, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

Canary Islands: Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the Atlantic’s half sisters

30 minute crossing between the two islands

The first stands out with its black sand landscapes and an attractive combination of seaside resorts and traditions. The second seduces with its massive beaches and arid scenery. All onboard!

Rédigé par Jean-François RUST translated by Joséphine Foucher le Vendredi 17 Juillet 2015

At the heart of the Lanzarote island, the Spanish founded villages that give way to beautiful vestiges - DR: A.B.
At the heart of the Lanzarote island, the Spanish founded villages that give way to beautiful vestiges - DR: A.B.
Lanzarote offers a unique particularity: close to one quarter of the island’s surface area (806 km²) is covered with lava, scoria and ashes, produced from the gigantic eruption of the Montañas del Fuego in the 18th century.

These volcanos gave birth to a barren landscape of black sand where courageous farmers were able to grow crops in small areas protected by low walls.

Vine and prickly pear trees prosper in this lunar decor and Malvoisie wines delight the palets of tourists.

It is from the Timanfaya National Park and the surrounding roads that we can best explore this astonishing scenery.

Teguise, former “capital” until the 19th century

Lanzarote also benefits from its 140 km of coastline. While one part is mostly cliffs, the other offers beautiful beaches of golden sand.

They can be found at the South, surrounding the “capital” Arrecife, between Playa Blanca and La Costa Teguise.

But don’t expect to be alone. Tourism - and its excesses - did its work and the coastline offers a succession of residential buildings of sometimes poor taste, such as the resort town of Puerto del Carmen.

The island’s interior has remained very agricultural and protects its pristine traditions. The epicenter is the city of Teguise, the former “capital”, until the mid 19th century.

Some old monuments (palacio Spinola, Santa Barbara Castle) and the artisanal manufacturing of timples, types of small guitars, take the visitor to the heart of Lanzarote’s history.

The interior roads, such as Mozaga and Uga, give the opportunity to stop in wine-growing holdings (bodegas) to taste the wines.

A Sahara air

Fuerteventura has nothing to envy of its neighbor. From Lanzarote, we can reach it by boat.

Less than a thirty minute crossing to dock in Corralejo, North of the island.

Lying less than 100 km from the Africa coast, Fuerteventura has a unique particularity: some of its landscapes resemble the Sahara desert.

Large horizons of dry hills, omnipresent palm trees, coastal dunes, semi-arid shrubs…exploring the interior of the island is enough to create an illusion.

As a bonus, the island conserved the trace of its former volcanos. Their cones with their red slopes provide the perfect opportunity for walking or driving excursions.

On its 320 km of coasts, Fuerteventura has 52 km of white sand, with some still untamed beaches.

All of that below a generous Summer sun and a usually loyal Winter sun shining at 20° C on average in January and February!

The resorts are concentrated in two major areas: the Northern point, close to Corralejo, the island’s main resort town has 10 km of white sand bordered by turquoise water.

And all the way at the South, the Jandía peninsula contains barren beaches only accessible on a 4X4. Lots of fun guaranteed!

Colonial vestiges

Fuerteventura also has a historical heritage.

Succeeding the guanches, the Spanish settlers exploited the island’s sparse ressources: fishing and a bit of livestock.

This first activity still exists, of which the coastal “capital” Puerto Rosaria is a testament, along with the small ports such as El Cotillo - underwater fishing is a popular pastime.

Inland, the Spanish founded villages that make-up beautiful vestiges.

This is the case in La Oliva, known for its architecture and the remarkable “House of the colonels” of 1650.

Also worth seeing are the white houses of Betancuria, at the heart of the island. Just a four hour flight from France, the two islands deserve to be explored.

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