Fuerteventura's incredible places, food, surf and nature
When I came back from Lanzarote last year (if you want to know more about it, click here), I immediately told myself Fuerteventura is next. I've always heard incredibly good things about it, as an island that is arid but full of life. So this year I thought I would organise a few days to explore it.
A gentleman I met on the island described it as 'the most cloudy and windy March in years'. So expect a bit of grey in the various photographic finds.
Despite this, we still managed to take advantage of the timid rays of sunshine that popped up every now and then to warm up our days a little.
Having said that, let's get down to business.
I have decided to divide all the stops made and places visited according to their location on the island: north, centre and south of Fuerteventura.
October 2023 update: We liked Fuerteventura so much that we went back again this year! We explored new places and I would like to enrich this short guide with our latest adventures and some extra tips. You will find all additions marked with this symbol (✩⊹) 🙃
But first, I'll leave you with a little spoiler of the seven places I think are really worth visiting on the island.
Puerto Lajas: not far from the airport hides a small fishing village, very quaint and with a small bar full of local tapas. Great for a quick stop on arrival on the island
(✩⊹) Calderón Hondo: A walk, starting in Lajares, of about forty minutes takes you to the Mirador, from where you can admire the impressive crater of the volcano. An excursion not to be missed for those on holiday on the island
Dunas de Corralejo: the name precedes them, are almost as famous as the Maspalomas dunes in the south of Gran Canaria Island (here if you're curious). Very impressive mountains of sand stretching for about 30 square kilometres
Isla de Lobos: a small natural paradise in the north-east of Fuerteventura, a must-see for its crystal-clear waters and incredible landscapes
Mirador Morro Velosa: one of the best views from the top of the island, is located on the panoramic FV30 road (not to be missed!) between Antigua and Betancuria. Stop and admire the incredible natural beauty of Fuerteventura.
Playa de Sotavento: further south, towards Jandia, there is an incredibly large golden sandy beach, full of tongues of sand caused by the low tide. Probably one of the most beautiful beaches on the island!
(✩⊹) Ajuy: a village to the west of the island, famous for its caves but, above all, for its black sand beach
NORTH: PUERTO LAJAS, CORRALEJO, EL COTILLO, MAJANICHO, CALDERON HONDO, ISLA DE LOBOS AND TINDAYA
Coming from a journey of more than four hours and a terrible cold in Bologna, it goes without saying that the first thought - immediately after picking up the rental car - was to go for a swim. Not far from the airport, there is a small, quaint fishing village of low, blue and white houses. A pebble beach runs through the small village, great for a quick swim and some relaxation. At Diferente Playa Bar you can eat incredible tapas at a reasonable price (very fresh fish!) and enjoy super refreshing cold beers.
El Cotillo, together with Corralejo, is one of the largest towns in the north of the island, where you will find bars, places to have an aperitif/drink. In short, where there is a bit more life.
It's not a memorable place in my opinion, but - among the things to see, there are definitely the Tolston Lighthouse and the natural pools that surround it. If you're lucky (unlike us!) you can see a very impressive sunset from here.
(✩⊹) After my second visit to El Cotillo, I have to contradict myself and admit that it is a really nice place and much more characteristic than Corralejo; definitely visit at sunset!
One of the restaurants we liked most in El Cotillo is definitely Vaca Azul (this will be the only time in this entire article that I mention a restaurant of this level of elegance, don't worry!). Incredible food - including desserts, slightly higher than average prices but still in line with dinner in Italy. Be sure to call and reserve a table on the terrace.
(✩⊹) On our last trip to Fuerte, we also tried another restaurant that we incredibly enjoyed, the Olivo Corso - an establishment that combines tradition and innovation; food, location, service and bill 10!
As mentioned above, Corralejo is a town full of restaurants and clubs where tourists and locals usually congregate. Like El Cotillo, these small towns are not particularly memorable places in terms of landscape. One place definitely worth visiting, however, is the Corralejo Dunes Natural Park, an immense expanse of sand stretching some 30 square kilometres. Crossing these mountains of sand, you arrive at a beach (where naturalism is very well tolerated) where you can relax and have a nice swim.
Two places worth mentioning in terms of food and cocktails are definitely 1) Gilda - Casa de Pinchos y Tapas, a very nice place (run by Italians), typical and with really good tapas. If you can get a seat at the counter it becomes even more impressive. Cheesecake with local A-M-A-Z-I-N-G cheese 2) Quadrophinia FTV, a surf bar with a unique vibe, furniture definitely not left to chance, excellent cocktails, good food and really good music (I'll leave you below some songs of groups that I discovered thanks to this place and that I can't stop listening to)!
Majanicho was our base for the first few days. An incredible, almost surreal place. A tiny village on a tiny bay, just outside Lajares - made up of a few very characteristic blue and white houses. No bars, no shops. Just the sound of the waves, of the surfers who, from the early hours of the morning, dive into the water to catch the best waves, and of a rooster - now a local resident.
There in Majanicho there are a number of (fairly modest but incredibly atmospheric) lodgings, probably converted from old fishermen's cottages, that are rented out to tourists. Ours was called The Hideaway. Everything runs on solar power, with some care taken to use the hot water. The only room with Wi-Fi, from which I worked for a few days, in the sweet company of the aforementioned rooster, is a kitchen arranged as a co-working space, right in front of the beach. Again, very atmospheric and relaxing. Among all the rented houses, however, there is one where Gigi lives, now a local resident, former fisherman and lover of the place; he was great company for us during our days.
(✩⊹) Meanwhile, the accommodations we stayed in last year have all been renovated. Here you can find the link to the new Airbnb from where you can book them.
Not far from Majanicho, in Lajares, is one of the places I enjoyed most during my holiday, the Fuerte Vida. A little hippie place where you can descansar after a day's work/surfing. Cold beers and reasonably good food, it was our favourite place to recover after a Crossfit class. By the way, right there in Lajares is the only Box on the island, Crossfit Fuerte. If you are a fan or even just want to try it out, call to book a drop-in, the environment is really super nice!
(✩⊹) Updates also on the Lajares front: the first is Agua Tiki Bar, run by Italians, good brunch and excellent espresso coffee. The second, for a GOOD brunch, is Almirante Brunch - slightly more expensive than Agua but with lots of choice and super yummy dishes!
(✩⊹) Calderon Hondo
Not far from Lajares, a 45-minute walk takes you to the Mirador del Calderón Hondo, from where you can admire the majestic crater of the volcano. Once up there, one can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the entire island and a breathtaking sunset. Definitely an excursion not to be missed for those on holiday on the island!
Isla de Lobos
If you're in Fuerteventura, especially in the north, you CANNOT miss Lobos Island. A wonderful natural park right in front of Corralejo, covering just over 5 square kilometres, made up of nature trails and beautiful beaches.
It is well worth spending half a day exploring it (the full path is about 7 kilometres long - 3.5 to get from the port to the lighthouse and back).
To visit the island you need to apply for a permit, limited to 400 people per day, 200 in the first round and 200 in the second, to manage access. You can apply for the permit directly here. Once you receive the pass, you can buy the ferry ticket (15€ a/r), we got it on this site.
I would recommend that if you plan to have lunch on the island, you go and make a reservation in person as soon as you get off the ferry. You will find on the right a small road that leads directly to the restaurant, it is the only one on the island - so the only option to eat something. As another option, in case the seats are all booked, they give you the option to take food to go, so you can enjoy your lunch right on the beach.
Tindaya Sacred Mountain
The second place to stay for a few nights, immediately after Majanicho, was this little paradise just below the sacred mountain of Tindaya. Tereza and her family have carved out a small pueblo in the middle of the desert into a unique place - made up of three teepees (very comfortable and well-furnished tents) and other flats available to rent. Here is all the accommodation available. The tents all have access to kitchens and bathrooms, furnished with care and in a boho style. If you want a different experience, this is definitely for you!
A great place to dine in peace and quiet is El Caidero, just a few minutes away from our teepee and with incredibly friendly staff.
CENTRE: CALETA DE FUSTE, BETANCURIA AND MIRADOR MORRO VELOSA
Natural Pool in Caleta de Fuste
Just south of Fuerteventura Airport, there is a beach resort called Caleta de Fuste. Usually frequented by families, or those looking for a more relaxing holiday in a very touristy place. From a first glance you will immediately realise how much this resort has in common with our seaside towns along the Riviera. Nothing that, in my opinion, is worth visiting, apart from a very pretty natural swimming pool along the seafront road, visible only at low tide. As you can see from the photo, we weren't lucky enough (and not very smart either!) to see it in all its glory (here, for info on the tide) and the day was very windy.
To get there, just park your car along the Avenida Maritima in Caletta de Fuste and look up the exact location on Google Maps, which is marked as Piscina Natural.
Further inland on the island, towards the centre-west, is Betancuria. A very important town in the history of the Canary Islands, founded around 1400 as a cultural centre specifically located away from the sea to avoid unpleasant encounters with pirates. The place is very nice and quaint, worth a visit for a quick bite to eat and/or a relaxing beer. La Sombra is a very cosy open-air restaurant with tables set among plants and trees. Excellent vegetarian/vegan and non-vegan food. Again, be sure to drop by for a reservation as soon as you arrive or give them a call just before!
Mirador Morro Velosa
Probably the most beautiful view of the whole vacation (and maybe even of the last few years). On the scenic road from Caleta de Fuste to Betancuria, the FV30, there is a viewpoint that you absolutely MUST not miss, the Mirador di Morro Velosa (also built by César Manrique, the world-famous architect originally from Lanzarote who designed many other incredible buildings on the islands, such as El Mirador del Rio), from which you can admire the incredible beauty of Fuerteventura - from the crystal clear waters to the remote villages nestled between the rocky mountains and the arid desert.
SOUTH: LA PARED, LA LAJITA, PLAYA DE SOTAVENTO E GINIGINAMAR, (✩⊹) TARAJALEJO AND AJUY
@Emanuele Mannarino Photographer
If there was one thing I really wanted to do on this holiday, it was a day of surfing. I had surfed a few times before when I was in Australia, but it had been a really long time now. So we decided to explore a bit of the coast further south and take the opportunity to have a lesson. So we booked with the FlowSurf Project school in La Pared - which I really recommend. The instructor was very good and we were also able to purchase a series of photos taken by the very talented Emanuele.
Whether you surf or not, the black sand beach at La Pared is well worth a visit!
After surfing, you know, you are always super hungry. So we decided to stop in another small seaside village before continuing to explore the south, called La Lajita. Here we enjoyed a fantastic lunch of tapas and cold beer on a small table right in front of the sea. If you're passing through there, I recommend stopping for lunch/dinner at Ramón and trying their puntillas.
Playa de Sotavento
Probably one of the most beautiful beaches in Fuerteventura. Playa de Sotavento, in the municipality of Jandia, is a place of immense beauty that extends beyond what the eyes can see. Full of tongues of sand created by the tide and completely immersed in nature. So much so that naturalism is very common here; it is an excellent beach if you want to relax naked in the sun and bathe in complete freedom in contact with the purest nature.
(✩⊹) Un'altra spiaggia in cui siamo stati nell'ultima vacanza è Morro Jable: come mood decisamente non il nostro, in quanto pieno di turisti, di hotel che coprivano tutta la costa e negozi di souvenir. Nonostante ciò il mare è tra i più belli visti sull'isola. una volta arrivati in spiaggia, basta non girarsi a guardare il paesaggio urbano e tenere gli occhi fissi sull'acqua haha!
About this location, unknown to most, it was the name that caught my eye. So we decided to get off the main road and head, following the signs, to our last fishing village on the way back to Tindaya. In Giniginamar you will find a small bar/restaurant with small tables tucked away in an alley, right by the sea. Here too, we took the opportunity to drink a cold beer and taste some local cheeses (excellent!).
Not far from Giniginamar, there is a fishing village called Tarajalejo; it was here that we stayed for a few days during our second holiday on the island. I found a small house right on the sea (and when I say right on the sea, I mean that at high tide peaks, the water risked coming in!). It is right in front of a small family-run restaurant with fresh fish every day.
Ajuy is a small village in the west of Fuerteventura, famous for its caves but, above all, for its black sand beach; it can be reached practically only by car, but the spectacle is worth it. Near the beach there are a couple of places where one can eat or drink a beer and relax while watching the sea waves crash against the rocks.
Some extra tips
Out of all the car rental companies, the cheapest is definitely AutoReisen, the cars are not incredible but the value for money is definitely more than fair. (✩⊹) Update 2023, after wrecking one of their cars: very fast breakdown service, money paid for the accident (caused by me, myself!) 0€. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Plan your stops and daily activities very well, but leave yourself the possibility to change your mind on the day: tide and wind are important components of a holiday in Fuerteventura. Always check the weather before leaving home!
There are plenty of rocky beaches, so if you have "sensitive" feet, bring rock shoes!
Fuerteventura is a Spanish island but, despite this, restaurants close quite early in the evening (probably because it's still low season in March), so keep this in mind
The first big thanks goes to my colleague Maria, many of the places I have mentioned come from her precious advice.
The second thank you, goes to Ale for being an incredible travelling, surfing and Crossfit companion :)