The winter months in Scotland can sometimes drag on a bit with the short days and lack of sunlight beginning to take its toll. An effective remedy is to take a short break in the Canary Islands. These are a surprisingly far south being parallel to the Sahara desert, where you are just about guaranteed warmth and a huge vitamin D hit any time of the year.

It’s about a four hour forty minutes flight from Edinburgh to Fuerteventura, the second largest of the Canary Islands, located between Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. It is largely unaffected by mass tourism with no high rise hotels and remains a fairly low key island.

There’s a wide range of accommodation available ranging from self catering apartments to a five star hotel in Corralejo, the Atlantis Bahía Real. Corralejo was once a fishing village in the north east of the island and is now a fairly active tourist centre. The hotel offers fairly impressive views from the sea facing rooms with the town of Playa Blanca on Lanzarote in the distance and the nearby Isla de Lobos to the right (see picture at top of page). At night there’s a huge sky to see with many shooting stars visible.

There isn’t really much organised entertainment on Fuertevntura but there are plenty of outdoor activities to occupy the day. Sea water activities are an obvious start. The huge Atlantic swell makes surfing an obvious choice with skill levels from training schools to expert kite surfing catered for.

If Fuerteventura proves to be a bit too hectic, one can always chill out with a trip to Isla de Lobos. This is a 15 minutes ferry trip from Corralejo. The island is a nature reserve which is the home to many birds and plants. Just to the left of the jetty, there is a sandy bay which has had rocks dumped into the sea at its entrance so is always very calm and perfect for swimming. A good day trip is to take a morning ferry, walk round the island on the prepared track then go for a wee swim and take in the sun, returning mid afternoon for a well earned refreshment. Being a formal nature reserve there are strict regulations which visitors have to adhere to, such as no lighting fires or venturing off track especially during the breeding season.

A fine day trip from Corralejo is to go to Cotillo on the west coast of Fuerteventura directly across from Corralejo. There is a frequent bus service or better still rent a car. As there is a convenient track back from Cotillo on the north coast, a four wheel drive vehicle is recommended such as a Jeep Wrangler. Cotillo is basically a fishing village but with some excellent restaurants and cafés. But it’s the huge white sandy beaches that are the major attraction. The main ones being just south of Cotillo but there are some very fine smaller ones interspersed with tidal lagoons on the northern track back to Corralejo.

The beaches can change immensely from year to year due to the tides and swell. Below are pictures of the same beach about a mile south of Cotillo. The first was taken in March 2009 and the second in December 2011 (with a new camera right enough!). It is (or was!) a very fine beach as it is always quiet due to the requirement to scramble down the cliff to get onto it.

Another fine day trip from Corralejo is to visit Cofete beach. This is way down on the south west coast. Its about a three hour drive and really a four wheel drive is a must as the track down the cliffs is very rough, although some intrepid people take normal cars there. The beach is absolutely massive and generally largely deserted—you can easily get a mile or two of beach to yourself. On the way you can stop for a coffee or lunch at Morro Jable and there is a small restaurant at Cofete, but it’s a good idea to take ones own supplies, especially plenty of water.

The picture below, taken in March 2010, shows the immense scale of the beach and the surrounding mountains, and apart from a few tracks appears to be entirely deserted.



Saturday 27th February 2016

Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real

Surf School with Lanzarote in the far distance

A Bigger Splash   

Isla de Lobos Ferry  

Isla de Lobos Pier 

Hoopoe on Isla de Lobos

Cotillo Beaches

Cotillo Beach with Cotillo in the background

Jeep Wrangler on beach by the track back from Cotillo

Egrets in tidal lagoon by Cotillo

Cofete Beach

Cofete Beach

Isla de Lobos