Almost every year, until I left home, my family and I would go to Lanzarote for our summer holiday. Only twice did we ‘mix it up’, venturing to Disneyland Paris and Turkey – but our favourite destination remained in the Canaries. I’m not sure why we always went there, it must have been a family tradition created long before I existed but since then, it’s remained somewhere each of us has gone back to – Joe and I, my brother and his partner, my mum and dad. But last year, Joe and I decided to try something new. We ‘cheated’ on our treasured holiday isle for another in the canaries… Fuerteventura.
The plan was simple; to go on a beach holiday, get some sun into our lives and relax. The only problem is, I am awful at beach holidays. Even the two words together make me wince. It brings up images of sitting on a sun lounger, with book in hand or earphones in, doing little else – apart from tanning. This is my idea of hell but it is Joe’s idea of heaven. So there was a compromise. Half the holiday would be beach bound, the other half would be a road trip to see the sights.
Where we ventured to in Fuerteventura…
Morro Velosa Statues
Situated in Betancuria rural park, with one of the most amazing viewpoints I’ve ever been to, stands the statues of Guise and Ayosa. At an altitude of 600m, you can see to the dunes of Corralejo and back to Tiscamanita. Legend has it that the islands was divided in two kingdoms, each half owned by a king, Guise and Ayose. When the Norman conquerors arrived, it was these two kingdoms that they fought for control of the island. Where the statues stand is where the dividing line used to be between these two rulers’ kingdoms.
Gran Tarajal Cove
After seeing a number of beautiful beaches in Corralejo, we decided it was time to go and see a blue flag black sand one. We did wonder if they would look similar to the ones we’d already seen in Iceland. It turns out they were, a little, but they appeared less sculpted. Gran Tarajal was a lot quieter than the other white sand beaches, which was a relief after the summer crowds. It had an altogether different atmosphere – being more of a rural fishing village. Definitely venture around taking in the colourful houses (and the amazing local ice cream).
Punta La Entallada Lighthouse
On the east coast, near to the village of Las Playitas in Tuineje, is one of the most beautiful and original lighthouses I’ve ever seen. Constructed by the architect Carlos Alcon, the building is juxtaposed with white-washed walls native to the island and coloured stone originating from the nearby central village of Tetir. On top the lighthouse has a lantern dome – which looks really impressive up close but acts as both a nautical and aerial beacon – unlike most lighthouses. The lighthouse itself is the closest point to Africa, just 100km east and provides a stunning cliff-side viewpoint.
Morro Jable Sperm Whale Skeleton
I appreciate that a skeleton may not be top of your list when on holiday but it was actually pretty cool, for two reasons. 1. It was an outstanding structure, it really makes you appreciate how massive whales truly are, especially against a perfect blue sky backdrop. 2. It’s protest art. The skeleton is part of a 15-year initiative where the Fuerteventura council are drawing attention to the threat to oceans and their inhabitants, and our responsibility to protect them. There’s actually 7 in total along the coastline – each one as impressive as the next. Each with an important message.
A rustic blend of old and new, Tetir was one of my favourite villages on the island. The church was built in the 18th century and takes it name from Santo Domingo de Guzman, its patron. Four times a year, it plays host to a craft fayre where you can buy typical Canarian products, take a camel ride or listen to some local folk music. Ironically, the village also has a Lucha Canaria, a large hall for traditional Canarian wrestling. But my top tip?… hunt out the bakery, it’s fairly hidden but sells the most delicious pastries!
An active lighthouse on the north-western coast of the island, near to El Cotillo, it marks the La Bocayna strait that separates Fuerteventura from Lanzarote. We initially went here to spot some more whales, live ones this time, but alas there were none to be seen. The lighthouse and the keeper’s house next to it has a small cafe and a traditional fishing museum, which is openly during very random hours (so, good luck!). The most interesting fact I learnt… when lit, the lighthouse can be seen for 14 nautical miles. It’s worth a stop, even if it’s just for the stripes!
In summary, Fuerteventura can be more than a beach holiday – if you want it to be. Even if it’s a simple 2-day road trip with your favourite people.
Looking for Spanish inspiration? Take a look at our recommendations here.