On a Sunday in April 2019, the new Mein Schiff 2 on the Canary Island Fuerteventura. The youngest cruise ship in the TUI Cruises fleet will be in Puerto del Rosario for ten hours. This is enough time to explore the capital and the north of the island.
The new Mein Schiff 2 in Puerto del Rosario
The island capital offers us little. Therefore we will enjoy the day over Fuerteventura's unique landscape. The island offers long beaches, deserted volcanic and desert landscapes, and 13 nature reserves. Fuerteventura is popular with beach holidaymakers, water sports enthusiasts and hiking tourists alike.
Corralejo National Park - waiting for the right wave
Our daily quota - the north of Fuerteventura
With an area of 1.660 square kilometers Fuerteventura way too big to see it all in one day. Our road trip will only lead through the northern part of the island. It's been called “Maxorate” for ages. We think it is more attractive than the southern section called “Jandía”. As individualists, we avoid organized bus tours as much as possible. We rented a car in advance from the established Canarian car rental company CICAR.
The landlord has a small office at the cruise terminal in Puerto del Rosario. The pre-ordered car is ready and the formalities can be completed quickly thanks to the prior reservation. After a few minutes we leave Puerto del Rosario.
Our first destination is Puerto Lajas, a small community a few kilometers north of the island's capital. We are interested in the small chapel of the Virgen del Pino. It's closed and doesn't look much. We don't dwell. We expect more from ...
The former fishing village of Corralejo is located 30 kilometers north of Puerto del Rosario. The small town with 17.000 inhabitants is located on the northern tip of Fuerteventura.
View of Corralejo - Lanzarote in the background
In the 17th century, the place was considered a pirate and smuggler's nest. This is history. Corralejo is now a holiday resort with hotels and apartment complexes, restaurants and bars. From Corralejo there are ferries to the nearby island Lanzarote and to the offshore bird island Island of Lobos.
The Isla de Lobos
The place is famous for the eleven kilometer long dune landscape of the Corralejo Natural Park and their long, wind tossed beaches. The former volcano Montaña Roja is located in the nature park. The coastline is a paradise for sun worshipers and surfers. Especially kitesurfers get their money's worth in Corralejo.
The old town is surrounded by retort settlements. The harbor area with its many restaurants, the fish hall, the boats and the ferries is well worth a visit.
Continue to La Oliva
La Oliva is the administrative center of one of six municipalities in Fuerteventura. The small town with fewer than 1.500 inhabitants manages the much larger city of Corralejo. That is amazing. What does La Oliva offer us? Sights include the church and an imposing manor.
The three-aisled parish church Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria was built in the 18th century. It has been a listed building since 1993. The bell tower made of volcanic stone is striking about the white painted church. A large painting of the Last Judgment can be seen inside the three-aisled church.
The manor House of the Colonels, the house of the colonels, is within sight of the church. The facade, reinforced with towers and battlements, is striking. Once the building was the seat of the island leaders. Unsecured sources date the construction of the two-storey structure to the year 1740. Eight windows adorn each facade. The window front of the upper floor is decorated with wooden balconies. For the islanders living under the simplest of conditions, the building was a manifestation of the prosperity and claim to rule of the Cabrera Bethencourt family. The Casa de los Coroneles has been a cultural center, museum and historical archive since 2006.
La Oliva - Casa de los Coroneles
On the way to Betancuria
The next stage destination of our road trip on Fuerteventura is Betancuria. On the way we pass the viewpoint a few kilometers southwest of La Oliva Mirador de Vallebron. The place consists of a few houses. Outside the village, on the northwest slope of the Montaña de la Muda, are the two brick terraces of the Mirador. From the height we can see vast land and the north-west Tindaya Mountain. We drive close to the viewpoint by car. After a further 200 to 250 meters on foot, the destination is reached.
Vallebrón and the town of Tefía separate 15 kilometers. The attraction of Tefías is that Ecomuseo de La Alcogida. The open-air museum presents typical rural life in Fuerteventura with seven traditional courtyards.
Reference to the Ecomuseo de la Alcogida
The property was managed until the 1970s. In the mid-1990s, the decision was made to convert the location into a "living" museum. Anise bread is baked in a bakery; the wheelwright, the embroiderer or the potter provide samples of their skills and animals are also kept.
Homestead in the Ecomuseo de la Alcogida
We make another stop at the Molino de Tefia a. In the past, “Gofio” was ground in the well restored windmill of Llanos de la Concepción.
Windmill at Llanos de la Concepción
Next we stop at No hay Monumento. The background of the steel sculpture erected on two columns does not reveal itself to us. We find no explanation for the man walking on and the child following him. A stop at this mirador is worthwhile because of the view.
The No hay Monumento
The one located at an altitude of 645 meters Viewpoint of Morro Velosa would also be on our program. However, we are out on a Sunday, and the establishment with restaurant and terrace is closed on Sundays. Lanzarote's patron César Manrique designed the facility. It is said that the viewing terrace offers a good all-round view of large parts of Fuerteventura. Unfortunately, a barrier blocks the access to the viewpoint. Pity!
The Mirador de Morro Velosa
Shortly after the junction to the Mirador de Morro Velosa follow the Estates de Guise y Ayose. The four meter high, heroic bronze statues show the ancient kings of Fuerteventura. Before the island was conquered in 1402, the kings ruled the kingdoms of Maxorata in the north of the island and Jandía in the south of the island. The fabulous wall that divided both kingdoms stood near the site of the sculptures.
The Estatuas de Guise y Ayose
The former island capital Betancuria
The winding road goes down to Betancuria. The 700-strong community, the population counts including the neighboring towns, was the former capital of Fuerteventura. Historically, Betancuria is the most important place on the island. It is named after Jean de Béthencourt, the conqueror of Fuerteventura. On behalf of the Castilian kings, the French nobleman and his partner Gadifer de La Salle colonized the Canary Islands. Betancuria was the island's capital for more than 400 years. The capital function was transferred to neighboring Antigua in 1834. Puerto del Rosario has been the capital of Fuerteventura since 1860.
Betancuria - the historical city
The location in the mountains was made to protect the settlement. The extensive natural landscape is called "Parque Rural de Betancuria". The three-aisled church is worth seeing Santa Maria de Betancuria. Between 1424 and 1431 it was the cathedral of the former diocese of Fuerteventura. It covered the area of the Canary Islands. Lanzarote was an exception.
Santa Maria de Betancuria church
The place is popular with tourists. Betancuria is a “must” for the cruise ship excursion buses. Bars and restaurants welcome visitors.
A salt museum and the lime kilns
There are two more goals on our road trip. They are the Salinas del Carmen and the Hornos de Cal de La Guirra. From Betancuria we first drive back to the Estatuas de Guise y Ayose and on to Antigua. From there, the route heads east to Las Salinas.
On the way to the Salinas del Carmen
In the Salinas del Carmen Until 1980, salt was extracted in square water basins. Since then, the facility has been a show object. The basins of the outdoor facility represent different stages of salt production. The core of the facility, the Salt Museum, provides interactive information about the production and trade of salt. The museum was completely renovated in May 2018.
Salinas del Carmen - The Museo de la Sal
The origin of the "modern" salt production goes back to the end of the 18th century. Before that, the islanders obtained the salt they needed to preserve fish on so-called "salt marshes". Different types of salt are sold in the museum shop. The museum offers a coffee bar and a restaurant. The 19-meter-long skeleton of a fin whale can be seen outside the facility. He was stranded off Fuerteventura in 2000.
Salinas del Carmen salt pans and a whale skeleton
Two kilometers further we reach the Hornos de Cal de La Guirra. The three strange, round stone formations are restored lime kilns. Quick lime was an important export item on the island in the 19th century. The ensemble includes a warehouse, a shelter and a cistern.
The lime kilns - Hornos de Cal de La Guirra
Back to the cruise ship
Fourteen kilometers by car are still ahead of us. We pass the Aeropuerto de Fuerteventura and reach the cruise terminal. There is still time to take a few steps in Puerto del Rosario. We see the Nuestra Señora del Rosario church and the pedestrian zone. Too little to get to know the place in depth.
Conclusion of our road trip through Fuerteventura's north
The realization: It takes more than a day to get to know the main sights of the second largest Canary Island. We like Fuerteventura because of its volcanic landscapes. We appreciate such archaic landscapes. That day we saw a lot of the north of the island. The next time we stay we will go to Jandía, the southern half of Fuerteventura. Promised!