It’s easy to fall into the trap of bundling the Canary Islands into a big bag of sun, sea and sand and plumping for whichever resort has the fanciest pool. But you’re too travel savvy to fall for that. Those in the know recognise each island has a different vibe – along with some unique must sees to tick off. If you’ve narrowed your search down, and are after a Lanzarote vs Fuerteventura showdown, you’re in the right place.
In our Lanzarote vs Fuerteventura showdown, Fuerteventura easily walks away with the beaches trophy. Every time. That’s not to say Lanzarote’s beaches aren’t worth a look, but they lose points on number of beaches, the surrounding scenery and their high proportion of black sand spots. On Fuerteventura, you’ve got long, long stretches of coastline backed by bustling resorts. Playa Grande in the north has just about everything you could want from a beach. In the south, Playa De Jandia mixes the nearby facilities of Morro Jable with a more windswept and remote vibe. Both islands have a beach for everyone, but Fuerteventura’s sands will wow you. The best beaches in Fuerteventura often come with hidden coves, championship level watersports, dramatic scenery and Canarian cuisine right on the sea front.
Winner: Fuerteventura’s not just the winner of the two islands, but when it comes to beaches, it has the best coastline of all the Canary Islands.
Food and Traditional Cuisine
We’re not throwing any shade when we say the food movement progress in Fuerteventura restaurants is a little slow. Chefs and forward thinkers have been tardy to this particular party but it’s easy to see why. You’d not want to be slaving over a hot stove when Fuerteventura’s gorgeous coastal scenery is just waiting to be gawped at. There are, no doubt, more complex factors at play, but this has meant the island’s traditional tavernas are still very much the focus. Canarian specialties aren’t hard to find, and while you might want to see something other than a rich goat stew and Canarian potatoes on the menu after a while, there’s enough diversity to keep you from getting hungry over a fortnight. Lanzarote does have a slightly more global menu – but it’s often overshadowed by Sunday roasts and a fry up.
Winner: We’re calling it a draw. Both island’s have their pick of stellar restaurants if you know where to look. Fuerteventura may just edge out Lanzarote on the traditional eats though.
There’s a chunky menu of watersport options on either island. Which makes hard to pin down whether Lanzarote or Fuerteventura is better for families who like to get their adrenaline fix on the coast. Lanzarote clocks up a point for having two waterparks to Fuerteventura’s one offering. Though, Fuerteventura’s got one advantage over all the other Canary Islands. Wind. And plenty of it. Not ideal if you’re looking to gently bake on the sands – but it’s perfect for windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing. Yes, Lanzarote can boast some reasonable trade winds. But Fuerteventura is the island that hosts the annual windsurfing championships. Need we say more? Sotavento beach is the place to catch the action – or give the sports a go with some expert tuition.
Winner: Fuerteventura’s prime wind conditions just edges out Lanzarote on this one. Surfers – take your pick of either isle, both have prime spots to catch a wave.
Here’s the thing. Volcanoes are fascinating, magma-filled funnels of intrigue and wonder. But when the whole island is dominated by lava flows, black sand and volcanic landscapes, things start to get a little ‘samey’. Lanzarote suffers a smidge from this fate. Yes, the different hues of the volcanoes – white, red and black – add a new dimension and the lava caves are a great day out, but the barren landscape can be a drag if you’re an explorer with an eye for landscape photography. Fuerteventura does have volcanoes, but they come with white sand beaches, Caribbean colour seas and great swathes of sand dunes to drive through. Life is a little more colourful on the island, and it’s all the better for it. There’s even a volcano to hike up, if you’ve got the glutes for it.
Winner: Fuerteventura, enough volcanic intrigue to pepper your stay, without becoming overwhelming.
Always a tricky category, activities in the Canary Islands aren’t always at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Two weeks by the pool being rudely interrupted by some near by must sees? No thanks! So it’s with trepidation that we point out each island’s best bits. Lanzarote packs in the quirks straight out the gate. An underwater museum, a whole national park of volcanoes and César Manrique’s art is liberally scattered across the isle. Fuerteventura’s a little more low key. There’s a mysterious abandoned mansion, secret caves and landscapes that offer more than just lava flows. Windmills and salt flats have a tough job standing up to Lanzarote’s lava caves though. Overall, it’s all about your activity penchants and just what’s going to lure you away from a lunchtime mojito after a worthy effort at the aqua aerobics.
Winner: Lanzarote on sheer numbers and quirk level. Fuerteventura has the advantage that, despite some intriguing spots, there’s not too much to cause any unwanted FOMO.
Zipping around each island in the hire car is fairly straight-forward, once you’ve mastered driving on the right hand side. Get out of the resorts and things start to feel pretty zen. Few traffic jams, no motorways and some fairly scenic routes. The only sticking point? There are some seriously bumpy tracks to navigate to get to some of the more remote spots. So far, the islands are looking pretty even. But in the Lanzarote vs Fuerteventura showdown, Fuerteventura has one epic drive up its sleeve. The route through the Corralejo dunes beats anything you’ll see on the more volcanic routes of Lanzarote. Add in Fuerteventura’s more straightforward drives and you’ll forget about the slightly confusing roundabout system. Little tip: go anticlockwise and stay in the outside lane.
Winner: Fuerteventura for the drive through the Corralejo dunes and the windmill route – just one of the many laidback things to do in Fuerteventura.
Fuerteventura wins this one easily. There’s enough going on to fill a fortnight with things to see and do, along with a top drawer selection of sands to laze on. Even if you compare Lanzarote and Fuerteventura for families, Fuerteventura romps home with the title. The soft sands and shallow beaches have child-friendly spots and you’ll struggle to find any wallet draining theme parks, keeping budgets on track and keeping holidays chilled and relax in a way everyone can enjoy.