Learning to Speak Spanish – Essential Phrases for Driving in Lanzarote

Driving in Lanzarote When you’re spending time visiting or moving to Lanzarote, a Spanish-speaking area, you’re going to want to travel around to take in as much as possible. These days, motor cars offer travellers an independent, convenient way to get around, and you’re now going to discover some straightforward, practical phrases for driving in Lanzarote.

It’s simple to hire a car, the Spanish is:
Quisiera alquilar un coche – I would like to rent a car

And depending on what you prefer, you can tack-on:
De marchas for manual gearing or automático for automatics. Along with your credit cards, don’t forget to take your driver’s license – carnet de conducir – and your pasaporte.

In Lanzarote’s towns, the traffic – el tráfico – can occasionally be busy and during rush hour – la hora punta – expect a higher level of vehicles on the road. Very occasionally, you may experience traffic jams – atascos. When negotiating through the traffic, you’ll need to watch out for bicycles and scooters – motos – many containing a passenger riding on the pillion. To ride pillion is called “ir de paquette“, and as you continue to learn how to speak Spanish, it’s a very cool phrase to sprinkle into your streetwise vocab.

A freeway is “una autopista“, a road is “un camino” and a highway is “una carretera“. Traffic lights – semáforos – are pretty much the same as anywhere and you’ll also have to navigate around the many traffic islands which are fittingly called “las Islas“. Lanzarote currently has traffic lights in, and around, Arrecife, but this year they were also installed on the dual carriageway in Playa Blanca. You will soon start seeing them in other areas too.

Speeding – la velocidad excesiva – is punishable by a hefty fine – una multa – and in Lanzarote, speed cameras – los radares – are always moving about, operated by the Guardia Civil. Sometimes a ban – una prohibición de conducir – will accompany the fine so it’s worth sticking to the limit.

Lanzarote is a relatively small island, so you are not likely to be driving long distances – conducir distancias largas – but be prepared for that in Spain, as this also will involve negotiating toll roads – carreteras de peaje – so you’ll be paying for the pleasure of your journey.

To conclude, parking in the towns of Lanzarote is usually a major pain. The towns have a small number of proper car parks – los aparcamientos – a couple of them underground – aparcamientos subterráneos – however, parking your car on the street can be risky, especially in drop-off zones. In addition to receiving a fine for illegally parking your car – una multa de aparcamiento – your car may be towed away – quitar el coche – by the tow-truck – la grúa – and before you can retrieve it, you must have paid your fine in full. An unpleasant event I’m sure you’ll want to miss!

Just use this Spanish phrase to find good places to park:
¿Dónde está el aparcamiento más cercano? – Where is the nearest car park?

If you do take the risk of parking in an unauthorised zone and somebody shouts:
¡Viene la grúa! – the tow-truck is coming!

Get your car moved, and pronto!