Lanzarote has a large variety of beaches of all colours, from the black lava sand of Playa Quemada (literally the burnt beach) to the fine golden sand of Punta Papagayo close by.
Family and resort beaches
In the south, the large resort of Puerto del Carmen has very popular long beaches called Matagorda and Playa Grande, with safe swimming conditions, sun parasols and loungers for hire.
Pedalos, surf and windsurfing boards are available here to keep all members of the family amused, and the tapas bars and restaurants of the old town are close by. A short walk towards Playa Honda on the so called Ruta del Colesterol – a promenade much used by walkers, cyclists and joggers – leads to numerous small bays and coves.
These coves have excellent snorkelling in the warm waters. Playa Honda close to the airport is backed by a large area of residential units and has five kilometres of sandy beach with good access to the restaurants and hotels of the capital Arrecife.
At Punta Papagayo, within the confines of the Monumento de Los Ajaches Nature Park there are a variety of wide sandy beaches, small coves and secluded inlets, some of which are used by nudists.
Here sheltered coves, wide sandy beaches and small rocky lined inlets offer enough choice to satisfy everyone. Further along the coast towards Puerto Calero, Playa Quemada is a natural beach of black sand beneath a few old fishermen’s houses and is a private and peaceful place to swim.
Within Playa Blanca itself the manmade beach of Playa Dorada is popular with visitors staying at the large resort hotels close by. Further north at Costa Teguise Las Cucharas beach is excellent for windsurfing, and there is good safe swimming from the wide sandy beaches. To the north from Costa Teguise at Arrieta there is a long sandy beach and a jetty plus play area for small children close to the old fishing village. Heading north again there are numerous small white beaches with plenty of large rock pools with sun warmed water which make perfect safe bathing areas for those with young families.
Windsurfing and kitesurfing beaches
The major area for windsurfers is in Costa Teguise, where most of the windsurfing schools are located. The wind here blows along the beach, and there are piers extending into the sea which provide perfect entry points for beginners. Las Cucharas beach is the most popular amongst windsurfers for the waters of the bay are calm and smooth, but if the swell is running there is a good break offshore giving more experienced windsurfers the chance to practice their jumping skills. Matagorda and Playa Honda both have sandy beaches and are suitable for beginners.
On the north western coast at Famara, where waves have run unimpeded for thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic the break can be magnificent, with the swell reaching up to five metres. Here, rip currents and wind shifts in some weather condition can create challenging situations and so the beach should be used by more experienced windsurfers. For the absolute beginners the sports complex and resort at Club La Santa has a small beach in a lagoon with expert tuition available.
Find out more about Lanzarote activities
The best breaks of the island are on the north coast which is open to the Atlantic swell. Here Playa de Famara is one of the most popular with numerous schools and surf equipment hire shops in the pretty laid back village of Caleta de Famara.
The beach stretches for kilometres beneath the spectacular high cliffs of Famara but can have tidal rips so should always be treated with caution. Further south there are some internationally known breaks off the rocky coast around La Santa, but these are not for the fainthearted.
The beaches on the leeward side of the island to the north can have some good surf running – Arrieta is always worth checking out and Playa de La Cantería just north of Orzola also often has some great breaks.
The northern beaches of La Graciosa, the only inhabited inland of the Chinijo archipelago usually have a good wave running , but with little motorised transport on the island surfers must face the prospect of organising a safari by rib which can be arranged in Órzola or a very long hike with their boards.
Find out more about Lanzarote surfing
There are two established nudist beaches on the island – the small cove between Puerto Muela and Playa Mujeres at Punta Papagayo in the south, and Charco del Palo below Mala in the north of the island. Here an entire nudist village of small modern units has been set up above a small beach in a deep secluded cove.
Read our top 10 tips for things to see and do in Lanzarote