Fuerteventura isn’t all beaches and volcanic landscape—history and culture are highlights too, best discovered in the island’s most historic village, Betancuria. Named after the French explorer Jean de Béthencourt, who founded the town (and conquered the island), Betancuria served as Fuerteventura’s capital until the late 1800s. It was selected as such in hopes that its inland location would be protected from pirates; unfortunately that wasn’t quite the case, as almost the entire village was virtually destroyed in the 1500s (and later rebuilt, of course).
Expect to find a quintessential Canarian pueblo here, including whitewashed buildings set upon the backdrop of a volcanic landscape. A visit here doesn’t just promise a charming town either: you can learn more about the region’s inhabitants and history with a trip to the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography. Also of note is the Santa Maria Church, with its humble white exterior, and lavishly baroque interior altar.
If you wish to truly experience the island’s culture, however, then plan to visit the larger region of Betancuria during the third week of September, when Fuerteventura celebrates the Pilgrimage of Peña. This is when people from all over the island—and even beyond, from elsewhere in the Canaries—make the journey to the region of Betancuria to pay tribute to Fuerteventura’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Peña. Though religious, other cultural traditions are celebrated during this time too. (Note that the celebration takes place in Vega de Rio Palmas, which is located a short drive away from the town of Betancuria.)
Betancuria is situated near the center of the island, and just a short drive away from Antigua. Note that the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography is closed both Sundays and Mondays.