The Baja Canaria

“La playa de las Canarias” is the nickname of this island of 150 km of white sandy beaches bordered by spectacular turquoise waters, considered to be the most beautiful in the archipelago. However, it would be a big mistake to reduce this island to the promise of mass tourism, concentrated in four small resorts on the east coast.

Fuerteventura shines in the Canary archipelago, far from the well-trodden paths of some of its neighboring islands. It’s a natural invitation to go barefoot and run around with your hair blowing in your Volkswagen vintage van. An immense breath of freedom in the midst of grandiose landscapes with a simple sweetness of life. We didn’t resist.

The island, extremely frank, unpretentious and without artifice, is incredibly humble.

It’s even more moving when you see abandoned attempts at urbanization along the roadside. It’s as if Nature, so powerful here, had managed to fight off and finally repel the kings of the trowel. We won’t complain.

With sub-desert and steppe vegetation where the only tree is the palm tree, the landscape is anything but monotonous. The ubiquitous cacti give a foretaste of the Moroccan Atlas, the Mexican sierra or the Californian desert.

Wind-swept and sun-drenched, with its stretches of desert and red earth, its bric-a-brac windmills and its delightfully bohemian, far-from-authentic atmosphere, Fuerteventura has a gentle air of Baja California and New Mexico.

In the center are lunar landscapes offering a grandiose spectacle of mountains in multiple shades of orange, such as Montaña de Tindaya, where over 300 rock engravings have been found.

The second-largest island in the archipelago (after Tenerife), Fuerteventura enjoys almost constant sunshine (3,000 hours a year), and its long beaches are often its showcase. With its many turquoise-blue lagoons and pristine dunes, the island was awarded Unesco Biosphere Reserve status in 2009.

One beach stands out. Located between the beaches of Majanicho and the town of Corralejo, its official name is Playa del Bajo de la Burra. From a distance, it looks like another white sandy cove. However, when you get there, it’s like arriving on a beach full of popcorn! These are calcareous algae native to the seabed, brought to shore by the waves themselves. Of course, for the sake of the environment, and however tempting it may be, don’t take rodolitos as souvenirs.

In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Fuerteventura is also an architectural wonderland.

Leaving the somewhat uniformly urbanized coastline behind, you’ll be able to visit some very pretty little villages, such as Betancuria, the island’s historic capital, all white amidst palm trees. Founded in 1404 by the conquistador Jean de Béthencourt, it is without doubt the most beautiful colonial village on the island. The village of La Oliva will delight art and history lovers and boasts a charming craft market twice a week.

Small fishing villages such as El Cotillo, Las Playitas and Ajuy with its caves are also charming seaside stops.

Fuerteventura is a diamond of rugged beauty, with its majestic arid landscapes shaped by volcanic activity and classified as nature parks, where here and there superb old white colonial villages can be seen in the distance. An enchanting paradise, we open our eyes wide and let ourselves be caressed for longer by the breath of freedom that floats over this island of eternal spring.

Fuerteventura is

100 km long by 30 km wide

Accommodation capacity

Where is Fuerteventura? In the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco, Fuerteventura is one of the seven islands of the Spanish Canary archipelago. It’s the closest to Africa, at around 100 km. The neighboring island is Lanzarote.

When to go to Fuerteventura? The island can be visited all year round, with a high season in winter (December to February) when the rest of Europe comes in search of Christmas sunshine. In July and August, the temperature often exceeds 30°C, but the heat is not overpowering, with a slight breeze, and there are fewer tourists. A significant advantage in our opinion, making it one of the best times to visit.

How do I get to Fuerteventura? The island has an international airport. It can also be reached by ferry from Cadiz, in south-west Spain.

How to get around the island? Distances are fairly long and public transport not very well developed. The car remains the most practical means of locomotion on site.

Where to sleep and eat?

There are many holiday rentals available on the island at all price levels. We particularly like the villages of Lajares and El Cotillo. Accommodation in the center of the island is ideal, however, to minimize north/south travel times if you don’t want to change accommodation during your stay.

A few homes in the north:Chez Pieter and Maria Y Eduardo’s

If there’s one restaurant where you can discover the best gastronomy on the island, it’s Casa Marcos. Located in a unique enclave at the foot of the Escanfraga mountain, this five-room hotel-restaurant is housed in a Majorera-style building. Inside, the menu, handwritten on a blackboard, changes daily. “At Casa Marcos, we’ve fused traditional Canarian dishes with new culinary trends, so all the dishes we offer are familiar, but the way they’re prepared is really special,” explains chef Marcos Gutiérrez Vera, who founded the restaurant in 2017. Our recommendation: let the servers choose for you.

Another spot: La Jaula de Oro, a traditional restaurant with no pretensions or flashy decorations, located in the town of Ajuy. It doesn’t have an Instagram profile, but it’s the place locals recommend to try the best fish on the island. Fresh produce of the highest quality, simple preparations, traditional recipes and impeccable service.

The book to pack in your suitcase? Tales by Miguel de Unamuno.

The song to include in your playlist? You Goin’ Miss Your Candyman by Terry Callier.

And especially where to drink your Spritz? A Las bohemias del amor located in Puertito de los Molinos. “A different place for different people” is written on the slate at the entrance. We’ll let you find out.

If I had known, …

I would have (less) stuffed myself with Mojos before every meal. Mojo is a typically Canarian cold sauce made with olive oil, vinegar, coarse salt, garlic and, above all, herbs and spices. There are two types: the mild mojo verde (typical of La Gomera) owes its green color to parsley and coriander, while the mojo rojo or picón (widely used in La Palma and El Hierro) owes its red color and spicy flavor to red peppers, saffron and cumin. Every Canarian has his or her own mojo recipe, and no two are alike. Many restaurants serve two little pots, one green and one red, right from the start.

I would have planned a combined stay with the neighboring island, Lanzarote a very distinct island only an hour away by boat.


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