Fuerteventura – the island of wind and surf

Fuerteventura is the second largest Canary island (1,731 sq km, with Tenerife being the largest) and the one closest to Africa (100 km is the distance to the south of Morocco).

If I have to summarize our perception of Fuerteventura with one sentence, it will be – this is The place to surf!

The very name Fuerteventura means Strong Winds and it’s been given to the island following the constant trade winds blowing on this island, throughout the whole year. These winds help relieve the heat and make the island the perfect gathering place for windsurfers from all over the world.

The island, however, is also popular among fans of Hawaiian surf. There are a few beaches where waves persist, no matter the conditions elsewhere on the island. So after a couple of Hawaiian surf lessons right after arrival – we loaded our rented surfs and equipment on the tiny rented car and – off we went, exploring the island combined with finding spots to surf. So, this post will refer to sightseeing and opportunities for surfing combined.

Surfer getting out. The black volcanic stones are really tough to be walked on

How to reach Fuerteventura

There are low-cost airlines flying straight from major European cities. Or, fly to Lanzarote and take a ferry to Fuerteventura.

Fuerteventura from the ferry

Where to stay

The ferry from Lanzarote drives you to Corralejo, which is basically the northernmost city of Fuerteventura. It’s a good choice to stay here while exploring the island – you are well-connected to all parts of the island, accommodation is inexpensive (recommend Corralejo Surfing Colors apartments) and even off the season, there’s a number of good (and open) restaurants in the center (not the case with other cities/villages across the island).

Corralejo is also a good place to surf, if you are not a fan of driving a long distance. Very close to the city is the famous Flag Beach, with lots of surf schools and spots, soft fine sand, shallow water and sunbeds.

Flag beach with view to the isle of Lobos in the background

Not far away from Corralejo are also the impressive Sand dunes – mountains of moving sand set on volcanic material. Great experience for those (like me) who have never seen a desert in their life 🙂 Sliding the sandy hills is simply awesome.

The dunes

On the north-eastern part of the island is the famous El Cotillo bay. In a day with absolutely no waves on the whole island, this place had pretty much of them, that’s why it’s a famous spot for advanced surfers and kite-surfers. Have in mind though that reaching the shore requires some walking up and down a steep terrain which, with a huge beginner surf, is not an easy task 🙂

For beginner surfers I do recommend the Playa Blanca near Puerto del Rosario. Very long beach, fairly shallow waters and waves just big enough the get up on the surf.

The town of Puerto del Rosario is the capital of Fuerteventura and the main harbour of the island, but nothing so special. Very much liked the administrative buildings featuring typical Canary architecture. It’s curious that until recently the capital had the name of Puerto del Cabras (port of the goats) because of the big herds of goats bred near the city. The goats keep being a major source of food for the population of Fuerteventura and you can see goat cheese being part of the local specialties.

Puerto del Rosario – one of the administrative buildings built in Canarian style

Exploring the inlands of the island, you will certainly pass through the village of La Oliva. In November this looked like an almost deserted, though very beautiful white village. It is considered that here lived the king of one of the two tribes inhabiting the island before the Spaniards conquered it. After the conquest, the Spanish colonels also lived here and a beautiful building called House of the Colonels remains to be admired.

If you like offroad driving you shouldn’t miss driving along the north-western coast. You can see absolutely desolate beaches and black volcanic shores.

Here and there you can see the parked cars of surfers who enjoy the waves without the crowds, lonely campers, houses popping out from nowhere…and the narrow road disappearing into the sands. Amazing views that stay with you forever.

Surf spot

So, this was it on the sightseeing end of Fuerteventura. The rest was surf and this says it all 🙂 Highly recommended spot if you want to learn to surf, especially when its a freezing winter in your own country 🙂

Next in the Canary series comes the green and exotic island of Tenerife!

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