Villa Winter

Top choice in Cofete

This impressive structure, with its castle-like turret, was built by German engineer Gustav Winter in the 1930s. Rumours linking Winter to the Nazi party have never been confirmed, but conspiracy theories regarding Villa Winter abound. You can drive your car up to the mansion and then walk the last 100m or so. A caretaker lives here and for a small tip he may show you around the house, though when we last visited there was just a donation box left out at the entrance.

Some think the house was built as a secret hideout for high-ranking Nazis, including Hitler himself. Others have suggested that Cofete was the location of a secret U-boat base, that there are secret tunnels through the mountain and that it was in fact built as a clinic to specialise in plastic surgery for German generals requiring a new look. Some visitors have said that they've been allowed into the basement, where they've seen shackles, cells and bullet holes, but like pretty much everything about the Villa Winter, you can't be too sure. The basement was off-limits when we last popped by, as was the 'kitchen' where it's claimed the face-altering sessions took place.

Gustav Winter built the nearby and defunct Jandia Airstrip, possibly to fly in the top brass and what looks like a helipad can be observed just downhill of the villa.

Amid all the stories, however, there's really only one thing that you can be absolutely certain of: Villa Winter is a fascinating place that will have you digging deeper for the truth. Or at least for a few more yarns…

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cofete attractions

1. Playa de Cofete

1.04 MILES

This is the main beach in far-flung Cofete, near the southern tip of the island and the main draw on the island for many. It's huge, quite beautiful and…

2. Turtle Nursery

3.64 MILES

This small sanctuary in the Puerto de Morro Jable is for turtles to be reared, ready for release into the wild. It is sometimes closed without notice, but…

3. Playa del Matorral

4.51 MILES

Playa del Matorral is the main beach here and it’s magnificent, stretching eastwards for over 4km from Morro Jable. A family-friendly beach, it’s great…

4. Playa de Sotavento de Jandía

6.82 MILES

The name is a catch-all for the series of truly stunning beaches that stretch along the east coast of the peninsula. For swimming, sunbathing and…

5. Punta de Jandía Lighthouse

8.45 MILES

At the end of the dirt road from Morro Jable, the asphalt returns for a smooth ride to this lighthouse positioned over thundering Atlantic waves. The…

6. Playa de la Barca

8.65 MILES

The beach that most people visualise when they think of Sotavento is Playa de la Barca. Signposted from the FV-2, 2.5km south of Costa Calma, this is the…

7. Oasis Park

14.56 MILES

If you don’t object to zoos, expansive (and expensive) Oasis Park in La Lajita has mammals, birds and sea life, plus shows and camel rides. Here you can…

8. Mirador Astronómico de Sicasumbre

18.34 MILES

If you want just one place to put the island's primordial, barren geology and Martian features into wide-angle perspective, this mirador has breathtaking…