Stretching along La Oliva’s western coast, the El Cotillo Beaches are some of the finest in the Canary Islands and Europe, captivating visitors with their breathtaking beauty and diverse offerings. The allure of El Cotillo lies not only in its pristine shores but also in the plethora of water sports and activities it presents. For those seeking to revel in various beach experiences, there’s no need to travel to different towns; simply stroll along to the next beach, and a world of aquatic enjoyment awaits!

Aerial View of Piedra Playa
Aerial View of Piedra Playa – ©simonetognon

El Cotillo’s Historical Ups and Downs

Once regarded as the seat of power for Maxorata, the northern aboriginal kingdom of Fuerteventura, El Cotillo’s historical narrative remained relatively obscure before the 15th-century Spanish conquest of the Canaries. However, a significant transformation unfolded in the following two centuries, propelling it into the status of a thriving fishing village and port. This newfound prosperity, however, brought with it the constant menace of pirate raids, prompting the construction of the defensive bastion known as Castillo del Tostón in 1743.

Over the years, El Cotillo experienced a wane in its commercial importance, yet its resilient small populace clung to a steadfast lifeline – fishing. This maritime pursuit sustained the community until the dawn of the 1980s, when the paradisiacal allure of its shores captivated the attention of the burgeoning tourism industry. Since then, El Cotillo has earned acclaim as one of the most captivating coastlines not only in the Canary Islands but throughout Europe.

Why Visit the El Cotillo Beaches

Like a collection of precious gems, El Cotillo unveils an extensive coastline adorned with a series of stunning beaches, each distinct yet equally enchanting. Its expansive sandy shores, ranging from pristine white to golden hues, remain free of the clutter of sunbeds and parasols, presenting an idyllic haven for holidaymakers seeking unspoiled beauty and crystal-clear azure waters.

The Tourist-Favorites

Playa de Los Lagos

Along the charming urban landscape of El Cotillo, where accommodations, restaurants, and cafes paint the scene, Playa de Los Lagos offers a harmonious blend of tranquility, excitement, and convenience. This pristine beach boasts a stretch of powdery white sand lapped by exhilarating waves experienced surfers find challenging yet paradisiacal. At low tide, its volcanic rocky formations cleverly transform into serene lagoons and natural pools, providing an idyllic setting for leisurely swims and adventurous snorkeling, particularly favored by families with children. These natural formations act as natural barriers, warding off large waves from reaching the shore.

Playa de la Concha

Close to the picturesque Faro del Tostón and a mere stroll away from Los Lagos Beach, Playa de la Concha is a serene oasis with calm waters and a welcoming ambiance. While it shares similarities with Los Lagos, such as the protective rocky reefs that morph into shallow lagoons during low tide, as well as catering to snorkelers and families with children, Playa de la Concha distinguishes itself with a more tranquil and less urbanized backdrop. This beach provides visitors with a secluded coastal retreat, allowing them to immerse themselves in the peaceful beauty of the surroundings.

Piedra Playa

Piedra Playa, also known as ‘Wild Beach’ or ‘Surfer’s Beach,’ is the ultimate haven for wave riders, attracting surfers, kite surfers, and windsurfers of different levels. Despite its name, which means ‘Stone Beach,’ suggesting a rocky place, it’s actually a long stretch of fine sand over 1,500 meters with few rock features. Perhaps the moniker alludes to the rough gravel road that must be traveled to get there.

Stay active in Piedra Playa
El Cotillo’s Surfer’s Beach – ©kasto

The beach, flanked by cliffs at both ends, embodies the thrill of the surfing culture, offering a perfect blend of scenic beauty and adventurous water sports in a setting where the elements meet the surfers’ spirit. For those new to surfing, El Cotillo boasts excellent surf schools for an introduction to the exhilarating waves.

The Coastal Hidden Gems

Playa de Escaleras

Playa de Escaleras, situated to the south of El Cotillo, is secluded by the protective embrace of surrounding cliffs. This beach maintains a tranquil ambiance, seldom crowded even during the bustling summer months, and offers a unique respite from the winds, remaining surprisingly warm. Accessible primarily by car, visitors go on a brief off-road drive before arriving at this coastal haven. An additional descent down a set of stairs awaits adventurers. Notably, the golden shore offers a clothing-optional environment, allowing visitors to embrace the freedom of their surroundings.

Pebbly Harbor Beaches

El Cotillo’s pebbly harbor beaches are a delightful contrast to the more expansive sandy stretches in the area. The smaller beach, adjacent to the new harbor, primarily caters to the local fishermen, creating a tranquil setting for their daily activities. On the other hand, the second pebbly beach takes on a vibrant role as the venue for the annual fiesta held every August. Both beaches offer a quieter retreat compared to the bustling tourist spots, allowing visitors to appreciate the authentic and local essence of El Cotillo’s coastal landscape.

The New Harbor of El Cotillo
Vibrant boats in the new harbor with Castillo de El Cotillo as a backdrop  – ©tonobalaguer

Dining Options

Beyond the array of recreational activities that grace the El Cotillo beaches, this coastal expanse is also adorned with an abundance of delightful restaurants. Whether you’re indulging in the thrill of a new water sport, basking in the sun on the pristine white sand, or unwinding by the inviting rock pools, one thing remains certain – exploring the culinary offerings of El Cotillo should be a priority on every visitor’s agenda as it adds an enriching layer to the overall experience.

Azzurro Chill Out

This restaurant is celebrated for its culinary delights paired with breathtaking views and unforgettable sunsets. Their menu boasts a diverse selection, with standout dishes including the prawn and mushroom tagliatelle elegantly presented in a Parmesan shell, the irresistible tiramisu, and a delightful goat cheese platter. For those seeking a taste of the local cuisine, the grilled octopus and the bread served with Canarian dips are culinary highlights that capture the essence of the Canary Islands.

La Vaca Azul

For the finest seafood and Canarian gastronomy, La Vaca Azul offers a culinary adventure showcasing the ocean’s bounty. From the sumptuous seafood paella and tuna steak to the perfectly grilled octopus and king prawns, each bite is a testament to this food haven’s commitment to freshness. The menu also features Canarian specialties, including Canarian potatoes, served with three mojo sauces, providing a taste of local tradition. Beyond the delectable cuisine, La Vaca Azul invites patrons to savor their meals with a side of breathtaking views from the top floor, overlooking the old harbor, making it a feast for both the palate and the eyes.

Olivo Corso

Olivo Corso is one of the top restaurants in El Cotillo, and for good reason: the food is delicious and the prices are just right. Among its best-sellers are the savory goat stew and the crispy fried pork paired with perfectly seasoned potatoes. Seafood enthusiasts can indulge in the flavors of Galician octopus or savor the unique caramelized octopus creation. The menu also features delights such as garlic prawns, gazpacho, and a sumptuous grilled octopus on a bed of sweet mashed potatoes. For those with a sweet tooth, endings are equally divine with options like the decadent cheesecake and the inventive Gofio mousse drizzled with honey and nuts.

How to Get There

El Cotillo is easily accessible by car or public transit from several of Fuerteventura’s main cities. Here are instructions for some major towns:

From Puerto del Rosario

Driving: Head northwest on FV-3, then take FV-1 and FV-10 to reach El Cotillo.

Public Transportation: Bus line 07 runs from Puerto del Rosario to El Cotillo. Check the current schedule and stops, as they may vary.

From Corralejo

Driving: Take FV-1 south and then switch to FV-10 to reach El Cotillo.

Public Transportation: Bus line 08 runs from Corralejo to El Cotillo. Check the current schedule and stops, as they may vary.

From Caleta de Fuste

Driving: Travel west on FV-2, then take FV-1 and FV-10 to reach El Cotillo.

Public Transportation: There might not be a direct bus from Caleta de Fuste. Consider taking a bus to Puerto del Rosario and then transferring to a bus heading to El Cotillo.

From Morro Jable

Driving: Head north on FV-2. Continue on FV-2, then take FV-56, FV-20, FV-207, and FV-10 to reach El Cotillo.

Public Transportation: Bus lines 01 and 10 connect Morro Jable to Puerto del Rosario, from where you can transfer to a bus to El Cotillo.

From Gran Tarajal

Driving: Go north on FV-2, FV-50, FV-20, FV-207 and FV-10 to El Cotillo.

Public Transportation: There may not be a direct bus; consider taking a bus to Puerto del Rosario and then transfer to El Cotillo.

Always check the latest bus schedules and routes, as they may be subject to change. Additionally, driving directions may vary based on the specific location within each town.

Make the Most Out of Your Island Vacation

Embrace the opportunity to transform your island vacation into an extraordinary experience by choosing a destination blessed with a multitude of splendid beaches. In El Cotillo, the coastal paradise awaits, where you can seamlessly transition from a nudist enclave to a surfer’s haven in mere minutes. Whether you prefer the tranquility of a natural rock pool or the serenity of a secluded waterfront, El Cotillo offers a diverse tapestry of experiences. Imagine indulging in all these facets of paradise within a single vacation or even in the span of just one remarkable day. In El Cotillo, the breadth of your exploration and the richness of your experiences are limited only by your adventurous spirit.