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Despite the volcanic nature that you get on all the Canary islands, on Fuerteventura I discovered long strands of white sand on beaches devoid of any jagged rock formations or black lava. Perfect for walking as the odd naturist also thought. The Playa de Butihondo north of Morro Jable has a wonderful stretch, as does the Playa de Sotavento just south of Costa Calma.
I stayed first at the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real (www.atlantisbahiareal.com). The hotel has its bellboys resplendent in semi-Alpine uniforms with red waistcoats and black felt hats. There are 242 rooms and a selection of restaurants. At the Spanish gourmet ‘Las Columnas’ they certainly push the boat out though hopefully not the belly! I enjoyed some pumpkin cream soup and a piquillo pepper filled with seafood, before resisting a menu of eight tapas. I then expanded into a sea bass set in a rock salt case, a process of release from which mesmerised the neighbouring children. And all helped along with a salad of tropical fruits, cherry tomatoes and king prawns. They typically mix fruit into their salads. To round things off I tried a chocolate soufflé with red fruits that were doused in a rosemary aroma and cardamom ice cream. All thoroughly thought through!
Look out at the hotel spa, the ‘Bahia Vital’, for Daniella. No ordinary masseuse as my girlfriend lifted herself out of her chair she was pulled up and knew instantly that she was in great hands. Indeed she left in great shape both literally and sensually as a result of Daniella’s intuitive understanding.
At the hotel’s Coco Beach Bar I loved the sensation of being surrounded by the waves that span and lapped around me. Before I tucked into a Salmorejo Cordoba-style with toppings I sampled a Canarian staple, namely ‘papas arrugadas’, wrinkled potatoes that come with their ‘mojo’ sauces of garlic, chili peppers, cumin, paprika and vinegar. For pudding I enjoyed a fruits of the season with apricot sorbet. All accompanied by both Yaiza and Bermejo Dry white wine. Locally grown are the potatoes, bananas and tomatoes along of course with the fish that is caught locally including octopus and squid.
Corralejo is a town half for tourists (and many Brits find it reassuringly familiar with their shops and bars) and half for locals with Calle Iglesia a charming part. It retains its fishing village atmosphere and the locals are animated and gesticular in similar fashion to those along the Mediterranean. The island is totally safe both for old and young alike. Indeed the traditional British bucket and spade holiday is much in evidence.
I took one of the many boats and ferries at the town’s harbour across the twenty minute ride to Isla de Lobos. Here there’s one guitar-playing man called Elias and his wife who live there the whole year round though there are ten guest houses. Ramshackle but authentic. Perhaps for the more hardy. Here there is the typical black lunar landscape. It’s a great and safe two hour walk to go round it all, including the lighthouse, and a further hour if you want to climb the volcanic peak.
And I was lucky enough to stay next at the Occidental Jandia Royal Level Suite. (www.barcelo.com/en-gb/hotels/spain/canary-islands/fuerteventura/occidental-jandia-royal-level). My room was set on a hillside high above with a wonderfully panoramic view out over the long strand of beach. The hotel is fully functional and there’s definitely something for everyone. Kids are given a variety of activities to enjoy while parents get a chance to unwind.
I strongly recommend Fuerteventura strong winds and all.
*Adam Jacot de Boinod was a researcher for the first BBC television series QI, hosted by Stephen Fry. He wrote The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books.
FACT BOX: Adam had support from chepstowcars.com ; gatwickexpress.com and prioritypass.com.
Classic Collection Holidays (0800 047 1064; classic-collection.co.uk) offers a two centre holiday of 3 nights at Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real on a bed & breakfast and 3 nights at Occidental Jandia Royal Level Suite on an all inclusive basis from£1279 per person. Price based on 2 adults sharing and includes return flights from London Gatwick to Fuerteventura (flights available from up to 16 UK airports) and all private transfers. Departing April 2018.