11 things you never knew about Fuerteventura

Whenever you’re looking for a beach holiday the Canary Islands immediately spring to mind. These fascinating islands pretty much guarantee sunshine and you can truly relax on some of its incredible stretches of shoreline.

Often overshadowed by its well-known neighbours, Fuerteventura is one of the most charming parts of the region. Home to tranquil coves, quaint resorts and an incredible landscape – it has a laidback atmosphere different to the likes of Tenerife and Lanzarote.

So what makes Fuerteventura tick? Here are our 11 things you never knew about your new favourite Canary island.

It is the oldest of the Canary Islands

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Like wine and cheese, Fuerteventura only seems to get better with age. It is the oldest of the Canary Islands dating back over 20 million years and was originally formed through an enormous volcanic eruption. Some geologists also believe that Fuerteventura and Lanzarote were once part of the same island.

It is actually formed of two islands

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Fuerteventura is a divided up into two islands – La Maxorata and the Jandia Peninsula. The pair are polar opposites of one another with La Maxorata being home to the vast majority of the inhabitants while the Jandia Peninsula is tranquil natural escape for the hustle and bustle of the busier island towns.

It is home to one of the world’s best beaches

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The Canary Islands are famed for their incredible beaches but there is one that stands above the rest – Corralejo. Perched on the north-east tip of Fuerteventura this is kind of beach you dream about. The picture perfect surroundings are a haven of white sands, azure ocean waters and amazing views of the tropical Isla de Lobos in the distance.

It is closer to Africa than Europe

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While it may form part of Spain, Fuerteventura is actually closer to Africa than Europe. The island has a long connection with North Africa as the first settlers are believed to have made the journey across the sea. They were known for their ‘mahos’ – a traditional shoe made from cured goatskin – a name which Fuerteventura’s residents are referred to today.

Goat is a delicacy

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One peculiarity about life in Fuerteventura is the abundance of goats wandering around the island – even the capital Puerto del Rosario was previously called Puerto Cabras (Port of Goats). As such, goat milk, goat cheese and goat meat is a delicacy in Fuerteventura. Tuck into hearty goat stew or a delicious bit of Majorero (goat’s cheese).

Sea turtles call it home

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It is not just goats that are a regular sight in Fuerteventura; the island’s beaches are home to several species of sea turtles. Among the Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill it is the Boba Turtle which is the most common and use the beaches for a breeding ground. There is also a island-wide project to help maintain these areas.

It may have been part of the lost civilisation of Atlantis

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The mountainous Canary Islands may seem relatively normal to most people but there is a theory that they belie a greater legend. The theory goes that when Atlantis sank, the highest mountains formed into islands – where the Canary Islands are now. It is thought the original inhabitants – the Guanches – were the direct descendents of the Atlanteans meaning Fuerteventura may have been part of the lost civilisation.

It has its own special tomatoes

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Fuerteventura has a wealth of delicious fresh produce and even grows a type of tomato unique to the island. During the 1960s farmers developed the ‘Special Fuerteventura’ tomato which is a little sweeter than a conventional tomato making it an absolute must in salads.

It is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

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Given its magnificent landscape, it is probably not that much of a surprise that Fuerteventura is a designated UNESCO Biopshere Reserve. These titles are bestowed to areas which show a strong historic link between man and nature which has gone hand-in-hand on the island for centuries.

It was named by a French explorer

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Fuerteventura has changed hands numerous times during its history but it was a French explorer that gave it its name. When conquering the island in 1405, Jean de Bethencourt he was reported to declare: “Que forte aventura!” translating as “what a grand adventure!”. The name stuck.

It provides the backdrop for Planet of the Apes

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The secluded, unspoilt beach of Cofete may ring some bells for film buffs as this corner of the Jandia Peninsula acted as the backdrop for the 1968 film Planet of the Apes.

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