Welcome to Betancuria
Jean de Béthencourt thought this the ideal spot to set up house in 1405, so he had living quarters and a chapel built. To this modest settlement he perhaps rather immodestly gave his own name, which, with time, was corrupted to Betancuria. During the course of the 15th century, Franciscan friars moved in and expanded the town. Amazingly, given its size, it remained the island’s capital until 1834. Fuerteventura’s proximity to the North African coast made it easy prey for Moroccan and European pirates who, on numerous occasions, managed to defy Betancuria’s natural mountain defences and sack it.
Today Betancuria is fairly touristy, with multi-language menus, souvenir shops and museum staff dressed in traditional garb. It is still very much worth a visit, though you might want to get here first thing in the morning, before any tour buses arrive.