Sunshine, beaches, historic rural towns and modern resorts. The island of Fuerteventura offers tourists peace and tranquillity in abundance.
Fuerteventura is the second most easterly of the Canary Islands and lies just 100km off the coast of Africa, on a similar line of latitude to Mexico and Florida.
And as a result the island is year round holiday destination – of special popularity with British, Irish and German tourists.
As well as more than the odd visitor from mainland Spain.
The island is characterized by a feeling of space and peace – as this is the second biggest Canary Island in terms of land mass, but with a population of only 80,000 – which is much less than on the smaller neighbouring island of Lanzarote.
Rainfall is low and there are over 120 beaches to enjoy – some of which are regarded as the best in Europe.
How To Get There
Flights to Fuerteventura are available from all major UK airports with carriers such as Thomas Cook and First Choice and from Shannon and Dublin airports in Ireland with Ryanair.
The flight time is approximately four hours and the airport is located 5km outside the island capital of Puerto Rosario.
Transfer To Resort
Caleta de Fuste 10 minutes/€10
Corralejo 45 minutes/€40
Jandia 60 minutes/€70
Public buses also run from the airport to the main resorts hourly and cost from €2 upwards depending on destination.
There are a number of car hire offices in the main airport terminal.
Where To Stay
Hotels in Fuerteventura are available in all of the three main resorts on the island.
Located on the north coast of Fuerteventura Corralejo is characterised by its brightly coloured buildings and abundance of bars and restaurants. Many day trippers visit the town via the ferry from Playa Blanca on neighbouring Lanzarote. The resort is popular with holidaymakers of all ages – not least because of its proximity to the incredible 16km stretch of sand at bearby Dunas National Park. Corralejo is also the gateway to the neighbouring island of Lanzarote.
Caleta de Fuste
Also know locally as El Castillo – thanks to the old fort still standing on the seafront - Caleta de Fuste has emerged as a busy resort over recent years. Thanks to its proximity to the islands airport and a selection of excellent beaches.
Caleta´s central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the island and the resort is popular with families and is also ideal for water sports enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for a beach holiday then head for Jandia as here you will find an incredible 32km stretch of sand that seems almost endless. The Jandia peninsula is also home to some of the highest volcanic peaks on the island – of up to 800m – and is an official site of scientific interest and nature reserve.
Things To Do In Fuerteventura
Whilst the island's main attractions are undoubtedly its beaches there’s still plenty of things to do in Fuerteventura when you tire of the sun lounger.
Betancuria is the ancient island capital of Fuerteventura and well worth a visit in order to explore its historic buildings and Guanche artifacts at the Archeological Museum.
Make like Lawrence of Arabia and sign up for the excellent Camel Safari in Jandia.
Los Lobos and Lanzarote
Visit the neighbouring islands of Los Lobos and Lanzarote on an organised day trip embarking from the harbour in Corralejo.
Visit the wreck of the liner The American Star that ran ashore on the west coast of the island at Playa de Garcy.
Words such as unspoiled are often bandied around way too liberally when it comes to describing holiday destinations. All too often, on arrival, one finds that this turns out to mean that the planned motorway running past your hotel window hasn’t quite been completed yet or the resort you were staying in used to be a quaint little fishing village some 20 years ago.
This is especially true of the Canaries, where large tracts of islands such as Tenerife and Gran Canaria have long since been buried beneath concrete.
But Fuerteventura is different. Genuinely different. Despite the fact that the island is the second largest in the Canaries, with some 3,000 hours of sunshine a year Fuerteventura has managed to escape the grizzly fate of her siblings.
Instead mother nature still runs the show here, with the vast majority of the island remaining as she intended, not only unspoilt but also largely untouched. The exiled poet Miguel de Unamuno once famously described Fuerteventura as “an oasis in the middle of civilization’s desert” and this still holds true today.
There are many reasons for this. Despite the fact that Fuerteventura is the oldest Canary Island, with her first outcrops dating back some 17 million years tourism developed much later here than elsewhere in Spain.
In addition, the climate has also obviously had an impact, making it great for holidaymakers but not so wonderful for those trying to eke out a living from the land. As a result the population has stayed small in relation to other islands, with just some 80,000 residents. Neighboring Lanzarote by way of contrast is about one third the size but has nearly double the population, which is swelled further by much higher tourist visitor numbers.
What all this means is that you won’t find the usual water parks, themed attractions and zoos prevalent elsewhere. Instead, this island’s attractions are all natural, with pristine scenery and virgin vistas making it the natural choice for those who want to experience the perfect peace and serene solitude that is Fuerteventura´s hallmark.
There is an abundance of these natural attractions on the island as Fuerteventura boasts three National Parks, one Rural Park, six Natural Monuments, two Protected Landscapes and one area of Scientific Interest.
That´s quite a roll call for one island.
These zones are all protected by something called the Law of Natural Areas, passed by the autonomous Canarian Government in 1994. As you’d expect the law essentially outlaws development in or around these specific zones to ensure that they are preserved in perpetuity.
So, here’s a brief sample of what to expect from Fuerteventura´s best natural beauty spots.
Dunes National Park – Corralejo
Probably the most famous of all of Fuerteventura´s natural attractions, the Dunes or El Jable are just outside Corralejo and are like stepping into the Sahara, which in fact lies just 60 miles away.
El Jable essentially comprises 2,400 hectares of continually shifting sands, as the dunes themselves move and change on a daily basis due to the influence of the almost constant strong winds coming in from the North and North East.
Surprisingly perhaps this area is home to an assortment of well-adapted flora and fauna such as lichens and plants like tree tobacco (nicotina glauca) and over a hundred different species of invertebrates such as lizards and geckos.
Take some water and sun protection and loose yourself in the desert or hook up with a camel train for that real Lawrence of Arabia experience.
Jandia National Park
Jandia National Park in the south of the island offers a similar experience, albeit on an even grander scale and with an even more pronounced contrast between intense white sands and the turquoise blue waters.
The Jandia peninsula is separated from the rest of the island and bordered by 2,600 hectares of almost continuous beach – which makes it easy to wander off and find your own slice of pure nature in areas such as Sotavento, Barlovento and Cofete.
For real virgin pastures though take to the seas and head for the small volcanic spit that is the Los Lobos National Park, which is separated from Fuerteventrua by a 2km strait called El Rio.
Los Lobos means wolves in Spanish but the island is in fact named after sea rather than land mammals. Up until the 19th century the island was colonized by monk seals, also colloquially known as sea wolves, so hence the name.
Los Lobos is just a half hour ferry journey from Corralejo and as one of Europe’s last truly unspoiled spots it is an absolute must see for all nature lovers. Visitors can walk around the entire island in three hours or so and marvel at the views across to both Lanzarote and Fuerteventura or just relax on one of the little islands beautiful beaches.