November can be a wonderful time to catch the summer by its tail without leaving Europe. When it’s cold and rainy and the days are short at home, you can take off the bulky clothes, jump into the ocean and get some tan within a few flight hours reach, at the Canarian Islands. Well, you’ll most likely jump out of the ocean as quickly as in, as the water is not really relaxing but still warmer than in May and definitely not colder than the North Sea during the hottest period.
On our way to the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura this time, our journey started with a delayed flight and, what I would have never expected, not a single changing pillow in the whole Terminal D of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. We had to change the little one on a bench, which was a struggle as the seats are separated by borders, so you cannot even spread the baby mat on a bench.
The airport is an interesting playground in itself: benches to climb, stairs to walk up and down, escalators to ride, a big hall to run in, trolleys to ride and so exciting planes and cars to watch through the huge windows.
As soon as we finally boarded and got seated, our baby girl fell asleep, without any assistance – so tired she was. When she woke up, there was a bag of toys waiting for her. We were giving the toys one by one but she was mostly interested in them for a few moments. The most interesting activity was to take everything out of the seat pockets and trying to put them back, climbing the seats, unlacing the shoes and playing with paper cups and tea bags. Well, books kept her attention too but most of the toys I’ve taken on board were useless.
From day one, even though the ocean was not very warm, our toddler loved it, she loved the waves, the sand and stones, and the beach was a great playground in itself.
Where to stay
Fuerteventura is not a big island. If you stay in the middle, both ends are easily reachable by car, so there is no point to change homes in order to see the whole island. We were staying at an Airbnb in Costa Calma, a calm and secluded place with a windsurfing school at the beach.
Fuerteventura cannot boast a well-developed transport system and it’s very cheap to rent a car, so the choice is obvious. Having done some research online, we picked Autoreisen and it was fine. One of the best things about them was no queue at the airport, unlike with the more known ones.
We did a few rides around the island, during the baby’s nap, as usual. There is one highway, the other roads are dirt roads, but our sedan did the job well, though to reach some remote beaches you’ll need a more powerful car.
Where and What to Eat
We were very much pleased with the food and service at the restaurants of Fuerteventura. The food was tasty and the service – as friendly and patient as can be (note, we were with a toddler and were quite lost what to order, enough to stretch one’s patience). Most of them are closed during the ‘siesta’ time, so be sure to check the opening hours of your chosen one.
Things to do
One day we went to the southern point of the island – Faro de Punto Jandia. It was very windy but really beautiful there. And that’s where we found our first gem-restaurant , El Caletón, with wonderful fish dishes and paella.
On our way back from Faro de Punto Jandia we stopped at the Morro Jable beach Playa del Matorral – a huge beach with an open-air museum which is like an oasis amidst a desert – a green spot surrounded by sands. The museum has only one exhibit – a Skeleton of a Sperm Whale. This whale stranded on one of the beaches of Fuerteventura and was monumentalized here, you will find more information on the spot.
Another day we traveled to the popular tourist town Corralejo, had lunch at the No 1, according to Tripadvisor (in November 2017), restaurant Fado Rock, (which was surprisingly even cheaper than the other one), spent some time at the dunes and headed home. The dunes are amazing with soft white fine sand and very beautiful. It was very windy though. To protect themselves from the strong winds, people dig holes in the sand and lie there. We were lucky enough to find a natural little hill and it was quiet and warm behind it. We didn’t spend much time at the dunes as it was not very warm and our toddler was getting tired.
It’s not only beaches to enjoy on Fuerteventura, you can get some beautiful views from the mountains too. We hiked to the highest peak of the island Pico de la Zarza (807 m) and watched the Cofete beach from above. Stunning views and quite an easy hike, but sometimes too windy. The lo fell asleep in the backpack (we love our Vaude) both on the way there and back and both times she was woken by wind gusts which upset her a lot and we had to make stops to let the little legs stretch a bit and explore the mountain landscape, however scarce it was. But we made it. And she made it, her first summit to the top, being 16 months old. The way back was faster (1,5 hr vs 2,5) but more tiresome.
The beach was already cold when we got there on that day – the days in November are short, but we got some tan during our hike, wearing shorts and t-shirts (of course with sunscreen 50, it’s a must there).
The week of summer flew fast by and we are back to cold and rainy Holland but with nice and warm memories, beautiful pictures and even some brown tint on the skin.
More tips on how to travel with a small child here.