I have long yearned to come to Fuerteventura, one of the lesser-known and quieter Canary Islands. Imagine a volcanic island surrounded by warm, turquoise waters, where empty ribbons of road stretch from one white sand beach to the other one, and where free-running goats roam the sun-baked landscape.
The second largest of the Canary Islands (beaten to first place by Tenerife), located just 100 km off the West Coast of Africa, is impressive and diverse enough to bless venturous voyagers with many experiences.
Our main reason for visiting Fuerteventura island was to relax and enjoy the sunshine. Living in a country where the weather is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, making it very wet and unpredictable, is why we are always on the lookout for sunny escapes.
Ericeira curled up and peacefully fell asleep in my arms shortly after takeoff, putting our minds at ease about a four-and-a-half-hour flight to the island. After we landed at Fuerteventura airport, located a few miles south of the capital Puerto Del Rosario, we grabbed a pre-ordered hire car and drove to meet our Airbnb host, Maria.
We were surprised to find the little holiday house nicely tucked away in a quiet residential area, sitting on a slope of the rolling hill overlooking Costa Caleta and providing an uninterrupted view of the East Coast region.
A Quick Guide to the best things to do in beautiful Fuerteventura
Even though Fuerteventura is well known as a beach holiday destination, we learned that beauty isn’t just about the surrounding water.
Further inland, patiently waiting to be uncovered, were howling mountain passes, shielded coves and savaged cliffs, shaped by untamed ocean waters.
And, there’s even more! The island itself is a Biosphere Reserve due to its volcanic landscapes, and because the skies are free from pollution, you can enjoy starry moments at night. You’ll also have a chance to sample tasty cheeses, wrinkly potatoes and loads of fresh fish.
Let me shine a light on a few fantastic and energetic places we had a chance to visit while driving around the northern part of Fuerteventura island.
#1. Walk around Corralejo Town
Don’t let the large numbers of tourists and holidaymakers scare you away, by all means; this isn’t your typical holiday resort town. Situated in the North, Corralejo, with its historic centre and the attractive harbour is very lovable.
Sure, it makes a big difference visiting Fuerteventura off-season as we did. Crowds were gone, restaurants were unfilled and the little town, surrounded by tons of sandy beaches to the left and right, was very appealing.
Day trips to nearby Lanzarote where you can visit Timanfaya National Park and to uninhabited Lobos islands where you can climb a volcano are popular with tourists.
#2. Visit Ajuy fishing village
Ajuy, one of the smallest fishing villages on the West Coast, is only a short drive away from Pájara.
A pathway over the cliffs offers a beautiful walk to see the fire pits and impressive limestone caves. Pitch-black sand covers the main beach, and the local restaurant beside it serves fresh fish.
The large caves are well worth a visit, but keep in mind that the slopes and steps are steep and you need sensible footwear to access them.
#3. Roam around Betancuria town
Islands’ former capital (until 1834) was a pleasant surprise. Positioned in a lush green valley and surrounded by palm trees, Betancuria projected such a stark contrast, if compared to the rest of Fuerteventura’s sun-scorched terrain.
Betancurias’ main attraction is the beautiful and fully restored Iglesia de Santa María church, open to visitors for a small fee, and the little town itself is protected as an area of ethnographic significance.
There are plenty of restaurants offering Canarian dishes and little gift shops selling local pottery and crafts.
During the third week of September, Fuerteventura celebrates one of the most important traditions, the Pilgrimage of Peña. People gather together from all over the island to travel to Vega de Rio Palmas, situated in the Betancuria region, to pay tributes to Fuerteventura’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Peña. Markets, live music, and traditional foods are all part of the annual celebration.
#4. Take in the views from Morro Velosa
The winding road to Betancuria village can undoubtedly test your driving abilities. If you look it up on Google Maps, you can see VF-30 literary zigzag through the barren landscape.
On our way to Betancuria, we noticed a signpost for a Morro Velosa viewpoint located on top of the Tegú Mountain (669 meters).
What we found was a beautifully designed building with a wooden porch delivering tremendous views to the left and right. Looking over rounded hills, I was feeling grateful for this journey; it made me realise that even the smallest things can take your breath away.
#5. Watch a sunrise at Corralejo Dunes Natural Park
Don’t you think that sand dunes are a very interesting place to explore? To see how they change in a matter of a day, how light reflects the tiny sand particles?
I have to say that visiting Dunes Natural Park was the highlight of our stay! There was so much scenic goodness in this place, twinkling white sand, beautifully coloured sunrises, unique plants and fresh air in our lungs.
The FV 1 road runs right through the park with plenty of parking spaces. To the north of the park is the Atlantic ocean with fabulous beaches and on the other side is a more rugged and volcanic landscape(ideal for landscape photographers).
#6. Explore Fuerteventura Beaches
November sun was hot enough to make my shoulders bronzed within days as we galloped around the island from dusk till dawn, discovering undeniably appealing and unspoiled beaches.
Pick any beach on the island, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the soft white sand and the fresh scent of the ocean. Don’t hold back if it’s windy, use the little circular windbreak shelters build from stones by locals.
Scuba diving is a favourite activity due to the thousands of species living in the depths of the Atlantic ocean. The coast of Fuerteventura stretches on for more than 300 kilometres and underwater you can explore submarine lava rivers and see amazing sea creatures like angelfish, turtles, corrals, and whales.
#7. Drive to El Tostón Lighthouse
What made this place stand out were natural lagoons and beaches, separated by black volcanic rocks, and we felt like we are on another planet entirely.
The Tostón Lighthouse or Ell Cotillo lighthouse is situated near El Cotillo village on the north-western coast of the island. By car, it took us about half an hour to reach Corralejo. The beautiful tower, striped in white and red, was initially opened in 1897.
Its light, shining bright in the dark, can be seen for 14 nautical miles and the lighthouse keeper’s house is now a museum and cafe.
How to get to and around Fuerteventura
The main airport serving the island is Fuerteventura Airport, located 5km from the capital Puerto del Rosario. Loads of budget and charter airlines are offering flights to Fuerteventura, including Ryanair and EasyJet.
You can also arrive at Fuerteventura by boat from other Canary islands. The fares are reasonable, the services are frequent, and you might even be able to see dolphins.
The only way to see the scenic spots and wander away from the tourist crowds is to rent a car. We found driving around the island very easy as there was very little traffic. Take extra care when driving on mountain roads, always wear a seatbelt and use common sense.
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
Now, over to you!
Have you been to Fuerteventura Island? Let us know in the comments!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Fuerteventura and have travel-related questions!