Wide-spread, desertlike and native – that’s what the Spanish island of Fuerteventura represents. And the little fishing village El Cotillo north-west of the island is the perfect place to experience these characteristics all at once. My boyfriend and I decided to spend 5 days in El Cotillo to come down and enjoy the ocean, the weather, the food, the harbor and the atmosphere of an old town. Although it still feels a little pristine, the tourism stops off more and more. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most charming fishing villages I’ve ever been to.
Briefly summarized, Fuerteventura is the second-largest island of the Canaries in the Atlantic Ocean after Tenerife and has around 110.000 inhabitants. The popular holiday island is around 122 kilometers west of Morocco and, due to its climatic conditions, very beautiful all year round. Politically, the Canary Islands belong to Spain, but with their two provinces, they have the status of an autonomous region. Not far from Fuerteventura you even have the chance to visit the neighbor island Lanzarote.
Best Travel Time
Fuerteventura is known as the “island of eternal spring” because it is pleasantly warm all year round and the weather is very balanced. In contrast to other holiday destinations in the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura is very dry. So, there is only around 150 mm of precipitation during the year. Rain is at best expected in the winter months, but even then there are rare short showers.
Usually, the weather is sunny with average values between 17 and 26°C. And even the water temperatures are pretty warm between 19 and 23°C. In midsummer, the climatic phenomenon Calima (a desert wind) can bring record temperatures above 38°C, but these extremes only last for a few days.
So, my boyfriend and I visited El Cotillo in mid of November and it was the perfect condition for us. It was still warm and nice, fewer tourists were in town and the waves weren’t that strong for surfing unlike in the summer months. I think, I wouldn’t have picked any other month, though I would recommend spring and fall as the best travel time.
How To Get To El Cotillo
First, you need to get to Fuerteventura. You can reach the island best by plane from Spain (for example Barcelona) or other European countries. After flying into the capital Puerto del Rosario, you have to choose between a taxi, bus or renting a car. Since we just spent the days in or near El Cotillo, we didn’t need a car. And because we wanted to get to El Cotillo the fastest way, we took the taxi. It costs about 50-60€ to get to the fishing town within 40 minutes. Compared to that, the bus would only cost around 6€ but will take 1,5 hours longer. So, we decided to take the taxi at the beginning and in the end of our little trip.
Best things to do in El Cotillo
Castillo del Toston
When you’re in El Cotillo you won’t be able to avoid seeing the Castillo del Toston. It’s situated south of the small fishing village and has once been a fortress that was built to protect against pirates in the 18th century. Usually, you can visit the fortress with its art exhibition, but unfortunately, it was closed when we were there. From the outside, Castillo del Toston doesn’t look spectacular, though it’s nice to see and read a little bit about history. And if you’re in El Catillo anyway, it’s only a stone’s throw away.
Faro del Toston
The Faro del Toston in the north of El Cotillo is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Fuerteventura. It has three different towers that were built at different years and is just perfect to take a picture from. But also the area around the lighthouse is well-kept and invites you to a picnic with its sheltered setting. Nature enthusiasts can explore a nature trail around the tower. It leads through the nearby landscape at the lighthouse and offers something worth knowing with the information boards along the path.
My tip: Rent a bike and ride to Faro del Toston. It’s a short 20-minute ride and gives you the feeling of exploring the island the right way.
If you want to do a beach stroll or go surfing, the Piedra Playa is the best place for you around El Cotillo. It’s situated 500 m south of the little village and is easily accessible on foot. The first glance of the beach you catch from the cliffs from where you get a beautiful view over the ocean and the beach. My boyfriend and I stood there several times for minutes because it was just too breathtaking to just walk by.
Piedra Playa is a wild beach which means there are no bars or restaurants. Therefore, you get a beach which is clean, a little rocky and wide-spread which I personally prefer. It’s not the best beach for swimming, because there are strong currents and the waves can be a little rough sometimes, but it’s the perfect beach for surfing. And that’s what Piedra Playa is known for anyway. Whether you want to go kitesurfing, windsurfing or just surfing, this beach has a place for all kinds of water sports.
My tip: You don’t need a car if you just visit El Cotillo. So, if you want to go surfing, rent a board at Riders Surf’N Bike and just walk. It’s not far at all and you will have done your warm-up before the fun part starts.
El Cotillo Beach & Lagoons
If you rather like to hang out at the beach and have a swim, El Cotillo Beach and the nearby Lagoons are great to do so. Located north of El Cotillo they are sealed off the rough sea and therefore perfect for swimming. And if you have luck, you will get hold of one of these stone circles to sunbathe a little more privately and to keep out of the wind. Whenever you get thirsty or hungry, don’t worry, there are restaurants and cafés nearby to take a little break from the sun.
Visit the windmill
One of my favorite places was the cute windmill which you can already see from far away when you’re south of El Cotillo. I believe, many people recognized it, but not many are going there because we were the only ones who visited this little treasure and you have to go through dirt roads to get there. But it was more than worth it. We shot beautiful photos from there and explored the area a little. So, when you visit El Cotillo, don’t mind the roads and walk there – it’s beautiful!
Where to eat in El Cotillo
Bar Cafetería Aguayre
This was the first café we crashed in. We were really hungry and needed a quick lunch after a busy morning. It was easy to reach with just a few steps away from our apartment and you even get a beautiful view over the ocean. The service was fast and the food was great, but also cheap. So all in all, it was one of our favorite cafés where we returned every day for veggie sandwiches and smoothies – yum!
If you love a cool and cozy place, tapas and delicious food, Olivo Corso is definitely the place to go. We were there twice for dinner and ordered tapas that we shared so we had the best mix of everything. I can recommend the potatoes and hummus, but they also have specials of the day from where you can choose from. Either way, I’m pretty sure that you can find something delicious.
Giulietta & Romeo
Because my boyfriend and I are vegetarians we don’t like fish (but you should try if you love it – I’m sure it’s great). So, you won’t find such a restaurant on this list. Anyway, we looked for some alternatives since El Cotillo is a fishing village. And we came across Giulietta & Romeo. It’s a great pizzeria where you can sit inside or outside. Although it’s not the same as eating in Italy, it was still very delicious.
Where To Stay in El Cotillo
Believe it or not, but I think we got the best accommodation that’s possible to stay in El Cotillo. We rented the apartment La Marinera via Booking.com and couldn’t have been happier. It’s located south of El Cotillo and is close to Piedra Playa, cafés, restaurants, a supermarket, and cute little shops. But also the interior was amazing. You get two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a small balcony to the inner yard and a bigger balcony with sea view for just a small amount. And everything was clean, comfortable and nicely decorated. I guess that’s hard to top for a town like El Cotillo!
There are not many things you can do in El Cotillo, but what you can do is great and fun. And who says anyway that you have to do a lot when being on vacation? So, we really enjoyed our stay and loved the little village with its white houses, the blue ocean, the great weather, and the relaxed atmosphere. If you’re looking for a nice place like that where you can escape for some time, El Cotillo is definitely a great choice.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve been there before or if you’re interested in going. I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences.