Last Updated on 16th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
One of the most charming and beautiful towns in Fuerteventura is Betancuria, one of the oldest and most historic towns in the Canary Islands, not to mention the former capital city of Fuerteventura. Here’s your guide to the best things to do in Betancuria.
What is Betancuria known for?
Betancuria is most famous for being Fuerteventura’s former capital (the capital is now Puerto del Rosario), as well as its religious centre. The town is in the heart of the countryside and is pretty much as far away from the sea in Furteventura as it’s possible to get.
The town also operated as the capital of the Kingdom of the Canary Isles (the vassal state lasted from 1404 to 1448). The town was established in 1404 and is named for its founder, Jean de Béthencourt, who was a Norman conqueror.
After a raid by pirates in 1593, the capital was razed to the ground before being rebuilt and remaining the capital of Fuerteventura until 1834. Today, the town is one of the most popular places to visit on the island on account of its numerous historic buildings and smattering of cafés.
Those wishing to learn even more about the town would do well to visit the tourist office which is located close to the main church. The easiest way to get around the Canary Islands is by car as public transportation is limited and some of the best hidden gems and best locations are only accessible if you can drive to them.
We rented with Cicar and it was one of the best car rental experiences we’ve ever had. For more Spain inspiration, be sure to check out our guide to the best-kept secrets of Spain. Otherwise, check out these top Spain quotes.
If you’re planning a trip to Fuerteventura, be sure to check out our suggested 3 days in Fuerteventura itinerary.
Where is Betancuria?
This beautiful Fuerteventura town is located in the very heart of the island, making it somewhat landlocked as opposed to some of the other towns in Fuerteventura. If you’re visiting the island for the first time, here’s a Fuerteventura itinerary.
Best things to do in Betancuria
Situated on the fringes of town, the former site of a convent has since been used to build a church. What’s particularly unique about this spot is that the church is actually abandoned and missing its roof, making for an interesting photo opportunity.
The church is free to visit and is open for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With this being said, the ecclesiastical building is best visited during daylight hours as there is little artificial lighting around and so it wouldn’t be worth visiting at night!
Ermita de San Diego (hermitage)
Yet another ecclesiastical building on the fringes of town is the Ermita de San Diego. This historic site is located close to the Convento de San Buenaventura and so can be visited at the same time. The hermitage is in slightly better condition than the convent, though is also in fairly poor repair.
Iglesia de Santa María de Betancuria
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Betancuria is the Iglesia de Santa María de Betancuria, which is located within the designated Historic Site of Betancuria. The original church on site was constructed in the Gothic style in the 15th-century, before being reconstructed in the Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque styles centuries later.
The plaza directly in front of the church is one of the loveliest sites in the town. There are a handful of benches under the palm trees where you can sit down, relax, and watch the world go by.
Stroll the streets
One of the most charming activities in Betancuria is simply to stroll around the streets and allow your feet to guide you along the cobbled lanes. Just be sure to bring your camera with you as the architecture is well worth capturing!
Mirador Corrales de Guize
For one of the most beautiful and interesting scenic viewpoints in the entirety Fuerteventura, you simply need to drive to Mirador Corrales de Guize, which is a 5-10 minute drive from the centre of Betancuria.
A viewpoint from 600m above sea level, there are also larger than life sculptures at the top which overlook the rest of the island below. The statues represent 2 kings which are several metres in height.
Arco de las Peñitas
One of the most interesting geological formations in the entirety of Fuerteventura is located just a few kilometres away from Betancuria in the form of Arco de las Peñitas.
The walk from the village to the natural stone archway is long and arduous, so we instead recommend heading to the designated car park and walking up from there. Here’s a guide on how to visit the Arco de las Peñitas.
Canary Islands good to Know
In order to get to out of the way and off the beaten track places, you’ll need to rent a car. We rented a car with Cicar. They are hands down the best car rental experience I’ve ever had.
Since the Canaries are islands out at sea, evenings can get chilly (even in the summer months). Packing layers and bringing a jacket is always a good idea.
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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.