1. Year round sunshine with average highs of 22 Celsius in winter and 28 C in summer; approximately 15 days of rain per year.
  2. Surfing, yoga, hiking, walking, nature.
  3. Nature reserves and UNESCO Biosphere status
  4. Beautiful beaches with striking contrast between black volcanic rock and white sand.
  5. A mellow, laidback atmosphere.
  6. Some wonderful restaurants and seafood
  7. It’s cheap – drink, food, duty-free shopping, accommodation. 

As a native of Ireland where winter lasts about eleven months, I crave bursts of sunshine to get me through the eternal grey skies of my beloved homeland. Corralejo in Fuerteventura is only 4 hours and 20 mins from Dublin by plane and it’s my new winter-sun-fix for the foreseeable future. As a Canary Island, it relies on tourism and there is naturally a very commercial side to it but it’s nowhere near the saturation levels of other resorts and islands in the region. There’s a commercial strip in Corralejo’s centre but there’s enough hiking among nature reserves, dormant volcanoes and lunar landscapes for anyone who wants to avoid the tacky factor.

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Cliffs and waves – El Cotillo

Surf

Surfing is massive here – from absolute beginners at surfing school to seasoned surfers who’ve never managed to leave, surf is the word of the day here.

Yoga

Yoga is also a big part of life and you’ll see yoga classes taking place all over the beaches in the morning. The retreat at Azulfit (http://www.azulfit.com/retreat-location/fuerteventura-retreats/) is meant to be excellent but it’s not exactly cheap so if you are on a budget, just book accommodation and find a yoga class when you get there. I did yoga on the beach while there and found the sand and distractions a bit of a pain so I’d recommend a studio class. wp-1483741392678.jpg

Family life

I saw quite a few families with small children here, as well as retired couples who own homes on the island – Irish, British, Spanish. This is probably because there isn’t a rowdy, Benidorm scene here – no lager louts or wet t-shirt competitions (maybe you’ll find them if you look for them?).

Excursions

No shortage of them. El Cotillo is a fishing village, north-east of the island, with stunning cliffs and waves, and some great seafood. Less developed than the rest of the island, it’s 50 minutes from Corralejo by public bus. The seafood at El Roque de los Pescadores is quite exceptional. The staff don’t speak much English but that didn’t stop me from having fantastic food – when I asked the waiter to explain the fish on the menu because my Spanish wasn’t up to it, he took me to the giant fish on display under glass so I could see for myself. No words needed.

 

 

Isla De Lobos  is a little island haven, accessible by (pretty small) ferry in 20 mins from Corralejo. Return trip by ferry is 15 Euro for adults and 10 Euro for 4-11 year-olds.

The tiny island is largely uninhabited and if you take the 10 a.m. ferry, you’ll experience an almost eerie silence and an other-worldly landscape. Expect lagunitas (little lakes), black rock, a sprinkling of fishing boats, tiny swamps and a dormant volcano. There’s a couple of walking trails so you can walk around the island for a couple of hours or do shorter walks for an hour or so.

Bring a packed lunch or book lunch with the ONE restuarant on the island- they may offer paella or fish for 7 Euro.

A day trip to Lanzarote is also a popular option. See my post on Lanzarote: https://wordpress.com/post/travally.net/324

Eating in Corralejo 

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‘Donkey Fish’- local speciality, baked in a mound of salt

There are plenty of mediocre restaurants with fish swimming in ‘Canarian’ sauces and chips on the side but you can eat well in Corralejo if you choose wisely. Sanus is the one everyone’s talking about at the minute. It caters for vegans, vegetarians, diabetics and celiacs but don’t panic – it’s not as virtuous as it sounds. There is meat and seafood in that mix of dietary needs and it’s great. The decor is minimalist and chic – a real relief from the tackiness along the main commercial strip. In high season you will need to book; it’s busy. wp-1483813987475.jpg

Mi Casa on Calle Maritima, facing the beach, is also highly recommended for its seafood and  Mediterranean cuisine. Excellent food and service with a cheerful, nautical ambience. Also very popular and busy in peak season. Will definitely be going back on my next visit.

I kicked off winter 2016 in Corralejo and it looks like I’ll be ending it there in 2017. Counting down the weeks.