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Arrecife Attractions

It would be extremely difficult for visitors to Arrecife to miss the fact that the town is protected by no less than two ancient castles, both of which were originally built to protect the island from attacks by invading pirates.

The older of the two castles is the Castillo de San Gabriel. This was originally built in 1574 on a small island at the entrance to Arrecife harbour, which was then connected to the mainland via a causeway and drawbridge. However, less than 12 years after its construction the original Castillo de San Gabriel was completed destroyed during a raid by the Algerian pirate Morato Arraez.

The castle was subsequently rebuilt in 1599, and was then continuously used for military purposes well into the late 1950's. The castle today is the home to the Lanzarote Museum Archaeological and Ethnographic and is open to the general public most days. Contact details are:
Castillo de San Gabriel
Telephone: +34 928 802 884

The second castle, the Castillo de San Jose, is substantially bigger than the Castillo de San Gabriel, and proudly stands overlooking the harbour at Arrecife. Construction of the castle began in 1776 during the rule of King Carlos III, and it is widely believed that the only purpose of this project was to create work for the impoverished local population of Lanzarote.

The Castillo de San Jose has since 1974, housed The Museum of Contemporary Art which features a collection of works by many of the 20th Century's greatest artists including Picasso, Bacon, Miro and, of course, Lanzarote's own Cesar Manrique. Contact details are:
Castillo de San Jose
Calle Puerto Naos, s/n
Telephone: +34 928 812 321

As we have already briefly mentioned as part of our General Introduction Pages, car parking in Arrecife can be a bit of a problem at the best of times. However, if you don't decide to hire a car, getting around Lanzarote by public transport is actually fairly easy. The Transporte Interurbano de Lanzarote operate a very reliable bus service to all of the larger resorts and towns throughout the island, with the average cost of a journey being approximately 1.5€ to 3.0€ each way.

One of the most photographed features of Arrecife is undoubtedly the local Parish Church, known locally as the Iglesia de San Gines. Originally this fine building was built as a hermitage by the local merchant Francisco Garcia Santellas in 1630, however it was subsequently converted into the Parish Church in honour of Sant Gines, the patron saint of Arrecife in 1778.

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This website was launched on 1 May 2002

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