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I Have Visited Every Island In Spain And This Is The One You Can’t Miss  

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I love Spain but especially Spain’s islands.

They’re the perfect destination for laid-back relaxation, boast beautiful beaches, outstanding natural beauty, fascinating culture, and (for the most part) warm and welcoming people.  

Cofete Fuerteventura Barlovento beach at Canary Islands of Spain

But which island is best?  

I’ve been lucky enough to visit every island in Spain, and this is the one I keep going back to. Here’s why you can’t miss it:  

The Balearics Or The Canary Islands? 

There are two main island chains in Spain: The Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.  

The Balearic Islands is an island group located in the western Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Spain. There are 4 main islands, although there are 151 in total. Only 5 of these are inhabited: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera.  

The Canary Islands are a chain of islands and islets located off the coast of northwestern Africa. In fact although they are Spanish territory they are considerably closer to Africa than they are to Spain. The 4 main islands are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote.  

Fishing boats in port in Gran Tarajal, Fuerteventura

Both island chains are known for their abundance of beautiful beaches. Both are popular with tourists looking for a sun, sea, and sand vacation.  

But if you want to visit no matter what the time of year then the Canary Islands really can’t be beaten for their year-round sunshine. When it’s cold and raining at home you’re guaranteed a hot sunny break in the Canaries.  

What’s more the sea temperatures are always above 20°C (68 F) even during the coldest winter months. By contrast, the Balearic Islands experience typically Mediterranean seasonal weather fluctuations and you can only swim in the sea during the warmest (and most expensive) months of the year.  

Panorama view of the islands of Lobos and Lanzarote seen from Corralejo Beach

Because tourism is seasonal on the Balearic Islands, this means that if you want to visit when the weather is warm, the crowd levels are always high.

And with locations such as Palma de Mallorca on Majorca and Playa d’en Bossa on Ibiza attracting party people with their high-octane nightlife, they’re not the best spots for low-key relaxation. 

The Island Of Fuerteventura 

I will always choose to visit the Canary Islands over The Balearic Islands.

Tenerife is the most-visited Canary Island in the chain and it has many busy and bustling resort towns. But by far my favorite island in this chain is Fuerteventura. There are so many reasons why! 

First, the island boasts incredible rugged landscapes of incredible volcanic rock formations. Calderón Hondo is the most famous volcano in Fuerteventura and you can hike to its peak if you’re feeling energetic.  

Dunas de Correlejo on the island of Fuerteventura

You’ll find similar volcanic displays across all of the Canary Islands. But what makes Fuerteventura unique is that these barren landscapes are punctuated by the Dunas de Corralejo Natural Park. These massive sand dunes are the biggest in Europe and they are breathtakingly beautiful. They are often referred to as a mini Sahara, but they’re much more accessible.  

On the edge of these sand dunes is an incredible turquoise coastline with kilometers of beautiful white sand beaches. Many of these beaches don’t have traditional facilities such as restrooms or restaurants but they are truly stunning places to swim, sunbathe, and surf. La Oliva is my favorite beach here thanks to its calm waters and smooth, soft sand.  

The people in Fuerteventura are among the friendliest I have ever met. While other islands (notably Gran Canaria right now) are railing against growing tourism and encouraging travelers to stay away, on Fuerteventura you’ll receive a warm welcome. 

surfer riding a wave on the island of fuerteventura, canary islands, spain

There are large communities of ex-pats on the island, and much of the local economy is reliant on tourism. Because surfing is such a huge part of life on the island you’ll also find laid-back surfing communities here.  

My favorite is in Correlejo on the northern tip of the island. It has a reputation for having the best surf in Europe, boasts an abundance of surf schools, and whether you’re traveling solo or as a group you’re sure to find like-minded people here.  

Convenient Location  

If you have itchy feet like me then Fuerteventura is also a great choice because it’s such a good base for wider exploration.  

wooden jetty of the Isla de Lobos in the Canary Islands, Spain

In fact staying on Fuerteventura is worth it for visiting Las Lobos alone. The uninhabited island of Las Lobos is a protected island that can only be accessed by ferry from Fuerteventura. This journey only takes 15 minutes and if you make the trip then you’ll be rewarded with some of the most beautiful beaches and bluest waters I've ever seen.  

Playa de la Concha is the main beach here and it’s known for its clear waters that are popular with snorkelers. To preserve the flora and fauna of the island, which is a national park, only 400 people per day are allowed to take the journey from Fuerteventura and for many people this opportunity is the highlight of their trip.  

Fuerteventura is also conveniently close to Lanzarote, and you can take the ferry between the two islands in just 30 minutes. This means that you could visit two Spanish islands in just one vacation, and it’s fascinating to take the trip and explore the unique personalities of each island.  

cofete beach in fuerteventura canary islands

In the waters that surround the islands you can spot fish, turtles, bottlenose dolphins, and even pilot whales which makes getting out on the water in a boat of any size even more exciting.  

Whether you’re island hopping or just want to see as much of the island as possible I recommend hiring a car. The roads are well-surfaced, traffic is minimal, and it’s incredibly easy to navigate. If you choose to stay in the north of the island it's also cheaper to hire a car than to book a transfer from the airport.

As you travel from the north to the south of Fuerteventura you’ll pass through ancient villages, and authentic local markets, and learn so much more about this incredible island.  

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