If you’re planning your honeymoon, how about romantic newlywed trip in The Canary Islands? Richard Webber discovers the year-round warmth and white-sand beaches of Fuerteventura.
Honeymoons in Fuerteventura: What to do and Where to Stay
I’d never understood anyone who travelled abroad and spent most of their time chilling out at the hotel rather than exploring – that is, until we booked an ocean-view room at the five-star Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real on the sunny island of Fuerteventura.
Edging the soft sands of Corralejo Natural Park in the north of the island, this 242-room hotel is an oasis of tranquillity, offering guests a luxurious sanctuary while breathing in the fresh sea air and indulging in some much-needed downtime.
From our balcony, I gazed out across the ocean towards the islet of Los Lobos and Lanzarote while the Atlantic rollers crashed onto the powder-white beach below.
Colonial influences have inspired the hotel’s styling where each of its spacious rooms either enjoy a staggering sea view or look out over the gardens. With a choice of fine dining in six restaurants, lush gardens and some of the friendliest staff we’ve ever encountered, it would have been so easy to simply unwind and watch the world go by at the hotel.
Ultimately, though, our lust for exploration got the better of us, so we decided to get out and see the second largest island in the Canaries.
With over 90 miles of white, sandy beaches, it’s easy to see why the island attracts nearly three million tourists a year. A windier isle than most in the archipelago, it’s a paradise for watersport lovers, especially windsurfers.
Overall, Fuerteventura’s climate is among the most agreeable of all the Canary Islands with very little rainfall – partly due to Lanzarote, 10 miles to the north, sheltering it from the rain – and high winter temperature averages.
Meanwhile, sun-worshippers delight in more than 3,000 sunshine hours a year. Unlike Tenerife and Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura possesses a dry, arid volcanic landscape devoid of much vegetation. But don’t let that put you off – it has a charm all of its own and certainly boasts the best beaches.
The local bus service between resorts is infrequent, so honeymooners in the know hire a car. Thankfully, the leisurely pace of life is reflected in the driving, so you’ll feel comfortable meandering through miles of rugged, volcanic landscape.
On our first morning, after breakfast, we were keen to explore the Natural Park, a dazzling area of white sand stretching six miles along the coast and up to two miles inland. The island is often referred to as a ‘little bit of the Sahara’ and it’s easy to see why when you trudge through wave after wave of steep-sided dunes.
We discovered beaches of all shapes and sizes around the island. Among our favourites was Playa del Matorral in the town of Morro Jable. Here, we strolled along palm-fringed avenues before sinking our toes into the town’s extensive warm golden sands. Another favourite was Playa de Sotavento, a five-mile stretch in the south-east which, strictly speaking, is a series of beaches strung together.
Rather than returning to the hotel via the coast road, we often headed through the spine of the island. One afternoon, we stopped in the mountains at Betancuria, reputedly the oldest village in the Canaries and Fuerteventura’s former capital.
While the church was rebuilt in the 17th century, many houses retain facades dating from the 1500s. We wandered the cobbled streets lined with bougainvillea-draped, white-washed buildings gleaming in the sun. Although a magnet for tourists, the area does offer an intriguing and authentic glimpse into the island’s past.
If you want to understand more about how the islanders lived, head for Ecomuseo de la Alcogida, a cleverly designed, open-air museum where working artisans, inside five painstakingly restored farmhouses, show what life used to be like.
On another day, we drove through the near-deserted Jandía National Park, a volcanic massif where, at its northernmost point, mountains descend sharply towards the sea, while to the south, there are huge cliffs. Even in these arid conditions, plants survive, including the endemic Cardón de Jandía, which is found only in two valleys on the peninsula.
No trip to Fuerteventura is complete without boarding one of the boats ferrying tourists across the water to Los Lobos. This tiny isle can be walked around within two hours and is named after the colony of monk seals that once called it home.
After spending hours exploring, we relished returning each day to enjoy the hotel’s Bahía Vital Spa. Framed with panoramic views of the beachfront, it offers a calming aura in which to switch off.
Sadly, our break in the Fuerteventura sun came to an end all too soon, but at least we headed home feeling fully restored.
Prestige Holidays offers seven nights in a deluxe double room at the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real on a bed-and-breakfast basis, including return flights from Bristol and private transfers, from £897 per person.
Flights from other airports available. For parking at Bristol, visit bristolairport.co.uk/parking. For more information on the island, go to visitfuerteventura.es