Travel Guides Spain | Guide to Fuerteventura

Guide to Fuerteventura

What to do and see in Fuerteventura?

fuerteventura Fuerteventura is located between Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. It covers an area of 1658 km2. It is the oldest out of all the islands that make up the the Canary Islands. It also has the smallest population with approximately 70,000 inhabitants - Puerto del Rosario has the largest population of 24,175 inhabitants while Betancuria has just 708.

Climate: It is an arid island with very little vegetation and it is always windy. The average annual temperature is around 20ºC.

Fuerteventura can be divided into 2 different areas: la Maxorata, this is the largest area where most of the island's inhabitants live and the Península de Jandía, which is an arid, sandy area. Fuerteventura used to live from agriculture and cattle raising. There is no fishing industry. The agricultural area is located inland in Betancuria. The island's ports (Puerto del Rosario, Tarajal, Corralejo and Morro Jable) are always very busy.







 
 



 





 

 







However, tourism is now the biggest earner for the island given that it has 152 beaches where tourists can go diving, do watersports or just relax. Fuerteventura has some very good hotels with excellent facilities.

A great way to see the island is to hire a car or go on a organized coach tour. The island is very easy to get around by road. The airport, called El Matorral, is located 4 Kms from Puerto del Rosario. It is an international airport with flights to destinations all over the world. It also connects to the other Canary Islands : La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Funchal. Fuerteventura's ports are always busy. You can get to the other islands by ferry - Puerto del Rosario, Morrojable and Corralejo have ferries to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Playa Blanca and Arrecife (in Lanzarote), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de La Palma.

Fuerteventura is divided into 6 districts: La Oliva, Betancuria, Antigua, Puerto del Rosario, Pájara and Tuineje. Los Lobos is a tiny island opposite La Oliva.

 

History of Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura was conquered in 1404 by the French. Jean de Bethencourt and Gadifer de la Salle were responsible for creating the island's capital city Betancuria, located inland. On their arrival and occupation of Fuerteventura they discovered it was divided into 2 different kingdoms: Maxorata and Jandía.

They built a Franciscan convent which was dedicated to evangelizing the people known as 'los guanches'. In fact the Gaunche kings Guize and Ayose were baptized with the Christian names Luís and Alfonso.

In the 15th century the island was conquered by the Spanish and became part of the kingdom of Castilla. From the 19th century onwards the islands were fully integrated as part of Spain.

 

Puerto del Rosario the capital

This is an area that crosses the island from east to west. Puerto del Rosario was built in 1797 and was first given the name Puerto de Cabras, because the goat shepherds brought their goats here to graze. It kept this name until 1956 when it changed to its present name, Puerto del Rosario.

It became the capital of the island in the 19th century due to the boom in activity in its port that went hand in hand with an ever increasing population. All the island's administrative headquarters, government buildings and commercial organisations were established here in order to take advantage of the boom in economic activity. Nowadays, it has 24,180 inhabitants. Its port and airport are usually very busy.

 

Things to see in Fuerteventura

  • Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
  • Biblioteca Municipal (municipal library - C/ Ramiro de Maetzu nº 1,Tel: 928 850 848) It has lots of different sections. Well organised.
  • Parque Escultórico (Sculpture park) : This consists of 50 sculptures by different artists in different styles placed all over the city.
  • Parks and green areas: There are many parks all over the city.
  • Casa Museo Miguel de Unamuno (c/ Virgen del Rosario, 9, Puerto del Rosario): This is where this famous writer lived in exile.

Fiestas in Fuerteventura

  • El Carnaval de Canarias: click here for more information. These are the most important fiestas on the Canary Islands. This year's carnaval in Puerto del Rosario recreated the world of the ancient civilizations in its many processions and street parties.
  • San Juan: This fiesta takes place on the night of the 23rd June to celebrate the summer equinox. Fiestas are organised on the beaches with music, dancing, bonfires and fireworks.
  • Virgen de la Peña: These fiestas take place during the 2nd week in Septemeber. Everybody goes on a procession to the Ermita de la Vega del Río Palmas. Hand made arts and crafts are sold, people party and pray...
  • Virgen del Carmen: 16th July. The patron saint of Puerto del Rosario.

Nature reserves in Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura has lots of nature reserves aimed at conserving the islands endemic species of plants and animals.

  • Parque Natural de las Dunas de Corralejo y el Islote de Lobos: This is the island's most important nature reserve, made up of the following areas:
    • Islote de los Lobos: This small island is located opposite La Oliva. For centuries it was home to a large colony of seals. Now it is a protected natural area. The highest point on the island is la Caldera, a mountian 127 metres above sea level.
    • Parque Natural de las Dunas de Corralejo: This is located to the north of the island in la Oliva. It's an area with hardly any vegetation. The beaches here have golden sand and are very pretty. There are lots of mountains here: Tindaya, Malpaís de Las Arenas, Malpaís de Rayuyo, Malpaís de los Arrabalos, la zona de la Caldera de Jacomar and la Montaña Roja (312 mts). The best beaches to visit are: el Puerto de la Peña and las playas levantadas.
  • Parque Rural de Betancuria: This is located in Betancuria and Puerto del Rosario. The highest mountain here is Betancuria (742 mts) and the La Atalaya peak (724 mts). This is a predominantly agricultural area with distinct mountain ranges.
  • Parque Natural de Jandía: This is located in Pájara. It's highest peak is la Zarza (807 mts).el Cardón de Jandía (a type of cactus) grows here. The area around el Arco de Cofete is very pretty.
  • Vallebrón: Located in La Oliva and Puerto del Rosario. The highest point here is the Muda mountain (698 mts). This is an important place because a small, ancient gaunche cemetery was discovered here.
  • Malpaís Grande: Located in la Antigua and Tuineje. Its highest point is la Caldera de los Arrabales (243 mts). From here you can visit the gaunche settlement known as Atalayita.

  • Monumento Natural Malpaís de La Arena: This is located in La Oliva. the highest point is the Arena volcano (420 mts). The rock formations here date back 10,000 years.

  • Monumento Natural Montaña de Tindaya: Also located in La Oliva. Mount Tindaya (401 mts) is the highest point. Its peak is believed to have been a special place for the gaunches because ancient drawings have been found here.

  • Monumento Natural Cuchillo de Vigán: Located in Tuineje and la Antigua. Its highest point is the Vigán mountain (462 mts). It has distinctive pointed rock formations called 'cuchillos' consisiting of volcanic rock eroded over the centuries.

  • Monumento Natural Montaña de Cardón: Located in Pájara. Its highest point is the Cardón mountain (691 mts) The sides of the mountain are covered in thick vegetation typical to the island known locally as 'jorjado'.

  • Monumento Natural de Ajuí: Located in Pájara this is the oldest place on the island . Some rocks consist of fossilized marine sediment. Dates back to before the other islands in the Canaries had been formed or even the continents of America or Africa.

  • Monumento Natural Caldera de Gairía: Located in Tuineje and la Antigua. You can see the fossilized remains of plants here.

  • Playa del Matorral: Although this beach is visited by a lot of tourists it remains unspoilt. There are lots of the island's protected species of plants here.

Hotels in Fuerteventura

 

Beaches in Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura has some truely beautiful beaches, most of which are unspoilt, natural areas. Here is a list of some of the best beaches:

  • Playa de Sotavento-Jandía: In Pájara. Morro Jable is the nearest port where you can go on boat trips, get surfing or diving classes...This beach is over a kilometre long and about 30 metres wide. It has fine, golden sand and crystal clear waters. You can hire a sunbed or sun shade. Nudist. There is a carpark.
  • Calas del Puertito. This is a nudist beach on the small island - Isla de Lobos opposite La Oliva. The nearest port is Corralejo where there are daily boat trips to the island which is completely unspoilt and uninhabited. The beach here has golden sand and measures just 140 by 20 metres.
  • El Cofete: In Pájara. Morro Jable is the nearest port (see above). This beach measures almost 1.5 kilometres by 60 metres. It is an unspoilt beach with fine, golden sand. It is usually very windy with big waves. You can hire sunbeds or sun shades here. Nudist.

  • Playa El Dormidero: In La Oliva. The nearest port is Corralejo. This is a small beach with fine, golden sand measuring 440 by 30 mteres. Nudist. Sunbeds and sun shades on hire...
  • Playa de El Viejo: In La Oliva. The nearest port is Corralejo. Nudist. This beach has fine, golden sand. The beach measures 1 km by 50 metres. Quite windy, the waves here are moderate.

  • Playa Morro de Potala; In Pájara. The nearest port is Morro Jable. This is a quiet, tiny beach 300 by 25 metres. Nudist. Fine, golden sand. Moderate waves.

  • Playa Janubio: In Puerto del Rosario. The nearest port is Corralejo. This beach measures 230 by 40 metres. It is a natural, unspoilt beach with coarse black sand. Usually very windy with big waves. Sun beds and sun shades on hire. Nudist. Esquinza and Aguila beaches are nearby with calmer sea.

  • Playa El Algibe- La Cueva: In Puerto del Rosario. The nearest port is Corralejo. This beach is
    1.210 by 30 metres. It is a natural, unspoilt beach. Nudist. Not many people. The beach has fine, golden sand. It is usually very windy with big waves.

  • Playa El Bajo Negro: In La Oliva. The nearest port isCorralejo. This beach is 500 by 45 metres. Nudist. This is an unspoilt natural beach with fine, golden sand, windy with moderate waves. There is a beach bar, restaurant and hotel here. Sunbeds and sun shades on hire.

  • Playa Majanicho: In La OLiva. The nearest port is Corralejo. This beach is just 150 by 20 metres. Nudist. A quiet beach with fine, golden sand and calm sea.

 

Sports on Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is an ideal place for doing all kinds of sports, especially water sports, because of its climate. . There are lots of places where you can get classes in diving, wind surfing, surfing. You can also go on organized boat trips.

Here is a list of the best places to go:

  • Fishing: Puerto de Corralejo.

  • Windsurfing : Pájara, Corralejo.

  • Diving: Pájara, Antigua, Corralejo, Gran Tarajal and Morro Jable.

  • Surfing: Corralejo and Jandía.

  • Ala Delta: la Antigua.

  • Golf:Fuerteventura Golf Club: (Golf Club km 11, 35610 Caleta del Fuste, Tel: 928 16 00 34) Antigua: This golf course has 18 holes - par 72. There is a hotel within the grounds. Click here for more information and reservations: Elba Palace Golf Fuerteventura*****. There are 2 other hotels 3 Kms away: Geranio Suites Hotel***** and Hotel Elba Sara ****
    Oasis Jandía Golf
    Club (Barranco de Vinamar-La Mancha, s/n) in Jandía.

  • Trekking in Fuerteventura: The Camino Real is a very popular place to hike - it is the path the island's conquerers took when they arrived.

  • Jetski: Available for hire in Corralejo.

  • Motorbikes, Mountain Bikes, Tennis,...Available all over the island.

Other popular sports on the island are those with roots in the Gaunche culture such as:Juego del Palo, Juego de la Lata, la Pina, Pelotamano, Levantamiento del Arado, Tángana, Bola Canaria....

Shopping in Fuerteventura

There are lots of handmade goods on sale. Common things to buy are: Different types of cheese, hand embriodered table cloths, woollen blankets, things made from wicker, musical instruments (violins, guitars), clay pottery, straw hats, ...

Villages and Places to visit in Fuerteventura


Betancuria

This is by far the prettiest town on the island. It is located on a plain between mountains in an area with volcanic remains with brightly coloured stones. It is situated above a crater of a volcano that has been dormant for many years. It only has 709 inhabitants.

Betancuria was the capital of the island from 1404 when it was founded by the French. It remained the capital until the 19th century.

Things to see:

  • Iglesia Catedral de Santa María: This was built in the 15th century, Norman, Gothic style architecture. It was partially destroyed in 1620 and was rebuilt - this is the building that can be seen today. Its 17th century altarpiece, panelled ceiling, the choir stalls and the baptistry are particularly interesting.
  • Museo de Arte Sacro: Religious art.
  • Museo Arqueológico y Etnográfico (c/ Roberto Roldán, s/n, Tel: 928 87 82 41): This houses archeological finds from all over the island.
  • Casa Santa María: This is a craft centre where you can see how things are made and also buy handmade arts and crafts.
  • Ermita de la Vega de Río Palmas: A small chapel located on the outskirts and houses a statue of the Virgen de la Peña, the patron saint of the island.
  • Ermita de San Diego de Alcalá: A small chapel.
  • Ermita de Santa Inés: A small chapel located in the Santa Inés valley.

La Oliva

This has occupied a very important place in the island's history. Following the conquering of Fuerteventura by the Castellanos the Spanish military command made a base here. It used to be a mainly agricultural area which supplied most of the island.

Now it is an important tourist centre with infrastructure to support it (there are lots of hotels around Corralejo). It is also a natural area with protected beaches which are surrounded by sand dunes. It is predominantly a fishing village and its small harbour is always full of life. You can find lots of typical restaurants around the harbour area serving local food. There are also diving, wind surfing and sailing schools as well as organised boat trips to the Isla Lobos. There are many hotels and apartments in the area. Its unspoilt beaches are excellent with white sands and crystal clear water.

Things to see:

  • Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.
  • Casa de los Coroneles: This is a large mansion with pretty balconies built by the Spanish military command in the 15th century.
  • Centro de Arte Canario Casa Mane: This is a exhibition of contemporary art (consisting of paintings and sculptures) by artists from the Canary Islands.
  • Casa del Capellán: This is the house where the village priest lived. It is a stone house with pretty balconies decorated with flowers.
  • Ermita de Puerto Escondido: Located in la Oliva.
  • Centro de Arte Canario: A small art gallery.
  • Museo La Casa de la Cilla: An interesting museum.
  • Unamuno Monument

Antigua

This area covers 250 km2 and has around 3000 inhabitants. It is the oldest city on the island, founded at the beginning of the 18th century. It is a very flat, rural area with windmills and many typical farmhouses. Popular for rural tourism. It also has an interesting coastline and Caleta de Fustes, is one of the busiest tourist areas on the island. Hotel chains with excellent facilities attract large numbers of tourists.

Things to see:

  • Iglesia de Santa Cruz de los Caldos: Built in 1785.
  • Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Antigua
  • Pueblo Majorero: This is a tourist resort located in Caleta de Fustes, where there are lots of shops, hotels, bars, restaurants...

Pájara

This is where the Jandía Natural Park is located. This town began to evolve in the 16th century. The town hall was built in 1711.

This is where most of the island's beaches are together with most of the islands hotels. This area is the least populated area in Fuerteventura. Tourism is the main source of income here. Things to see: Costa Calma, Puerto de Morro Jable, the fishing harbour where there are boat trips and facilities for water sports. Barlovento, is a very windy, dry area with subtropical marine life. In sotavento you have the Jandía beaches which are a paradise for divers due to the varied marine life. Its beaches are unspoilt, with fine golden sand and crystal clear water.

Things to see:

  • Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla: Built in 1711.
  • Ermita de San Antonio: Located in Toto. Built in the 18th century.

Tuineje

Tuineje covers 276 km2 and has 12,900 inhabitants. It is located in the southwest of Fuerteventura. Its main source of income is agriculture and cattle raising. The best beaches are Las Playitas, Gran Tarajal, Giniginamar and Tarajalejo. They are characterised by their fine black sand and stones and calm sea despite the fact that they are often very windy. There are hotels, restaurants, beach bars and some promenades near and around the beaches.

 

Travelling to Fuerteventura? The following links may also be useful
Guides provinces bordering with Fuerteventura and beautiful places in Spain nearby
Travel guides to Spain Travel guides to Spain
Guide to Alicante Guide to Almeria
Guide to Avila Guide to Barcelona
Guide to Caceres Guide to Castellon
Guide to Cuenca Guide to Girona
Guide to Guipuzcoa Guide to Lerida
Guide to Murcia Guide to Tarragona
Guide to Valencia Guide to Zamora
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