Lighthouse Routes Around Fuerteventura
03 May, 2017
These simple constructions are a beacon for sailors. Powerful flashes of light ringing the coast help ships navigate and indicate the distance separating them from land. These lighthouses (or “Pharos” in old English, while in Spanish the word is faro) owe their name to the tower lighthouse of Pharos off the coast of Egypt. They have become veritable places of pilgrimage, providing amazing 360° panoramas of everything around them. The island of Fuerteventura, with its nearly 326 kilometres of coastline, is encircled by five such faros, linked by a route which affords travellers a lofty vantage point over the wonderful scenery surrounding this Canary island.
Faro de la Entallada – the African Viewpoint
Situated on the island’s east coast, 6 kilometres from the resort of Las Playitas – a wonderful seafaring enclave with volcanic sand – its unusual architecture makes this the most original lighthouse on the island. It is located at the closest point on the Canary Islands to Africa, some 100 kilometres away. To get to the top of cliff, be sure to keep your wits about you as the road is narrow, with hairpin bends. You can drive there, but do so with the utmost care. Once you get to the top, however, you will encounter a splendid, 200-metre-high balcony over the ocean, with views of the Cuchillos de Vigán (Vigán Knives) Natural Monument, lava fields which have sculpted a spectacular mountain chain. Built in 1952, the lighthouse has a 12-metre-high tower and two side buildings rendered in lime and red pumice stone, imbuing the ensemble with a lot of character.
Jandía Lighthouse – the Southernmost on the Island
Located at the southernmost tip of Fuerteventura, enveloped in a volcanic landscape with steep cliffs, Punta de Jandía is accessible either by private vehicle – preferably a four-wheel drive – or a public, 4x4 minibus which plies the route running from Morro Jable to Puertito de la Cruz, a village of 20 houses and two restaurants where it is said you can get the best fish soup on the island – I can vouch for this. This hamlet of houses built in traditional style leads you to the Jandía Lighthouse, set atop the finely tapered tip of the island. If you look at the sea, you can spot the delicate ripples set up by the ocean currents coming from both the Barlovento coast on the one side, and the Sotavento coast on the other. Built in 1864, the lighthouse is now home to the Jandía Nature Park Interpretation Centre.
Tostón Lighthouse – the Finest Sunset
Located at Punta Ballena, 5 km north of the picturesque fishing village of El Cotillo, is the Tostón Lighthouse, which went into operation in 1897. Together with the Martiño lighthouse, on the Isla de Lobos, and the Pechiguera lighthouse, in Lanzarote, it forms a triangle illuminating the Bocaina Strait separating Fuerteventura from Lanzarote. The site of the Traditional Fishing Museum, it is made up of three towers built in different periods, one of which is brightly coloured, with a formidable presence. It is no overstatement to say that it affords one of the most stunning sunsets on the island. The lighthouse is surrounded by little coves with calm, crystal-clear water, ideal for having a dip at the day’s end.
Morro Jable – the Island’s Modern Lighthouse
The most picturesque spot in Morro Jable, a village in the south of Fuerteventura dominated by its British and German inhabitants, is Matorral Beach, with over four kilometres of white sand fanning out from the village centre. This magnificent beach, perfectly suited to hiring a pedal boat – they really round off your holiday nicely, believe me – is the site of the modern Morro Jable Lighthouse, which began operating in 1996. It is a simple, slender reinforced concrete tower about 60 metres high. It can be accessed from the village or beach along tracks which are well signposted, as it stands in a protected Scientific Interest Site, the Saladar de Jandía wetlands, an unusual coastal ecosystem which is flooded at high tide.
San Martiño Lighthouse – the Trekkers’ Choice
The San Martiño lighthouse, built in 1865, stands on the Isla de Lobos, a picturesque rock located a few kilometres off the coast of Corralejo which can be reached by a regular ferry service. The only way of getting to the lighthouse is by walking along one of two signposted footpaths – one hugging the coastline and the other leading into the interior. The walk is suitable for visitors of all ages and your arrival at the lighthouse, after a steep but short final stretch, is ineffably rewarding. A plaque pays tribute to the novelist, Josefina Pla, who was born on the island. A breathtaking 360° panorama.
Texto de Teresa Vallbona
03 May, 2017