Fuerteventura may be Lanzarote’s closest neighbour of the seven islands that make up the Canaries, but it is actually offers a very different experience to visiting holidaymakers. It is not only reckoned to be the oldest of the islands but it is also the nearest to the African continent.
While tourism has taken off more slowly on the second largest island (after Tenerife), its wonderful white sand beaches are an understandable lure to those seeking a sunshine destination. In fact it has more beaches than any other island in the archipelago, including the amazing Dunas National Park which lies just outside the northernmost town of Corralejo.
And although the island’s formation was also the result of volcanic activity, there hasn’t been any seismic activity on Fuerteventura for around 7,000 years. This means that its landscapes are less rugged than those found in the Timanfaya region of Lanzarote, as the elements have given Fuerteventura’s volcanoes a more worn and weathered feel.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of picturesque villages to visit, such as Betancuria, which was established in 1405 by Jean de Bethencourt. For several centuries it served as the island’s capital and has an impressive church as well as well preserved examples of the colonial style of building that typify the historic towns and villages of the Canaries.
The central region of the island is home to a handful of other towns, such as Pajara, Antigua and La Oliva. Each of these villages was founded during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries by the first wave of Spanish inhabitants and many of their former residences have been transformed into accommodation for tourists looking to experience a different side of Fuerteventura.
The main coastal tourist hotspots range from Corralejo in the far north, which has plenty of apartments and hotels right by the beautiful beach, to Caleta de Fuste which is just south of the new capital Puerto Rosario. Caleta de Fuste has good self-catering and hotel accommodation arranged around the pretty sandy bay.
Thanks to its incredible beaches and ideal wind conditions, the island has become known as a great place to practice windsurfing and every July the Professional Windsurfing Association meets in Sotavento for one of the stages in its annual competition.
Also in the far south of the island is the beach at Jandia, which again extends for several kilometres of fine white sand and turquoise waters. It is widely considered one of the best beaches in the whole of Europe and has been awarded a blue flag for several consecutive years. Here there are several larger hotels, almost bordering the beach.