Tias

The municipality of Tias has a resident population of around 4,000. But since the borough includes Puerto del Carmen, the islands most popular tourist resort, the figure jumps to around 10,000 when including visitors.

Tias is a relatively young municipality comprising a number of scattered hamlets such as Masdache, Conil, Tegoyo, La Asomada, Macher and the more important towns of Tias itself and Puerto del Carmen, normally referred to as Fariones by the islanders. The almost ageless peace and tranquillity of some of Tiases hamlets, hidden away from the ocean, contrast sharply with the upbeat feel of Puerto del Carmens famous sea front "Strip", the Avenida de las Playas with its lively bars, restaurants, discotheques and night spots. The majority of foreign visitors to Lanzarote stay in Puerto del Carmen, which has been tastefully developed over the past 15 years and which seems to stretch almost daily further up and down the coast and inland towards Macher. But the bulk of Puerto del Carmens development falls between the resorts two four star hotels, Fariones and San Antonio.

Tias is endowed with several splendid beaches, from those just south of the airport where youll find Matagorda, a favourite with windsurfers and Los Pocillos, also a water sports beach equipped with a "fun station" with windsurfers and jet skis, to the main beaches of Puerto itself. Puerto del Carmens major beach was once known by the less inviting name of La Tinosa (The Stained One), due to the darkish colour of its sand. Commercial interests tried to rename the beach Playa Blanca (White Beach), but the move only confused matters since Playa Blanca already existed as a tiny fishing village, with a white sandy beach in the south of the island. Lanzarote folk still refer to Puertos beach as Fariones and the name seems to have stuck. The gently sloping beach is one of the best places to learn how to windsurf, since the water there is normally calmer and the winds less fearsome than those blowing on other beaches, preferred by more expert windsurfers.

Just 20 years ago, Puerto del Carmen was nothing more than a tiny fishing village with a few fishermens houses huddled around the harbour. This part of the resort is now known as the "Old Town" and its still possible to buy fresh fish from the harbour late in the afternoon when you can pick up delicious atun (tuna) and pez espada (swordfish). The impressive Avenida was a dirt track used more by pastores (goatherders) with their cabras (goats), than bikini--clad sun--seekers from northern Europe. Now Puerto del Camen is a bustling resort, boasting similar facilities to all the major Spanish resorts, but thankfully without the high-rise hotels and apartment blocks and without the garish billboard posters that have characterised much of the mainland costas.

There is little of historical note in Tias, apart from the church of Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, built in the 16th Century with a painting of the Virgin dating from the same period, and the San Antonio Chapel, a small, simple place of worship built last century.


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