FUERTEVENTURA, SPAIN: For winter-sun you might feel you have been there and done that, I mean on holiday in one of the Canary Islands. Anyway, Fuerteventura northwest of Africa has sunshine almost the year around, blue water, wind and miles of golden sands by the coast, as well as high hills of volcanic rock. After staying here for a week I don’t feel mass tourism yet has arrived – well, not since this island was an outpost of the Roman Empire.
Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canary Islands and the starkness is constant clear blue sea and skies, miles of unspoiled beaches and dust blowing from the Western Sahara, 100km off the African coast – and over 20C for most of the year. Today this is the less over-crowded island for Winter-sun in Europe and most of the year popular for Spanish tourists.
Here to stay: The four-star Barcelo Castillo Beach Resort in the quite village of Caleta de Fuste has 480 rooms and all you need for a week, included 14 restaurants and bars, shops and diving school. Barcelo Castillo is the first Spanish resort offering Premium rooms for families.
Five Star: If you prefer impeccable service and personalized attention, book at Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real The only 5-star hotel on Fuerteventura is located next to the shore of Corralejo with a view to the little island of Lobos and Lanzarote in sight.
Three places: During one week I stayed in Caleta de Fueste, Costa Calma on the south coast and walked the beautiful beaches of Corralejo north of the island, a former fishing village grown into a lively colourful town. Most of the shops, bars and restaurants are along the Corralejo main street. The sand dunes are beyond the town.
Calenta de Fuste – also known as Castillo – is located just south of the airport and has become one of the major tourist towns on the island.
Costa Calma, or the calm coast, about 80km south of the airport, near the national park area of Jandia. Windsurfers flock to long sandy beach of Playa Barca south of the town for the off shore winds.
Don’t miss: Rent a car and get off to Betancuria, the historic capital of the Canaries. The fishing village of El Cotillo is worth a visit to see the cliffs, the castle and the museum of traditional fishing. Watch contemporary art and visit the viewpoint over the white sand beaches of El Cotillo, one of the main resorts in Fuerteventura.
If you like to visit a real goat–farm, drop into Finca Pepe, or El Convento, located in the middle of the island. Don’t forget to buy some excellent goat cheese made by Isabel Ojeda.
Activities: For surfing, kiting and water sports Fuerteventura is the place to visit, and the most popular areas are Costa Calma on the southeast coast and north of the island. There are waves to suit most standards of surfers and surf schools for the total beginner. Homegrown provides surf shop, surf school and surf camp in Corralejo offering service every day of the year.
Food: “Queso majorero” is the local goats milk cheese that comes in many different flavours and is quite simply delicious.
“Papas arrugadas” – small unpeeled potatoes steamed with lots of salt and served with a hot mojo sauce.
Fish is the ultimate speciality and shellfish such as mejillones (mussels), lapas (limpets), Cangrejos (crab), camarones (small shrimps), centello (spider crab) and langostas (lobsters), pulpos (octopus) and chocos (squid) on most seafood restaurants menus.
Hidden secret: Los Molinos is a small village and normally not a goal for tourists. However, the fish and seafood served at “Casa Pon” is at least one pleasant reason to leave the main roads. Follow the FV-207 to the west coast, a few km. to Tefia and then FV-221 to the village.
Art and salt: Almost every roundabout has a sculpture mostly made of local artists. In addition, there are museums and art galleries more or less in each and every town. Casa de los Coroneles in La Oliva houses temporary exhibitions of modern art.
The Majorero Cheese Museum is situated in the mill of Antigua and shows the value of the livestock culture, associated with goat and cheese. If you ever wonder what salt is made of, visit the Salt Museum and see how the island’s white gold is produced.
Fuerteventura is an island surrounded by clear waters, beaches and some spectacular dunes – a place where calm is a way of life. Rain? Not in this part of Spain.
Make it Happen!
Touch Down: Fuerteventura has one airport situated 7km southwest of the capital city Puerto del Rosario. Hire a car, its rather cheap and driving is a pleasure. Cicar is one of the local car-rental choice, with office at the airport.
Stay: In the south R2 Rio Calma is a beachfront all-inclusive hotel with a colonial style. It reminds me of a church in a village with pleasures for every sense as well as activities, sports courts and treatments in the Wellness Center.
Eat: For something extraordinary try La Cupula at Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real in Corralejo, the 5-star gastronomic restaurant under the guidance of Chef Carles Gaig, who has a Michelin star.
Play: Fuerteventura is described as the tranquil island. During the Carnival season every village, town and city hosts party between January and April. The best advice is to join in the fun at night and sleep during the day.
Mini Guide: Fuerteventura can be translated as “strong wind” or “strong fortune” and often referred to as the island of eternal spring. The climate is pleasant all the year. The second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife. Local fishermen in Caleta de Fuste are happy to pass on their passion and knowledge about deep-sea fishing. Oasis Park has 3000 animals. What make this park unique is the possibility of touch and feed almost all the animals of the park. During the visit you can enjoy of amazing exhibitions of Sea Lions, parrots, reptiles and birds of prey and also interact with different animals.