IT can be hard to find a holiday resort that ticks all the boxes.
Well, the good news is that I’ve found one for you. Corralejo is a proper Spanish town that happens to have a great resort wrapped around it that is ideal for everyone from couples and families through to thrill-seekers in search of adventure.
Corralejo sits right on the north-eastern tip of the Canary Isle of Fuerteventura. It may nominally be part of Spain, but its low-slung whitewashed houses and big skies hint more at Africa, which lies only 60 miles or so across the Atlantic.
Corralejo is, and indeed feels, so much further away from mainland Europe and is so different to the Spanish Costas.
For all its exoticism, this balmy isle – it offers real winter sun – also has plenty of the familiar for British visitors. English is spoken widely and there are a swathe of bars, cafes and restaurants dotted along the strip that are geared unashamedly towards the tourist trade.
Unlike some Spanish mainland resorts, here they still boast friendly staff who always provide a warm welcome. Learn a few words of Spanish and they will smile even more.
Pushing beyond the strip, one of the things I love about Corralejo is that it also attracts holidaymakers from mainland Spain. They are more into tapas bars and restaurants offering great seafood than bustling pubs.
Many of the seafood restaurants sit on or around the waterfront, offering up ocean views. The Restaurante Cofradia is run by a local co-operative so the fish could not be fresher.
Whatever their nationality, most people come to Corralejo for its eye-catching beaches, which offer plenty of space for everyone. A necklace of fine white sand strips are dappled around the fringes of the town. They are backed up by wee cafes and lounge bars, ideal if you just want to survey the action or grab a sundowner after sunbathing.
The real highlight, though, lies south of the town itself in the Corralejo Dunes Natural Park. This unspoilt wonderland offers mile upon mile of perfect, unblemished sands. My tip is to take a bus or taxi down a couple of miles past the RUI hotels. Then just work your way back along the dunes, stopping off for a dip whenever you fancy it. The beaches here are never crowded and you will find lots of pop-up bars.
The dunes are also popular with surfers, while Corralejo is one of the world’s top kiteboarding destinations. If you’ve never seen it before, it’s quite a spectacle as the boarders fly high into the air above the surf before spiralling back down to the water. You can rent gear and learn your pick of watersports.
There are more beaches on the island of Isla de Lobos, which lies just a short boat trip away.
I thoroughly recommend a trip over not just for the beaches, but because it is an uninhabited and unspoilt nature reserve.
Walking trails snake off from the ferry dock with my favourite venturing up the island’s striking volcano. The views from here back to Corralejo and north to the neighbouring island of Lanzarote are epic.
There is easily enough in and around Corralejo to keep you occupied for a week, from water parks to myriad shops, but there are also a variety of day trip options for those staying longer or with itchy feet. The wee village of El Cotillo is, for me, home to the finest seafood restaurants in the Canaries.
I’ve never had a bad meal at Vaca Azul – their grilled octopus is beyond delicious. A superb hike is over the volcanoes to the inland village of Lajares, which is famous for its bakeries and cafes catering to local surfers.
Wherever you venture, it’s always a treat to come back to Corralejo.
Make sure it’s in time to catch the last rays of sun ease across the sands and explode in fiery oranges and deep reds across the Atlantic.
You will be in good company with couples, surfers, families and mainland Spaniards who all appreciate the charms of this multifaceted, year-round, warm Canarian resort.
Ryanair (ryanair.com) fly to Fuerteventura from Edinburgh from £57.58 (not including baggage or seats). Car hire is available at the airport from Holiday Autos (holidayautos.com). For further tourist information go to hellocanaryislands.com.