Newest Review: ... western facing ones. The "beach" immediately outside our hotel was south facing and completely devoid of any sort of decent... more
Playa Blanca (Spain)
Member Name: grahamt
Playa Blanca (Spain)
Advantages: Plenty of choice of hotels, villas, bars and restaurants ; mostly good beaches
Disadvantages: Uninspiring architecture
We recently spent a week in the Lanzarote resort of Playa Blanca, courtesy of Thomas Cook. We were staying in the Sandos Papagayo Arena hotel which, as its name implies is located in the Papagayo district, which is found at the extreme eastern end of the resort.
Playa Blanca is on the southern coast of the island, around half an hour's transfer from the airport at Arrecife. This far from the airport, aircraft noise is no problem. The transfer by coach was quickly achieved due to the decent roads that join the airport to the resort.
Lanzarote is one of Spain's Canary Islands. Some years ago we had a holiday on Fuerteventura, the island immediately to the south of Lanzarote, and visible from Playa Blanca. We had enjoyed it although that was in early October rather than late March.
Playa Blanca translates as White Beach and to an extent this is a reasonable reflection of what you will find here. The Canaries are famous for their golden sands, all sand blown from the Sahara, on a latitude with which the islands are found. However, these sands are mostly found on eastern facing beaches and, to some extent western facing ones. The "beach" immediately outside our hotel was south facing and completely devoid of any sort of decent sand! However, once you get into the centre of the town, you will find a couple of beaches with good sand, even though these are south facing.
These are public beaches, not associated with any hotel. The main one features sun loungers and sun umbrellas, which can be hired for the day. It seems to be managed by the bar situated at the back of the beach. You can plonk yourself down and eventually someone will come and charge you for the use. The bar is quite decent and has modern, clean toilets, which require two 20C coins to gain access for both men and women.
The town does not extend far inland from the shore but stretches out several miles east and west from the centre. It would seem that the town is fairly new since there is nothing here that could be considered quaint. Nothing would win any prizes for architecture and, although there are variations in the designs of what is mostly holiday and retirement apartments, they are almost entirely little square boxes.
Entering the town centre from the main road to the resort you find a roundabout from which all road traffic has to turn eastwards: the westwards direction is all pedestrianised. On the road east there are a few shops, restaurants and bars but after a few hundred metres it becomes apartments and hotels and remains so to the end of the resort. The pedestrian concourse is lined with souvenir and other shops, restaurants and banks and extends as far as the old port. Here you turn back on yourself towards the sea, where a promenade runs along the shoreline between the beaches and seemingly endless numbers of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. These are exactly what you would expect of a typical Spanish resort: nothing really classy, nothing really tacky.
A promenade runs all the way east from the centre and the first place it passes is the new marina. A reasonably fit person should be able to walk here in about 20 minutes. This is certainly worth a visit. If you are looking for a really decent restaurant or bar, this is where you are most likely to find one. We ate at both La Casa Roja and Casa Brigida and had very enjoyable meals at both for around £35 each. Also at the marina, on Saturdays and Wednesdays there is a street market with loads of stalls offering all sorts of things.
The promenade continues on past the marina as far as Papagayo district, where our hotel was situated. This will take you about 30 minutes. Beyond this is a rough path that winds its way up and over the headland to the best beaches in the area. The first reached is by far the biggest, with a huge expanse of golden sands. However, there is nothing else here at all, just the beach. It is very popular but, because of its relative remoteness, never gets full, or didn't in March when we were there. Be aware though, that at this time of year the water is quite cold.
All in all this resort is quite enjoyable and most people should be able to find something that meets their fancy. The hotels are numerous and mostly seem decent. Most are quite large, as far as we could see, rather than the little guest house type. Accommodation most seems to be either hotels or villas.
We enjoyed our stay and would be quite happy to come back again although we probably wouldn't stay at the same hotel, which I will be reviewing on Tripadvisor as it isn't currently listed by Dooyoo and there's no telling when the right category will be permitted for new suggestions!
Summary: A decent resort for those visiting Lanzarote, with plenty of choice
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