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As one of the only places in Europe that enjoys warm weather throughout the European winter months of November to March, the Canary Islands are popular amongst sun-chasing tourists.
When I returned from Australia at the end of January and plunged straight back into the British winter (sob!), I knew I’d need a sunshiny break before too long. And it just so happens that my sister, Louise, and her husband, Andy, live on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, that belong to Spain but are situated off the coast of Africa.
So, in March I headed to Fuerteventura, combining a visit to my sister, with a much-needed sunshine top-up.
I have to be honest here…I’ve never fancied the Canary Islands due to my prior preconceptions of them being overly touristy and ugly. And before the Canary Island lovers launch into a tirade of abuse, I must say…I have partially changed my mind…partially!
I do believe beauty and culture can be found everywhere if you look hard enough, and I think Fuerteventura is one of those places where you have to search for it. Although I pass no judgement against people who go on holiday purely to lounge by the pool and drink mojitos, I personally like to get out and experience the place I am visiting.
So, with doubts in my mind, I challenged my sister to show me the beauty of Fuerteventura…and show me she did!
I’ve put together a photo diary to give you a snapshot of my trip along with a few recommendations of what to see and do along the way.
Wander the streets of El Cotillo
One of the first places we visited was El Cotillo, a pretty little fishing village with heaps of rustic charm. Although becoming popular with tourists, it still has a quaint and authentic feel, with whitewashed houses and blue shutters adding to its character. Due to its lovely beaches and great waves, El Cotillo is especially popular amongst surfers and enjoys a laid-back beachy vibe.
Enjoy cocktails at Azzurro chill out restaurant, El Cotillo
A little outside the main town, we stumbled upon this cool restaurant by accident as we were heading home. Although we didn’t try the food, the ‘chill-out’ vibes and laid-back atmosphere were just what we were looking for. We enjoyed the sunset and the panoramic view of the rugged landscape while sipping our cocktails and unwinding.
Chill out on the beach in Corralejo
The main tourist hub, is definitely what I would call, touristy! It was hard to find an authentic Spanish restaurant among the Mexican, Indian and English restaurants on offer (to name but a few). However, having said that, the beaches in Corralejo are very beautiful, with lovely sand and crystal clear turquoise seas. Parts of the old town have a rustic and quaint appeal. If nothing else, head to Corralejo to enjoy the coastline, soak up the sun and wander around the harbour.
Top tip: Head to Waikiki Beach Club for a traditional Canarian cheese board! Delicious!
Check out the sand dunes in Parque Natural de Corralejo (and the beaches)
Fuerteventura is famous for its sand dunes and it’s easy to see why, with miles of golden sand rolling into the distance as far as the eye can see. Check out the beaches on the coast of the Parque too for beautiful long stretches of sand and clear blue sea.
Visit the rustic town of Betancuria
It’s easy to say that Betancuria is my favourite place on the island of Fuerteventura. The picturesque former capital lies in a lush green valley surrounded by hills, with its rustic charm pulling in tourists from around the world. Enjoy tapas and a glass of sangria at one of its authentic restaurants or soak up the sun in the square while listening to classic Spanish guitar.
Gasp at the view from Mirador Morro Velosa
Not far from Betancuria, lies the viewpoint of Mirador Morro Velosa, a cafe atop a mountain, which enjoys breath-taking 360-degree views over the island. Sip a coffee while gazing at the stunning views and if you’re ready to brave the winds, head out and up the mountainside to see more of the landscape.
As you can see, we managed to get out and see some of what the island had to offer and I must admit, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. As I said earlier, there is beauty and culture to be found everywhere if you look for it and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Fuerteventura is beautiful in its own way.
Having said that, I wouldn’t be in any rush to return if it wasn’t for Andy and Louise living there. Obviously, I’ll go back to see them but I do feel that there are so many more beautiful places in Europe to see that excel Fuerteventura in both beauty and culture.
I guess the saying ‘don’t knock it till you’ve tried it’ comes to mind and I would recommend that you always visit a destination to decide for yourself.
What destinations have you been pleasantly surprised by?