A holiday-maker’s favourite and a surfer’s paradise; Fuerteventura boasts some of the archipelago’s finest beaches but also an interesting interior landscape and history.
Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real - Corralejo
To the north east of Fuerteventura is the protected natural park of Corralejo - an extraordinary landscape of vast sand dunes that run adjacent to the stunning shoreline. Close to this remarkable part of Fuerteventura one finds this five-star spa resort. A family-friendly property, built in the style of a grand hacienda, with most guest rooms orientated for views out over the beach, the Atlantic, to Lobos Island and the coast of Lanzarote beyond.
For foodies, there’s more than just the family buffet restaurant, pool bar and trendy Coco Beach Club. Guests and non-residents have the choice of three upscale restaurants: Las Columnas, offering contemporary Spanish cuisine; Yamatori, offering Japanese dishes and Teppanyaki show cooking; and the fine-dining La Cúpula de Carles Gaig, where the menu has been created by the Michelin-star chef Caig.
Swimming pools are set among sub-tropical, courtyard gardens, sheltered from Fuerteventura’s Atlantic breeze; while for tranquillity away from the younger ones, try the resort’s SPA Bahía Vital with heated pool with hydrotherapy circuit, gym, and treatment rooms offering wellness and beauty therapies.
Hotel Rural Mahoh - La Oliva
This charming nine-room inland hotel, with renowned country-style restaurant, is well-positioned for exploring the authentic Fuerteventura.
Built in the typical Canarian architectural style, using volcanic stone, the hotel dates to the 19th century. The Mahoh, probably the best rural property on the island, has an all-year swimming pool and delightful landscaped gardens of succulents. Beyond is access to many of the islands hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails.
Rooms are comfortably presented with vintage furniture, some with four-poster beds. Each space has its own distinctive style and character, but all have exposed volcanic stone walls. Some rooms offer views of the countryside and the nearby historic windmills, while others overlook the internal courtyard garden.
Breakfast can be enjoyed in the restaurant, on the terrace or in the gardens. The ambiance is laidback and friendly. Owned by island environmentalists, Tinín Martínez and Zaragoza Estévez, Hotel Rural Mahoh is 30 minutes’ drive from the airport (just south of the island’s modest capital, Puerto de Rosario); about 10 minutes to the beaches at El Cotillo (ideal for the catching the best sunsets); and within 40 minutes of the island’s historic former capital, Betancuria.
Restaurante Santa María - Betancuria
There are more goats on Fuerteventura than residents; and it’s not just their cheese that is world-class. Roast kid is a real delicacy on the island, and the Casa Santa María restaurant is one of the best-known places to try this local dish.
Manager Mónica is very welcoming and together with her team are happy to help with menu suggestions. For a local taste, order the artisan cheese, served with marmalades of tomato, fig and cactus, before trying the slow-roasted kid, served with a rich jus.
There are two dining rooms, one with a North African style, the other more colonial Spanish. The garden courtyard has seating too, if you want a more relaxed setting or somewhere to enjoy a drink from the bar.
The restored Casa Santa María is on the charming village square, opposite the 17th-century Santa María church, and beside the property’s own museum sharing insights into the culture, history and flora and fauna of the island.
Betancuria, Fuerteventura’s capital until 1834, is set within an attractive valley, where towering palm trees line the meandering dry river bed; a good place for hiking.
Restaurante Mahoh - La Oliva
Open to non-residents of the hotel, this rustic style eatery, with wooden tables and chairs and open kitchen, is one of the best-reviewed restaurants on the island. The menu is of local dishes such as the classic Canarian ‘papas arrugadas’ (wrinkly, small new potatoes served with two ‘mojos’ sauces), seafood and fish from the nearby Atlantic waters, vegetarian dishes, and a wide choice of meat prepared on the wood-burning grill. Canarian, Spanish and a few international wines are available.
Coco Beach Lounge & Club - Corralejo
This contemporary beach club is on the Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real property, and is a good option for a sea-view lunch, dinner, classic cocktails or tropical shakes for the kids. Both the smart dining space, surrounded by glass, and the large outside terrace, are elevated over the shore, offering magnificent views across to Lobos Island. The menu includes seafood, salads and tapas served in a modern style.
El Mentidero Café - El Cotillo
El Cotillo, on the island’s west coast, is a beautiful bay of calmer, clear waters, and pale sand. This trendy café offers quality snacks and drinks during the day.
Later, head to one of the informal beach bars for a sundowner, watching a Fuerteventura sunset.
Boat trip to Lobos Island - Corralejo
It’s touristy but fun. In the port is a choice of operators, including the Celia Cruz boat, offering family outings to the island on glass bottom boats, as well as sunset cruises. For a more private affair, hire the Freebird catamaran for the day, and just chill, snorkel and enjoy the island.
Search ‘Barco Celia Cruz Freebird’ on Facebook
Kiteboarding and Windsurfing
Water sports are undoubtedly one of the biggest draws for visitors to the island. The Rene Egli water sports shop, by Melia, is one of the most recommended. For surf shops, the ‘Visit Fuerteventura’ website has approved listings.
Hiking - Jandia
Pack your boots, and prepare to enjoy hundreds of kilometres of hiking routes across the island. In the south, the protected Jandia peninsula is rich in birdlife, and home to the island’s highest point, Pico de la Zarza. In the same area is the Penitas Ravine, one of the most stunning landscapes in Fuerteventura. Hiking is also a wonderful way to see the other volcanic peaks on the island including the sacred Tindaya.
The island has worked to preserve its cultural and historical identity, and across Fuerteventura one finds a network of small museums. I particularly liked the Ecomuseo de La Alcogida, a small hamlet of seven authentic rural houses, where volunteers share the lifestyle of a bygone age, from pottery, to bread making. I should also mention the Museum of Majorero Cheese; after all, Fuerteventura’s goat’s cheese is recognised as being the best in the world.