The Canary Islands are a popular holiday destination, but when deciding which one’s best for you, look beyond Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife to Fuerteventura. This cluster of land off the coast of Morocco has no fewer than 150 beaches stretched out along its 220 miles of coastline, making it a wonderful place to relax on the white sand with turquoise waters. For those who like to get active, Fuerteventura kiteboarding, windsurfing and diving to keep you entertained.
Day 1 – Head to the beach
Fuerteventura’s main draw are its beaches, which provide the perfect way to ease into island life and forget all the stresses of home. It makes sense to head straight to one of these idyllic locations and get yourself into the holiday spirit. The only question is which one? With so many to choose from, it can be a tough decision, but Corralejo is a good place to start.
This resort town has plenty of amenities and its main beach is a whopping six miles in length. That means there’s room enough for everyone, with families, surfers and even nudists marking their territory at various points across the beach.
It may seem strange to head away from the seafront to get a slap-up seafood lunch, but those who venture a few streets back, will not be disappointed. Restaurante Gregorio El Pescador on Calle Iglesia serves up the fruits of the sea and local specialities for its guests every lunchtime. The fish, squid and lobster is all caught in Corralejo or El Cotillo just along the coast. Be sure to order some Canarian potatoes, as the salt wrinkled skins will melt in your mouth.
In the afternoon, you could take one of the boats leaving regularly from the harbour to the small island of Los Lobos across the bay. While the journey may only take 15 minutes, the paradise you’ll find at the other end takes you away from the crowds and to a wonderful natural environment. Much of the plant and animal life on Los Lobos is endemic, making it a fascinating place to explore. Be sure to pack some snorkelling gear, as there is as much to see beneath the waves as there is on the island.
Alternatively, take a walk to the south of Corralejo and you’ll find yourself among its famed dunes. From here you can explore another selection of beaches and the entire area, which has been designated a protected nature park. It’s quieter than the rest of the resort and a great place to relax as the afternoon turns into the evening.
Pay a visit to the Virgin of Good Travel in El Cotillo a little further along the coast. This fishing village is dedicated to the deity and you can make out her name daubed in Spanish on the cliffs of the old harbour – Virgin de Buen Viaje. It’s widely recognised that Vaca Azul is the best restaurant in El Cotillo and before the food’s even served, you’re likely to be impressed with its location overlooking the sea. Whether you fancy tapas, seafood, meat or a rice dish, there’s bound to be something on the extensive menu to fit your needs.
Day 2 – Live like the colonel
On your second day in Fuerteventura make your way to the town of La Oliva. There are plenty of attractions to explore here, but chief among them is the Colonel’s House. This building, which displays a unique style of architecture, was constructed in 1708 and used to house the military rulers of the island over the years. After falling into disrepair, it was renovated and opened to the public in 2006 and now houses a series of temporary exhibitions that change throughout the course of the year. Be aware that it is not open on Mondays.
This is also the case for Museo del Grano La Cilla, which can also be found in La Oliva. This museum, created inside an 1819 building tells the story of grain farming in the region. Another place worth looking into is the Centro de Arte Canario in Casa Mane, where art from the Canary Islands is displayed, but it is closed on Sundays.
Make your way out of La Oliva to the village of Villaverde for a great lunch spot. The Restaurante El Horno is part of a 400-year-old farm and is popular with both visitors and locals alike. Meat cooked on an open fire is the house speciality, but there are other typical Canarian dishes on offer too. Don’t miss the chance to eat here while you’re in this part of the island.
With a belly full of lamb or baby goat, you should be suitably refuelled to explore Fuerteventura’s capital. Puerto del Rosario is a major port, with a seafront promenade and houses that stretch back from it. Museums and galleries here include one dedicated to the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamano, who stayed there in 1924, and the artist Juan Ismael, who was native to Fuerteventura. Stop by the diminutive local market to sample the island’s world-class goat’s cheese if you can fit another morsel in.
By the time you have explored Puerto del Rosario it will be time to eat again and you’ll be perfectly placed to enjoy the delights of Casa Tono. It’s a good idea to book in advance, as this cutting edge restaurant is the hottest ticket in town. All of the ingredients are sourced locally and the gin selection has close to 50 different varieties.
Day 3 – Venture further down the island
The further you travel throughout Fuerteventura, the more interesting and diverse attractions you find. There’s no way you can be in two minds whether you’ve made it to the Antigua Mill Craft Centre, as the traditional windmill stands proud in the landscape welcoming visitors. The centre functions with various purposes in mind, from demonstrating the machinery of the mill and the history of the local peasants to exhibiting local crafts and sculpture. Spend some time exploring the pleasant garden, complete with its endemic species, including various cacti and palms.
As one of the oldest villages in Fuerteventura, it’s worth spending a bit more time in Antigua and exploring its pretty centre. The village square is usually filled with flowers and flanked by a quaint church, offering a look at local Canarian life. Keep an eye out for signs of the market, as it’s worth visiting when this event is being held to pick up great produce for a picnic or to just watch the sellers and buyers going about their business.
Make your way across to the village of Ajuy for lunch, as this will leave you well placed to explore the area’s caves and black sand beach in the afternoon. The Puerto de la Pena restaurant is highly thought of, which does mean you sometimes have to wait for a table, but this is testament to the quality of the food. If you manage to get seated on the terrace, you’ll get views of the beach and out to sea while you enjoy grilled fish, lentil stew or steak cooked to perfection.
Take a walk along the path to the Ajuy Caves, which nature has carved out of the rock. There is also a hut, which has been built right into the rock face and well worth a look. This area was once used to load ships taking goods from the island to other shores. Even the views from the path are spectacular, making it a great way to pass the afternoon.
Day 4 – Explore Gran Tarajal
Spending a day wandering around the relaxing town of Gran Tarajal is a great way to pass some time while in Fuerteventura. Over the years it grew to be quite an important place on the island, as it was from Gran Tarajal’s port that Fuerteventura’s succulent tomatoes were shipped off to their destinations. This activity now happens in Puerto del Rosario, but the town is still a very pleasant place to explore.
Enjoy the fact that Gran Tarajal isn’t particularly touristy, meaning you can see the everyday life of Fuerteventura going on around its streets. Start off by strolling along the promenade and looking out to sea. You may well see the local fishermen bringing in their catch or simply their boats bobbing about on the water. It’s hard not to be calmed by this charming setting.
Heading into the network of streets and alleyways lets you get lost in the happiest of circumstances. At some point you are bound to find your way to the main square with its church, palm trees and fountain. This pretty monument features six horses all acting as spouts from which water spills decadently.
Not surprisingly, there is quite a concentration of restaurants down by the sea in Gran Tarajal, so this is a good place to aim for when your stomach starts to rumble. As well as the fresh fish caught locally, there are various other options, including pizza and tapas, so there’s something to suit all tastes and offer up an alternative for those getting a bit sick of fish and meat. If you intend to spend the whole day in the town and there’s no reason why you can’t, come back in the evening and sample a different restaurant and another style of food with the same great views out to sea.
Day 5 – Feel the wind in your hair
By your fifth day, you might be looking to do something a little bit different, in which case there are plenty of water sports to try on the island. Most parts of the coast offer the chance to get involved, with surfing, snorkeling, kite boarding and kayaking all available. To use your activity day as a chance to see another bit of Fuerteventura, choose Tarajalejo as your destination.
Spend the morning doing a high-energy sport, such as surfing or learning to windsurf. There are classes available for those who have never tried either of these activities before and you may end up going home with a new skill or at least the determination and passion to start a new hobby.
Tarajalejo is a small fishing village, so there are just a few bars and restaurants to choose from, but by the time you’ve worked up an appetite for lunch from all your exertion this will be just fine. A great choice is La Barraca, partly because it is located on the beach and therefore very convenient for a rest between sports, but mainly down to the fact that the food and service are both excellent. As always when in such close proximity to the sea, fish is a good choice, but the other specialities from the region are also well made at this beach side gem.
In the afternoon, it is entirely up to you what sport you wish to turn your hand to, but if it was a very energetic form in the morning, you may wish to tone it down a little after lunch. This could mean renting a kayak and heading off exploring or enjoying a session of stand-up paddle boarding, which has really taken off in recent years and represents a great way to improve your balance while taking in the views of the ocean.
If you have any energy left, make your way to the old town for the evening. Here, you can watch the world go by over a few drinks and enjoy the typical local way of life. There are several restaurants to choose from, so you’ll be able to get a decent meal and relax your weary limbs after a productive day of exercise.
Day 6 – Have a well-deserved relax
As your holiday starts to draw to a close it’s important to allow yourself a bit more relaxation time. After all, you need to return home feeling rejuvenated, so another day at the beach is called for and perhaps a more chilled out one than all the activity of yesterday. The great thing about Fuerteventura is that after six days on the island, there will still be plenty of beaches that you haven’t yet visited to discover.
We recommend Sotovento, which is right down the other end of the island to Corralejo, but well worth the journey. It’s among the longest stretches of sand on Fuerteventura and its white sand and turquoise sea will make you feel like you’ve been transported to paradise. Surrounded by a beautiful natural environment, there really is nowhere better to be.
You can decide whether to hang out in one of the more populated areas or make your way to a space that’s completely deserted. With 17 miles of beach at your disposal, there’s room for everyone. If you feel like a bit of time on your own then pack yourself a picnic made from delicious Canarian ingredients before you set off. Alternatively, head to one of the beach bars for lunch and drinks when it’s time to refuel.
If you simply can’t sit still, then there are a number of activities to take part in on Sotovento Beach. It’s actually a world-class kiteboarding destination, so now could be the perfect opportunity to give this unusual sport a go. Or you could watch others who have mastered kiteboarding zipping along the sand.
There are quite a few places nearby for your evening meal, but Restaurante San Borondon is a good bet, as you’ll get entertainment along with your food. Live music is a regular fixture here and while the menu has a lot of meat on it, there are also a few vegetarian options. Wash it all down with a glass of sangria and toast a very happy holiday in Fuerteventura.
Day 7 – End with El Cotillo
If you only spent an evening in El Cotillo during your stay, head back to enjoy some time at the beach and a bit more relaxing. It’s good not to venture too far on your last day and you can take in the relaxed atmosphere of this fishing village and have a good lunch. Be sure to stock up on souvenirs before you leave Fuerteventura to remind you of your stay.
Having covered so much on the island in just seven days, you can leave feeling you’ve really got to know the place, but you can always find a reason to come back.
Take a look at the map below to plan your Fuerteventura holiday.