La Oliva is a dreamy little town in the centre of the beautiful island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. Its narrow streets are scattered with historic buildings, and this quiet and authentic spot is ideal for a relaxed holiday in the sun. It boasts some stunning beaches to the east, around Corralejo, which is a popular resort famous for its gorgeous dunes. Just to the north of La Oliva are the volcanic badlands of Malpaís de la Arena, a gorgeous nature reserve that is perfect for hiking and enjoying spectacular views. To the west is the pretty fishing village of El Cotillo, which has more beautiful beaches. And to the south is the ‘magic mountain’ of Tindaya, which you can climb for breathtaking views.
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La Oliva is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a mixture of quiet, rural charm and fantastic beaches. The historic little town is a delight, its picturesque streets dotted with handsome old buildings. You can go hiking and picnicking in the beautiful Malpaís de la Arena nature reserve just to the north, or head east to find some spectacular beaches around the lively resort of Corralejo. Corralejo also boasts some magnificent dunes, which are also a protected nature reserve. Just a short drive west will bring you to the charming fishing village of El Cotillo, which also boasts some of the island’s most beautiful beaches.
You’ll find a sprinkling of restaurants in La Oliva, offering tapas, local fare and pizza. There are more options in Corralejo, where you can sit out on the waterfront and tuck into deliciously fresh seafood – including plenty of octopus, a local speciality. Other Canarian dishes that you’ll find everywhere papas arrugudas (‘wrinkly potatoes’), which are served with mojo sauce. The red mojo is slightly spicy, while the green mojo is made with herbs. If you’re heading off for a picnic, pick up some of the island’s famous queso Majorero, the delicious goat cheese. And for dessert you could try the gofío mousse, which is made with a local grain has been central to Canarian cuisine since the time of the Guanches.
La Oliva is a great family destination if you’re looking for plenty of peace and quiet. The little town has shops, restaurants and cafés on hand, plus squares and play areas for kids to run around. There are scores of truly stunning beaches within a short drive, from the fabulous beaches of Corralejo to those around the fishing village of El Cotillo. All boast fine, golden sand, transparent waters, and many also have great facilities. There are two shallow and family-friendly beaches in El Cotillo, La Concha and Los Lagos, which are particularly good if you have young children. Older kids and teens will love the kite-surfing and surfing beaches, found in both El Cotillo and Corralejo.
La Oliva is a rural town in the heart of Fuerteventura, which makes a great base if you enjoy hiking and a host of water sports. The beaches in nearby Corralejo and El Cotillo are famous for kite-surfing and surfing, and are suitable for people of all levels. You’ll find plenty of surf schools in the area where you can take lessons and hire equipment. You could also take a boat trip from Corralejo to the Isla de Lobos nature reserve, which has some fantastic walks along with breathtaking and unspoilt beaches that are perfect for snorkelling. Just outside La Oliva is the Malpaís de la Arena nature reserve, a stunning, volcanic landscape which has more wonderful walking paths. You could also climb the ‘magic mountain’ of Tindaya – a place for pilgrimage for centuries – to soak up the spectacular views.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in La Oliva. The lively resort of Corralejo is just 10 minutes away by car, and features some of the most spectacular beaches on the island, backed by the famous white dunes. You’ll find a string of beaches stretching for 8 kilometres south of Corralejo, all with gorgeous, golden sand and clear waters. Those closest to Corralejo have facilities such as parasols and sun beds for rent, while others are great for kite-surfing and surfing. There are more breathtaking beaches around El Cotillo to the east of La Oliva. These include the famous ‘Surf Beach’ (also known as Piedra Playa), plus the family-friendly beaches of La Concha and Los Lagos, which have sheltered, shallow waters that are ideal for young children.
You won’t find much in the way of nightlife in sleepy La Oliva, although there is a handful of bars and cafés where you can sit out on balmy nights and enjoy a drink or two. You’ll find more options in Corralejo, which is a vibrant resort (by the standards of tranquil Fuerteventura), and boasts plenty of bars and clubs. It’s particularly lively in summer, but things slow down considerably during the winter. The island capital of Puerto del Rosario is only 10 miles away, and offers a wider range of nightlife, or you could head to the charming fishing village of El Cotillo to enjoy some drinks out by the pretty port.
If you’re looking for a mixture of rural charm and fabulous beaches, then La Oliva is a fantastic choice for a romantic holiday. The historic town is a charmer, with narrow streets overlooked by pretty old buildings. A short drive east or west will bring you to the some of the finest beaches on Fuerteventura – long, breathtaking strands of golden sand. You could take in the restaurants and nightlife of nearby Corralejo, which is also the starting point for a number of romantic boat trips. Or take a picnic and hike into the wilderness of the Malpaís de la Arena nature reserve to enjoy some peace and seclusion, as well as fabulous views.
La Oliva may be small, but it has a surprisingly vibrant cultural life. The local tourist office runs guided walks to some of the town’s most historic sights, which include the church of La Calendaria, and the handsome 18th-century Colonel’s House, built for the island’s military governors. It has been beautifully restored and is now a cultural centre, hosting talks, performances, and other cultural events. You could also visit the Centre of Canarian Art, which has exhibitions and other activities. The main performing arts venue in the area is the auditorium in Corralejo, where you can see all kinds of music, drama and dance.