How to get from The Netherlands to the sunshine (and back) with your toddler, enjoying your adventures along the way!
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 yourself a tan within a few flight hours reach, in the Canary Islands. You’ll most likely jump out of the ocean as quickly as in, as the water is not really relaxing, though still warmer than the North Sea during the hottest period.
There is a direct 5-hour flight from Schiphol to Fuerteventura. It's the best when the flight is scheduled during the little one's nap, thus, everybody can have some rest. In any case, take plenty of snacks, water and favourite things to entertain your busy boss. The most interesting activity for our toddler was taking everything out of the seat pockets and trying to put the things 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 we’d taken were useless.
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.
The best restaurant, in our opinion, was El Caletón at the Faro de Punto Jandia, it offers delicious seafood and you can order a huge paella if you are travelling with a big group. The best, according to Tripadvisor (in November 2017), restaurant in Corralejo Fado Rock Restaurant was surprisingly even cheaper than the other one. The service and food are more refined but a little bit less hearty, compared to the one above.
Things to do
For us, the fun started at the airport: with a delayed flight and without a single changing pillow in the whole Terminal D. 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. A big airport is actually a huge playground: there are benches to climb, stairs to walk up and down, escalators to ride, a big hall to run around, trolleys to ride and so many exciting planes and cars to watch through the huge windows. The beach is an excellent playground as well. From day one, even though the ocean was not very warm, our toddler loved to jump with the waves, play with the sand and stones. On many beaches there is no shade, so don't forget to put on sunscreen or clothes. In the evening it gets quite chilly at the beach, so be sure to take some additional layers if you plan to stay a bit later.
Faro de Punto Jandia - the southern point of the island. It is very windy but really beautiful there. And that’s where we found our first gem-restaurant, El Caleton, 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 the only exhibit - a Skeleton of a Sperm Whale. This whale stranded on one of the beaches of Fuertevenura and was monumentalized here, you will find more information on the spot.
Corralejo - a popular tourist town and beach with dunes, where the most of life and crime of the island flourish. The dunes are beautiful and the soft fine white sand is pleasant to feel. It is very windy there 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 quiet and warm behind it.
It’s not only the 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, 2,5 hour up and 1,5 down. Sometimes it gets too windy. If you are travelling with a baby or toddler, a backpack carrier is a perfect solution (we have Vaude but Deuter and Osprey also have good ones) - they have a big pocket under the baby seat where your essentials can be carried. Don't forget to take your lunch and sunscreen with you.
Julia Smile is an expat mother who is passionate about travelling with her family and writing about these exciting experiences in her blog. You can find out more on her blog frogsinthebox.com or Instagram account www.instagram.com/frogsinthebox_travel_family/
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