10 thoughts from my trip to Fuerteventura

My recent jaunt to Fuerteventura was a bit different to my usual trips abroad. If you followed my Instagram updates, you’ll have heard my week in the Canary Islands was an actual holiday rather than a work-related trip. BC had some holiday to take and we wanted a blast of vitamin D before the wintry weather closed in on us in Blighty. So, with no hesitation, we booked some super cheap flights with BA using our air miles, bagged ourselves an Airbnb rental and off we went on HOLIDAY – with no obligation to tweet, report or seek out any kind of story I’d have to write on my return.

header image for Fuerteventura

In other words, it was bliss.

colourful doorway in El Cotillo, Fuerteventura

The last time I was in Fuerteventura…

The first time I’d been to Fuerteventura was as a child, with my parents. I had memories of building sandcastles on long sandy beaches and mum slathering factor 30 on my freckly nose.

I also remember having all sorts of fun leaping down the famed Corralejo sand dunes – which, no doubt, felt like the most surreal natural playground to little seven-year-old me.

Going back to the Canary Islands and seeing it through an adult’s – and travel writer’s eyes – was going to be different. Would it be as great as I’d remembered? Would the winter-sun we’d been expecting, deliver? In all honesty, I was a little lazy on the research front and we approached this holiday with a sort of lazy ‘wait-and-see’ kind of attitude – which I actually like doing sometimes…

Now we’ve returned, here are my 10 thoughts on the island of Fuerteventura should you ever consider visiting. We stayed in the resort town of Corralejo, which you’ll find in the north-eastern tip of the island, spending much of our time in the northern municipality of La Oliva.

Have a read, see what you think and feel free to share your own thoughts!

Colourful door in El Cotillo

1. It’s great for winter sun

Fuerteventura is a mere 50 miles away from Saharan Africa which means one thing: it’s one of the best short-haul destinations to visit for winter sun.

In all honesty, Fuerteventura was not as hot as we expected it to be in November. The mornings were often cool and the evenings were often very chilly (dare I say, cold even). So bring layers if you happen to go. However, on the whole, Fuerteventura has a very mild climate compared to the UK. And most days we had a ‘window’ of sunshine in between 11 and 3pm where it often reached above 20 degrees.

The average daily temperature during the winter months in Fuerteventura lies between 18 and 21 degrees, the skies were blue and we only got a sprinkling of rain. So yes – it’s a great destination for winter sun.

Corralejo dunes

2. When you first arrive, it’s a bit like stepping on the moon

‘There’s nothing here!’ BC joked as we drove from the airport to our apartment. He was kind of right. Fuerteventura has a smaller population than the likes of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Tenerife and the island is of course, volcanic. So, if you’re a first-time visitor, you’ll be struck by its sparse, moon-like landscape which can appear a bit desolate at first.

But the more you learn of its volcanic beginnings, the more you’re likely to become fascinated by the bewitching craters that occupy the island. Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming post on top things to do in Fuerteventura, for ways to explore its volcanic history.

View of Fuerteventura

3. The beaches in Fuerteventura are just as beautiful as I remembered

The beaches are one of the best things about Fuerteventura. Many of the best beaches are accessed via long dirt tracks. And you may well find yourself walking for miles along these long swathes of creamy coloured sand. You’ll immediately fall for the ‘wild’ feel of the coastline here.

El Cotillo Beach

4. There are just as many nudists as I remembered

It’s a running joke in my family of how shocked I was as a kid to see so many nudists in Fuerteventura. And nothing will quite prepare we uptight Brits for the moment you step onto the ‘freer’ side of the beach and you’re surrounded by a sea of leathery brown holiday makers in their Birthday suits.

Yep, it happened again on this holiday but as the days went on, you just kind of get used to it (each to their own and all that).

It’s not something you’re likely to see in the middle of the resort towns but you’ll find a scattering of rock ‘castles’ on many of the ‘wilder’ beaches – which come in handy if you want a full-body tan but you’re feeling a bit shy…..

5. …but the care-free attitude all adds to the charm

As the days went on, I realised the naturist element of Fuerteventura was just one of the many things that make this a very care-free island. If there’s one thing you’ll like about Fuerteventura, it’ll probably be the unstuffy attitude. Anything goes really, which is refreshing.

El Cotillo Beach

6. It’s flippin’ windy…

It can be a welcoming reprieve in the hottest summer months but they’re not joking when they say Fuerteventura is the windiest island in the Canaries. In fact, the name Fuerteventura literally means ‘strong fortune’ or ‘strong winds’ and it is pretty relentless, especially if the sun isn’t out. So, bring a cardigan. And if you don’t manage to claim one of the ‘rock castles’, you might like to buy a windbreaker or shelter for the beach.

7. but that’s why it’s one of the world’s best water sports destinations

The upside of those prevailing winds is that Fuerteventura is, arguably, the water sports capital of the Canary Islands. You’ll find plenty of surfing schools offering tuition in everything from kitesurfing to windsurfing. Even if you’re not a water sports enthusiast, the kite surfers who leap off the waves off ‘Kite Beach’ (north of Corralejo dunes) are amazing to watch.

kitesurfer in Fuerteventura

8. Isla de Lobos is well worth the day trip

Before I visited Fuerteventura, someone on the Canary Islands stand at World Travel Market had recommended I visit the Isla de Lobos and I’m so glad we did. This dot of an island off the north coast is just 3 miles from the mainland. And it’s really easy to get to if you’re staying in the north, as regular ferries run from the port at Corralejo. I’ll be sharing the things you can do on Isla de Lobos very soon…

The crater at Isla de Lobos, Fuerteventura

9. El Cotillo is one of the loveliest places you can visit

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if we were to holiday again in Fuerteventura, we probably wouldn’t stay in Corralejo. It’s great if you’re looking for lots of lively bars and restaurants, a Tourist Information office and decent shopping (think Zara, Mango and a few nice gift shops). But in all honesty, Corralejo is about as Canarian as a mug of PG Tips.

We did however, love El Cotillo, a town about a 20 minutes-drive away from Corralejo. And I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a more laid-back, local feel. You’ll find cute little houses with pastel-coloured doors, local bars selling cheap-as-chips churros and a charming waterfront where you can drink a glass of ice-cold beer, feast on seafood and watch the sun go down.

El Cotillo, Fuerteventura

10. It makes for a convenient and care-free holiday

Whichever part of the island you visit, Fuerteventura is an easy and convenient place to go on holiday. The flight from UK airports to El Matorral Airport (Fuerteventura Airport) is just less than 4.5 hours and the island is 62 miles long. So your onward journey in Fuerteventura is likely to be less than 1.5 hours. The roads here are also really easy to drive (once you get the hang of driving on the right!) I would highly recommend this island for a care-free holiday and I’m really pleased to have re-visited it all these years on.

Have you been to Fuerteventura? What did you think of it? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below.

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