Places Of Interest In Fuerteventura

There is nowhere else in the Canaries with as many large sand dunes and long sandy beaches as here in Fuerteventura. Even though most of the land consists of stone and volcanic rock, these are some of the most impressive beaches in the whole of Europe.

The Island’s main resort is located on the north tip of the island, Corralejo, and offers a great choice of shopping, restaurants, bars and villas.

Introduction Fuerteventura lies in the Atlantic Ocean, 60 miles from the coast of Africa. The second largest of the Canary Islands, it is home to famous white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. The warm winds that blow across the island make this a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts and sunbathers alike.

This Canarian Island enjoys an annual 320 days of sunshine, making it an ideal year round destination with average day time temperatures between 20°C and 27°C, although during the months of July- September it can rise above this. Fuerteventura is the driest of the Canary Islands with hotter winds blowing in from the Sahara and claims to have the best beaches in the Canary Islands, with miles of white sand and sheltered little coves. The western beaches receive bigger swells and are popular destinations for surfers due to the coastal breeze, whilst the eastern side of the island tends to be a little more sheltered.

The culture in Fuerteventura is essentially Spanish, from which many of its traditions and influences have arisen. Fuerteventura has many fiestas and celebrations taking place in the towns and villages on the island throughout the year.

The Island prefers to relax rather than party, with nightlife centering around its traditional bars and restaurants. Watch and try folk dancing or head to the music bars and clubs of Corralejo for livelier evenings. Bars are open till late and the clubs close around 6am should you be looking for a bit of night life.

Fuerteventura, like Spain, has a Siesta from 1 – 5 in the afternoon when many shops will be closed. Although in the main tourist areas many of the shops stay open.

American Star Shipwreck On the small, remote beach at Playa de Garcey, on the West coast of Fuerteventura, lies the wreck of The American Star.

In 1994 The American Star, a ship that was once the pride of the United States maritime industry, was sold to the Chaophraya Development Transport Company who planned to tow the vessel along the West coast of Africa to Thailand to be converted into a floating hotel. The Ukrainian tug, The Neftegaz 67IT, began towing the American Star on what was to be its final journey.

In that January, the convoy entered a violent storm off the coast of Morocco. It was decided that The American Star should be cut free from the tug boat until the storm had passed. On January 17th the 4 remaining crewmen were winched to safety by helicopter leaving the ship to drift alone. Though it was known she was heading for the Canary Islands through major shipping lanes, no successful attempt was made to take the hulk under tow again. After drifting for 2 days the ship finally beached at the Playa de Garcey, on the West coast of Fuerteventura. After 48 hours the ship split in half.

No effort was ever made to restore the ship (some say because of arguments over insurance, ownership and salvage companies). It is definitely unadvisable to try and board the ship, tragically at least 8 people have died swimming to and exploring the wreck.

Today only the bow section remains of The American Star, but the sheer size and beauty of the ship still make it a worthwhile day trip.

Antigua Village Built in the 18th century, Antigua is one of the oldest villages on the island. The present population of Antigua is around 3000 and the total area is 250

The picturesque church of Cruz de los Caldos, that dominates the town, was built in 1785 and stands amongst well kept trees and shrubbery. The church is usually open to the general public in the mornings and sometimes during the afternoons. Next to the church is the beautiful village square which is filled with flowers all year round.

Antigua also has a fully restored windmill which is now a cultural centre and a popular tourist attraction. Inside is a craft shop selling local handicraft and art.

Despite being a fairly sleepy village, Antigua has a few social facilities for the local people such as a school, library, post office and a clinic. The church hall is used for a general meeting point. Museum opening times From Tuesday to Friday: 9.30am - 5.30pm Sunday 9.30 - 5.30pm Monday and Saturday Closed

Betancuria Fuerteventura's former capital Betancuria lies in a picturesque valley next to a dried up stream which flowed up until the 16th century. Founded in 1405 by the Norman conqueror Jean de Bethencourt (hence the name), Betancuria has a great deal of history behind it. The reason for its location was to protect the capital from pirate attacks, although in 1593 the pirate Jaban penetrated the village and reduced everything, including the Santa Maria church, to a pile of rubble and ash. The church was not rebuilt until 1691.

Betancuria was capital for quite some time until the local people started moving away from the town due to lack of arable land. In 1834, Betancuria bowed down and handed the honor over to La Oliva (who then handed over to Puerto de Cabras known today as Puerto Del Rosario).

The Centro Insular de Artesania, next to the museum, documents traditional arts and crafts - if you want to see some local handicraft this is the place to come! Make a visit to the Casa Santa Maria where you can watch local artists at work and even purchase some of the hand made products from the quaint local shop.

Museum Opening Times From Tuesday to Saturday: 10am - 5pm Sunday 11am - 2pm Monday Closed

Caleta de Fuste Around 5 miles South of Fuerteventura airport lies Caleta de Fuste, also known as Castillo. Like Corralejo, change is happening fast in Caleta de Fuste, with more buildings cropping up on every corner to help cope with the large amounts of tourists that descend on the island each year. Caleta de Fuste has one long main street consisting of low-rise buildings where the main bars and restaurants are concentrated.

There are many quiet, tree-lined streets and one of these leads to the man-made beach - set against a back-drop of hills and a few apartments. Caleta de Fuste now boasts a golf course that has a club house, restaurants, hotels, and many more facilities. At the Golf Course roundabout there's a shopping complex with some fine shops and restaurants, a multi-screen cinema (the films are in Spanish) plus a 10 pin bowling alley.

Cofete Cofete sits in one of the most isolated corners of Fuerteventura. Access to this area is only via one of the small dirt tracks but it's still well worth the effort just for the views. But do remember to take some supplies with you! The beach is amazing, but a 4x4 car is highly advisable.

Costa Calma It wasn't until 1984 that Costa Calma had its first major tourist boom, despite its incredible white beaches. Costa Calma (the Calm Coast) lies about 50 miles South of the airport on the edge of the national park area of Jandia.

The very first hotel was built in 1977, but it wasn't until the road from the capital Puerto Del Rosario to Morro Jable was completed and Costa Calma was properly connected to the electricity network that tourism really started to take off.

Today of course, the resort is fully up and running with plenty of bars and restaurants. Costa Calma is largely tailored towards German-speaking visitors although there are a few English companies that deal with this area.

The main road into the resort is surrounded by palm trees and Canary pines - quite a rare sight on Fuerteventura. If you've travelled from the North (about 2hr drive) then this is a nice stop off point.

The highlight of Costa Calma has to be the long sandy beach of Playa Barca to the South West. It is always easy to find a quiet, sheltered spot here even during peak season. Windsurfers are particularly fond of this beach because of the strong off shore winds during the summer months.

And the beach at nearby Sotavento hosts the world windsurfing championships every year.

Cotillo El Cotillo is a small rustic little fishing village and is dedicated to the virgin of good travel (Virgin de Buen Viaje) these words can be seen painted on the cliffs in the old harbour.

Situated on the northwest corner of Fuerteventura, El Cotillo is a peaceful place but it offers some of the best restaurants.

This is truly the surfing and windsurfing Mecca of the island. These monster waves have even been known to sink some of the small fishing boats that are moored there. Many experienced surfers head to the beaches of El Cotillo and those between El Cotillo and Corralejo because of these conditions.

On the cliffs near to the town center, south of the harbor and overlooking the sea, is the Fortaleza del Tostón. This round shaped fort was built in the late 1790's to defend against invading pirates.

The old harbor, with its small bars and restaurants, is the most picturesque part of town and it is here you'll find most of the bars and restaurants.

Gran Tarajal This is one of the biggest towns on the island and owes its success to the fact that all of the islands tomatoes were once shipped from here. They are now mainly shipped from the main port in Puerto Del Rosario.

Gran Tarajal is a very relaxing place, a pleasant stroll along the beach promenade. Gran Tarajal is one of the most important non-touristic areas and it has all the services of any of the major towns such as a police station, post office, shops, schools, a local council office etc.

There are also many concerts, competitions and fairs etc held here.

One highlight of the town centre is the beautiful fountain with six sea horses spouting water. This is situated right in the middle of a shady oasis of tall palm trees just beside the church that was built in the 20th century.

The construction of this church was financed by an emigrant returning from Cuba, who also introduced metal wind-wheels to the island.

La Oliva The population of La Oliva is around 10,000 people with an area of approx. 356 square km.

The village of La Oliva was the political center of Fuerteventura from the early 17th to mid-19th century, and you can still see some of the buildings standing today. La Oliva is now home to the local district town hall (Ayuntamiento).

Directly in the centre of town is a beautiful church (Parroquiade Nuestra Seiiora de Candelaria). This pretty little church has a square bell tower visible for miles around, and a finely-carved wooden door.

Further from the centre of town is the Casa del Capellan where the local priest once lived. This building has a stone door and windows that are decorated with floral designs. Unfortunately the building has been left to decay.

Located just between the church and the Casa de los Coroneles, is the 'Casa Mane' art centre (Centro de Arte Canario Casa Mane). Here you can visit the exhibition halls that house work from well know Canarian artists. On the ground level there are rooms for current exhibitions and a sculpture courtyard, while the basement contains a large contemporary art gallery. Among the permanent exhibits are the works of Alberto Manrique.

'La Cilla' Museum opening times From Tuesday to Friday: 9.30am - 5.30pm Sunday 9.30 - 5.30pm Monday and Saturday Closed

La Pared In 1966 La Pared made its attempt to become a new exclusive tourist town in the south of the island. At present the town still only consists of small bungalows, a hotel and some private detached houses.

Situated on the North west coast of Jandia, La Pared gets its name from the stone wall which allegedly ran from East to West coast of the island that divided Fuerteventura in two halves (Maxorata and Jandia).

There are some great restaurants in the area, a golf practice course with tee offs covered in artificial grass, and a horse-riding school.

A great place to spend a family day out is at the restaurant Bahia Mar which has a panoramic view of the coast, a fully equipped swimming pool with water slide, and children's playground. After your meal you can sit on the terrace or stroll down to the local beach to enjoy the breathtaking sunsets.

Lajares Lajares is located just minutes' drive north of Correjeo. There's some quirky local shops to browse around, as well as a selection of restaurants and bars. There's also a supermarket, cash machine and cake shop so you have all of the essentials to hand. Let's not forgot thae the popular resort of Correlejo is also easily accessible by car too, where there's a wide range of eateries and nightlife to enjoy.

Morro Jable What was once a small fishing village with only 200 inhabitants, Morro Jable has now grown into one of the biggest holiday resorts for German tourists on the island (with around 8,000 inhabitants). It was during the early eighties that tourism first took off after the construction of the first Robinson club.

At this time you could only get to the resort via rough sand tracks and it wasn't until 1982 when the new main road was finished that things really started to happen.

Nowadays Morro Jable has something for everyone. The miles of golden beaches and clear blue seas, shops, bars and restaurants attract thousands of tourists each year (at present there are around 16,000 beds).

Morro Jable lies 100km from the airport but there are plans to build a new road directly to the resort.

Despite all the tourism the old village still remains intact and there is a quaint harbour in the west of the town which is used by local fishermen and yachtsmen and you can still escape the hustle and bustle should you wish to take a leisurely walk along the promenade or check out one of the local beaches.

Some of the beaches here are the longest and most beautiful in the Canary Islands stretching 35km and there's plenty to do for the water sports enthusiast from jet skiing to windsurfing.

It’s also possible to take a jet foil from here over to the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria.

Puerto Del Rosario The capital of Fuerteventura since 1860 Puerto Del Rosario is just 6 km from the airport and has a population of around 18,000.

Once called Puerto de Cabras (goat harbour) the town developed into an important port during the 19th century after taking the capital of the island from Betancuria.

The church in the centre of 'Puerto' is dedicated to the patron saint 'Virgin del Rosario' and it wasn't until 1956 that the town was given the more pleasant name of Puerto Del Rosario (port of the rosary).

Puerto is more of an industrial area and isn't really geared up for tourism. Until recently it wasn't that attractive, but now the main street has been finished off, many of the roads resurfaced and the harbor promenade has been rebuilt with many grassed areas being constructed. And regularly cruise liners are seen docking for the day...

The harbour area is the oldest part of town and it is from here you can find all of the small alleys lined with old Canarian style houses.

There is one place worth a visit and that's the home of the former exile poet Miguel de Unamuno which is now a museum.

There is also a culture centre (Casa de la Cultura) where exhibitions, plays and concerts are held.

Puerto has improved very much over recent years. Spreading inland are more and more excellent shops and a few years back industrial estates have been introduced offering 'Cash 'n' Carry' warehouses giving residents more choice at better prices. Drop by the Las Rotondas Shopping centre where a variety of shops await you.

Tindaya The village and protected zone of Tindaya sits at the foot of the 401m mountain of the same name.

On a clear day it's possible to see Mount Teide the highest mountain / volcano on Tenerife from the top of Tindaya. Old inhabitants used to see Mount Teide as the residence of the devil and all the carvings face in that direction.

The rock of the mountain (traquita) is very hard and defies erosion and when smoothed down and treated makes an attractive fascia. The stone can be seen today decorating the walls of Fuerte Tindaya. This was once regarded as a very religious place and the mountain was considered sacred. This can still be seen today in more than 100 carvings of 'feet' (podomorphs) in the smooth rock. These strange carvings which sit at the very top of the mountain were only recently discovered in 1978.The feet are said to be there to ward off evil spirits.

Lava Cave Located in La Oliva, the cave is a million years old. This visitor’s centre, with almost 400m of accessible cave, is unique within the Canaries. The cave was constructed from a volcanic pipe. It is a special cave, as it provides information about the general erosion of Fuerteventura, and has an abundance of animal fossils trapped in its sediments.

These remains mean that the site is one of paleontological interest, and among the lava pipes of the Canaries it has the greatest concentration of remains. The cave is a typical lava pipe that has functioned for thousands of years as the drain of a small water catchment. Throughout its history man has put the cave to different uses. These include a corral for camels, a poultry coup and an arsenal.

The centre is open Tuesdays to Saturdays. Tours are every 30 minutes from 10.15 to 12.45 and from 14.45 to 17.15. Telephone 0034 928 175 928

Corralejo With tourism booming on Fuerteventura, Corralejo, situated in the north, is one of the most popular resorts on the island.

Luckily, Corralejo has managed to retain its original charm and atmosphere, and there are still white sandy beaches in the town centre, where you can and soak up the Canarian sunshine.

Most of the shops, bars and restaurants are along the Corralejo main street which leads right down through the music square and on to the harbour which looks across the other side of town and the sand dunes. No building work is allowed on this area with the exception of two white hotels on the beach, The Hotel Riu Palace and the Riu Oliva beach.

Corralejo caters for all ages and there's a wide variety of things to do, from watersports, tennis, glass bottom boat trips, ferry trips to Lanzarote, jeep safaris, island tours, mountain biking and motorbike tours.

Lobos Island The small island of Lobos is around 1 mile north of Fuerteventura and can be reached by boat from the port. The island is an uninhabited nature reserve, but does have a fantastic beach with shallow crystal clear water, perfect for bathing and snorkelling, with plenty of underwater life to be seen! There is also a small restaurant and a lighthouse.

El Campanario - Corralejo The Shopping Centre El Campanario is situated in the south of Corralejo and can be walked to from the centre of the town. If you are with a car, there is underground parking. It is made in the local Canarian style with colourful fronts and balconies in wood. There is also a great choice of shops and restaurants.

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