Península de Jandía
Most of the peninsula is protected by its status as the Parque Natural de Jandía. The southwest is a remarkable canvas of craggy hills and bald plains leading to cliffs west of Morro Jable. Much of the rest of the peninsula is made up of dunes, scrub and beaches. It is said that German submarine crews used to occasionally hole up along the peninsula during WWII.
More staid than its northern counterpart Corralejo, Morro Jable is almost exclusively German. The beach is the main attraction, with pale golden sand stretching for around 4km from the older part of town. It’s fronted by low-rise, immaculately landscaped apartments and hotels.
Central Fuerteventura offers the most geographically diverse landscapes on this overwhelmingly desert-covered island. The soaring mountains of the Parque Natural de Betancuria are contrasted in the south with the wadi-style palm-tree oasis of the Vega de Río Palmas.
This former fishing village has real character, marrying the windswept nature of an offbeat coastal town with the laid-back vibe that comes from being a popular surfing destination. El Cotillo has so far managed to avoid major construction and is an excellent place for foodies, water babes or those simply seeking some relaxation.
Caleta de Fuste & Around
This smart, well-landscaped resort exudes an opulent southern-California feel, particularly around the sprawling Barceló mini-village, which fronts the main beach. Caleta is often referred to as El Castillo (particularly on road signs) for the squat 18th-century Martello tower in the harbour.
Wonderfully lush, this pretty hamlet is tucked into the protective folds of the basalt hills and is a patchwork of dry-stone walls, palm trees and simple, whitewashed cottages. Lording over it all is a magnificent 17th-century church and courtyard. Jean de Béthencourt thought this the ideal spot to set up house in 1405, so he had living quarters and a chapel built.
Costa Calma, about 25km northeast of Morro Jable, is a confusing muddle of one-way streets interspersed with apartments, shopping centres (at least eight!) and the occasional hotel. The long and sandy beach is magnificent, but the whole place lacks soul or anything historic; its lifeline being the (mostly) German tourists.
This quiet fishing hamlet goes about its business largely undisturbed by tourists, despite the four-star Bahía Playa hotel that dominates much of the beachfront. The small grey beach is nothing spectacular, but it's reasonably uncrowded and has a wide promenade that's a pleasure to stretch your legs on.
One-time capital of the island, in fact if not in name, La Oliva still bears a trace or two of grander days. The weighty bell tower of the 18th-century Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria is the town’s focal point of sorts, with its black volcanic bulk contrasting sharply with the bleached-white walls of the church itself.
Road to La Oliva
The FV-10 highway travelling westwards away from Puerto del Rosario to the interior of the island takes you through a landscape that typifies Fuerteventura. Ochre-coloured soil and distant volcanoes create a barren landscape of shifting colours and shapes, depending on the position of the sun.
This area encompasses some great scenery and superb far-reaching vistas. For a start, a couple of kilometres north of Betancuria on the FV-30, there’s a handy lookout (on both sides of the road) that explains the various mountain peaks looming on the horizon. The immense statues here are of the island's two pre-Hispanic kings, Ayose and Guize.