If you’re heading to Lanzarote for the first time then you’ve probably seen a range of accommodation options in two of the most popular regions on the island; Playa Blanca and Puerto Del Carmen and wondering which area is right for you.
If you’re wanting a self-catering holiday then you’ll find a better range of accommodation and restaurants in Puerto Del Carmen. However, if you’re looking to stay in a hotel resort, or go half-board or all-inclusive then you’ll find the prices and availability are better in Playa Blanca.
Since both Puerto Del Carmen and Playa Blanca are within 35 minute’s drive of each other it’s easy to get either a bus or a taxi between the two once you have arrived – Just in case you want to see what the other looks like / feels like should you return to Lanzarote again.
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Puerto Del Carmen
Puerto Del Carmen is the most popular region in Lanzarote for tourists with 60% of the one million annual visitors to the island staying here.
This region is also somewhere I (Cora) used to go on holiday with my family multiple times a year between the ages of 0 – 15 and as such somewhere, I have incredibly fond memories.
Puerto Del Carmen is located just 5km from Lanzarote Airport which means you can be off the plane and in your apartment in under an hour.
The strip along the front of Puerto Del Carmen boasts several beaches running from the airport all the way along to the start of the Old Town and Marina.
Running adjacent to the beach you’ll find a range of hotels, apartments, restaurants, bars and supermarkets.
There are plenty of things to do in Puerto Del Carmen and given the high volume of tourists and the length of the strip, the fight for your custom is fierce.
This often results in incredibly low prices for holiday essentials such as a pint of beer and a full English breakfast.
The majority of accommodation in Puerto Del Carmen is either apartments or hotels serving only bed & breakfast.
As such the focus of the strip is restaurants and bars, with supermarkets scattered along the backstreets allowing you to pick up essentials for cooking at your apartment.
While there are some all-inclusive resort options here in Puerto Del Carmen you’ll find that they are located on the outskirts of the region in a significantly quieter area up near the airport.
As a result, you’ll find that apartments are cheaper to rent in Puerto Del Carmen than they are in Playa Blanca whereas all-inclusive resorts are more expensive.
Puerto Del Carmen is also incredibly large, and staying in the wrong area can leave you somewhat outside of the action.
In our case, we opt to stay in the heart of it all in apartments around Playa Grande beach. This is one of the largest beaches in Lanzarote, and it’s still just a 15-minute walk into the old town.
Some of our favourite accommodation in this area includes;
Atlantis Las Lomas
Just a couple of minutes’ walk from Puerto Del Carmen’s main strip and the incredibly popular Playa Grande beach you’ll find Atlantis Las Lomas.
This apartment complex offers a range of affordable 1 and 2 bedroom apartments with prices starting from as little as £40 per night.
While this complex is only two-star the facilities here still include six swimming pools and a children’s playground.
However, Atlantis Las Lomas is also situated up a large hill (aptly named Cardiac Hill) and as such may not be suitable for people with mobility issues.
Club Oceano is a relatively small complex of 40 apartments set back off the strip in a quiet location around a 10-minute walk from Playa Grande beach.
The three-star apartments here have recently been modernised and come in one and two-bedroom formats with interconnecting rooms available.
Despite being a small complex there are still two swimming pools (the main pool and a children’s pool) as well as a jacuzzi and pool bar serving a range of drinks and snacks.
Prices here start from £65 per night, however, this place books up quickly given its size and favorability with people who visit Lanzarote regularly so if you decide that Club Oceano is best for your family holiday try to book as far in advance as possible.
Kontiki Beach Resort
The three-star Kontiki Beach Resort is just set back from the main strip & most popular beach in Puerto Del Carmen, Playa Grande.
This complex is made up of modern one-bedroom apartments that start from £100 per night.
While there is no kids club at this resort, you will find the large pool to be incredible (one of the best in Puerto Del Carmen) & the lounge deck to have incredible views out to sea.d
Of course, those incredible views are a result of Kontiki Beaches’ location which is at the top of one of the largest hills in Lanzarote, aptly named cardiac hill.
Given that Puerto Del Carmen has a higher number of self-catering tourists the amenities in the region to cater to those tourists are significantly higher.
In most cases, you’ll find a major supermarket such as a Spar or HyperDino on every corner, and a range of bars and restaurants for all budgets.
Meanwhile, in the old town, you have the Biosfera Plaza Shopping Centre. This indoor/outdoor complex includes a wide range of well-known brands including Levis and Zara alongside some fantastic family-friendly entertainment such as mini-golf.
Further down into the old town you’ll find the marina and a large open playground for kids. We don’t opt to stay down here given that it’s so far from the beach, however, it makes for the perfect early evening stroll and has some of the best sunset views on the island.
If you’re looking to go snorkelling or scuba diving during your trip to Lanzarote then the majority of people head to Playa China Beach.
This incredibly small beach is nestled between the hustle and bustle of the main Puerto Del Carmen strip and the tranquillity of the old town.
While if you’re looking to go plane spotting the airport is just a 5km stroll along the front.
The pathway is wide and well-paved all along, including a cycle lane which makes it perfect for hiring bikes or renting an electric scooter.
If you’re looking to go on a day trip around the island during your trip to Lanzarote then you’ll find several tourist booths selling tickets, while the nearby attraction of Rancho Texas is popular with those looking for a day out seeing some animals including parrots and dolphins.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing atmosphere during your Lanzarote break, then consider staying in the town of Playa Blanca.
Since the region is predominantly made up of large all-inclusive resort complexes, it’s not an area of Lanzarote we experienced until our trip just recently.
Playa Blanca is situated on the southern tip of Lanzarote, roughly a 50-minute drive from the airport.
This town runs all the way from the picturesque Marina Rubicon along the front to the H10 Rubicón Palace roughly 5km away.
The most popular area within Playa Blanca for tourists is around Playa Flamenco beach between Iberostar Selection Lanzarote Park and H10 Timanfaya Palace where you’ll find a small number of restaurants and supermarkets.
Unlike Puerto Del Carmen, the majority of accommodation in Playa Blanca is incredible large hotel complexes.
The majority of these hotel complexes offer all-inclusive food and drink options, alongside all the entertainment and amenities you could ever need.
This, in turn, means there are significantly fewer restaurants, bars and shops when compared to Puerto Del Carmen.
Therefore given your reliance on the accommodation for everything from your hotel room, to food, drink and entertainment when staying in Playa Blanca picking the right option is essential.
Some of our favourites in this area include;
H10 Rubicón Palace
H10 Rubicon Palace is a five-star hotel complex located roughly 1km from the nearest beach.
However, don’t let its location put you off since this hotel has everything you could ever need (and more) from a luxury holiday, whether you’re travelling as a family or as a couple.
Tui Blue Flamingo Beach
If you’ve decided that location to the beach is key to your Playa Blanca holiday consider staying at the Tui Blue Flamingo beach.
Set back from the most popular beach in Playa Blanca, this resort is ideal for those looking to combine a luxury holiday with a family feel thanks to the range of kid-friendly activities and entertainment available seven days a week.
Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort
Located just outside the marina is the popular Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort.
This large five-star complex offers a range of high-end facilities and amenities for it’s guests including six outdoor swimming pools, a large fitness centre and a spa.
The Marina Rubicon is one of the most popular attractions in the region. Located in the north, just past the Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort you’ll find several mainstream stores alongside independent boutiques in an incredibly tranquil setting.
If you’re visiting on Wednesdays or Sundays be sure to check out the market that’s held in the Marina. While it isn’t as good, or as popular as the market in Costa Teguise, it’s still well worth a visit if you’re in the town.
There are also two waterparks in Playa Blanca;
Dino Water Park – Ideal for kids and young families.
Aqualava Water Park – Perfect for families with older kids and teens.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to explore more of the canaries then Playa Blanca is the perfect jumping-off point with ferries running multiple times a day to the nearby island of Fuerteventura.
The ferries start as early as 8am and run until 8pm and with the journey taking just over 30 minutes, this leaves you with more than enough time to explore the island or even just the town of Corralejo.
What’s The Difference Between Puerto Del Carmen & Playa Blanca?
While Playa Blanca is roughly 20 minutes further away from Lanzarote Airport when compared to Puerto Del Carmen, this isn’t the major factor you’d want to consider when choosing between the two towns.
Instead, it comes down to the type of holiday you’re looking for.
If you’re looking to go out and explore the island if you’re looking to dine at different restaurants each evening and if you’re looking for entertainment and nightlife then Puerto Del Carmen has you covered.
Here you’ll find a range of self-catering apartments alongside a handful of small hotel complexes, and an incredibly long front strip with a range of bars and restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes.
However, if you’re happy staying inside your resort and maybe only going for a stroll along the front every day or two then Playa Blanca has you covered.
Here you’ll find a range of luxury resorts offering half-board and all-inclusive packages, kids clubs and evening entertainment. However, the atmosphere outside of the hotel can seem significantly more sleepy.