Fuerteventura lies just 100km from the African coast, and there are striking similarities in the landscape, as well as the houses, with their North African–style flat roofs for collecting rainfall. In other ways, Fuerteventura emulates its neighbour Lanzarote, only with more colours. Its volcanoes resemble piles of saffron, chilli and coriander; surreal triangles of exotic spices.
Most visitors, however, are more interested in mastering the waves and the wind than contemplating the abstract aesthetics of its scenery. The second-largest island in the archipelago (after Tenerife), Fuerteventura has year-round sunshine and the biggest and best beaches in the Canaries.
The main tourist resorts lie at opposite ends of the island. At the northern tip is Corralejo, beloved of the British sun-seekers, while deep down south lies Morro Jable, largely frequented by Germans, and a markedly staider place.
The island was granted the status of a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in May 2009.