If you are looking for a place to escape the winter blues, look no further than Fuerteventura, the second largest and the oldest of the Canary Islands.
Fuerteventura lies just 100 km from the African coast, and the Sahara desert influences its climate and landscape. Fuerteventura is a dream destination for beach lovers, surfers, and nature enthusiasts, with over 150 km of white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and year-round sunshine. Here are ten must-see and dos when you visit this island of contrasts.
Explore the Corralejo Natural Park
The Corralejo Natural Park is a protected area that covers 26 km of coastline and 2,600 hectares of land. It is home to the largest and most impressive dunes in the Canary Islands, which are constantly shaped by the wind and the waves. You can walk, bike, drive through this desert-like scenery or take a camel ride for a more authentic experience. The park also has some of the best beaches on the island, such as Playa del Moro, Playa del Médano, and Playa de la Concha.
Discover the Betancuria Historic Centre
Betancuria was the first capital of Fuerteventura and one of the oldest settlements in the Canary Islands. It was founded in 1404 by a Norman conqueror named Jean de Béthencourt, who gave it his name. Today, it is a charming village that preserves its historical and cultural heritage. You can visit the Santa María Church, a Gothic-Renaissance building that houses a museum of sacred art; the Casa Museo Arquebiológico, which displays archaeological findings from the pre-Hispanic era; and the Casa Santa María, which showcases local crafts and gastronomy3.
Enjoy the Water Sports
Fuerteventura is known as the European Hawaii for its excellent conditions for water sports. The island has over 50 spots for surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and sailing. Whether a beginner or a pro, you will find a place that suits your level and style. Some of the most popular spots are El Cotillo, La Pared, Sotavento, Flag Beach, and El Burro. You can join one of the many schools or camps offering courses and equipment rental.
Taste the Local Cuisine
Fuerteventura has a simple but tasty cuisine reflecting its island identity and proximity to Africa. The main ingredients are fish, goat meat, cheese, potatoes, tomatoes, and herbs. Some of the typical dishes are sancocho, a fish stew with potatoes and mojo sauce; cabrito al horno, a roasted goat with garlic and rosemary); papas arrugadas, boiled potatoes with salt and mojo sauce; queso majorero, a cheese made from goat milk with a protected designation of origin; and bienmesabe, a dessert made from almonds, honey, eggs, and cinnamon.
Visit the Isla de Lobos
The Isla de Lobos is a small, uninhabited island between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. It is a natural reserve that hosts a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, including seabirds, lizards, and monk seals. You can take a ferry from Corralejo to reach this island paradise in 15 minutes and enjoy a day of hiking, snorkelling, or relaxing on its pristine beaches. Don’t miss the Faro de Martiño, an old lighthouse that offers stunning views of the island and the surrounding sea.
Visit the Oasis Park
The Oasis Park is a zoo and botanical garden that covers 800 hectares of land in La Lajita. It is home to more than 3,000 animals of 250 species worldwide, such as giraffes, elephants, hippos, monkeys, crocodiles, lemurs, parrots, flamingos, and more. You can interact with some of them in the animal experiences, such as feeding the giraffes, riding a camel, or cuddling a lemur. The park also has a beautiful collection of plants, such as cacti, succulents, palms, and orchids.
Shop at the Markets
Fuerteventura has several markets for local products, handicrafts, souvenirs, clothes, accessories, and more. They are usually held on weekends or on specific days of the week in different towns and villages. Some of the most popular markets are the Mercado de Corralejo (every Monday and Friday), the Mercado de Caleta de Fuste (every Saturday and Sunday), the Mercado de Morro Jable (every Thursday), and the Mercado de Costa Calma (every Sunday). You can also visit the Centro de Artesanía Molino de Antigua. This former windmill has been converted into a craft centre and museum.
Watch the Stars
Fuerteventura has been part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Starlight Reserve since 2009, meaning it has a high-quality natural environment and night sky. The island has low light pollution and clear atmospheric conditions that allow you to see thousands of stars and constellations with your naked eye or with a telescope. You can join one of the guided tours that offer astronomical observations and explanations at different locations on the island or simply find a secluded spot and enjoy the show.
Relax at the Spas
Fuerteventura is a great place to unwind and pamper yourself at one of its many spas and wellness centres. You can choose from various treatments and therapies that use natural products, such as aloe vera, sea salt, volcanic stones, chocolate, or wine. You can also enjoy the facilities, such as jacuzzis, saunas, hammams, pools, and massages. Some of the best spas on the island are the Spa Bahía Vital at the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real, the Thalasso Spa at the Barceló Corralejo Bay, and the Hesperides Thalasso Spa at the H10 Tindaya.
Experience the Carnival
The Carnival is one of the most festive and colourful events in Fuerteventura. It takes place every year between February and March in different towns and villages on the island. The theme changes yearly but always involves costumes, music, dancing, parades, contests, and parties. The main carnival celebrations are in Puerto del Rosario, Corralejo, Caleta de Fuste, Gran Tarajal, and Morro Jable. You can join the locals and tourists in this fun and lively atmosphere for several days.