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General information on Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura (meaning strong winds) is the second largest island of the Canary islands with a surface of 1660 km2. It was the first island to be populated. As this island is the oldest of the Canary Islands, it is more eroded than the rest of the group. Its highest point is the Peak of the Bramble with a height of 807 m.

The capital is Puerto del Rosario where more than half of the island's population lives. It is the main Harbour of the island. Until 1957 it was called Puerto de Cabras (Goats' port). It has a variety of shops, but is not a very touristic place with only few attractions

Antigua. It is one of the largest inland villages, but does not have much to offer to the tourists, apart from the 18th century Nuestra Senora de Antigua church and the fully restored windmill Molina de Antigua.

Betancuria. Named after the French mercenary Jean de Bethencourt who claimed Fuerteventura for Spain in the 15th century. He set up base in Betancuria and build a chapel, which started the growth of this village. The ruins of the monastery with museum and craft centre can be visited.

Caleta de Fuste , now renamed into Costa Caleta.
Only 10 minutes from the airport, this is one of the main touristic centres of the island. It has a large number of self-catering appartments, hotels, restaurants, and a nice harbour from which boats and a submarine take people out into the ocean. The 18-hole Golf Club fuerteventura is just outsite the village.

One of the main tourist destinations of the island, with a waterpark, a market and the expected shops, restaurants, hotels and bars. Numerous restaurants are located around the harbour, from where you can see the Isla de Lobos and Lanzarote. From this harbour you can take the ferrie to Lanzarote or go sea-angling with one of the many boats. (note: be warned that most boatowners do not allow you to take any of the fish you cought, they are sold of to the local restaurants). Mainly English tourists.

Costa Calme
With miles and miles of fine white sand, here you find probably one of the finest stretches of beach of the Canary islands. A popular destination for watersport.

El Cotillo
This small fishing villages has 2 harbours, but is still relatively unknown with tourists. It has however to its south high cliffs behind beatiful beaches. To its North you find beautiful lagunes. It also has the fort Fortaleza del Toston.

Isla de Lobos
This small island just off the coast from Corralejo is named after its large population of seals (Lobos del Mar which is Spanish for sea lions). Once a day a boat visits this island

A popular resort with beautiful beaches with a mountain in the background. Popular destination for German tourists

La Lajita
A small fishing village with beaches from black sand and pebbles. It holds the attraction called Oasis Park, which is a wildlife park complete with crocodiles, seals, zebra's, giraffes, a large variety of birds etc. You can take a camel trek into the dessert or visit the botanical garden which features over 2000 types of cacti.

La Oliva
This used to be the social and political centre of the island. It's two main attractions are an 18th century bell tower and a 300-year old farm house La Casa de los Coroneles.

Morro del Jable
A resort in the south with beautiful beaches, which is very popular among German tourists. It has all the usual facilities such as bars, restaurants, boat trips etc.

This small village holds a fully restaured and now working windmill. It has also the windmill interpretation centre, which is a windmill restauration project which can give you all the information about windmills.

It has the nickname of "Beverley Hills of Fuerteventura", among the few attractions are a cactus garden, farm animals and a display of rural life.

General information and history

Fuerteventura is one of the Spanish Canary Islands, located just 100 kilometres off the coast of north Africa. It's the second biggest of the islands, after Tenerife, and has the longest beaches in the archipelago. The island is a paradise for sun, beach and watersports enthusiasts. It's not the place for all-night ravers but Fuerteventura (or Fuerte as it's affectionately known) is perfect for families and couples seeking a relaxed winter sun holiday.
The island is widely believed to be the oldest of the Canary Islands. It's strange form - a cross between a leg of mutton and Marge Simpson's hairdo! - was created out of a series of volcanic eruptions many thousands of years ago.
The first tourist hotel was built here in 1965 followed by the construction of the airport at El Mattoral heralding the dawn of a new era for the island. Fuerteventura, with its 3,000 sunshine hours a year, was placed firmly on the world stage as a major European holiday destination.
The island is on the same latitude as Florida and Mexico and temperatures here rarely fall below 18C or rise above 24C. There are no less than 152 beaches along its coastline - 50 kilometres of fine, white sand and 25 kilometres of black volcanic shingle.
The summer Trade Winds and winter swells of the Atlantic make this a year-round surfers' paradise. Sailors, scuba divers and big game fishermen are all drawn to these clear blue Atlantic waters where whales, dolphins, marlin and turtles are all common sights.
Much of the interior, with its large plains, lavascapes and volcanic mountains, consists of protected areas which can be best be explored in a 4x4 or (for the more daring) with a cross-country motorbike.
The island's colourful past can be traced in a variety of ancient buildings, monuments, archaeological sites and museums. The first settlers are believed to have arrived here from North Africa - the word Mahorero or Maho is still used today to describe the people of Fuerteventura and comes from the ancient word 'mahos' meaning a type of goatskin shoe worn by the original inhabitants.
They lived in caves and semi-subterranean dwellings, a few of which have been discovered and excavated revealing relics of early tools and pottery.
In 1405 the French conqueror John de Bethencourt took the island and gave his name to the capital, Betancuria on the west coast (Puerto Rosario took over the mantle as island capital in 1835). The name of the island itself is believed to have come from Bethencourt's exclamation "Que forte aventure!" (What a grand adventure). A less romantic explanation is that the name simply means "strong wind".
Whatever the truth of the matter, Fuerteventura still offers the modern day visitor plenty of adventure. Here you can go shark fishing, kitesurfing, explore beautiful blue lagoons and volcanic hills.or just lie back and soak up the sun on some of the best beaches in Europe.

The harbour at Corralojo with Lanzarote in the background
The island Lobos 2 km off the coast of fuerteventura
The old Harbour of El Cotillo
Lagunes, white beaches and clear water