Last updated on October 24, 2022 by Wandering our World
The volcanic Canary Islands archipelago is blessed with year-round sunshine and has been a favorite vacation destination amongst Europeans ever since the post-war holiday boom. Las Islas Canarias, as the Spanish call the island group, consists of seven main islands and a number of smaller islets, with Lanzarote and Fuerteventura being the two closest to the African coast. These two islands attract large numbers of tourists each year, but which one will suit your holiday plans the best?
Lanzarote is characterized by wild, volcanic national parks; gentle surf beaches; vineyards, and charming resorts on the island’s southern coast catering to package deals. The nightlife is fun and arguably better than Fuerteventura, and the hiking and water sports are epic.
Fuerteventura is the second largest Canary Island, after Tenerife, and is an excellent location for a relaxing beach holiday or for adventure sports enthusiasts. It’s more laid-back than Lanzarote, but by no means boring.
Whether you are planning on spending your vacation lying supine in the sand with a good book, or hiking rugged volcanoes and kitesurfing, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote can deliver.
But the reality still remains that both islands are actually quite different, despite being so close to each other.
That’s where we can help! Right here we use our knowledge of these two Spanish islands to show you which has the better beaches, nightlife, hotels, which is cheaper, which is better for families and digital nomads, and much more. Let’s get started!
- Which Is Easier To Get To?
- Which Is Easier To Get Around?
- Which Has The Best Vibe?
- Which Is Better For Beaches?
- Which Has The Best Hotels?
- Which Is Better For Water Sports?
- Which Is Better For Hiking?
- Which Has The Best Nightlife?
- Which Is Best For Families?
- Which Is Better For Digital Nomads?
- Which Is More Expensive?
- What Time Of Year Is Best?
Which Is Easier To Get To?
The Canary Islands, with their popularity, are some of the easiest European holiday destinations to reach. The archipelago boasts eight international airports, with one on each of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
César Manrique-Lanzarote Airport (ACE) is located in the center of Lanzarote’s bustling tourism area on its southern coast.
Whilst El Matorral Airport (FUE), on Fuerteventura, sits in the center of the island’s east coast, close to popular areas like Caleta de Fuste and Corralejo.
Both airports are well served with countless flights from across Europe. Reaching either of these Canary Islands should pose no problem, although, with its larger airport, it is maybe slightly easier to find a flight to Lanzarote.
Which Is Easier To Get Around?
Once you have arrived, you will find both islands relatively simple to move around. Both Lanzarote and Fuerteventura have decent roads and some public transport options to help you discover the natural beauty of these islands.
Lanzarote’s public bus service, known locally as guaguas, is a great way to get out and about if you’re happy to take your time. The buses are the most economical way to explore the island away from your resort. IntercityBus Lanzarote is a great bus company too, and their website has a list of routes and timetables to help you plan your island exploration.
If time is of the essence, there are plenty of taxis, especially in the busier resort areas, waiting to take you on your next adventure. The downside of taxis is that, over time, the fares start to add up. If you are planning on spending your time visiting different areas of the island each day, a more convenient and cost-efficient idea may be to hire a car. Car hire costs around €15-20 per day, and fuel is reasonably priced.
The travel situation is similar on Fuerteventura. The public buses connect most of the island’s cities and towns, and there are also plenty of taxis. The main bus company is called Tiadhe, and they operate around twenty routes across the island.
If you prefer to reach your destination without having to wait around for buses, the island’s taxis may be a better option. The island’s taxis charge around €1 per kilometer and are cheaper than taxis in London or Paris.
But again, if you plan to spend a lot of time traveling around the island, a hired car may be your best bet. Hire prices are similar to Lanzarote, and the island’s roads are in good condition.
Which Has The Best Vibe: Lanzarote or Fuerteventura?
Lanzarote’s tourism is centered around its south coast. Big resorts, lively nightlife, and plenty of places to grab a Full English breakfast to fuel your day. The busy area starts in Playa Honda, near the island’s main city of Arrecife, and ends in Puerto del Carmen to the west. This long strip is ideal for package tours and those seeking a bit of nightlife and mischief whilst on vacation.
The north coast of Lanzarote is a bit wilder and more rugged than other parts of the island. So if you are looking to enjoy the great outdoors on your vacation, then this is the best area to base yourself in. The north coast, with its windier beaches and national parks, attracts surfers, kitesurfers, and hikers.
Fuerteventura is renowned amongst the Canary Islands for its stunning beaches. Despite being the larger of the two islands, Fuerteventura is actually a little bit quieter and less rowdy than Lanzarote. The beaches and sand dunes are excellent for relaxing with a good book, but there are also plenty of watersports and hiking options.
Fuerteventura gives off a more chilled vibe than Lanzarote and is probably the better choice for a family holiday (more on that later) or for couples seeking a quieter location.
Which Is Better For Beaches?
Beach lovers will be pleased to know that both islands are blessed with some excellent beaches to enjoy. With year-round sun and plenty of sand to relax on, both Lanzarote and Fuerteventura can be an excellent choice for a vacation centered around the beaches.
Fuerteventura is often referred to as the beach capital of the Canaries, and many say the best beaches in the archipelago are on the island. But that’s not to say the other islands do not have great beaches either. The majority of beaches there are covered in soft-white sand, with a few more rugged options too.
The jewel in Fuerteventura’s crown is the Parque Natural de Corralejo in the island’s northeast corner. This eight-kilometer stretch of golden sand runs south from the town of Corralejo and is backed by dramatic sand dunes. This stretch is known as Grandes Playas, and it gets quieter the farther south you go.
Lanzarote’s beaches are a little more varied than the ones in Fuerteventura, and especially in the north, they are a little more rugged too. The northern volcanic beaches are a little more wind-swept too, but are perfect for surfing and kite-boarding. The busier beaches to the south are more relaxing and are the best beaches for topping up your tan and having a cooling dip in the blue ocean.
Though arguably not as nice as the ones on Fuerteventura, the popular beaches in Lanzarote have plenty of amenities and lots of activities and action.
Which Has The Best Hotels?
As hugely popular tourist destinations, both islands have a wide range of accommodation to choose from, to suit every budget. From top-end resorts to quaint B&Bs, both islands accommodate all types of travelers, and a bit of research and shopping around will have you booking your dream Canary Islands hotel in no time.
For Fuerteventura, the biggest choices will be in Corralejo, in the north of the island; Costa Calma and Morro Jable in the south; and Caleta de Fuste, in the middle of the east coast of the island.
For the widest choices in Lanzarote, check out the areas of Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise, Arrecife, and Puerto Del Carmen. You will definitely be spoiled for choice, but that can help keep the prices more competitive too.
As for recommendatons, on Lanzarote check out Secrets Lanzarote Resort & Spa which is an adult-only resort in Puerto Calero, a little over ten kilometers from the airport. This hotel also boasts four heated outdoor pools, as well as a free gym and sports facilities. There is also an excellent spa for when you need a little pampering. See rates and photos here.
For an excellent family choice, the Relaxia Lanzasur Club – Aqualava Water Park should definitely be checked out. There’s a clue in the name as to why this is a winner with families. If you book at their all-inclusive rate, you will get unlimited access to the Aqualava Water Park! There’s a bar with live entertainment, and an on-site supermarket, and the gym and four pools ensure there’s always something to do. See rates and photos here.
In Fuerteventura, one of the most impressive five-star hotels in the Canary Islands is the Iberostar Selection Fuerteventura Palace in the south of the island. Set directly on a gorgeous beach, expect celebrity treatment and some of the best sea views in the archipelago if staying here, alongside wonderful outdoor pools and some of the best food on the island. See rates and photos here.
Or if you’re really looking for the ultimate form of relaxation, then Secrets Bahía Real Resort & Spa will be perfect. This beachfront spa and resort is adults-only, has seven on-site restaurants, four bars, two outdoor pools and stunning seaside views, while still being close to the action in Corralejo. See rates and photos here.
Lanzarote or Fuerteventura: Which Is Better For Water Sports?
If you are planning on being active and enjoying the outdoors in Fuerteventura or Lanzarote, you will be pleased to know that both locations offer an array of water sports; surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all possible in either location.
Fuerteventura is windier than Lanzarote – and is actually the windiest Canary Island of them all due to the hot and dry winds hitting it from the Sahara – which makes it a great kitesurfing and windsurfing destination. As we’ll show you below.
Surfing is popular in both locations, but Lanzarote is known as the Hawaii of Europe for good reason!
With good waves throughout the year, the northern beaches of Lazarote have been a favorite hangout for surfers in the Canary Islands. The most popular surfing area on Lanzarote is Caleta, towards the eastern end of the north coast.
Fuerteventura is also popular for surfing, with the area around Corralejo offering excellent conditions and housing a couple of surf schools. But if you’re looking for the best surf, then Lanzarote will be the better choice.
Strong, consistent winds make windsurfing another popular watersport in the Canaries. Windsurfing can be enjoyed year round, with the winds being at their strongest during the summer, but the winter brings bigger ocean swells to enjoy.
On Fuerteventura, Corralejo is a huge stretch of wide sandy beaches, with several great windsurfing beaches, and is one of the most popular spots in the archipelago amongst windsurfers.
Whilst on Lanzarote, Costa Teguise has the windiest conditions. Costa Teguise is also a reasonably-sized resort area, so there’s plenty to do after a day on the waves too.
As sure as the weather provides excellent conditions for surfing and windsurfing, the conditions are also great for kitesurfing. Both islands have plenty of spots to kitesurf, and with a few schools around the islands, you can also try it for the first time.
If kitesurfing is for you, you may prefer the world-class conditions of Corralejo on Fuerteventura to the spots on Lanzarote, but neither location will leave you stuck on land.
If you prefer to spend time below the waves rather than on top of them, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote both offer the opportunity to scuba dive. Being close together means that the marine life you may encounter will be the same in both islands. Moral eels, groupers, turtles, and angel sharks all inhabit the local waters.
Beginners may enjoy the tranquil waters around Costa Calma (the calm coast) on Fuerteventura. There’s plenty to see, and the offshore wind makes the conditions gentle enough for first-timers to give diving a try.
If you are looking to see something a little bit different underwater, Lanzarote’s Museo Atlántico is a must-see. This is a popular dive and for good reason: it is the only underwater museum in Europe and has over 300 sculptures and statues to swim around.
Which Is Better For Hiking?
The Canary Islands are renowned for their hiking, walking, and trekking trails. While more experienced hikers may prefer the more well-known walking trails of Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, and Gran Canaria, the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote also have some beautiful walks.
Of the two islands, perhaps Lanzarote has the more impressive trails for walkers. The Timanfaya National Park, to the west of the island, offers stunning scenery to hike through with towering volcanoes as a backdrop. The terrain is quite unique (see photo below) and is often compared to the landscape of Mars.
Recommended: The Best Hiking Trails In Lanzarote
Fuerteventura should not be dismissed as a walking destination either. With more kilometers of beach than the other Canary Islands, there are some excellent coastal walks with secret caves to discover.
The island also boasts more than 200 kilometers of walking trails away from the beaches, with Betancuria Rural Park being one of the most popular areas.
Recommended: The Best Hiking Trails In Fuerteventura
Which Has The Best Nightlife?
This depends how you interpret the word “nightlife”, but both islands have plenty to do once the sun has set.
However, if your idea of good nightlife is bar-hopping and parties, then perhaps Lanzarote will be the best option for you. If your nightlife is more about a nice meal and a glass of wine, maybe Fuerteventura will suit your needs best.
While you can party and enjoy a quiet, relaxing meal in either location, Lanzarote will definitely give you more choices for a party after dark. Puerto del Carmen, Playa Honda, and Playa Blanca, along with the more urban and local party scene of Arrecife, offer the best options for a vibrant nightlife on the island, with the northern beaches being more tranquil at night. Lanzarote is definitely the noisier of the two islands.
Fuerteventura still has a few places to party, but there are fewer options, with the areas of El Cotillo and Corralejo being the best bet for a rowdy night out. A night out in Fuerteventura is more about bars and pubs, rather than megaclubs and late-night partying, but a good time can still be had by all.
Which Is Best For Families?
On both islands, families can have a great time with plenty of activities. The islands have been welcoming package holidays and traveling families for decades, and the pleasant climate, excellent beaches, and activity choices make either island a good choice for a family getaway.
Lanzarote, with its watersports options, is a great choice if your kids are a little older and comfortable in the water. Puerto del Carmen is a popular place to stay for families visiting Lanzarote. There are plenty of resorts and hotels to choose from, including all-inclusive and self-catering options. The area also has a pleasant harbour area with lovely restaurants to enjoy an evening meal in.
Lanzarote has over 100 beaches too, so there are plenty of places for sandcastle building and paddling if the kids are a little bit younger. Families also enjoy Rancho Texas Park, where you can swim with dolphins, and the chance to explore Lanzarote’s volcanoes at Timanfaya National Park.
The wilder countryside and less-developed resort areas make Fuerteventura a popular choice for families with younger children. With less hustle and bustle in the busier areas and a more family-friendly vibe after dark, Fuerteventura may be the better choice for you.
There are lots of activities on offer on Fuerteventura too, from swimming with sea lions to kite surfing and visiting Acua Park (the island’s waterpark). The island’s zoo, Oasis Park, which has flamingos and parrots to entertain the kids, is also a popular day out.
Which Is Better For Digital Nomads?
While the Canary Islands are politically Spanish, geographically, they are African. This combination makes the Canary Islands appealing to digital nomads, especially those holding European passports. The geographical position affords the islands an appealing climate, and the fact that they are Spanish means long-term visas are not an issue for European Union passport holders. With good internet connections, the Canary Islands are growing in popularity with digital nomads.
Santa Cruz is Lanzarote’s biggest town, and is a popular location for digital nomads to base themselves in. With comparable amenities to many European cities – good shopping, good internet speeds, and reasonably-priced accommodation options – it’s a great base if you need to work online whilst in Lanzarote. The town has several co-living and co-working options too.
Fuerteventura can also provide a great base for digital nomads, with Corralejo being the most popular base. Corralejo has the widest choice of longer-term accommodation options on the island, and the quickest internet. With the stunning Grandes Playas on your doorstep for down time, the northeast of the island is perfect for digital nomads looking to work and enjoy the watersports on offer.
While both destinations are excellent choices for digital nomads, Lanzarote’s bigger towns with excellent internet and amenities make it a very appealing choice.
Which Is Cheaper?
As neighboring islands, there is not a huge difference in the cost of living or vacationing between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Food and drink prices will be pretty much the same in either location, and the cost of the various activity options is also comparable. Flights are also a similar outlay, and both islands have a large range of accommodation options to suit every budget.
When it comes to deciding between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, budget need not play a huge role. It may instead be better to choose the island that suits you best, and then plan a trip to suit that budget within your preferred destination. On both islands, you can choose your accommodation to suit your needs and budgets, and there shouldn’t be too much of a price difference for similarly styled resorts.
If budget is a concern, you can make the islands more affordable by avoiding the peak times, staying in the less-busy areas, and by booking flights as far in advance as you can.
What Time Of Year Is Best?
With a paltry ten kilometers separating Lanzarote’s southern point from the northern tip of Fuerteventura, the two islands share the same delightful climate.
Their location, off the coast of Morocco, ensures plenty of sunshine and pleasant temperatures throughout the year. So both islands have similar temperatures with neither Lanzarote or Fuerteventura being hotter than the other.
Spring and summer are popular times, with the warmest temperatures being in June, July, and August. The summer months are when the islands are at their busiest, while the autumn months are a little quieter, but with the warmest ocean temperatures. And with the winter months still seeing plenty of sun hours, the islands can get busy with northern Europeans seeking an escape from the snow.
Water sports enthusiasts will also be pleased to know that the Canary Islands have some wave action throughout the year, with the summer months bringing more wind and the winter months seeing big waves on the southern beaches.
At the end of the day, whichever time of the year you are planning on traveling, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote will both be basking in sunshine and ready to welcome you to their stunning beaches.
Which Is Better: Lanzarote vs Fuerteventura
The Canary Islands are stunning and an excellent year-round destination that is easy to reach from Europe. The debate as to which island is better between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura can ultimately only be solved by you.
Families and couples may prefer the less-developed and quieter island of Fuerteventura, but those looking for a vibrant party scene after dark will likely prefer the hustle and bustle of Lanzarote’s southern beaches.
Both islands are excellent for all manner of watersports, and both are blessed with some delightful beaches. The natural beauty and rugged terrain of both islands appeal to hikers and walkers, and there’s plenty of excellent accommodation to choose from.
Now it’s up to you. Which of these two stunning Canary Islands will have you rushing to check your passport validity and to start brushing up on your Spanish phrases?