themselves rather than yield to temptation.
Then from the 1970s mass tourism grew as Lanzarote came within easy flying range of north Europe. The town acquired a 6 km resort strip east from the harbour along sandy beaches to the airport perimeter fence, with Av de las Playas lined by hotels, bars and restaurants. It doesn't stretch inland very far as the land rises steeply - anyone with restricted mobility needs to check the gradient to their intended accommodation. Within 1 km the buildings give way to the arid black hills of the interior.
From Arrecife or the airport follow LZ-2 west and branch onto LZ-40. In 2023 a taxi from either is about €20.
Bus 6 runs from Arrecife every 20 min, along the hotel strip to the harbour then ascending C Reina Sofia to its turnaround.
Bus 3 runs from Costa Teguise every 20 min via Arrecife then the same route through town.
Bus 12 runs every 30 min Sunday morning from Puerto del Carmen to Teguise for the Sunday market and returns early afternoon.
- Plenty of rental outlets for cars, electro-bikes and mopeds.
- E-scooter: Puerto del Carmen, Playa Honda, Arrecife and Costa Teguise are covered by a single system. You can take a scooter anywhere and leave it in any designated area. The service is provided by Superpedestrian Link Scooters and can be used with their app. In 2023 it costs €1 to unlock then €0.30 per minute.
- Buses 3 and 161 run the length of town.
- 1 Old Town Harbour is the historic core of town, with whitewashed low-rise and a large parking lot.
- Playa Chica is a small sandy beach 500 m east of the harbour, sheltered by two arms of rock.
- Playa Blanca / Playa Grande is the main beach, stretching east for 800 m from Hotel Fariones. Playa Vulcano is its east extension.
- Playa de los Pocillos is broad and one km long at the east edge of town. Playa Matagordo is its east extension.
- 2 Casa Museo José Saramago, C Los Topes 1, Tías, ☏ . M-W, F 09:30-14:00, Th 09:30-1400, 16:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-13:00. Saramago (1922-2010) came from a humble background in Portugal but became an acclaimed writer, awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998. When one of his books was banned on religious grounds he exiled himself here. Adult €12, child €6.
- Scuba diving is year-round, with water temperatures always close to 20°C and visibility 25+ m. Over a dozen dive shacks in town offer training, kit hire and guided dives.
- Lanzarote Golf is 3 km inland off LZ-505. White tees 5762 m, par 72, visitor round €110.
- 1 Rancho Texas, C Alcalde Cabrera Torres, ☏ . Daily 09:30-17:30. Zoo with animal and dolphin shows plus waterpark. Adult €36, child €24.
- Hike along the coast 4 km west to the next small town, Puerto Calero. Wear stout shoes and sun protection. You can come back on the bus.
- Lidl is north edge of town on C Juan Carlos I, open daily 09:30-22:00.
- Biosfera Shopping Centre, Av Juan Carlos I (above old town centre), ☏ . Daily 10:00-21:00. Well-stocked small mall, mostly aimed at local customers, with curious architecture built into a cavity in the volcanic rock. There is a handful of bars and restaurants and an array of high street branded fashion outlets undercutting mainland prices.
- Small electronic stores and camera shops have a bad reputation for dodgy merchandise and underhand dealings. Beach hawkers are likewise shady.
- Puerto Calero market is held Tu and F 09:00-13:00.
- The entire front-water strip is lined with bars and restaurants.
- 1 La Chalana (The Flatboat), C Teide 38, ☏ . Th-M 11:00-23:00. Good little restaurant for tapas, paella and seafood.
- Restaurante El Golfo, C Juan Carlos I, 2 (opposite Biosfera), ☏ . Tu-Sa 17:00-22:00. Reliable friendly place for paella and similar.
- 2 Maritoni, Av de las Playas 17B, ☏ . Daily 09:00-23:00. Occasional disappointing meals, but mostly good reviews for this place midway along Playa Blanca.
- 3 Pizzería Angelica, C Princesa Guayarmina 8, ☏ . Tu-Su 12:00-16:00, 19:00-23:00. Tiny place serving good pizza, though not Italian style.
- 4 topgun bar, Av de las Playas, ☏ . Daily 09:00-23:00. Serving trad British breakfasts and similar comfort food.
- 5 Why Not? Bar And Restaurant, Av de las Playas, ☏ . Daily 09:00-01:00. Filling breakfast and lunch, inexpensive cocktails.
- Lomo Alto, C Hierro 2 (east of harbour parking lot), ☏ . M-Sa 12:00-23:00. Excellent Paraguayan restaurant by harbour.
- La Cascada Restaurant, C Roque Nublo 3 (by harbour), ☏ . Daily 13:00-23:00. Good steaks and other Spanish fare.
- 6 Lani’s Cafe Restaurant, Av de las Playas 26 (within Lani's Suites), ☏ . Daily 12:00-23:00. Great dining, service and sea views.
- 7 La Carmencita del Puerto, C Chabusquillo 47, Matagorda, ☏ . M-F 19:00-23:00. Quality Spanish food.
- Kentia Gourmet Club, La Isla y El Mar Hotel, C Reina Sofía 23 (next to THB Flora), ☏ . Swish elegant restaurant and cocktail bar. Mostly great reviews, a few found it overpriced.
- Tap water is safe to drink but it's desalinated and brackish. Choose bottled water or beer.
- Cerveceria San Miguel Varadero is a beer hall by the harbour.
- The Dog and Duck is a trad place by the harbour.
- Bar Craic n' Ceól next to Biosfera has live music.
- Tavern on the Seafront is midway along Playa Blanca.
- The Irish Viking is a block inland at C Doromas 8.
- The Snug Bar is a sports bar at C Doromas 19.
- O'Connell's Dug-out is east end of the beach on C Nicaragua.
- The Galleon 2 is at C Palangre 2.
- The Upper Deck at Av de las Playas 43 is conveniently sited within a pharmacy.
- The White Lion is a sports bar at Av de las Playas 67.
- The Limerick Phoenix is west end of Playa de los Pocillos.
- Vineyards are nearby, clustered around La Geria.
- 1 Nautilus, C Gramillo 5, ☏ . Simple relaxing hotel by the beach. B&B double €100.
- 2 Sentido Æquora Suites, C Urano, ☏ . Good scores all round for this family-friendly hotel 500 m from beach. B&B double €150.
- 3 Sol Lanzarote, C Agonal 2, ☏ . Mixed reviews for this family-oriented all-inclusive hotel.
- 4 Seaside Los Jameos, C Marte 2, ☏ . Comfy efficient hotel by the beach. B&B double €200.
- 5 Barcarola Club, Av de las Playas 53, ☏ . Clean simple apartments by the beach. B&B double €120.
- 6 Hotel Fariones, C Roque del Este 1, ☏ . Great welcome, service and comfort at this upscale hotel. B&B double €200.
- Plus Fariones Suite is an unrelated hotel almost next door at C Acatife 2. They also have apartments 100 m inland.
- 7 Hotel THB Flora, C Reina Sofia 25, ☏ . Mixed reviews for this budget place up a hill 500 m from the old harbour. B&B double €100.
As of Oct 2023, Puerto del Carmen and its approach highways have 4G from Vodafone, and 5G from MasMovil, Movistar and Orange.
- Arrecife the capital has two islets just offshore, one a museum the other a modern art gallery.
- Timanfaya National Park can be accessed from Yaiza on its south side or Mancha Blanca to the east.