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The first time I visited the Canary Islands, I was 16 and staying in an all-inclusive hotel with a friend and her family. We spent the entire seven days in Gran Canaria eating burgers and pizza next to the swimming pool, not venturing out of the resort once. And although I had a great time, I remember thinking, what is the point?
What’s the point of travelling all that way to do nothing? Surely, if you travel somewhere, you want to actually see the place, right?
I know, I know, some of you will argue that you travel to relax and enjoy the sunshine, which is something we definitely don’t get enough of here in the UK. And I’m not judging anyone who does this, as we all need a little R&R from time to time.
But personally, if I travel several hours to a destination, I want to get out and experience it. The scenery, the food, the culture…everything. Otherwise, I may as well stay at home and save my money.
And I think that’s why I’ve never felt drawn to the Canary Islands. I thought there was nothing to see, no reason to go other than to sit by the pool and chill. But I was wrong. And I only discovered this when my sister and her husband packed up and moved to Fuerteventura.
They planned to spend at least a year on the island, maybe more if circumstances allowed, and in March 2017, I booked some last minute flights and headed over to the Canaries to see them both.
In all honesty, I was going purely to spend time with my sister as I was still not convinced there was much to see, despite my sister trying to persuade me otherwise.
As mentioned in my travel guide to Fuerteventura (link below), I challenged my sister to show me the best of what Fuerteventura had to offer. And I was pleasantly surprised.
In addition to the tourist resorts, tacky bars and karaoke nights, I found a rugged, mostly unspoilt island that is rich in culture and history. I’ll admit that I didn’t fall in love with Fuerteventura in the same way as other places I’ve been to, but I did start to see its charm and beauty.
From white sandy beaches, rolling sand dunes, rustic villages and epic mountains, Fuerteventura has a lot to keep you entertained for a week or more, especially if chilling by the pool isn’t your thing. And let’s face it, it’s great to get some winter sunshine to break up the long, bleak UK winters.
So, what is there to do in Fuerteventura? Here’s a brief list of the main attractions, but if you want a more detailed overview, check out my list of amazing things to do in Fuerteventura.
- Wander the streets of El Cotillo, surf or enjoy some tapas
- Chill out on the beach in Corralejo
- Wander around Corralejo’s old town
- Check out the sand dunes in Parque Natural de Corralejo
- Visit the rustic, beautiful and historical town of Betancuria
- Enjoy the view and a coffee at the top of Mirador Morro Velosa
- Hire a scooter and enjoy the mountain road south from Betancuria
- Explore the beautiful beaches in the south
- If you’re an adrenaline junkie, hire a dune buggy!
- Do some wind-surfing
When I left Fuerteventura the first time, I didn’t expect to visit again so soon. But in December, we headed for a last minute break with some friends for a relaxing week in the sun. This time, my husband was with me and I was keen to show him the island and get his verdict.
I was convinced it wouldn’t be his scene, as he loves luscious, green landscapes and Fuerteventura is definitely not luscious, or green. But to my surprise, he actually loved it and is dead set on going back.
Of course, I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve had to eat a large slice of humble pie and learn not to judge a book by its cover.
Basically, what I want to say is this: there is culture to be found everywhere if you search for it hard enough and I’d wholeheartedly encourage you to get out and see the place your visiting, even if it’s only for one day. Because ultimately, travel is the best way to open your mind and broaden your horizons.