There is a beach to suit everyone on Fuerteventura, Spain's Canary Island closest to Africa with sunshine all year round
Fuerteventura’s coastline – all 320 kilometres of it - is virtually all beach. Only 100 kilometres from Africa, it is the second-largest island in the Canaries (after Tenerife), but has the lowest population density. Away from the main resorts, you are likely to have the sand to yourself in many places, whatever time of year you visit. The shallow, turquoise water on most beaches is safe for children to paddle and ideal for watersports and it’s just up to you to pick the one that’s right for you and your family.
On the northern tip of the island, just across the sea from Lanzarote, Corralejo has developed from a fishing village into a fully-fledged resort, but has not totally lost its original charm. It has its own beach, but this cannot compare with the seemingly neverending stretch of sand backed by dunes just south of the resort. Conditions are near-perfect for surfing in all its permutations, while the beach itself is ideal for flying kites. Sunbathers shelter from the wind in the dunes - where swimsuits are optional.
From Corralejo, there are regular boat trips to the tiny Lobos island, where you can swim in crystalline waters and have a seafood lunch.
For five-star luxury, stay at the Atlantis Bahia Real, where you will be lulled to sleep by the waves breaking on the shore. As well as the 170 rooms, there are 72 suites to suit all sizes of family. From the spa – which is free for hotel guests - there are views of Isla de Lobos and Lanzarote. Eat paella for lunch at Las Palmeras, the informal beach restaurant, then dress for dinner at La Cúpula, which is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Carles Gaig.
There are some great unpretentious restaurants around the fishing harbour in Corralejo. You’ll find your own favourite, but I usually just go for whatever the waiter says is the best fish of the day at La Marquesina (Muelle Chico; 928 535435), where lunch costs around €15.
Caleta del Fuste
This is a newer resort near the airport and just south of the capital Puerto del Rosario. Great for families, there is a lovely beach where you can have a go at kayaking, diving, windsurfing or jetskiing. Unlike some parts of the island, there are no strong currents in the sea here, so it is suitable for small children.
The Barceló Fuerteventura Thalasso Spa Hotel is a new hotel right on the beach, with bright, spacious rooms and lots of facilities and activities. There is a golf course nearby, and a huge spa in the hotel, offering all sorts of pampering treatments. I love the chocotherapy, preferably followed by the vinotherapy.
Although the southern tip of the island is the most developed part, with a string of small resorts, the wonderful beaches rarely get really crowded. Stretching for 28km from Costa Calma to Morro Jable on the south east coast, Sotavento beach is one of the longest in the Canary Islands, and the sea has a temperature of around 20 degrees all year round. The vast expanse of fine, white sand is a haven for naturists, particularly away from the tourist centres of Costa Calma, Playa de la Barca, Risco del Paso, Esquinzo, Matorral and Morro Jable. It is, however, pretty windy a lot of the time, providing ideal conditions for the world windsurfing and kiteboarding championships held at the end of July in Playa Barca.
For a ringside view of the astounding acrobatics of the competitors, stay at the Meliá Gorriones, overlooking the beach, which is pretty groovy for a chain hotel. You may well be inspired to have a go yourself, which is easy to arrange as the renowned Pro Center René Egli school right next door. The hotel has fresh and seawater pools, tennis courts and can arrange diving and other activities.
At the other end of the beach, just outside Morro Jable, the Dunas Jandía resort comprises two hotels, villas and apartments and is set in tropical gardens. Right by the beach, there are lots of activities for all the family and children can play safely in the large park within the complex.
Morro Jable is half an hour’s walk away along the seafront promenade - ideal for working up an appetite. El Velero (Avenida del Mar s/n; 928 540593) serves the local goats’ cheese – majorero – in a salad with ham and tomatoes, and also does a fabulously rich fish stew (about €20).
Unlikely, I know, but should you ever get tired of lying on the beach, head inland to Betancuria, the original capital of Fuerteventura. Have a look at the Santa María church, which dates back to the 16th century, then have lunch in the square in front of it at Casa Santa María (Plaza Santa María; 928 878282), in a lovely traditional house. Have roast lamb or kid, or one of the stews (€20-25). There is also a shop selling local produce and crafts.