If you're anything like me, come February, you're absolutely craving a little sun on your skin. The holiday spirit has long faded and you wish you could fast forward to spring. Although a remote control for the seasons does not yet exist, planes thankfully do - and the good news is you don't have to travel far from Europe to find that winter sun you're after.
Enter Fuerteventura, the second largest of Spain’s Canary Islands. Located in the Atlantic roughly 100km off the north coast of Africa, it's just over a 4 hour flight from London, 4.5 hours from Amsterdam, or if you're lucky enough to already be in Spain, 2h45 from Madrid. Even in the midst of February, temperatures hover between 19 and 22 degrees. Well known amongst surfers, it's also a great spot for anyone looking to explore some beautiful scenery and soak in the sun.
From London, there are multiple flights a week going out to Fuerteventura, and this route is serviced by budget carriers such as EasyJet, making it easy and affordable to get to if you plan ahead. You can also get to Fuerteventura via the other Canary Islands, with direct ferries connecting it to Lanzarote (in as fast as 25 minutes!) and Gran Canaria (ranging from a 2 to 6 hour journey, depending on the route chosen).
I highly recommend renting a car to properly explore Fuerteventura. A big chunk of Fuerteventura's roads are offroad, so your best bet would be a 4x4 or slightly larger, more sturdy vehicle. We rented from the airport from Sixt and had a good experience!
We opted for the south of the island in order to stay at one of our favourite hotel chains, the Iberostar. This 5-star hotel looks out onto the beautiful Playa de Jandia, and offers half-board and all-inclusive packages. It's located about 10 minutes away from Morro Jable by car, where you can find a slew of restaurants and shops (although good luck dragging yourself away from that beautiful poolside).
what to do.
We spent a lot of time just soaking in the sunshine by the pool, taking long walks on the Playa de Jandia and sipping cocktails as we watched the sun go down, but that being said, Fuerteventura has loads of beautiful sights, beaches and activities that are absolutely worth checking out while you're on the island.
Playa de Cofete: This remote, rugged beach is a must-do. It's. bit of a trek to get there (make sure your rental car is up for it!), but so worth it. There were barely any people on the beach and you really get the feeling that this beach has been untouched and unspoilt by humans. A real escape!
Playa del Matorral: A long, sandy beach with beautiful turquoise waters, this spot is worth checking out if you're in the Morro Jable area or are finishing up a visit to Cofete.
Playa de Sotavento: This beach forms a lagoon at tow tide, which allows for wading in crystal clear shallow waters. Although we didn't do this, I'd suggest stopping at the Mirador De Sotavento as I can imagine this would be impressive from a more elevated viewpoint.
Astronomical Viewpoint Sicasumbre: One of the best parts about Fuerteventura is just driving around and admiring the landscape - one second you'll feel like you're on Mars, the next you'll be driving through roads that twist and turn through the mountains, and the next you'll be racing along the shore while massive, frothy waves come in. Take the time to stop at viewpoints and just take it all in. Other impressive viewpoints include Mirador de Guise y Ayose, Mirador De Morro Velosa.
Cotillo: This cool surfer town is worth a stop for coffee or lunch. We loved Triton's Coffee Lab, a laid-back cafe with delicious coffee and friendly staff. We didn't have the chance to grab lunch, but had both Restaurante La Vaca Azul and Restaurante El Roque Los Pescadores recommended to us if you're feeling hungry. From here, drive south towards Playa de la Escalera, a gorgeous beach accessed by a set of stairs (hence the name).
Betancuria: The historic capital of Fuerteventura, this colonial town is recognized as one of the prettiest in Spain. It's beautiful, but there's not a ton to do and getting here (at least from the south) is quite the journey through the mountains, so I suggest combining your visit with lunch or a drink.
Aguas Verdes: Known for the tide pools that form at low tide, this spot is worth stopping by after a visit to Betancuria. Even at high tide, when we visited, it's impressive to see the size and power of waves at this spot. I don't think I've ever seen such massive waves!
Molinos de Villaverde: One of the sights that you can find on every travel blog is the Molinos de Villaverde. These are pretty to look at it, but the visit probably won't take you more than 5 minutes. Unless you're in the area, I'd recommend checking out windmills closer to wherever you are (for example, Molino del Roque in Cotillo).
Corralejo: Swing by Corralejo to grab lunch on the water. We had great tapas & chilled glasses of Tinto de Verano at Gilda Casa de Pinchos y Tapas, followed by artisanal ice cream with handmade cones at La Cremeria Heladeria Artesenal. Nearby you'll find the Dunas de Corralejo in Parque Natural de Corralejo, beautiful powdery sand dunes.
things we didn't do
We didn't tick everything off the Fuerteventura bucket list, so guess we have no choice but to go back (wink wink). Here are some things we didn't get around to doing, but that you may want to check out:
Bodega Conatvs: Tenerife may be the Canarian hotspot for wine, but Fuerteventura does have one winery that offers tastings and visits. The day we stopped by, the winery was shut for a private tour. Call ahead to ensure it's open before making your way out there.
Surfing or Windsurfing: Fuerteventura is known to be a surfing hub. Plan a surf lesson to check out the waves for yourself! Cotillo is a surefire spot to find a surf school.
Volcan Calderon Hondo: If you're up for a hike, this one should take you roughly 1.5 hours and will allow you to walk around the caldera of an extinct volcano, one of Fuerteventura's best preserved volcanic craters.
Playa de los Muertos: If you want to switch up your beach-hopping, stop by Playa de los Muertos, a black sand beach on the west coast of the island.
Isla de Lobos: A beautiful uninhabited island just off the coast of Tenerife, a boat from Corralejo can quickly get you here for a day of hiking and hanging out at the beach. Be sure to bring your own food and water as I understand there are no restaurants or shops on the island.