An eternal question: Lanzarote or Fuerteventura?

Anyone who has ever been on both islands will always get asked the same question: 

Of the two islands, which one would you recommend me to visit?

Well, it depends. It depends on many factors, because each island of the Canary Archipelago has many features that makes it stand apart from all the other ones. 

Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are no exception. 

Generally speaking, Lanzarote is known as an island of volcanoes and Fuerteventura as an island of beaches. So, right from the start, you can have a rough idea about what you’ll find on each one and decide if that’s what you’d like to see on your vacation. 

However, does this mean that this is all we’ll find on either one?

Not really. 

In Lanzarote, apart from volcanoes, there are some amazing beaches and many places of interest to be visited. Fuerteventura, besides long beaches, has some charming spots that are full of history. 

So, let’s go a bit more into detail about what each of these islands has to offer in order to decide which one would best fit the vacation we have in mind.

Lanzarote, the Island of volcanoes.

It got this nickname for a big reason: from a bird’s-eye view you can spot over 300 volcanic cones, which give it quite a peculiar appearance. All you have to do is search the Internet and take a look at satellite photos of the easternmost island in the Canary Archipelago. If you have the time, I invite you to count all craters that you see. 

If you’ve finished counting them, let’s continue. 

Just like Fuerteventura, Lanzarote does not have very elevated islands, so the clouds often skip both of them, making them quite dry and not too green, except for the oases formed by the tourist resorts.

However, this is a minor detail that does not detract a thing from its value. 

More than a quarter of Lanzarote’s surface is badlands, remains of solidified lava, which provide a unique appearance and beauty to the island and create landscapes that seem to be from a science fiction film.

Watching Lanzarote’s lava fields is like viewing a sunset from Mars. I invite you to stand very still, waiting for a roaring dragon to show up at any time, or a some strange creature from afar, carrying a ring towards an active volcano. 

Be that as it may, it has an essence that captivates and you wouldn’t want to miss out on any details. 

Apart from spectacular landscapes, Lanzarote has various Tourist Centres where you can become better acquainted with the island’s history and the creative path of one of its favourite sons: Cesar Manrique, who was able to perceive the beauty of its native land and enhance it with his art. 

Its white-coloured villages stand out against the black undertones of the ground and offer a striking contract with the blue waters of its coasts. 

Moreover, if you like to walk, Lanzarote offers trails of different distances and difficulties for a family or solo hike, depending on your preferences. 

And, if you’d like to stretch out in the sand and enjoy the sea, here are some most inviting beaches to do it: from the magnificent beaches of Papagayo at the south and up to the mythical Famara, where you will also find yourself in the middle of the island’s surfing hotspot. 

Would you like to do something different?

Well, Lanzarote has one of the most visited diving points in Europe: Playa Chica. It’s the perfect spot for diving into its waters and observing the amount of marine life that goes on beneath the surface. 

What else could Lanzarote offer you?

A big point in favour of this island are its distances, because, at its longest point, it measures no more than 60 km or 37 miles. This makes all journeys on the island quick and painless, especially for the little ones in the family. 

With some good planning, you can visit the most important points of interest in Lanzarote in four days and you’ll still have time to kick back and relax.

Fuerteventura, more than sun and beach.

With over 80 km or 50 miles of beaches, Fuerteventura leads the list of beach destinations on the islands. Everyone who is fond of amazing beaches should make a mandatory stop at the “majorero” island, as it was called by the natives, home to the best beaches in the archipelago.

They range from small bays filled with black sand to the endless white sand beaches bathed by crystal-clear turquoise waters. 

Everything is possible on its shores, from snorkelling in the calmest bays to surfing the waves at its wildest beaches. 

Fuerteventura has a contrast between its shore line and its interior. 

Its villages have some spots that could well seem an oasis in the middle of the desert. Each one has an essence that is only maintained in the most remote of places. 

Driving in Fuerteventura is quite easy because most of its roads are flat and wide, which makes up for the larger distances between one point and the other.   

Another point in favour of Fuerteventura is its geological history. 

Even though both islands are the oldest in the archipelago, it is only on Fuerteventura that you can visit geological remains from the basal complex that are over 100 million years old. It’s an amazing experience for curious individuals and those who are fond of rocks. 

The most important part of this expedition is that it is not necessary to immerse yourself in the water or know anything about speleology, because the sediments are located on the ground surface and it is very easy to reach them via a path. 

It’s a real Indiana Jones-style adventure. 

However, we’re sure that visitor’s attention will be captured by the eternal sense of tranquillity. 

This is true even when the place is full of tourists in the middle of August. If you would like to enjoy a day on the beach without being overwhelmed by overcrowding, the extensive coasts of Fuerteventura will always have a quiet spot where you can avoid the commotion without having to touch the towel set down by the person closest to you.

Visiting the most important spots of this island will take you three to four days, and you’ll still have time for some water sports like surfing. 

Things that Lanzarote and Fuerteventura have in common.

If there is something that links both islands, it is, without a doubt, the gastronomy.

On both islands, you’ll be able to enjoy traditional Canary Islands dishes, with fresh fish and seafood at very reasonable prices. Moreover, the variety in restaurants is so ample that you’ll have a hard time picking a spot to eat in both places. 

Another common point is hotel accommodation. Some locations are very popular among tourists, such as Puerto del Carmen in Lanzarote or Corralejo in Fuerteventura, and they are full of hotels and apartment buildings. However, you can always find fantastic accommodation in lesser-known areas in the interior such as Lajares or Haria

There is as much variety as there are tourists, so it is just a question of finding your perfect accommodation. 

Also, even though population density is greater in Lanzarote, you can enjoy beaches that are not overcrowded, and tranquillity in general, on both islands. It is true to the extent that these islands are not famous for their parties, but quite the opposite. 

Even though both islands have venues for going out and having a drink, taking advantage of your stay to enjoy everything that they offer is the best plan you can make. 

The best part is that they are so close to each other, you can visit both on the same trip. 

If you have a week and you feel like it, a short boat ride will bring you from Playa Blanca to Corralejo, and back, with departures available daily and with a broad timetable. 

The ideal approach would be spending four days on each island in order to see them without any rush. However, a whirlwind visit to one of them will allow you to get acquainted with your next vacation destination, because you’ll probably want to see more. 

Differences between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

Without a doubt, the biggest difference between the two islands is their size and the distance between different locations. 

While on the first one the longest car trip doesn’t take 30 minutes, it will take you over an hour to go from the northern part to the southern part on the second one. This estimate doesn’t include sightseeing stops.

This would be the biggest difference when choosing between these two destinations, because you will find beaches, nice weather, good food and interesting spots on both islands.

Bonus Track for Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

We have kept an ace up our sleeve for the end. 

Another similarity between both islands is that both have islets or islands that you can explore. This is not very common in this Archipelago. Even though there may be a lot of rocks in front of populated islands, not all of them can be visited, except for the ones listed below. 

In front of the Corralejo coast in Fuerteventura we can find the Lobos island. It is a small islet no bigger than 4,5 km² or 3 sq. miles where peace reigns. A visit to this natural spot with its crystal-clear bays will fill you with energy. If you’re going to spend a day here, we recommend that you book in advance your boat ticket and a meal at the only restaurant on the island. It is quite an experience. 

Lobos island is uninhabited, but if you hike its paths, you reach the lighthouse, where the lighthouse keeper once lived in absolute solitude. This is in total contrast to the island’s little pier, which receives the travellers who wish to see it on a daily basis. 

North of Lanzarote island is the Chinijo Archipelago, which is made up by La Graciosa island (the eighth Canary Island) and islets called Alegranza, Montana Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste. All of them are uninhabited, except for La Graciosa. 

Boats that connect Lanzarote with La Graciosa depart from Orzola pier on a daily basis, so you can organise a day trip to this wonderful island. 

Going to La Graciosa is like travelling back in time. The are no paved roads at any of its two urban areas. The only way to move around the island is by walking, biking or hiring a Jeep with a driver service that is offered there.

As far as the rest of islets, only Alegranza can be visited with a scheduled trip. 

So, here you have just one more reason for choosing your next destination. 

However, to be honest, if you have more than a week of holiday, and you’d like to take the most advantage of it because you like living to the fullest, we recommend that you split your trip between these two islands. Four days on each one will be enough to visit the most important spots.

However, if you prefer a more relaxed trip, a week on any of the two will be enough for easily visiting the points of interest, enjoying the weather and relaxing on the beach. 

As you can see, your wish is our command. 

This article has been written with all the love we feel for the Canary Islands. We hope you enjoy your visit to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura as much as we have enjoyed writing this section. 

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