10 must-visit natural monuments in Fuerteventura
Did you know that the whole island of Fuerteventura has been declared both a Biosphere Reserve and a Starlight Reserve? That’s more than 48,000 hectares of protected area to lose yourself in. Whether it’s natural monuments, natural parks, native flora and fauna or scenic volcanoes – you’ll find plenty of scenic landscapes to admire. Here are just 10 of the best.
1. Tindaya Mountain Natural Monument
Tindaya Mountain is visible from any point in north Fuerteventura, but its most fascinating element is its aboriginal podomorphic engravings found on its peak. These are thought to have been of religious significance.
2. Ajuy Natural Monument
Ajuy Natural Monument is located on the west coast of Fuerteventura and is primarily composed of the Betancuria Rural Park. This natural monument is formed by the Basal Complex, which is the oldest rock formation in the Canary Islands! You’ll also find caves in the Ajuy area, which you can reach from a walking path that starts on the beach.
3. Natural Park on the islet of Lobos
From the resort town of Corralejo you can spot Lobos Isle, separated only by a stretch of water that is less than 10m deep. The islands coastline is dotted with waterlogged areas that form salt marshes that are of biological importance. On top of that, several species of birds come to nest on the cliff faces of La Caldera Mountain (particularly Herring gulls and Cory shearwaters).
4. Natural Monument Jandía
The natural park of Jandia is home to the majority of the island’s endemic vegetation, and animal species that are listed as threatened or protected. It is a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) and is a breeding ground for several bird species.
5. Rural Park Betancuria
This is a natural area that protects the coastal range of Betancuria in the west of Fuerteventura. The park is characterised by its mosaic of dry meadows and scrublands, which are home to some fascinating plant species like the leafy King Juba, American agave and the prickly pear.
6. Protected Landscape of Vallebrón
Here you’ll find one of the island’s highest peaks, Muda Mountain, which stands at 690m. The area, however, earned its protected status because of its scientific value. This is partially due to the wild animals living here, but also thanks to the archaeological site with a peculiar burial system. You’ll find it roughly 30 kilometers from the touristic centre of Corralejo.
7. Playa del Matorral Site of Scientific Interest
This site is a flooded marsh, and has caught the eye of scientists thanks to the rich flora halophyte (also known as salt marshes). It is also a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) as it is a stopping off point for migratory seabirds that use it as a resting place.
8. Natural Monument Caldera de Gairía
The island of Fuerteventura goes back millions of years and was originally formed after a volcano eruption. But some of the volcanoes on the island are a little newer. This volcanic cone was actually caused by an eruption in the Middle Ages, and is home to an impressive ecosystem where even vegetables grow.
9. Natural Monument Montaña Cardón
You’ll find this volcano south of the city of Pajara, and you can’t miss it thanks to its red colouring and the surrounding flat terrain. There’s an official walking trail, which is well-signposted and you’ll even pass a chapel (Chapel of Tanquito).
10. Protected Landscape of Malpaís Grande
This area of Fuerteventura is also known as the Big Badlands, but don’t let that put you off. It is one of the wildest areas of Fuerteventura but it is also one of the most geologically fascinating areas of the island. The volcano erupted many years ago with thick lava which wasn’t able to flow very far, and cooled to create interesting rock formations. It also has the status of Special Protection Area for Birds.
Edited by Morag@BarrheadTravel