Last Updated on 16th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
One of the more charming towns in Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands is El Cotillo. Located on the western Coast of the Island, it’s a great spot to enjoy some local fare, soak up the sunset, and is a great base from which to explore some of the more unusual geographical features of the volcanic Canary Island. Here’s your guide to the best things to do in El Cotillo, as well as what to know before you go.
If you’re planning a trip to Fuerteventura, be sure to check out our suggested 3 days in Fuerteventura itinerary.
Where is El Cotillo?
El Cotillo is a small town in the northwest of Fuerteventura, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The settlement boasts a permanent population of around 1300 inhabitants, though this swells in the summer time when all of the hotels and inns are full for the high season.
The Fuerteventura town is best-known for its beaches, with boast sandy stretches and crystal clear waters. You could easily while away a few hours swimming in the water or even going surfing and kite-surfing. If you’re visiting the island for the first time, here’s a 3 day in Fuerteventura itinerary.
Getting to El Cotillo
El Cotillo lies around 20 km southwest of Corralejo (the largest town on Fuerteventura) and is around a 20 minute drive away. 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. There is a bus, the number 8, which is direct between Corralejo and El Cotillo. Buses run approximately once an hour during the daytime and take around 40 minutes.
Alternatively, if you want to get a glimpse of El Cotillo but don’t feel like renting a car or navigating public transportation, then you can book this Fuerteventura North Full-Day Tour.
Best things to do in El Cotillo
Thanks to its status as an old fishing village, El Cotillo enjoys an enviable location, with easy links to the rest of the island. Unlike some of the resorts on the island, the town has grown fairly slowly over the years, meaning that it still retains a laid back vibe to this day.
Truth be told, one of the best ways to enjoy this small Fuerteventura town is by sitting in one of the many cafés, sampling some of the local cuisine, and watching the world go by. The town is particularly popular among surfers and so there are plenty of quirky cafés, surf schools, and surf shops scattered across El Cotillo.
See the sunset
If there’s one activity I saw recommended over and over again during our stay in Fuerteventura, it was to go and see the sunset in El Cotillo. Since the sun sets in the West, there are a myriad of spots where you can see the sun set over the Atlantic ocean from across the town and its surroundings.
If you want a particularly good spot to enjoy the sea dipping below the horizon, you should be sure to arrive earlier (around half an hour prior to sunset, at least) so that you can secure a good spot for viewing!
El Tostón Castle
While admiring the sea from the edge of the town, you’ll soon spy a number of old fortifications, including El Tostón Castle. Though not much to look at (and unfortunately, you can’t always enter insde- when you can, it costs a few euro to visit), this spot offers exceptional views of the sea at sunset.
If you do manage to get inside, the basement is home to a small exhibition detailing the history of the town and castle, while the top floor offers beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. The castle dates back to the 16th century and is believed to have been built as a defensive structure during a period of frequent pirate attacks on the island.
El Cotillo is especially famous for its plethora of beaches and lagoons, which draw visitors from far and wide on an annual basis. Some of the best beaches in and around El Cotillo include the sandy El Cotillo Beach and Playa de los Lagos.
Wander around the town
Stroll around El Cotillo and you’ll soon discover the quintessentially Fuerteventura buildings, which are largely whitewashed with blue shutters. Street art is around almost every corner and there are plenty of public statues which are dedicated to the sea, as well as people of note.
El Cotillo Sign
When venturing across the island, you’ll soon discover that almost every major town in Fuerteventura has a larger than life sign installation bearing the name of that specific town. There are actually two signs in El Cotillo.
The newer one in El Cotillo was installed at Calle 3 de Abril de 1979 in 2020 and has sparked a fair bit of controversy, with some people loving it and others claiming that it is ugly and out of keeping with the rest of the charming town.
Sample local food
There are a number of foodie hotspots in El Cotillo where you can sample local food and drink. If you’re looking for a good Spanish tapas bar, then I recommend going to none other than Las Cazuelitas.
This cosy bar has seating both inside and outside and serves up a variety of delicious tapas plates served together with hot and cold drinks. I particularly recommend sampling the peppers and the smoothies.
As El Cotillo is a fishing village, it’s one of the top places to go on the island for fish-forward dishes. There are lots of bars open during lunch and evening, though the bars and restaurants can get pretty busy at night, especially during the weekends in high season.
El Toston lighthouse
The lighthouse of El Cotillo is located on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular spot for sightseeing and photography. It was built in the late 19th century to help guide ships safely into the port of nearby Corralejo.
Candy striped in red and white bands, the lighthouse is a cylindrical tower made of stone. It stands at a height of 33 meters and today hosts a small museum where visitors can can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding coast and countryside.
Labyrinth of Wolf Patton
Though not technically in El Cotillo and actually located a short drive away, one of the more unique art installations that we enjoyed visiting during our time on Fuerteventura was the labyrinth of Wolf Patton (location: Labirinth, 35650 El Cotillo, Las Palmas, Spain).
This labyrinth is made of stone and you can solve is by wandering through the pebbled paths which are laid out on the ground. I wouldn’t particularly go out of my way to see it, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
In order to reach the El Cotillo Labyrinth, you’ll want to put your maps directions as La maxada (a camping cabin). Once you’ve arrived, you car park up your car in the car park before walking on foot to the labyrinth. The installation is out in the open so I wouldn’t go in the middle of the day and recommend wearing suncream and bringing along a hat!
Molino del Roque
Whatever time of the year you visit, you’ll soon discover that Fuerteventura is an incredibly windy island, and so over the centuries islanders have made use of this wind power in the form of constructing windmills.
There are windmills scattered all over Fuerteventura, and the one closes to El Cotillo is Molino del Roque, which you’ll see if you opt to visit the labyrinth as it’s on the side of the road on the way to La maxada. This little windmill that is actually private property and so can only be viewed and admired from the roadside.
Barranco de los Enamorados
One of the most fun and interesting geological formations that visitors can see on the island of Fuerteventura is the Barranco de los Enamorados, which means the Ravine of the Enamoured.
Located a short drive away from the seaside town of El Cotillo, the fossilised sand dunes are sometimes also known as the Barranco Encantado or even Encantados of Fuerteventura. You can wander through the ravine and marvel at the geographical phenomenon.
Where to stay in El Cotillo
Thanks to its status as one of the most popular places to stay in Fuerteventura, particularly among those who love water sports, there are a number of places to stay in and around the town. Just be sure to book your accommodation as soon as you know your travel dates so as to avoid disappointment.
Mid-range: This hotel is conveniently located in the heart of all the action, close to many bars and restaurants. Amenities include a rooftop outdoor pool, free parking, and a restaurant on site. Check prices and availability here.
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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.