Fuerteventura is most famous for its beaches and water-sports activities. With over 150 beaches on offer, it’s not surprising that the island is considered the beach capital of the Canary Islands. The coastline varies from the sandy coves at Cofete to the vibrant bar-packed promenades of Jandia. Then of course there’s the Parque Natural de Corralejo with its sand dunes extending along the coast for 10km. Renting a car in Fuerteventura not only offers you quick access to your resort from the airport, it also allows you to discover parts of the island that would usually only be accessed by locals of Fuerteventura.
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When visiting Fuerteventura don't forget to see and experience the museums, galleries, Bars, Lounges, Restaurant and vibrant cafe society of this area!
Top Places to Visit
Offering some of the best of what the Canary Islands has to offer, Fuerteventura is a hugely popular holiday destination for sun worshippers coming from Europe, especially from the UK and Germany. Since the establishment of the airport close to the capital of Puerto del Rosario, visitors have started pouring in, and with good reason.
Holidaymakers can begin their Fuerteventura holidays at Puerto del Rosario, a city now trying to revamp its image with the arts. This capital city is now the setting of 100 sculptures by different artists, which visitors can see for free in an open-air park.
Fuerteventura, being a part of the Canary Islands, is well-known for its beaches, and the southern coast is where to find the best beaches on the island. Costa Calma and Morro Jable are popular with the German crowd, while British tourists prefer to stay on the beautiful sands of Calta Fuste and Corralejo.
Corralejo as well as Playas de Sotavento are the best places to visit for the more athletic of travellers as these areas get optimal winds for windsurfing and sailing, two of the island’s favourite activities.
Heading outside of the main cities, visitors will discover charming little towns which are characteristic of the old way of life in the Canary Islands. One such place is Betancuria, a village tucked in the mountains and which has farmlands, monastic ruins and quaint religious structures. The small fishing village of La Lajita is another great place to visit as it now has a zoo, the Oasis Park Fuerteventura, which is a treat for families on holiday.
What to see
Fuerteventura’s main landmarks are its sandy beaches. The beautiful sand dunes in the north are the best places to relax and see the waves of the Atlantic lap against the shore. Corralejo and El Jable are the best places to experience the island’s sand dunes. The long beach at Cotillo, a small fishing village on the island’s northwest coast, is another Fuerteventura landmark that is not to be missed.
Apart from the beaches, there are a few curiosities in Fuerteventura which have become tourist attractions in their own right. One of these is the wreck of the SS American Star, an ocean liner that was beached by a storm at Playa de Garcey in 1994. It has sunk deeper over the years and now most parts of the wreck can be found underwater.
Villa Winter, surrounded by a remote and bleak landscape, is another tourist attraction on the island. Historians are still debating the history of this structure, which is a worthwhile daytrip from Morro del Jable as it features the grand Jandia mountain range right behind it.
The open-air sculpture park in the capital city of Puerto del Rosario was established in 2001 for the International Symposium of Sculpture. Visitors can now stroll this park to enjoy the artworks.
Fuerteventura is also home to a number of interesting museums and performance stages such as the Antigua Windmill Craft Centre, the Salt Museum and the Atalayita Archaeological Interpretation Centre.
Entertainment in Fuerteventura comes in many forms, one of which is traditional sports. The exciting sport of Canarian wrestling is a popular spectacle to behold and each town in Fuerteventura has a ring of sand, called the terrero, where matches of this sport take place.
Another sport to watch is the Juego del Palo or Game of the Stick, a traditional martial arts originating in the Canary Islands. The game involves two players, both wielding a wooden stick which is used to attack and defend.
Others sports to watch out for are motocross in Antigua and Puerto del Rosario, and the twice-yearly Canarian Dirt Rally Championship. There are also regular cycling events as well as football matches.
Arts and culture thrive in Fuerteventura, especially with the number of annual festivals and performance venues on the island. The Festival of Canarian Music (mid-January to March) is the foremost of these festivals as it features local and non-local bands alike. In Puerto del Rosario’s Town Hall, Lebrancho Rock Festival (March) aims to showcase local talent. The same goes for the Fuertemusica Festival (July), which takes places in El Cotillo.
Good, old-fashioned night outs can be had in Fuerteventura as well. The resort towns around the island have a smattering of pubs, party venues and karaoke bars. Corralejo is especially famed for some of the best nightlife on the island. Rock Island is a music bar in Corralejo which is considered to be the longest-running entertainment venue in the area. Waikiki Nightclub is another hotspot where famed DJs perform for eager party-goers until the early hours of the morning.
The cuisine found in Fuerteventura is mainly Canarian with influences from the Spanish mainland. Preparation of the food is simple, with the ingredients used basic. Few crops grow in the almost barren lands of the island, but locals make the most of what they can grow.
One vegetable dish Fuerteventura has in common with the rest of the Canary Islands is the Canarian wrinkly potatoes, locally known as papas arrugadas. These hearty boiled potatoes are eaten with a sauce known as mojo, a pepper and garlic combination. Local cheeses such as majorero and palmero are also remarkably good.
Seafood is present in many Fuerteventura dishes as the island is surrounded by the rich, bountiful waters of the Atlantic. The most popular types of fish are grouper, corvina and sama. They are usually prepared by salting and then boiling them, and eaten with potatoes, mojo and a traditional dish called gofio, made with cereal grains, chickpeas and wheat. One popular fish dish worth sampling is sancocho, a traditional fish stew.
Dining out in Fuerteventura can be a sublime experience as there are a number of great restaurants in the resort towns of the island. In Corralejo, visitors can head to Dovela, a restaurant which is famous for its seafood dishes. Another highly recommended restaurant which is known for its tasty mainland Spanish cuisine is El Andaluz.
Fuerteventura can be loosely translated as 'Strong Winds' or a corruption of French Forte Aventure 'Great Adventure' is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, politically part of Spain. At 1,660 square kilometres (641 sq mi) it is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife. It was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO on 26 May 2009.
The island has a population of 103,167. Throughout its long history, Fuerteventura has suffered from a population decline due to the economic situation and the climate, which have made it into a desert island. However, the development of tourism during the 1980s has caused the population to grow year on year since then, doubling it in a little less than a decade.
In 2005, with 86,642 registered inhabitants, the Fuerteventura population was formed by the following:
- Born on the island: 30,364
- Born on another Canary Island: 13,175
- Born elsewhere in Spain: 20,938
- Born in other countries: 22,165
Comparing this data with the 2001 census shows that the number of permanent residents born on the island has increased by just 3,000. The number who have moved in from abroad has increased by 22,910, making this the biggest contributor to population growth in recent years.