“Holidays are for relaxing.” All I want to do is lay on a sunbed and do nothing. Darling, don’t think I’m going to leave the apartment for the whole two weeks.”
What? No way!
My idea of the perfect holiday, apart from having good nights sleep and see amazing landscapes, is getting my daily dose of endorphins and serotonin: two healthy hormones the body releases when we do sport.
Fuerteventura is only four hours away from the UK, is stunningly beautiful and a paradise for sports.
Running? Surf? Hiking? Diving? Let me know which sport you’re after (before you fill up on Canarian potatoes and mojo) and I’ll tell you the best spots in Fuerteventura.
We’ve prepared some inside info to help sports lovers plan their holidays in Fuerteventura.
Water sports on the Atlantic Ocean.
Imagine: you are on a paradise island with a Martian landscape and 150 km of coastline.
A coastline that captivates you over a cool glass of wine at sunset and that’s also a mecca for open water sports.
Fuerteventura is one of the most famous surfing destinations. And the good thing is that it’s perfect for everyone, from professionals to those who’ll experience the thrill of riding a wave for the first time.
El Cotillo is the best place for beginners. Rocky Point (Punta Elena) is better for those who are more experienced at the sport. Luckily, the island offers waves, equipment and tuition for all levels.
There’s a six-month window with optimal surfing conditions in Fuerteventura (between October to May).
Fuerte-ventura. Many say that the island’s name translates as “strong winds” and they could be right, in that wind blows almost all year round, essential for windsurf, which is one of the most popular sports.
There are so many good surfable waves along the Majorera coast, that the authorities are going to protect them as “natural sports heritage.” They will ensure that maritime works won’t affect any of the island’s 48 identified.
The ocean is the preferred training ground of Fuerteventura swimmer, Alexandra Sánchez Clark. “There are no boundaries, and nothing will interrupt your rhythm. You don’t have to do turns. Just swim from here to there in the fastest time possible.”
Swimming is my sport. I think it’s a more complete sport and definitely the one that relaxes me the most. If you are a closet merman or mermaid, you’ll be as wrinkled as a prune in Fuerteventura’s gorgeous (and sheltered) beaches, where you can swim in safety. Caleta del Fuste, for example, is one example and has a comfortable average water temperature of 23°C.
If you like a challenge and you’re in good shape, why not enter the open water swim to Isla de Lobos? This classic event takes place every October.
Fitness and wellness: in search of the perfect training programme
You don’t even take a watch off when you go to sleep? Is sport your way of life? You’re in luck: there is a 99% chance that you’ll find the perfect holiday experience in Fuerteventura.
Boot camps are training sessions inspired by military training routines. You know, those circuits where you have to scramble up ropes or hop between tractor tyres? Right. That’s what we’re talking about. An extremely invigorating and fun physical activity.
These are usually organised on Fuerteventura’s golden sandy beaches, with loops and other gymnastic equipment for a gymkhana that neither you nor your body will easily forget. This is some people’s idea of a perfect holiday and they may also include different activities (hiking, swimming, circuits) that enable them to discover the island and meet new people. Excitement and high intensity guaranteed!
Either you or somebody you know must do it: CrossFit is cool and even better if you can do it right next to the beach. Fuerteventura has gyms that specialise in this kind of high-intensity training, with expert coaches, group work and a boost to your self-confidence that put self-help books in the shade.
Some centres offer special discounts for visitors to the island and professional advice to improve your technique. Remember, always exercise with care and consult a doctor before trying something new.
Tatamis, boxing classes, Russian kettlebells. If the weather is bad – something that rarely happens on this island – many athletes train indoors in one of its well-equipped gyms.
Puerto de Rosario has a street workout park, which is basically an open-air gym. Our advice is to make a YouTube playlist with lower body training workouts and enjoy exercising on a sandy beach. The outdoors always wins in Fuerteventura!
Hiking: the best way to explore is on foot.
The best way to discover this irresistible island is on foot. So pack your trekking shoes, a good pair of sunglasses, a baseball cap and sunscreen (SPF50) and venture out onto some of the hiking routes in this spectacular Biosphere Reserve.
The GR-131 crosses Fuerteventura from north to south from Corralejo to Punta de Jandia. It consists of 255 km divided into well-marked stages, similar to signs you’ll see on hikes throughout Spain, France and Belgium.
- Long route (over 50 kilometres, marked by the red-white GR sign)
- Short route (between 10 and 50 km, PR yellow-white)
- Local hike (less than 10 km, SL green-white)
Open-air activities may be suspended at some times of the year (in the rare cases of adverse weather or coastal alerts, or in the event of a tropical storm), but these are few and far between. This is one of the benefits of this subtropical latitude.
Would you like to see Fuerteventura’s extraordinary beauty in an air-conditioned van with a maximum of 8 people? Come to the north of the island. This easy-going trip starts off at Corralejo port at 9:30 in the morning. The guide takes us to Lajares where we start with a gentle walk. Destination: Calderón Hondo, one of the most photographed volcanoes of the island.
We’ll climb to 200 m on this morning walk, and after three and a half kilometres, we reach a viewpoint that reveals magnificent coastal views of neighbouring island, Lanzarote. We spot local plants along the way such a the reddish cosco (ice plant), which has seeds that provided food for ancient populations when other grains became scarce. We’ll also pass by Montaña Colorada, an old picón (volcanic gravel) quarry with excavations in its slopes that bear the scars of its quarry days.
The northern route pauses in El Cotillo for lunch (everyone knows that sportspeople eat well, or at least should do). When in Rome (or Fuerteventura, in this case), order fish. It’s delicious! After our break we’ll follow some of the marked trails among the cliffs near Playa del Aljibe de Los Ojos and Los Lagos.
To visit Fuerteventura without seeing Tinadaya is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Not a great comparison, I know, but this natural monument is impressive in its own way.
There is an organised 8-hour tour that takes you to the this sacred Majorera mountain. It all starts in the Corralejo Dunes National Park, a setting combining science fiction with surfing romantism, and one of Spain’s most important dune systems. Where does this fine white sand come from? From crushed shells and molluscs. Yes, it’s made from ground sea snails. It’s 100% organic. I could sit for hours observing its texture and letting it slip between my fingers. Even my white-skinned hand looks brown in comparison.
The 400-metre-high Mount Tindaya looks down on the town of La Oliva, in the heart of the island. The best place to admire it is “alone in the middle of a plain,” according to the Cabildo de Fuerteventura hiking network, and recommends the area Morro Tabaiba and Montaña Enmedio.
Tinadaya is home to one of the Canary Islands’ most important archaeological sites: over 300 foot-shaped engravings (podoforms) in stone at an angle facing Pico de las Nieves (Gran Canaria) and Mount Teide (Tenerife). So why was this mountain considered to be sacred in Majo culture (Fuerteventura’s ancient people)? Due to the fertility of its soil infused with Trachyte, a type of volcanic rock exclusive to this part of the island, as explained in Bienmesabe magazine.
Lime kilns, grain mills, the story of Miguel Unamuno on the island, the culture of salt flats, the magnificent Punta de Jandía, “el camino de los presos” (an old route used by political prisoners during the Franco regime): the cultural, natural and geological history of the island is written in it’s natural trails. You just have to come and discover it.
Running, Pilates and yoga (om, om, om)
Don’t underestimate the relief of Fuerteventura’s terrain, with a line of volcanoes running down the centre, there are some challenging hills that often surprise runners.
In theory, running under the hot sun, uphill and in strong winds is just as appealing as shooting oneself in the foot. But not al all! As Pablo Caño rightly points out in Diario de un maratón (Diary of a marathon) “the wind improves our resistance and when it’s behind us, our performance and times improve.”
And he has already tried the Fuerteventura running experience and highly recommends it. He says it’s fantastic for strength training Pablo also reminds trail running addicts, who take off-road tracks in their stride, that there’s is also a circular route in Puerto del Rosario. These are wide, low difficulty trails.
Want to put yourself to the test while enjoying one of Fuerteventura’s wildest beaches? Then the climb to Playa de Cofete is for you. When you reach this wild coastline, breathe and enjoy the evening, and head back before the sun sets.
Another runner who knows her stuff is Paula Butragueño, who recommends the 6 km between Costa Calma and Playa de Jandía on her website, Inspira Fit. Its firm sands at low tide are perfect for sunset running.
Want me to tell you about other places to to put your pronation or supination trainers to good use? Sure!
- The Corralejo dunes are perfect. The dunes are the venue for a half marathon event in the month of November. It’s the only one in Europe with a course that is almost entirely held in a dune system.
- The promenade at Morro Jable. A little more conventional and practical.
I can’t think of anything better than combining running with a few classes of Yoga and Pilates, two deep-rooted disciplines in Fuerteventura.
Ashtanga, restorative, hatha or vinyasa…you are on an island that is known for enabling you to reset your mind and connect with your inner spirit. We all need a break from the chaos and routine of daily life and yoga can provide an extremely effective refuge for learning to breathe, prioritise and focus our energy to where we really need it.
What can I possibly tell you about Pilates that you don’t already know? Essential info: Pilates is a perfect activity to stretch and tone your muscles, without placing impact on the ligaments and joints. It’s all about postures, muscular strength and breathing.
Exactly, I’m suggesting a holiday where you can breathe. Run. To become aware and be happy.
Diving and sport fishing Somewhere beyond the sea…
If exploring with a snorkel can transport you to a real-life aquarium, then scuba diving to Fuerteventura’s seabed can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Fuerteventura Buceo, in Jandía, can show you some of the most privileged spots for divers.
- El Veril de Morro Jable. A 20-metre wall which attracts a melting pot of different species. You can see sea bass, moray eels, barracudas, trumpetfish and, if you’re lucky, angel sharks. They are currently threatened with extinction and this island is an important refuge for them. They won’t attack unless provoked. They won’t come looking for you.
- El Veril Grande. In front of Faro de Jandía and perfect for beginners. It can be reached by boat. White seabream, manta rays and garden eels. You can sometimes spot whales or sharks in the surrounding area.
- El Cañón. You’re in for a real treat when you see this field of anemones and discover that this is an easy dive of no more than 14 metres.
Dive centres offer courses and diving baptisms for anyone who has never put on a pair of flippers, a weight belt or tried breathing through a regulator. And if you’re anything like me, who suffers from claustrophobia under the water, ask as many questions as you want and relax. Information is the best antidote for fear.
If you are more comfortable on land, why not try sport fishing?The Fénix Ñian catamaran organises day fishing trips guided by an experienced captain. He’ll tell you which fish you’ll find depending on the time of year and the weather on the day, usually in the area around Isla de Lobos.
If you’ve never picked up a fishing rod in your life, don’t worry: the crew are quite used to explaining the most basic elements of sport fishing to ensure that you have a great day out.
Make sure you book with a professional company who really knows what they’re doing. Knowing which species can be caught and which are protected is vital. We must help to preserve the rich diversity of these waters.
The trip even includes a picnic on board (water, fruit and chocolate) to keep the hunger at bay. If you set off early, around 08:00, then you’ll be back for lunch.
Maybe you didn’t expect to see so many sports activities in Fuerteventura.
You can be sure that Fuerteventura will grant you culture, nature and gastronomy, as well as chillout moments. Relaxing is great. As well as lazing on your towel without thinking about anything else. But let’s not kid ourselves here; being a sloth for more than 48 hours isn’t good for us.
Relaxation is a necessity, but a warrior’s rest is bliss!