Thinking about a Canary Island holiday? Fuerteventura might not be the first place that springs to mind. It doesn’t carry the same kind of holiday clout as its sister islands, Lanzarote and Tenerife granted, but for the many who do seek it out, that’s part of the appeal. Understated and lower key, you can have a laidback escape here so leisurely that a week can be as restorative as two (pretty appealing, right?). That said, there’s plenty here for those who want a more adventurous holiday.
Desert dunes and volcanic landscapes sit happily side by side with traditional towns and livelier resorts. Wind-whipped Atlantic surf and sheltered, lagoon-like waters are still more proof that in Fuerteventura, opposites attract. With this guide of things to do in Fuerteventura, you choose whether you wind down or dial it up.
Beaches for laidback living
Corralejo & Isla de Lobos
Beaches are the jewel in Fuerteventura’s crown. To the north in Corralejo you’ll find the most famous, but even here its popularity doesn’t mean you have to jostle elbows to get your square of sand. There are 6 miles to find a spot all your own. If you still can’t find isolation enough, catch a boat from here over to the uninhabited Isla de Lobos that you’ll spot from the shore. Expect desert island tranquility and a complete escape from civilisation.
La Concha Beach & Caleta de Fuste
Round the northern tip to the west is La Concha Beach, at El Cotillo. This is one of Fuerteventura’s great beauties. Its gentle curving shape and natural reef protect it from the buffeting of the Atlantic waves further down the west coast. Instead you’ll find calm, turquoise waters and white sands. At low tide kids will love dabbling in the rock pools that form and the sunsets are spectacular. Meanwhile, if you’re staying further down the east coast it’s Caleta de Fuste you’ll want to seek out. The horseshoe beach has been man made to cocoon sheltered, calm waters. With a resort to its rear you’ve got all that promises – boat trips, beach bars, facilities – but with a relaxed and easy going vibe all the same.
Beaches for a rush
Wind and waves
Trade winds and Atlantic waves make for a surfers paradise in Fuerteventura. Whether you’re a beginner hunting out a surf school for a day’s dabble, or a pro demanding ever-bigger adrenaline kicks, there’s a beach for you. From Playa de Esquinzo in the northwest, upwards past El Cotillo and around the northern tip before you reach Corralejo, you’ll find a cluster of surf spots – wherever your skills lie on the surf scale. Of course if you want to take to the waves it’s not just surfing on offer. Kite-surfing has thrills all of its own. If you’re not ready to take the (literal) leap to that, windsurfing will have you dancing the waves in many places throughout the island.
Look out for: Fuerteventura Windsurfing World Championships, Playa de Sotavento – 21-31 July 2017
Corralejo National Park dunes
If you’re looking for alternative beach days, head to the Saharan-style dunes in the Corralejo National Park. Fine golden sands ripple and shift under warm winds from the north. Join a camel safari and you’ll feel like Lawrence of Arabia. If the adrenaline junky in you demands a nippier (and less grumpy) means of getting about to explore the north, look up one of the dune buggy or quad tours from Corralejo. Macho it certainly is.
Look out for: Fuerteventura Kite Festival, La Playa del Burro (Corralejo dunes), the weekend around November 8th, for 3 days annually.
A less obvious form of transport for getting your kicks – the bus. Yes, you read correctly. This bus however, is a 4×4 bus that you’ll need if you want to explore Cofete Beach (no taking your hire car here, readers). Found in the wild southwest in the Jandía Natural Park, this is a beach not for bathers, or the faint hearted. Its darker golden sands, fierce waves and mountainous backdrop are untamed, dramatic and utterly incredible. To reap these rewards though, you have to brave the journey, which is no small feat. Catch the bus in Morro Jable and then set off on over 20km of dirt track and unmade road. Sometimes single file, sometimes a sheer drop to the side of you, always leaving you on the proverbial edge of your seat.
Leisurely out and about
When you’re planning what do in Fuerteventura it’s not just beaches on offer. Inland towns such as Betancuria give a glimpse of the island as it once was. Sitting pretty in the valley of a (now dried) steam that once etched its way through the hills, you can spend a happy day in the island’s former capital, pottering the cobbled streets. The buildings gleam Canarian white, the Santa María cathedral stealing the show. There’s also the ruins of a Franciscan monastery. It’s hard to imagine during your stroll that the entire town was once raised to the ground by pirates. Yes, really. You can find out all about the history of the place at one of several museums. Casa Museo de Betancuria has some interesting archaeological treasures, or stop by Casa Santa María with its craft shop. You won’t be able to resist the skills of local artisans, and will come away with a treasure of your own.
Look out for: Fiesta de San Buenaventura, 14th July 2017
Out and about up tempo
You’ve got your culture fix and recovered your nerve from the Morro Jable drive, so you’ll be ready for adventure once more. Are we right? Like its sister islands, Fuerteventura’s landscape is volcanic. There are several now defunct volcanos around Corralejo in the north (you can thank these for the forming of the Isla de Lobos) and in the central part of the island . While you won’t get that unmistakable whiff of sulphur, touring or biking the region of the Malpais de la Arena and taking in the cinder cones and lava flows is still an exciting way to spend a day. Some of the quad tours from Corralejo come this way for a thrilling off road experience.
Lazy days in Fuerteventura can drift happily into relaxed evenings with low key nightlife and an easy-going vibe. Music is a big part of the entertainment scene and you’ll often hear folk, Latin and Spanish melodies coming from open air bars, restaurants and live music venues. Linger over tapas, look out over the water or potter from bar to bar in the balmy evenings, people watching and enjoying the gentle chatter in the streets and plazas.
Sun down, fun up
If at the end of an exhilarating day you’re not ready to finish the night early, fear not. Although Fuerteventura doesn’t have the liveliest nightlife of the happening resorts of Tenerife and Lanzarote, there’s still plenty going on around Corralejo. Enjoy a bite to eat (try the local spicy mojo picón sauce – the night will hot up from there!), then head to the Centro Comercial Atlantico on the main strip. This is where most of the fun can be had at the bars and discos. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day in Fuerteventura, with plenty more things to do, so go easy on the island’s honey rum.