From snowcapped volcanoes to aquamarine waters and charming villages blushing with bougainvillea, the landscapes of Spain’s Canary Islands have been drawing tourists for decades. Located off the west coast of North Africa, the most rugged of the group is Fuerteventura. Home to rolling dunes and miles of long, golden coastline, the island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Canaries. Let’s take a look at them.
Fancy exploring more of Spain? Our four-day Mini Trip to the Basque Country is perfect for foodies, including a pinxtos tour of Bilbao and a trip to San Sebastian. Alternately, our Seville Mini Trip or our Andalucia Mini Trip are excellent for exploring Southern Spain – or our four-day Barcelona Mini Trip is a top pick for a city break.
This honeyed half-moon bay on the eastern side of Fuerteventura is a day-trip hit among families. The broad, soft sand is sheltered by a castle-topped headland and a marina; the upshot is that toddler-friendly wavelets rather than Atlantic rollers lap the eastern end of the strand. The airport is less than 15-minutes’ drive away and there are dozens of large resorts, many of which have suites and big swimming pools. Just to the south in Caleta de Fuste town are two 18-hole golf courses.
Tucked down in the island’s southeast, backed by a major outbreak of wind-buffeted dunes, Sotavento sets out its store: an impressive 17 miles of shoreline, much of it protected by a nature reserve. Since it’s devoid of big resorts this is a perfect choice if you want to be lulled by the sound of the sea rather than the roar of tour bus traffic. With waters that hover around 21C all year round, this is a watersports mecca whichever month you arrive. Thanks to steady trade winds this is one of the best locations in the Canary Islands for kite-surfing.
In the island’s far south, battered by waves rolling in off the open Atlantic Ocean, Cofete is one of Fuerteventura’s most beautiful beaches. Its appeal is heightened by dramatically crumbling cliffs that lend the area a unique colour palette. Baking beneath a desert sun, this beach is rarely crowded: the only way to get here is by following a rough road for 20km and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is mandatory. As the buses can’t negotiate this road, you can get a taste of Fuerteventura as it was many decades ago before the crowds threw down their towels.
Over on Costa Calma – which translates as the peaceful coast – Playa Esmeralda beach is lapped by water as tranquil as a lake. The sand is as soft as talcum powder and as yellow as corn. As the name of the beach suggests, the sea here is emerald green. As a result, this is a hugely popular spot, with ranks of resorts, restaurants and bars making this one of Fuerteventura’s busiest beaches. The airport is also less than an hour away.
Done the kitesurfing, the windsurfing and the jet skiing? Now looking for a different kind of light adventure? Gran Tarajal’s dark sand beach might not have quite the same appeal as the golden sands further south, but there’s no better spot for open-ocean fishing. Boats leave from the harbour just southwest of the sands and though few tourists visit Gran Tarajal, it’s one of the best places in the Canaries for local seafood at reasonable prices.
Not to be confused with the resort near Butihondo in the south, Ezquinzo beach is a rock-framed cove up in Fuerteventura’s northwest, 6km (3.7mi) or so from El Cotillo village. Few tourists make it here and those who do are usually surf fanatics who come in autumn and winter for the thrusting Atlantic breakers. If you fancy a swim then take the plunge, the water is warm year-round.
Long and broad, washed by powerful Atlantic waves and backed by chocolate-brown volcanic cliffs, El Ajibe is one of the prettiest beaches in Fuerteventura’s northwest. It’s only three kilometres south of the resort town of El Cotillo and sits comfortably just off the main road. Despite water that’s welcomingly warm all year round, El Ajibe doesn’t attract more than a smidge of tourism, thanks to little shade, no services and access only via a series of steep, rocky steps. If you can cope with that, you’ll have the place largely to yourself.
Boats depart Corralejo regularly every day for tiny Lobos Island. It’s just a 10-minute jaunt, and yet it feels a world away from the island’s busy resorts and packed beaches. The entire outcrop is a nature reserve, surrounded by waters that teem with fish and other marine life. Los Lobos is so small you can explore it on foot in a couple of hours but we recommend you allow at least half a day as there are dozens of secluded beaches and coves to discover.
Few Fuerteventura beaches are more striking than Ajuy. Just take a look at the translucent water and coal-black sand flecked with gold, the caves pockmarking the tumbling cliffs. The only downside is that swimming is dangerous here, with strong rip currents offshore and surging waves. Yet this is a place of dramatic beauty, and Ajuy village, site of the first settlement in Fuerteventura, offers a handful of seafood haunts to sample.
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