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When I returned from Australia at the end of January and plunged straight back into the British winter, I knew I’d need a sunny break before too long to keep the holiday blues at bay. Fortunately, I was in luck, as my sister had recently moved to the sunny island of Fuerteventura. 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. And with my sister living on the island, I had my very own local guide to show me around some of the best things to do in Fuerteventura.
Visiting Fuerteventura For the First Time
I have to be honest here… I’d never really fancied visiting the Canary Islands due to my prior preconceptions of the islands being overly touristy and a bit tacky. However, I do believe beauty and culture can be found everywhere if you just look hard enough, and based on that belief, I think Fuerteventura is one of those places where you just have to search a little bit harder to find it.
So, with doubts in my mind, I challenged my sister to show me the beauty of Fuerteventura and she rose to the challenge. I’m pleased to say that after my first trip to Fuerteventura, I’ve partially reconsidered my viewpoint. Read on for my recommendations on the best things to see and do in Fuerteventura, as well as a photo diary snapshot of my trip.
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. Spend a couple of hours wandering the streets, try your hand at surfing, or wile away an afternoon eating tapas in a local restaurant.
Enjoy cocktails at Azzurro Chill Out Restaurant, El Cotillo
A little outside the main town of El Cotillo, we stumbled upon this cool restaurant completely 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 but this is largely a tourist resort. 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 and great cocktails! Delicious!
Visit the sand dunes in Parque Natural de Corralejo
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
Betancuria was 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 and taking in the traditional white-washed buildings and beautiful gardens.
Enjoy the views from Mirador Morro Velosa
Not far from Betancuria lies the viewpoint of Mirador Morro Velosa, a cafe which sits at the top of a mountain enjoying 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, venture 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 once you escape the commercialised tourist resorts.
Having said that, I wouldn’t be in any rush to return as I do feel that there are so many more beautiful places in Europe to see that excel Fuerteventura in both beauty and culture. I think the main draw for this island is the year round sunshine which continues to draw people with the allure of some winter sun. 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.