It’s that time of year again – long dark nights, wet chilly days, everyone coughing and sneezing. Don’t you just want to escape …

Fuerteventura There is a theory (and it makes sense to me) that the best time to go on holiday is in the winter. In the summer, you get the best of British weather at home and, when you get there, those enticing, far-flung hot spots are often a bit too hot in August. In the winter, though, a stroll along the beach under a warm sun is surely the best tonic.

The Canary Islands, parallel with the Sahara but surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, have a winter temperature that hovers between 60-75°F (15-24°C), a Goldilocks climate that is neither too hot nor too cold. And on the island of Fuerteventura, there is always a breeze, so it feels like permanent spring. It’s an ideal climate for being active (walking, cycling, water sports or simply sight-seeing) and, from breakfast to a late night glass of wine, it’s always pleasant to sit out of doors.

Isla de Lobos All that breeziness is, no doubt, one of the reasons the air is so clean, together with the fact there is so little local pollution as there aren’t really that many cars. The population is tiny (around 100,000), far fewer than most of the neighbouring islands, even though this is the second biggest of the Canaries. The island has for the last 10 years been a UNESCO biosphere reserve thanks to its renewable energies, water management and responsible fishing practices (only small local boats are permitted). It means, too, that skies are very clear, ideal for star-watchers. So, if you’re looking for a healthy spot to spend the winter, this could be it.

If you’re planning to include swimming on that healthy winter programme, stay somewhere with a pool. The Atlantic is not just chilly, it’s rough – hence its popularity with surfers. Many people who want to stay long term rent an apartment – I’d recommend you look around Corralejo. At the northern tip of the island, there are wonderful views of Lanzarote and, just offshore, the Isla de Lobos. The beach has lovely, white coral sand, as the name implies, with a scattering of what the locals call “popcorn” (in actuality, eroded pieces of coral).

Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real I stayed here at the lovely Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real. Right on the shoreline, the views are fantastic and there’s a great choice of restaurants. I loved the Coco Bahia which sits on stilts over the beach and specialises in seafood, as well as the Japanese Yamatori Sushi Bar and the fine-dining at La Cupula, overseen by Michelin-starred chef Carles Gaig. The resort has two outdoor pools (one heated, one refreshing!) with a third in the extensive spa, which also has extensive pampering facilities including facials, massages, “beauty rituals” and some special treatments all of their own, such as wellness massages with the local hot volcanic stone.

And you’ll see a lot of evidence of volcanoes here. Unlike in other Canary Islands, there hasn’t been an actual eruption for around 5000 years (in Tenerife it was just over a century ago). Some are still perfect cones, while elsewhere the wind and sun have eroded them into smoother shapes. It’s a stunning bare landscape that has proved very popular with film-makers, including bits of Star Wars, Wonderwoman and, currently, Angelina Jolie is there shooting The Eternals.

Betancuria - Villa Historica There are great drives up through the mountains (roads in Fuerteventura are surprisingly good) and as well as an awful lots of goats (80,000 on the island, goat cheese the local speciality), you’ll see a number of quite enchanting old villages, their houses built of the local volcanic stone. Betancuria, deep in the interior, is one to visit. Rather unexpectedly, it used to be the capital of the Canary Islands and was founded in 1404 by the Norman French conqueror, Jean de Bethencourt. Betancuria has the island’s oldest church (it was briefly a cathedral, consecrated in 1424) with lovely decorated ceilings. Much of it was destroyed by the Berber pirate Xaban Arraez in 1593 but restored immediately afterwards over the course of a century. Pajara is another town worth a visit. There is a leafy, picturesque town square, a fine church (with some Mexican-style ornaments), and an old water wheel that would have been drawn by a donkey or camel. Camels are still, rather surprisingly, on the island – and camel trekking in the hills is available.

Fuerteventura The most obvious place to go camel trekking would really be in the Corralejo dunes but, as they are a protected natural reserve, this isn’t possible. You can walk there, though, and there is a road that drives next to the dunes, alongside the beautiful beach which is a favourite with wind and kite surfers. There are 10km of coastline in the reserve, though, so you can find quieter spots, as well as beach bars. The dunes themselves are home to many birds (bustard, egrets and plovers) and they form an extraordinary landscape, as they shift in the wind.

Fuerteventura is a beautiful, laid-back island and, if you’re looking for a winter wellness escape with sunshine guaranteed, this is definitely one for the bucket list.

More information

EasyJet flies from London Gatwick to Fuerteventura up to five times a week with fares from £32.99 per person, one way including taxes and based on two people travelling on the same booking. 

Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real: www.atlantisbahiareal.com/en/

117 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Anna Selby

Travel writer & author

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

With over 7,000 years of history, Malta is the ultimate holiday destination for any history buff!…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.