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Sand is the undisputed star on the Canaries’ second largest island. Don’t miss the hills of pure white gold in the Natural Dunes Park of Corralejo. To see how the original islanders lived, take a stroll through the old stone dwellings of El Poblado de La Atalayita. Windmills played an important part of Fuerteventura life in more recent times, you can discover how and why at the Los Molinos Interpretation Centre in Tiscamanita.
The best place to grab a slice of artistic culture is at the Centro de Arte Canario in La Oliva, a private collection exhibiting the work of local painters, sculptors and artists.
Surf style is the predominant fashion on Fuerteventura. Pick up some cool urban wear and join the surf set at Inercia in Puerto del Rosario, buy your windsurf and surf gear at Red Shark surfing centre in Corralejo and check out the clothes and accessories at Extreme Animals who have various outlets throughout the island.
If you’re looking for less beach in your basket, head to Los Rotondos shopping centre in Puerto del Rosario, four floors of food, fashion and other fancies. El Campinario shopping centre in Corralejo provides similar offerings on a smaller scale but with the advantage of a Canarian market every Sunday.
Fuerteventura has a mixed bag of eateries ranging from fast food to French haute cuisine. Unsurprisingly seafood plays a big part in the island’s culinary world with fresh fish often caught from owner’s boats and served straight from the sea. Try the harbour front El Mirador El Cotillo for some of the best fish dishes on the island. The flavour is all Canarian at the award-winning Asador Tio Bernabé in Corralejo where you can try specialities such as suckling pig, fish croquets and goat stew. For a lighter bite, the made-to-order tapas at Pincha Cabra, also in Corralejo, are highly recommended.
For different national flavours, sample Spanish and German at the gourmet El Patio de Lajares (you can even stay the night if you like). Italy is well represented on the island, with pizza and pasta dominating at Rojo Tomate in Lajares, and creative Italian offerings at Tantaluna in Corralejo. In La Oliva, Italian is also the theme at Mucho Gusto but with a little Mexican thrown in for extra spice, while at the American style El Rincon de Comilon home-made burgers are the speciality.
The exceptionally dry climate makes drinking a necessity in Fuerteventura (that’s my excuse at least).. Luckily, when your throat’s as dry as the Sahara, there’s no shortage of watering holes to whet your whistle, whether that’s with a soft drink, beer or exotic cocktail. The oddly named Weirdos Elephant Bar in Corralejo old town provides a taste of home for those missing the beers of Blighty. Similarly at McCarthy’s, if you happen to be of Irish descent. Serious drinkers might like the challenge of the notorious drinking roulette at Pá Ké Mas bar, or if you prefer sipping to slugging, go for a bit of shaken and stirred at the cocktail bars Dr. Drink, Blue Jazz, or Mojito Beach Club (no prizes for guessing their speciality drink). If you’re looking for more of a party atmosphere, head over to Flicks Bar.
Popular with backpacking surf-ites and also luxury-seeking sun lovers, Fuerteventura accommodation caters for everybody. For the ultimate indulgence, park your head on the plumped-up pillows of the magnificent Atlantis Bahia Real in Corralejo, or the Grand Deluxe Elba Palace Golf, surrounded by the greenery and fairways of Fuerteventura Golf Course. At the other end of the scale, mamaSandra guesthouse offers clean and comfy rooms in Lajares. For a complete Canarian immersion away from it all, the 200-year-old Casa Rural Tamasite offers rustic seclusion in the heart of the island. For one of the best positioned mid-range hotels, the Club Hotel Riu Oliva Beach Resort takes some beating, located smack bang amidst the white sand of Corralejo’s best and biggest beach.
The dry, dusty heat means walking can be something of a challenge in Fuerteventura, but take plenty of water and sun protection and there are several interesting hikes to be had. Pico de la Zarza is the island’s highest point at 807 metres. Scaling the peak will afford you views of Gran Canaria and Tenerife on a very clear day, though you need permission from the Environmental Agency to reach the summit. The sand dunes of Corralejo Natural Park make for a fun walk, or alternatively take a camel safari for a more Lawrence of Arabia experience. The historic village of Betancuria also offers a popular walk along a rocky ravine to the tiny chapel of the Virgen de la Pena. If you prefer a more adrenaline-fuelled method of exploration, take an off-road tour on a quad bike safari.
If all that sand gets too much, there are plenty of opportunities to get off the island, both underwater and atop the waves. Visit the island of Los Lobos for a break away from the crowd. Excursion boats leave the harbour of Corralejo several times a day. A little further afield, Lanzarote can be reached in less than half an hour.
Another self-propelled option is a kayak snorkel safari, highly recommended for the fit and able. You’ll find a liberal sprinkling of dive centres sprinkled right round the coastline. Try Abyss Divers, self-proclaimed as the only British-run dive centre on Fuerteventura.
Piero’s Music Café in Caleta de Fuste hosts a melee of cabaret acts every night, including tribute shows and drag acts. If you like the sounds of the 60’s, Legends is your holy grail. Rock Island and Imagine are two of the most popular live music bars in Corralejo, showcasing an acoustic mixture of styles from folk to rock.
Every Friday sees live music night at Acorralado in El Cotillo, while waterfront reggae is the name of the game at Zazamira coffee and juice bar in Corralejo.
The beach on a very windy day. Unless you take a windbreak, you’ll get seriously sandblasted by Fuerteventura’s strong ocean gusts… stick to the pool instead.