Lying just 100km from the African coast, Fuerteventura recalls its neighbour Lanzarote, only with more colour. Resembling shallow piles of saffron, chilli and coriander, there are none of the mist-wreathed pines or cooling, hilly microclimates of Gran Canaria. Blown by the wind and baked by the sun, the island is truly an arresting spectacle: for the full-on, wide-angle perspective of the Martian-like landscape, climb up to the Mirador Astronómico de Sicasumbre and take it all in.
Most visitors, however, are more interested in mastering the waves and the wind than contemplating the raw aesthetics of the scenery. The second-largest island in the archipelago (after Tenerife), Fuerteventura has year-round sunshine (a blistering 3000 hours a year) and the biggest and best beaches in the Canaries.
The island was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 2009.