Fuerteventura is the island of the Canary archipelago closest to Africa, the coasts of Morocco are in fact only 100 km away. The island is a union between desert and sea, a land of sand dunes, volcanoes and crystal clear sea. The island is geologically the oldest in the Canary archipelago. It arose about 20 million years ago following volcanic eruptions.
Fuerteventura is the second largest island in the archipelago after Tenerife. Frequented by tourists for its wonderful beaches, the sea and the sun. With a mild and pleasant climate throughout the year and with around 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, Fuerteventura is one of the most important beach holiday destinations in Europe. The island is also a popular destination for lovers of surfing, kitesurfing, fishing and water sports.
A BARREN AND DESERTIC GEOGRAPHY
Formed by lunar, barren and desolate landscapes, the island has some historical attractions, including in the interior of the northern part of the island the “Casa de los Coroneles” a building from the second half of the seventeenth century declared a Spanish historical monument which houses a small museum dedicated to the history of the island.
In the northwestern part of Fuerteventura lies El Cotillo, a small bay with dark lava rocks dominated by an eighteenth-century circular tower (Torre del Tostón) built to defend this small marina from pirates.
A large area of dunes occupies the north-east coast of the island, here is the Parque Natural de Corralejo, one of the attractions of Fuerteventura. The Corralejo dunes, which extend over 2,600 hectares, are the largest dunes in the Canary archipelago. These great dunes have a partly organic origin and are in fact also formed by the disintegration of the shells of molluscs and other marine organisms with an external skeleton.
BEACHES ARE THE MAIN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF THE ISLAND
The sea and beaches are the main attractions of the island. Most of the beaches are located along the east coast especially in the southern section along the Jandía peninsula. The seabed is rich in underwater life and can be admired with scuba diving, snorkeling or via glass bottom boats.
In the central area of the island is the Betancuria massif (macizo de Betancuria). This area of low mountains culminates with a peak of 762 meters: the Pico de la Atalaya from where it is possible to admire a large part of the island. This area is protected by the Parque Rural de Betancuria.
Here is also the historic village of Betancuria, founded in 1404 by Jean IV de Béthencourt, who was the first capital of the island. A pretty village made of white houses, flowered balconies, cobbled streets. Betancuria is famous for its craftsmanship. Among the most typical activities is the working of clay. But the most famous tradition is in particular embroidery. Doilies, tablecloths, bed linen are produced.
PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS
Other protected natural areas of the island are those of the Malpaís Grande, an area of lava flows and volcanic craters located in the central-southern part of the island. Further south and near the coast are the Cuchillos de Vigán, another formation of volcanic origin which represents an important refuge for the three most threatened bird species of the Canary Islands, the guirre (Egyptian vulture), the eagle and the Berber hawk.
In the south of Fuerteventura are the Isthmus of la Pared and the peninsula of Jandía, where the Pico de la Zarza rises which reaches 807 meters above sea level and is the highest mountain on the island. The island has poor vegetation, but aloe vera, cereals and vegetables are grown there.
HOW TO GET
Fuerteventura is served by an international airport (Aeropuerto de Fuerteventura) with connections to most European countries, Spain and the other Canary Islands. A ferry service connects Fuerteventura with the islands of Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife.