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Fuerteventura, Spain

Fuerteventura (pronounced: fweɾteβenˈtuɾa; literally meaning "strong fortune" but translated by some as "Strong Winds" or a corruption of the French term for "Great Adventure") is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, politically part of Spain. At 1,660 square kilometers (641 square miles), it is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife. It was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in May 2009. Its capital is Puerto del Rosario.


Precolonial history

The first settlers are believed to have arrived here from North Africa - the word Mahorero (Majorero) or Maho is still used today to describe the people of Fuerteventura and comes from the ancient word 'mahos'... Read more

Fuerteventura, Spain


Fuerteventura (pronounced: fweɾteβenˈtuɾa; literally meaning "strong fortune" but translated by some as "Strong Winds" or a corruption of the French term for "Great Adventure") is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, politically part of Spain. At 1,660 square kilometers (641 square miles), it is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife. It was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in May 2009. Its capital is Puerto del Rosario.


Precolonial history

The first settlers are believed to have arrived here from North Africa - the word Mahorero (Majorero) 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 antiquity, the island was known as Planaria, among other names, in reference to the flatness of most of its landscape.

In the 11th century BC, the Phoenician settlers arrived in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Several Spanish and Portuguese expeditions occurred in about 1340 around the island and the island was inhabited by Moors and was afflicted with European slaveholders. By the time of the conquest, the island was divided into two Guanches kingdoms, one following the king Guize and the other Ayoze. The territories of these tribes were called Maxorata (in the north) and Jandía (in the south). The kingdoms were separated by a wall whose remains are still preserved today. The wall crossed the La Pared isthmus. The ancient name for the island, Erbania, refers to that wall.

The conquest

The conquest began in 1402, commanded by Jean de Béthencourt and Gadifer de la Salle. They arrived with only 63 sailors out of the original 283 as so many had deserted. After arriving and settling in Lanzarote, the invaders made their first excursions to the neighboring islands. In 1404, Bethencourt and Gadifer founded Betancuria, the first settlement on the island. After numerous difficulties, Gadifer took charge of the invasion, while Bethencourt went to the Spanish peninsula to seek the recognition and support of the Castilian king.

In 1405, the French conqueror Jean de Béthencourt completed his conquest of the island and gave his name to the former capital, Betancuria, on the west coast (Puerto Rosario took over the mantle as island capital in 1835). The name of the island itself comes from fuerte (strong) and ventura (wind) as mentioned by Mallorcan navigator Angelino Dulcert in 1339.

In 1424 Pope Martin V erected in Betancuria brief Bishopric of Fuerteventura, which encompassed all the Canary Islands except the island of Lanzarote. The origin of this bishopric is directly related to the events that occurred after the Great Schism (1378-1417). This was due to the fact that the bishop of San Marcial del Rubicón in Lanzarote (only diocese at the time of the Canary Islands) did not recognize the papacy of Martin V, as this bishop was a supporter of anti-Pope Benedict XIII. The Bishopric of Fuerteventura was based in Parish of Santa María de Betancuria, for it to rank high cathedral. After the reintegration of the Diocese of San Marcial del Rubicón in the papacy of Martin V, the Bishopric of Fuerteventura was abolished only seven years after it was created in 1431.

The first census showed a population of 1,200 inhabitants. Following that, the population increased gradually. In 1476 the territory became the Señorío Territorial de Fuerteventura, a subject of the Catholic Monarchs. Over the years, the island has been invaded by the Spanish, French and the English.

Colonial Fuerteventura

The island suffered from various pirate incursions. A Berber expedition invaded in 1593, sweeping as far as the capital. Various castles were built to protect against this type of attack. The castles were built all along the coast. The population all moved inland as a second protective measure. Because of the invasions, the first Captain General was sent to Fuerteventura, charged with defending the island in the name of the crown. With him came a number of Sergeant Majors. Betancuria became the religious capital of the island.

Two pirate attacks took place in 1740, when, within a month of one another, two bands of English privateers attempted to loot the town of


. These Pirate attacks on Fuerteventura in 1740 were ruthlessly put down by the local population and the island's militia. The military regiment was created in 1708. Its colonel assumed the title of Governor at Arms, a hereditary lifetime appointment which stayed in the hands of the Sánchez-Dumpiérrez family. Over time they acquired more power in the other islands through the family of Arias de Saavedra, the Lady of Fuerteventura. The same year, the religious leader created the Assistant Parish of La Oliva and Pájara, to launch in 1711. On 17 December 1790, he created the Assistant Parish of Tuineje, which became a new parish division on 23 June 1792 under the bishop Tavira with lands including part of the

Jandía peninsular

with a population of 1,670 inhabitants. In 1780 the barrilla growing economy began.

In 1852, the free trade zone was extended by Isabella II to the Canary Islands. The military rule over the island which began from 1708 dissolved in 1859 and Puerto de Cabras (now Puerto del Rosario) became entirely the new capital.

The Canary Islands obtained the right to self-govern in 1912.

In 1927, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote became part of the province of Gran Canaria.

By the 1940s the island had an airport (just west of Puerto del Rosario on the road to 


, still visible today).

Tourism arrived in the mid-1960s with the building of the present airport at El Matorral and the first tourist hotels.

The seat of the island government (cabildo insular) is in Puerto del Rosario. A total of 74,983 people (2003) live on the island.

Since the island is close to Africa, many illegal immigrants try to enter the European Union through it, by a dangerous boat trip from Morocco.



The elongated island has an area of 1,660 km2 (641 sq mi). The island is 100 kilometers (62 miles) long and 31 kilometers (19 miles) wide. It is part of the province of Las Palmas. It is divided into six municipalities:

100 individual settlements are distributed through these municipalities. A nearby islet, Islote de Lobos, is part of the municipality of La Oliva.

Located just 100 km (62 mi) off the coast of North Africa, it is the second biggest of the islands, after Tenerife, and has the longest beaches in the archipelago. The island is a destination for sun, beach and watersports enthusiasts. It lies on the same latitude as Florida and Mexico and temperatures here rarely fall below 18 °C (64 °F) or rise above 32 °C (90 °F). There are no fewer than 152 beaches along its coastline — 50 km (31 mi) of fine, white sand and 25 km (16 mi) of black volcanic shingle.


Fuerteventura is the oldest island in the Canary Islands dating back 20 million years to a volcanic eruption from the Canary hotspot. The majority of the island was created about 5 million years ago and since then has been eroded by wind and other weather. On the seabed off the west coast of the island rests a block of rock 22 km (14 mi) long and 11 km (7 mi) wide, which appears to have slid off the island largely intact at some point in prehistory, similar to the predicted future collapse of Cumbre Vieja, a geological fault on the neighboring island, La Palma. The last volcanic activity in Fuerteventura was between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago.

The highest point in Fuerteventura is Mount Jandía (807 m) in the southwestern part of the island. Geographical features include Istmo de la Pared which is 5 km (3 mi) wide and is the narrowest part of Fuerteventura. The island is divided into two parts, the northern portion which is Maxorata and the southwestern part called the Jandía peninsula.


Fuerteventura was chosen among 500 European destinations by the Quality Coast International Certification Program of the European Coastal and Marine Union as one of the most attractive tourist destinations for visitors interested in cultural heritage, environment, and sustainability.


The climate on Fuerteventura is pleasant throughout the year. The island is also often referred to as the island of eternal spring. The sea adjusts the temperature making the hot Sahara winds blow away from the island. The island's name in English translates as "strong fortune" or "strong wind", the Spanish word for wind being viento. During the winter months, temperatures average a high of 22 °C (72 °F) and a low of around 15 °C (59 °F), whereas during the summer a mean high of 28 °C (82 °F) and a low of 20 °C (68 °F) can be expected. Precipitation is about 147 mm (6 in) per year, most of which falls in autumn and winter. October is the month with the highest rainfall.

A sandstorm known as the Calima (similar to the Sirocco wind that blows North from the Sahara into Europe) blows southwestward from the Sahara Desert and can cause high temperatures, low visibility and drying air. Temperatures during this phenomenon rise temporarily by approximately 10 degrees Celsius. The wind brings in the fine white sand, visibility can drop to between 100 to 200 m (328.08 to 656.17 ft) or even lower and can even bring African locusts to the island.


The island is home to one of the two surviving populations of the threatened Canarian Egyptian vulture. It is also inhabited by many wild dogs and cats. On the barren, rocky land there are Barbary ground squirrels and geckos. Fuerteventura also hosts several migratory and nesting birds. The island has significant populations of the collared dove, common swifts and several finch species especially in the vicinity of holiday developments.

Despite its arid climate, the island is also home to a surprisingly large insect fauna. Butterflies which commonly occur on the island include the clouded yellow (Colias hyale) and the bath white (Pontia daplidice) which feeds on xerophytic cruciferae. The island is also home the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and its close African relative Danaus chrysippus. Around holiday developments such as Caleta de Fuste, water is relatively abundant, and dragonfly species including the blue emperor, Anax imperator and the scarlet darter, Crocothemis erythraea can be found. The islands sand dunes and shoreline are home to a number of bee and wasp species including the large Eumenid caterpillar hunting wasp, Delta dimidiatipenne and the striking blue banded bee, (Amegilla canifrons).

Hawkmoths also occur on the island. One of the more notable species is Hyles tithymali which feeds on endemic spurges such as Euphorbia regis-jubae. Acherontia atropos, the deaths-head hawkmoth also occurs on the island presumably feeding on members of the Solanaceae, for example, Datura innoxia and Nicotiana glauca which are common weeds in the vicinity of human habitation.


The first tourist hotel was built in 1965 followed by the construction of Fuerteventura Airport at El Matorral, 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. While having fully developed tourist facilities, the island has not experienced the overdevelopment found on some other islands and consequently caters for visitors attracted by its rugged natural beauty.

The summer Trade Winds and winter swells of the Atlantic make this a year-round surfers' paradise, with more exposed areas on the north and west shores such as Corralejo and El Cotillo proving most popular. Windsurfing takes places at locations around the island. 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. With many hills present throughout the Island, hikers are also attracted to this Island.

Excellent sandy beaches are found in many locations. Western beaches, such as those around El Cotillo, can experience strong surf. The beaches adjoining the extensive sand dunes east of Corralejo are popular, as are the more protected extensive sandy shores of the Playa de Sotavento de Jandia on the southeastern coast between Costa Calma and the Morro Jable. Naked sunbathing and swimming are the norm almost on all beaches.

Much of the interior, with its large plains, lavascapes and volcanic mountains, consists of protected areas, although there are organized tours and vehicular access across them.

Art and culture

Traditional holidays

Like the rest of the Canaries, Carnival is traditionally one of the biggest festivals celebrated on the island. It is celebrated in different ways in all the towns during February and March. These festivities have a different theme each year. They include activities such as parades and galas to choose the Carnival King.

Concerts and festivals

There are many concerts and festivals held in the auditoriums, such as the Festival of Canarian Music. They are also held in smaller venues across the island, featuring bands such as Estopa, Van Gogh's Ear, and King Afrhica.

  • Lebrancho Rock: in 2004, the Town Hall of Puerto del Rosario started this initiative for the growing number of local bands who had been performing in the area for years but had not had the chance to play at the same event.
  • Fuertemusica: like Lebrancho Rock, this festival aims to encourage the local or emerging groups. It started in the same year. This festival is mainly for groups that are already known in the music world. It takes place in El Cotillo.
  • In the municipality of Betancuria (more specifically in the village of Vega de Rio Palmas) held every year the festivities in honor of the Virgen de la Peña, patron saint of the island of Fuerteventura, the most representative is the pilgrimage in which are involved people from all corners of the island. The holiday is celebrated on the third Saturday of September.

Festival Internacional de Cometas/International Kite Festival is held on the second week of November each year centering on the Corralejo Beaches. It attracts kitefliers and kite surfers from all over Europe. It is popular because the winds are warm and constant and the beaches become filled with hundreds of colorful kites of all shapes and sizes.


Fuerteventura has three auditoriums. These are used for all types of performing art. They are also used for non-artistic purposes, such as conferences, charity galas, and political meetings.

  • The Isle of Fuerteventura Auditorium
  • Gran Tarajal Auditorium
  • Corralejo Auditorium

Central library

The Central Library of the Island is located in Antigua's city center, in the public university. In addition to providing the traditional library services, it has a 180-seat multipurpose room, air conditioning, a wifi zone, and a multimedia room used for seminars, presentations, film festivals etc.

Museums and exhibition spaces

The island has several museums with different themes and plenty of exhibition spaces, both public and private. These include:

  • The Antigua Windmill Craft Centre
  • The Salt Museum
  • The Atalayita Archeological Interpretation Centre

Sculpture Park

In addition to the museums, the capital Puerto del Rosario has an open-air sculpture park consisting of around 100 sculptures by different artists scattered across the city. Most of them were created for the International Symposium of Sculpture celebrated annually since 2001. During the festival, artists come from all over the world to erect their sculptures in the open air, in full view of passers-by.

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Fuerteventura, Spain: Port Information

Your liner will dock in Puerto del Rosario, the island's capital. The cruise terminal is situated right in the center of the town so travelers can easily reach the main landmarks on foot.

Get around Fuerteventura, Spain

By car
A hire car is the best option for discovering the remote wilderness regions, and numerous car rental companies are available.

By bus
The bus lines from Puerto del Rosalio (via airport) to Corralejo, Caleta de Fuste, Morro del Jable, and Cotillo are easy to handle, cheap and very reliable (timetables). It is extremely easy to get from Corralejo to the sand dune beaches south of town.

By bicycle
Renting a mountain bike is a great way to see the island. There are many bike paths that run parallel to the main roads and many well-marked trails.


What to see in Fuerteventura, Spain

  • Faro de La Entallada, Tuineje
  • Oasis Park
  • "American Star" shipwreck2 Baku Water Park.
  • Lighthouse Faro de La Entallada.
  • Oasis Park.
  • "American Star" shipwreck.
  • Corralejo sand dunes.
  • Tomato plantages.

What to do in Fuerteventura, Spain

Important centers of tourism are Jandia and Costa Calma on the south, and Corralejo on the north.
  • Beaches: There are many guarded ones, but you can also find secluded ones (by driving a little and then being alone on a kilometer long beach). Many colors are "available" - white, yellow, black...
  • Surfing: In the summer, Fuerteventura is the first choice for wind and kite surfers in Europe. Ideal weather and wind conditions bring in lots of sports enthusiasts (wind and kite surfing). There are regular international competitions at Playa de Sotavento, where tourists can also watch the most spectacular jumps.
  • Swimming: The waves sizes also differ - there are places with virtually no waves, but also places where the waves are so violent that it is advised against bathing.
  • Go into the mountains to see how the locals survived on this arid island over the centuries.
  • Discover the strong connections with the countries of South America. Learn a few words like GuaGua (wah wah - "bus").

What to eat and drink in Fuerteventura, Spain

The cuisine is fairly basic due to the customs and climate conditions. They share this simplicity with the other Canary islands, and similarly to them, they use a large quantity of fish. They also use whatever they can grow in the near-barren land. This includes papas arrugadas, a dish of wrinkled potatoes usually served with mojo, which is a hot pepper sauce or with puchero canario, a meat stew.

Seafood is prepared in many ways traditionally, such as pejines (salted fish), jareas, or sancocho (a type of stew) made from fish, generally, the grouper, corvina or sama, boiled after salting, and served with mojo, potatoes, or gofio (a type of grain). People are also very keen on the mussels and limpets collected on the island's coasts.

They also use meat such as beef and pork to make different dishes or simply to for braising, but their main meat is goat, both from the kids and from the older animals. They eat the goat roasted or stewed. Goats are not only useful for their meat - the Fuerteventurans also use the milk to make the cheese majorero, which has won many prizes. The majorero is mostly made of goats milk, and occasionally it is up to 15% ewes milk. It is cured in pimento oil or gofio meal. Majorero and Palmero cheese are the only two Canarian cheeses with a protected denomination of origin.

Shopping in Fuerteventura, Spain

Shopping centers, local stores, art galleries, gift shops, street markets – the choice of shopping options is very wide, as well as the assortment in them.

Safety in Fuerteventura, Spain

Emergency number: 112
In general, the island is safe. However, pickpocketing may occur, especially in crowded tourist places. Use your common sense and watch your belongings. 
Be careful while swimming because rips and currents may be strong.

Language spoken in Fuerteventura, Spain

Spanish is the national language in Fuerteventura, although English and German are widely spoken in many tourist areas.


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Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Spain
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Average: 9.1 (10 votes)

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Costa Calma, Fuerteventura, Spain
Average: 9.7 (11 votes)

Costa Calma is a beach holiday resort town in the Canarian island of Fuerteventura, Spain. It is part of the municipality Pájara, and has 5,670 inhabitants (2013). Costa Calma is located in the beginning of the Jandía peninsula in the southern part of the island. Costa Calma was developed as a tourist community in the 1970s. A site of interest...
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Tuineje, Fuerteventura, Spain
Average: 9 (10 votes)

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Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

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Casa de los Coroneles, Fuerteventura, Spain
Average: 8.6 (10 votes)

Casa de los Coroneles is a stately home in the northern province of La Oliva, Canary Islands, Spain, on the island of Fuerteventura. It was once the seat of the island's colonel and now is the location of an art gallery. History Although little solid historical information exists about the house, it is believed it was constructed in 1740,...

Latest travel blogs about Fuerteventura, Spain

Fuerteventura. La Oliva, Las Playitas, Gran Tarajal, Caleta de Fuste. P.2.

We visited Las Playitas . And next to it, there is an ordinary town where we didn't see any tourists. But it is understandable - there is almost nothing interesting. Here is a picture on the way to it. And here is the town itself - Gran Tarajal. It's clear why there are no...

We went in La Oliva because this town was mentioned in a guide book. There is some castle or manor house, and the church you can look at, and even a museum. First, we stopped in  Casa de Los Coroneles . Notice the mountain on the left - it looks like a volcano, doesn't it? And...
This time, I'll tell you about a city (or rather, a tiny town) where we spent the biggest part of out vacation on  Fuerteventura . I cannot say that I really liked this place, but it is a more or less suitable option from what I saw on the island. For many people. Especially, for...
I believe you absolutely must visit the former capital of the island - Betancuria, which is located in the central part of the  island! Firstly, there are interesting views from observation decks, and secondly, it is one of the  few "natural" green spots on the island . There's even...
We arrived in El Cotillo  - a small fishing town. There are no special attractions except for the old fortification tower El Toston. The tower was built in the XVIII century and served as a vantage point in order to prevent pirate attacks. Here it is. But in fact, people do...
And now, I'll tell you about a couple of places on the side of the island opposite to  Morro Jable  - about the tiny and almost NON tourist town of El Cotillo and about the beach called Dunas de  Corralejo . Sand dunes begin immediately outside of the town and stretch for...
It is a pity that there are no bars where you can sit and admire the view next to  the long beach in Morro Jable . But there are a lot of them in the town. Although, the beach is not very good there... But the sea is always the sea. Although the town is primarily the tourist...