Fuerteventura North Island Tour
Most visitors arrive at the island's international airport, just south of the capital: Puerto Del Rosario. From there the coastal highway, the FV1, runs to the north providing easy access to the main resort at Corralejo. Access to the centre and south of the island is via the FV2, which travels past the second largest resort at Caleta de Fuste, all the way to Morro del Jable, in the Jandia Peninsula.
Puerto Del Rosario
The island's capital from 1834. With a population of approx 40,000, it is the main centre for administration, commerce, culture and rural heritage. It contains a major harbour for cruise ships, the island's main hospital and a bustling indoor shopping centre (Centro Comercial Las Rotondas). The main retail and commerce areas can be found along the pedestrianised Primero de Mayo Street. The town was originally called Puerto Cabra (port of the goat) due to the large herds of goats that once grazed here but it was later renamed to the more pleasing Puerto Del Rosario (port of the rosary beads).
Church of Our Lady of Rosario (Nuestra Senora del Rosario)
The main visitor attraction is the Casa Museo Miguel de Unamuno, devoted to the island's renowned poet exile, Miguel de Unamuno. His house is situated on the plaza beside the main parish church (shown above), where he lived during his enforced stay in the 1920s. Within the restored buildings are pictures and artefacts pertaining to his life and works.
Other attractions and thing to see in Puerto Del Rosario include:
- Port promenade
- Los Pozos town beach
- Historic lime kilns
- Outdoor sculpture park with over 150 public artworks
- Juan Ismael Arts Centre
- Nuestra Senora del Rosario Church
The town has a strong colonial heritage but lacks many buildings of architectural merit. A few older houses near the harbour can be seen with typical Canarian balconies, plus a wealth of tapas bars and fish restaurants in and around the town. The harbour front has recently undergone a facelift, with a fine paved promenade lined with palm trees and a series of artworks and sculptures that reflect the history and culture of the islands. There is small beach to the south of the harbour at Los Pozos, though a much larger expanse of golden sand with blue flag status can be found just a couple of kilometres down the coast at Playa Blanca. There is also the Puerto Lajas Beach to the north.
A fiesta celebrating the Virgen Del Rosario is held here in the first week of October.
Corralejo is a small fishing village and seaside resort at the very northern tip of the island. Clear blue seas caress its white sandy beaches. To the east are vast unspoiled white sand dunes.
Situated at the northern tip of the island, is the most popular and largest of the island's resorts. Starting out as a small fishing village it has developed over time into a bustling town with tranquil beaches a pleasant seafront with restaurants and bars affording great views of Lanzarote and Lobos island. There is a small marina harbour where pleasure craft bob and traditional fishing boats still ply their trade.
The term Corralejo actually means “The corral far away” in Spanish. This is because many years ago it just contained a corral (enclosure) to keep goats in that was “far away” from the capital."
The bustling old town has a pedestrian area bars and restaurants serving cuisine from around the globe, including Asian, Brazilian, Chinese, Irish, Italian, Spanish and Mexican. Many playing live music in the evenings and also in the music square 'Calle la Iglesia' and 'Muelle Chico'. Leading south from the old town is the main street lined with shops and restaurants. At the top of the main street is a water park (open in summer only). A traditional market is held in the car park, on Tue and Friday mornings. A large shopping Mall to the southeast, El Campanario, has a regular craft market selling hand made jewellery, arts and crafts and live traditional spanish music (see image).
During the day Corralejo offers plenty to do including mountain biking, hiking, buggy and quad tours, jeep safari and island tours. The seafront is a mecca for watersports such as sailing, fishing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving. In the evening there is buzzing nightlife around Atlantico Sol shopping centre, the music square and the old town area.
Ferries to the southern tip of Lanzarote depart from Corralejo harbour daily from 8am.
Two main bus services 06 and 08 run regularly to El Cotillo in the west and Puerte del Rosario in the south east.
Corralejo Natural Park
The town has a number of small beaches along the seafront but the best beaches can be found a little further to the south, along the edge of the town's famous Grandes Playas de Corralejo, one of the must-see areas of the island. A protected nature reserve since 1994, it is a large plain of fine white sand, stretching for several kilometres alongside the crystal clear waters of the east coast. The dunes attract both sun worshippers and water sport enthusiasts.
This small uninhabited island is protected nature reserve just 1.2 miles (2km) off the coast from Correlejo. Once home to a large colony of seals (Lobos Del Mar) from which it's name derives. Today it is home to a variety of flora and fauna, some of which cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.
It's rugged 9 miles (14km) of coastline is dotted with beautiful unspoiled beaches and lagoons. The crystal clear waters are ideal for snorkeling and fishing. The Montana de is Caldera is the highest point at 127 metres above sea level. Boat trips to the island run regularly from Corralejo Harbour.
The fishing here from either boat or with snorkel is said to be the best in all of the Canaries.
A charming fishing community located on the northwest coast. The town has a number of very good seafood restaurants located around the old and new harbour areas. The coastline here has some first class soft sandy beaches and beautiful rocky lagoons. The sea here can be wild and tumultuous with strong currents, so it can be dangerous for swimming too far out from the coast especially in the winter months. This side of the island provides some magnificent sunsets across Atlantic Ocean.
The old port dates back to the 17th century. Originally called 'Puerto del Roque' it was established by Jean de Bethencourt to protect against English pirates. It was renamed 'El Cottilo' in the 20th century and still retains a rustic charm and historic atmosphere.
The village church (1834) is dedicated to the 'Virgin of Good Travel' (Virgen De Buen Viaje). The small fort on the clifftop 'Castillo De Rico Roque' was built to defend the town from pirates. This squat round tower has recently been restored an is open to the public.
To the north are tranquil shallow lagoons and the southern beaches, backed by steep cliffs, are a mecca for surfers. Far to the north is a lighthouse (Faro de Tostón) with a museum dedicated to local fishermen.
Caleta de Fuste
A modern but charming resort within easy reach from the airport. It centres around a small fort 'El Castillo' that overlooks a tiny harbour and semi circular shallow beach that is safe for swimming and ideal for families.
A relaxed resort with top quality modern hotels and two golf courses. It is centrally located, making it an ideal base for touring the island. The marina caters for a wide range of watersports, including diving, windsurfing and paddle boarding.
There is a good choice of retail facilities, bars and restaurants, plus an excellent nightlife, with many hotels and bars offering free entertainment. There is also a Spa and Wellness centre.
Markets are held every Sunday and Wednesday.
Salinas Del Carmen
Located just to the South of Caleta de Fuste is this small fishing community, where fishing boats line a shingle beach, backed by traditional white-washed Canarian cottages. A family run fish restaurant on the shore here serves some of the tastiest seafood and traditional Canarian cuisine on the island.
The coast here is popular with divers, as there is an underwater ledge that drops off just off shore, which is great for deep dives and is home to some unusual marine life. On the northern edge of the village is a working salt museum.
Sea Salt Museum
A traditional working salt processing plant. Easily identifiable by the skeleton of a whale on metal stilts outside (the whale was found beached on the Corralejo coast).
Sea salt is still manufactured here using traditional methods, using a patchwork of small square ponds where sea water is diverted and dried out to form shallow pans. The salt is skimmed off and piled in heaps, ready for collection. The product is used locally on the island to preserve fish.
The complex incorporates a small museum, with exhibits dating back thousands of years that tell the story of salt production and usage over time. A shop and visitor centre are included.The museum is a short bus ride from the town of Caleta de Fuste.
This once sleepy inland town is now a popular abode of surfers due to its proximity to the north coast. It has retained much of its old charm and rustic feel despite extensive building. A traditional artisan handicraft and lace making centre. Many small family run businesses display their products and wares in tiny shops along the high street and plaza. To the south is a small church and some restored Canarian windmills. An arts and craft market is held on in the village on Saturday's.
From here a path leads to the Volcanic heights of 'Calderon Hondo' an extinct volcano with a perfect circular rim formation. Located about 3.5 miles (6km) distance from the village.
An attractive traditional Canarian village, which enjoys superb distant views of Lanzarote and the ocean due to its slightly elevated position. It is a small agricultural centre with an interesting museum of ethnic art 'Rosalinda Villaverde' and excellent restaurants.
A pleasant mid-island town with a solid fortress of a church, overlooking a wide plaza (town square). It was in this area that the Guanche King 'Guize' ruled over Maxorata some 500 years ago.
In the early 17th century La Oliva became residence for Fuerteventura's military governors until 1880. Several fine old houses survive from this era. The grandest of which is the long-white House of the Colonels (La Casa de los Coroneles), with decorative balconies and door carvings (circa 1650). It once belonged to the Cabrera Béthencourt family and their family crest can still be seen above the entrance. Near to this is the Centro de Arte Canario - Casa Mane, which showcases contemporary art from around the Canary islands. The gallery is well worth visiting just for its permanent displays of rural landscapes and unusual sculptures.
The many old stone windmills around this part of the island are reminder that this area was once a fertile centre for production of Gofio - a traditional Canarian flour made from roasted cereal grains. The Grain Museum (Museo del Grano) is housed in an ancient church-administered granary (Casa de La Cilla), dating from the early 19th century. It contains an exhibition detailing the traditional grain farming techniques used when Fuerteventura was known as the "bread basket of the Canaries".
A small farming village with access to a pleasant beach on the west coast. The area is home to the sacred mountain from which the village takes it name. Visitors can climb the heights of this extinct volcano on request, to visit the Tindaya Mountain National Monument. It is in this area that archeological digs have revealed Neolithic occupation. The terrain is ideal for walkers and cyclists.
Monument to Miguel de Unamuno
Situated the foot of the volcanic Montaña Quemada (Burnt Mountain), to the south of Tindaya, is a monument to the exile to Fuerteventura of Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936). A renowned poet and philosopher, he was banished here in 1924 for his political views. He became so enamoured and attached to the island and its moonscape landscapes, that after returning to Europe he wrote many poems and essays, extolling the virtues of Fuerteventura and its simple way of life.
An almost untouched tiny island village that provides an insight into how life would have been in Fuerteventura in days gone by. At the edge of town is the Eco-museo de la Alcogida, a living museum with a number of restored traditional Canarian houses where you can watch artisans making traditional local handicrafts, such pottery, lace making, palm baskets and goat's cheese.
This sleepy little town of tiny white houses set among palms and cactus is one of the most characteristic attractions of the island. The ancient capital of the island, founded in 1404 by Jean de Bethancourt (Juan de Betancuría). It was built inland as a better defence against pirate attacks. Unfortunately this strategy failed and the pirates repeatedly sacked the town taking away hundreds of captives as slaves.
The town is situated in a picturesque valley, high up in the hills, through which an ancient stream used to flow. After the stream dried up the people moved away to other more fertile regions. The valley is still quite fertile and has a much greener softer feel compared to the baroness of the rest of the island.
Bentacuria remained the island's capital until 1834. It is now a quiet market town with a ruined Franciscan monastery, cathedral and a picturesque plaza surrounded by gardens. The town's narrow winding streets are lined with whitewashed houses, trees and flowers, which provide a peaceful relaxed atmosphere.
The church of Church of St. Mary (Iglesia de Santa Maria) was consecrated as a Cathedral in 1426. It was destroyed by pirates in 1593 but was rebuilt in 1691 on a grand scale. Within is a fine painted ceiling, a baroque altarpiece and ancient gravestones embedded in the floor. It was declared a cathedral again in 1924.
The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnographic, across the valley, displays exhibits on archaeology, ceramics and dioramas of the village of La Atalayita - an ancient settlement in the Valle de Pozo Negro to the east. The site dates back to the times of the island's first settlers, called ‘mahos’ or ‘majos’. Other displays cover local Paleontology and fossils from sites around the island.
The remains of a Franciscan Monastery can be found on the outskirts of the town.
If you visit the island in summer you can attend the colourful "San Buenaventura Festival" in July and the "Nuestra Senora de la Pena Procession" in September.
Betancuría Rural Park
Declared a national park in 1984, it covers a large area of dramatic hills, dry meadows and scrub land near the centre-west of the island. It is a special area of protection for birds and is host to some unique native flora, such as the Canary Island daisy (Asteriscus sericeus), King Juba's spurge (Euphorbia regis-jubae) and the cactus-like Apteranthes burchardii.
The 'Mirador Moro Velosa' located on the top of Mount Tegu (500 metres above sea level) provides fabulous views across the north of the island on a clear day. Two giant statues stand on a viewing point at the summit. They represent 'Guize' and 'Ayose', two ancient rulers of Fuerteventura.
Once an important commercial town and centre of agriculture, this early colonial village dates back to the 1700s, when it was founded by early French and Spanish settlers. However, its low whitewashed houses betray a much older Moorish past. The Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) and attractive whitewashed church in the town square are of Spanish colonial design. The small bar on the square is a traditional meeting place for the locals.
All around can be seen ancient windmills (molinos), which once used the constant island winds to grind corn for Gofio, a roasted, milled cereal that is a Canarian staple. The Centro de Artesanía Molino de Antigua is a 200 year old windmill, on the main road heading north from the village, which been restored and converted into a delightful museum and crafts centre with a shop, palm and cactus garden and art gallery. Here visitors can discover the important role of windmills in the life of the island.
The Fiesta of Our Lady of Antigua takes place here on the 8th September.