Fuerteventura is a magnet for millions of holidaymakers every year, who are drawn by its many hours of sunshine, favourable climate, miles of sandy beaches and watersports.
But away from the beach and the surf there’s plenty to explore and enjoy. Here are some suggestions.
Find out more about Canarian art
Spend a few hours away from the beach and explore Centro de Arte Canario, a contemporary art gallery in La Oliva which is located close to Casa de los Coroneles and is signposted from the centre of town.
The gallery, which gathers together the work of local artists such as César Manrique, Alberto Agullo and Rubén Dario, as well as the work of gallery owner Manuel Delgado Camino or ‘Mane’, to highlight the creativity of Canarian artists.
As well as galleries of permanent and changing exhibitions of ceramics, etchings and screen prints, there is also a sculpture garden. Two galleries are devoted to the landscapes and more surreal work of Canarian watercolourist Alberto Manrique (no relation to César).
Explore some of the island’s scenery
If you’re booking hotels, package or all-inclusive holidays in Fuerteventura you may wish to think about packing some walking boots and getting out to explore the beautiful and varied scenery.
There are three national parks, a rural park, two protected landscapes, one area of special scientific interest and six natural monuments – a lot for just one island.
Fuerteventura has several hundred kilometres of paths, some of which can be used by mountain bikes. These paths take in steep cliffs, mountain peaks and volcanoes.
Hike to the top of Gairia Volcano, one of the best-preserved volcanoes, which offers panoramic views, and walk the cliffside path from the picturesque fishing village of Los Molinos to the beach at Jarugo. Or take the ferry from Corralejo, a half-hour’s journey, to the beautiful, unspoilt island of Los Lobos.
The island, which is a protected nature reserve, actually owes its name to seals, ‘lobos del mar’ or sea wolves, rather than actual wolves.Today it’s a refuge for many species of birds. Some of them are extremely rare, including the Houbara bustard. The view from the top of Caldera Mountain, an ancient volcano, over the island and Lanzarote is worth the climb.
Explore the island’s history
Casa de los Coroneles, or House of the Colonels, stands isolated in the middle of the vast plain of Colonel Rose, south of the village of La Oliva.This civic-military building, which was built in the second half of the 17th century, is considered one of the most important historic buildings in the Canaries.
From the early 17th century the resident colonels – the title was honorary – ruled the island. But they ruled so despotically that there were bloody uprisings and eventually the government in Madrid was forced to intervene in 1834 and disband the militia.
Today, this complex houses several exhibitions. The first floor is given over to the history of the building and includes an audiovisual presentation featuring interviews with some of the island’s elderly inhabitants. There are also excellent temporary art exhibitions that include paintings, sculpture and audiovisual installations. The museum is signposted from La Oliva.
Great places to chill out in the evening
Fuerteventura has venues where you can dance the evening away, but mature travellers may wish to opt for something a little less hectic. Fuerteventura offers a choice of bars and restaurants to watch the sun go down and see the evening in.
Enjoy a long cocktail at Beach Café terrace overlooking the main beach at Caleta de Fuste. It hosts live music or you could opt to polish up your salsa technique; the café hosts classes on Saturday nights.
Other options include Olympia in Morro Jable. Overlooking the seafront, it is perfect for a relaxing drink after a meal. Or try the popular Rock Island Bar, which hosts acoustic music every night. Extra-cold Guinness is a speciality, as are the house burgers and steaks.
Shop for arts and crafts and bargains
Browsing second-hand arts and crafts markets can be a great alternative to spending the day on the beach during your holidays in Fuerteventura.
The island hosts a number of them in different venues so you can choose when you want to fit in a little retail therapy.
The Colonel’s House hosts a local goods and handicrafts market on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am until 2pm, Lajares has a craft fair every Saturday in the plaza from 10am and there’s a secondhand market in Puerto del Rosario on Sundays from 8am.