Very few airports in the world can merge official function and cultural immersion. But the airport in Lanzarote, the easternmost of all the islands in the Canaries, does that and more. Being the only one on the island does not stop it from giving the best service expected of a first category airport in Europe. With the rare geologic beauty Lanzarote possesses, air traffic increases each year as more people flock in the island.

A Historical Airport that Promotes Lanzarote’s Culture

The history of Lanzarote Airport, sometimes called Arrecife Airport, is bred from pure necessity as a result of colonization. With a pressing need to connect the island to Sevilla in the main island, an air base was built in Llanos de Guacemita in 1936. But soon after, the Spanish military also saw the need for a permanent airfield to establish better defenses for the island.

The function of the airport changed in the 1940s when it was opened to domestic traffic. In the years that followed, a series of constructions were seen that created more facilities and infrastructures. Finally, in the 1970s, it was opened to both civil national and international flights. Since then, the influx of visitors led to the building of the second terminal in 1999.

With a new terminal fully functioning, the old Guacimeta passenger terminal was turned into an aviation museum in 2002. Today, the pure white building is reminiscent of a bygone era, when Lanzarote’s tourism was just beginning to propel forward.

The Lanzarote Airport Aeronautical Museum organizes cultural events that promote the island. Along with this, it helps people understand the evolution that aviation went through on the island as well as its huge role in Lanzarote’s tourism industry. One notable work displayed in the museum is the “Lanzarote”, an acrylic mural created by renowned local artist Cesar Manrique.

Apart from being busy with connecting Canarians to the rest of Spain and Europe through domestic and international flights, the airport conducts guided tours and programs that make it an important cultural establishment in the island.

Lanzarote Airport is a favourite of plane spotters
Lanzarote Airport is a favourite of plane spotters as the beach-side path – ©John Finn

Connecting Lanzarote to Spain and Europe

Owing it to the increasing number of people choosing Lanzarote as their holiday destination in the Canaries, air traffic has increased constantly averaging of 4% for the last couple of years. In fact, the number of passengers that went through its terminals reached almost 7 million last 2016.

Its runways have seen over 54 thousand flights come and go and has been a passing point for over 1,700 cargo tons. Proving that the island’s main economic growth factor is its tourism, among the 83 countries of origin last year, 72 are from Europe and 11 are from Spain.

The top international countries of origin are still the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Netherlands, among others. Meanwhile, a host of airlines operates here, including RyanAir, Binter+Naysa, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook UK, and more. With expansions happening from time to time, it isn’t surprising that the airport services more and more airlines each year.

Lanzarote Airport
Lanzarote Airport – ©Andy Mitchell

Exploring the Island from Arrecife Airport

Arrecife airport is situated at the southeastern coast of the island and built only 5 km from the city center of Arrecife. Getting around Lanzarote from the airport is easy as there are several means of transportation once visitors arrive.

Going by taxi, guests would immediately notice the high standards that the airport taxis maintain. Taxi ranks are right outside the ground floor of the two terminals. The minimum standard rate is €3,25 on weekdays between 6:00 and 22:00, and €3,45 on weeknights at 22:00 to 6:00, as well as on Sundays and holidays.

Those taking the bus to the island’s capital will only have to travel for 10 minutes through Route 22 and pay €1,40. The same amount is paid when going to Playa Honda through Route 23. To reach the popular resort towns of Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca, go through Route 161 and just pay €1,40 and €3,30, respectively.

Driving is also one of the best ways to explore the volcanic island of Lanzarote. Just choose from among the many car hire companies like AutoReisen, Cabrera Medina, Cicar, Avis, Payless, and others. These are all available at the airport and contact numbers are easily found online.

Through its small but stylish and easily accessible airport, it is always possible to fly to Lanzarote and experience the marriage of nature and architecture.