I am writing this blog post from an airplane, on my way back to Barcelona from my relaxing Fuerteventura holidays. I am already missing all the surfing vibe, crystal clear water and wide beaches with almost no one around.
Wait, where is Fuerteventura you may ask? It is the second largest Canary Island, a territory just off the north-west coast of Africa, that belongs to Spain. You can find a direct flight from almost any country in Europe, but be ready for quite a long journey. It takes 3 hours to get there from continental part of Spain, not to mention 5,5 hours from Poland. If you live in Europe, you will know how crazy long it is!
So, why would you bother to go all this way to a small island off the African coast? The answer is simple! Fuerteventura has some of the best beaches in Europe, all thanks to the Saharan sand blowing with the Atlantic winds. In total about 77 km of sandy beaches and turquoise water!
Before my trip, I have tried to find some useful resources on the best beaches and places to see, but I feel like there is not enough helpful information. So, I decided to write this guide and include a list of my favourite places to visit. Hope that will make your life a bit easier 🙂
A few things you need to know before
Fuerteventura is by far the windiest island I have ever visited. It is a surfing paradise (I was told there is about 80 surf schools!). I totally loved watching kite and wind surfers, but didn’t feel brave enough to try this time 😉
Surf classes are relatively cheap, comparing to other places like Hawaii or Bali or even Barcelona where all you can do is to sit all day in the water and wait for the wave that might never appear.
Another thing to know is that you need to rent a car! Well, you might just want to stay in one place the whole time, but that’s not the point if you made it all the way to this gorgeous island, right? The public transportation is kind of non-existing. The buses that connect different cities are running once an hour or so. Renting a car is really the best and the cheapest option. Also, the traffic on the island is quite small.
Where to stay
Let’s start with where not to stay! I don’t recommend staying near the airport or Puerto del Rosario. The beaches there are just not what you expect from Fuerteventura. The best beaches are in the North (Corralejo and Cotillo) and the South (Jandia).
I suggest staying in Corralejo, as it offers a lot of shops, restaurants and bars that you can enjoy in the evening. Some of my favourites were Citrus Surf Cafe, Secreto del Sur, El Sombrero, La Marquesina and El Gusto ice cream shop.
Alternatively, you can stay in Jandia or near La Oliva in a house or hotel further from tourist amenities and enjoy peaceful and relaxing holidays in Fuerteventura.
What you can't miss
Sand dunes of Corralejo
The sand dunes in Corralejo are just impressive – 8 km of soft, golden sands. It’s literally a piece of Sahara in Europe! Dunas de Corralejo are a perfect place to relax, sunbathe or try sports like kitesurfing or camel riding! Yes, there are camels there! If you fancy a ride, they sit on the beach next to Riu hotel (the smaller one).
Word of advice: clothing on the beach is optional! Those are real Fuerteventura holidays, you guys!
Sunset at Lighthouse in El Cotillo
The first thing, I usually ask for during my travels, is what is the best place for a sunset. El Cotillo is a small fishing village which is a home to some of the incredible beaches like Las Lagunas, La Concha and one beautiful lighthouse. When you finish sunbathing, head to the lighthouse and just take a moment to admire the sunset… or the full moon like I did! I am usually late for the sunset, but anyways if you get there on time you will see something like this 😀
Picture by Francis Vidic
Beautiful beaches of Jandia
I think this beach actually made Fuerteventura World famous. Just look at this water! Playa Sotavento is made up of five beaches: La Barca, Risco del Paso, Mirador, Los Canarios and Malnombre. It is about 9 km long, so you walk until you find yourself completely alone in this paradise. It is surrounded from both sides by shallow and warm waters, again perfect for trying kitesurfing! You can also meet many playful squirrels there.
Isla de Lobos
Isla de Lobos is a small island, located 2 km from Corralejo. It is a largely uninhabited nature reserve with clear turquoise water lagoons and one virgin beach (absolutely no man-made infrastructure by the beach). Most of this tiny place is covered in volcanic rocks and some local flora, there is maybe 4-5 fishermen’s houses on the whole island. So quiet and peaceful.
The boat costs about 15 euros/20 euros if you want to go for a 30 min snorkel. There is only one restaurant on the island that is open between 13-15, and you need to book your table the moment you set your feet on the island. They serve fresh fish and catch only as many as they need.
Betancuria + Mirador
Betancuria is the oldest town on the island. You can see here typical Canarian architecture and try the famous goat cheese, Majorero cheese. On a side note, did you know that the population of goats on Fuerteventura is a quarter of a million? Crazy, right?!
When you are already in Betancuria, head to the viewpoint, Mirador de Morro Velosa to see the island from above. You will be surprised to see so many mountains.
A windmill is never far away in Fuerteventura. The island is known between its Canarian neighbours as “bread basket”, as windmills were commonly used here to create gofio – traditional corn flour.
Last but not least, head to Barranco Encantado. These funny rock formations will remind you a bit of US West Coast. They are quite hard to find, but if you follow Google maps, it is possible.
Honestly, the inside of Salt Museum is not worth visiting. Yet I did enjoy a lot salt beds and information about the traditional production process, really interesting. I suggest stopping here only for a short break as there is nothing else around.
That’s it! Hope you will enjoy your stay in Fuerteventura.