Officially it’s part of Spain, but the Canary island of Fuerteventura lies just 52 nautical miles off Africa. The result? Lots of sunshine. Throw in defunct volcanoes, barren beauty and miles of empty coastline and it's a fascinating year-round destination. There are plenty of golden beaches, of course, but Fuerteventura’s real cool factor comes from its unique black sand. Here’s where to find it. 

Ocean caves thrashed by the sea in Ajuy national park / Image: Adobe Stock

Monumento Natural de  Ajuy   

Jet-black sand, technicolour blue sea and the swirling greys and mustards of ancient sedimentary rocks makes  Monumento  Natural one of the most photogenic spots on the island. Chuck on some sturdy shoes and follow the coastal trail from the beach to the sea caves and the sea below.

Ajuy  Beach 

After that coastal walk there’s no better way to cool off than a dip in the sea at  Ajuy  Beach. The black-sand cove exists due to the erosion of volcanic rock, and is a great place to soak up some rays before grabbing dinner in one of the nearby restaurants.

Prime sand-castle territory at Gran Tarajal / Image: Adobe Stock

Gran  Tarajal  Beach  

This 800m-long stretch of  black-sand beach lapped by calm sea is a local favourite  and perfect for families. Bring your parasol and build castles on the sand, stroll along the promenade, and grab an inexpensive coffee at one of the little cafés that line the sea front.

The lighthouse near Playitas Beach / Image: Adobe Stock

Playitas  Beach  

Located on the east coast of the island  is this small curve of black sand, where sunbathers and surfers happily share the water. Rent a surfboard or body board from the little kiosk, swim in the sea or just plough through your book while lazing on the shore.