Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands (after Tenerife) and the oldest island in the archipelago, thought to have been created some 20 million years ago. It’s roughly 100 km in length with a very varied landscape – black and white sand beaches, desert, red-rock mountain ranges and lavascapes. The roads are in decent condition, not particularly busy or winding and are great for exploring by car – or probably even better by motorbike, if you can get one.
Here are the highlights from two days of road tripping around Fuerteventura.
Corralejo and the Dunes
Fuerteventura is famous for its white sand beaches but the Natural Park area around Corralejo is a sea of sand. Instantly I was transported back to the desert in Dubai. Driving through the park itself is a strange but beautiful experience that deserves a stop or five for photos. The town of Corralejo is essentially a town of two halves – one part new and resorty, the other old and Cantarian. If we’d done a bit more research before booking we probably would have stayed here as it looked a bit more vibey than Caleta de Fuste.
A short drive from Corralejo is El Cotillo, essentially the Bondi Beach of the island. It started life as a small fishing village and is now the surfing and windsurfing Mecca of the island. South of the village are several pretty lagoons, to the north (past the Faro lighthouse) are some of the best surf spots on the island and if you’re up for a bit of off-roading there’s a gravel road that hugs the coast between El Cotillo and Corralejo, linking each of the surf spots together that.
Betancuria and La Olivia
Betancuria is a picturesque village in the centre of the island that used to be the island’s capital before handing that title to La Olivia, who then handed it to the current capital, Puerto del Rosario. The old town is now a hub for handicrafts and artists as well as several shops selling local goats cheese and aloe vera products.
The town of La Olivia has been an agricultural center of the island for more than 500 years and is home to the Church of Our Lady of Candelaria, a 16th-century church, and Casa de los Coroneles, where the military governors of the islands used to reside.
The Centre of the Island
The landscape through the center of the island is stunning. There are rolling hills, red-rock mountains, a hill shaped like a boob (true!), goats and endless wide open spaces. It’s similar to Morocco and Egypt but with a little bit of Australia thrown in. The rocky landscape is also the perfect place to spot little Barbary ground squirrels.
A small fishing village on the west coast of the island that clearly gets its fair share of surf action as some of the buildings are crumbling into the sea. Apparently the Casa Pon restaurant is very good.
Kitesurfing at Playa de Sotavento
Just south from Costa Calma is Sotavento Beach where the favourable wind conditions and the island’s biggest surf school ensure the lagoon is a hot spot for wind and kite surfers from around the world.
Cofete is located on the western side of the island and one of the most isolated. Access to this area is via gravel road, which initially looks a bit dodgy but we figured if the local bus could get there then so could we! After what seemed like an endless stretch of gravel (which Neil loved) we popped out near the summit of Moro Mountain (at 230m) and were rewarded with an awesome view of Cofete and the western coast of the island. Before you get to the beach there’s a lovely restaurant (Restaurante Cofete) that serves simple but tasty food.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Spain has some of THE best driving roads in Europe and Fuerteventura is no different. The tarmac surfaces are mostly excellent, the corners are wide and sweeping and the ever changing landscape keep the even the straight bits interesting. If you’re an amateur rally driver (like Neil), there are plenty of gravel roads to explore as well. Grab a map and get lost, it’s possible – trust us!
Have we missed anywhere on Fuerteventura?
Let us know in the comments below.