The former capital of the Canary Islands

Posted by Barry Nixon

Yes you read it correctly, it blew my mind away too. Betancuria is the old capital of Fuerteventura and, for a time, capital of the Canary Islands. Way before hotels and sunloungers took over, this town has been used for agriculture, a military base and much more.

I got lost trying to find Betancuria because confusingly it also shares its name with a mountain range Betancuria Massif. The good news is these mountains were used in the 1400’s to protect the towns administration personnel.

I learnt that in the 15th Century European settlers found a water supply here, however misuse on the lands agriculture soon ended that. In 1834 it lost its title as Capital, other towns and villages turned to farming as a way of income.

It’s green in the Winter

Unlike most of Fuerteventura, Betancuria turns green in winter although Jandia is said to be the garden of the island.

The village comes to life during the day with tourists and day trippers. I saw welcoming owners of craft shops, cafes and restaurants earning a good honest living. However put your dancing shoes back in the draw because most bars and restaurants are shut before 8pm.

The Top 3 Best things to see in Betancuria

There are so many things to see in Betancuria so I’ll give you my top 3.

Iglesia de Santa María de Betancuria number 1# This church was the first to be built in Fuerteventura, the bell tower are it’s only remains. It is thought to be as old as 1410, it was commissioned by conquerer Jean De Béthencourt and listed as a Cathedral in 1424 by Pope Martin V. The church was destroyed by the Berber pirate, Xabán Arráez, in 1593.

I learnt that because of the damage caused by the pirate and his crew it took a whole century to rebuild. They didn’t only burn down the church they also burnt down village house and surrounding buildings.

Because it took so long to rebuild it inherited several different styles including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Mudejar.

Locals and tour guides explained to us that the church was finally ready by the end of the 17th century.

San Buenaventura monastery number 2# In the south part of town I found this roofless monastery. Built in 1446, the main aim was to convert residents into Christianity. It now stands as a ruin although is worth a visit regardless. Don’t forget the camera and phones.

I did some homework on google before visiting so knew what to expect. However it didn’t mention the little church next door which looked looked empty and locked up.

Sacred Art – Museo de Arte Sacro number #3 The museum was worth a visit, the admission price included the Iglesia de Santa María. This museum consists of a 15 minute slide show, which really emphasises the beauty of Fuerteventura. There is a few food related exhibits and a few exhibits of tools. Admission cost 6 euros per adult and 3 euros a child.

Betancuria Fuerteventura on a map
Betancuria Fuerteventura ❤️

Travel Tips

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Betancuria Fuerteventura is in late spring or early summer. The peak temperatures are in the mid-20s, rainfall is almost non existent. This is the sunniest time of year shining 9 hours a day.

I recommend allocating a whole day visiting these town.

Suited best for

The whole family

International visitors from where

Historians, archaeologists, tourists visit Betancuria from all over the world


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May 2020: THE TOP 5 Best Bars and Clubs in Betancuria – Fuerteventura our happy place ❤️
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