Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

Betancuria, the ancient capital in the mountains of Fuerteventura


Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
Carnival time on El Hierro
One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
A journey through La Palma’s plant world
Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro
Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
Relax by the sea in El Tamaduste
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Swimming And Snorkelling At El Puertillo in North Gran Canaria
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
Betancuria, the ancient capital in the mountains of Fuerteventura
How to Enjoy an Easy Adventure from Puerto del Carmen to Puerto Calero
A walk across Llano de Las Cuevas in La Palma
How to Enjoy a Superb Luxury Sailing Trip in Tenerife
From Jungle To Desert at Maspalomas In South Gran Canaria
The sweetness of La Gomera and the Canary Islands – Palm Syrup
Cycling on El Hierro is a great way to see the Island
Isla de Lobos, a natural Paradise
Volcanoes, wine and British history in Lanzarote
The mini-Volcano Route, La Palma
How To Try And Do Tenerife From Top To Bottom In Three Days
Playa Santiago – A glorious mesh of sleepy fishing village and luxury hotel complex
A Day at the Canaribbean In Gran Canaria
Hermigua, the beautiful tropical valley of La Gomera with a Gofio Museum
How to Enjoy Authentic Lanzarote at the Lovely El Charco de San Ginés
La Gomera’s longest beach in the Valley of the great king – Valle Gran Rey
The Charm of Vallehermoso – The Beautiful Valley in La Gomera
How to Discover La Gomera With an Amazing Jeep Safari Adventure
Calle Cano: A Las Palmas Street Where Old And New Blend Together
Three places off the usual tourist track in Tenerife
La Gomera one of the most gorgeous island for hikers, ramblers and casual afternoon walkers
Poema del mar, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
An ascent of Bejenado
Four best places to visit in Fuerteventura
Up The Monte: Exploring Gran Canaria's Wine Country
5 Excellent Experiences to Try When You Visit Tenerife
Exploring the Barranco de las Angustias
4 best places to visit in La Gomera, by a Canary Island resident
A lovely walk from Mirador de Jinama to The bell tower Joapira
Walk the beautiful arid landscapes of Fuerteventura – Betancuria
In Gran Canaria And Sick of Sand? Head To The Parque Sur For A Siesta
Keep cool with a craft beer tour in Lanzarote
A walk from Arenas Blancas to Verodal (Local walk reference SL-EH2)
Tijarafe: touring La Palma's sunny northwest
Eco-friendly relaxation in the north of Lanzarote
Related
articles
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
Lanzarote sunrises
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
The Wild North of La Palma
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
How To Try And Do Tenerife From Top To Bottom In Three Days
Hermigua, the beautiful tropical valley of La Gomera with a Gofio Museum
How to Enjoy Authentic Lanzarote at the Lovely El Charco de San Ginés
The Charm of Vallehermoso – The Beautiful Valley in La Gomera
How to Discover La Gomera With an Amazing Jeep Safari Adventure
Three places off the usual tourist track in Tenerife
Four best places to visit in Fuerteventura
Up The Monte: Exploring Gran Canaria's Wine Country
5 Excellent Experiences to Try When You Visit Tenerife
4 best places to visit in La Gomera, by a Canary Island resident
Walk the beautiful arid landscapes of Fuerteventura – Betancuria
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Previous article
13 Aug 2018

The Canary Islands have a rich, though turbulent history. Its original inhabitants suffered greatly at the hands of a series of invaders. Jean de Bethancourt, a Norman knight, changed history when he invaded Fuerteventura in 1404 and established the archipelago’s first capital, Betancuria.

A look into the past

So, what would the archipelago’s first capital be like? Why was a hidden location in the heart of the mountains chosen for such an important settlement? I was curious to find out, and to see it for myself.

We slowly start to climb with the ocean behind us, admiring the smaller villages. There’s something quite relaxing about driving away from the tourist resorts towards Fuerteventura’s interior

Views on the road towards Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Wherever you are staying on Fuerteventura, you will eventually reach the FV-30 road that takes you to Betancuria. At 395 m altitude, Betancuria isn’t the highest point on the island, but the winding road around the mountainside affords spectacular views.

Mirador de Guise y Ayose

Views towards northern Fuerteventura from Mirador Guise y Ayose, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

The two imposing 4.5m metal Guanche sculptures at this viewpoint present an excellent photo-opportunity. There is plenty of parking space on both sides of the road, so pull up and admire the amazing panoramic views. It was a little hazy the day I was there, but beautiful nonetheless.

The sculptures represent two ancient Guanche kings who reigned simultaneously at around 1400 A.D, long before the islands were colonised. Fuerteventura was then split into two regions: Guise reigned over Jandía in the South, while Ayose governed the northern region of Maxorata.

Views of Betancuria from Mirador Guise y Ayose, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

At this point I turn to see the town of Betancuria, nestled into the hills towards the south. I was surprised at how small it is, considering it was the island’s capital; and that to reach it must have been quite difficult in the 14th century.

Retreat to the hills

But then that’s the whole point, I realised. It was chosen for precisely that reason: to make it more difficult for invaders to attack. That, together with the fact that this was the most fertile region of Fuerteventura, due to its higher humidity levels. It was once an important grain-producing area, feeding the island’s inhabitants and also for exportation.

The town where time has stood still

Traditional architecture in Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

We were able to park right in the heart of this pretty town. The lush green vegetation against the white-wall houses and terracotta rooftops is a welcoming sight. The colours of the summer blooms and the tranquil atmosphere was a colourful contrast to the drier coastal areas.

6  Kim Edwards-Buarque in Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Betancuria lies 13 miles to the southwest of today’s capital, Puerto del Rosario, and the municipality covers an area of 40 square miles. The town is now home to around 800 people.

The former capital of the island appears to have changed very little since is was established in 1404. It was one of the first European settlements in the Canary Islands, the only other at that time was Rubicon, in Lanzarote. Bethancourt made it the administrative, military and religious centre of Fuerteventura, and the original town hall still stands today.

Betancuria town hall, Fuerteventura.

It was an affluent town in that era, being home to noblemen, renowned military figures and religious thinkers of the time. Its cobblestone streets are evidence of this, something that was reserved for the more important towns of the islands.

Traditional cobblestone streets of Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

The church of Santa Maria de la Concepción.

The original church bell tower of Santa Maria de la Concepción still stands today. Sadly, it is one of the few original remaining parts of the church, which was ransacked and burnt by north African pirates in 1593.

Bell tower, church of Santa Maria de la Concepción, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

The pirates, who also destroyed several other buildings, attacked in revenge after the Normans took 600 Moroccans as slaves and brought them to Fuerteventura. In a tit-for-tat invasion, the pirates also took 600 islanders, who were int turn forced into slavery in aristocratic Berber households.

The church square in Betancuria Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Nevertheless, the church is still magnificent today and is an interesting mix of baroque, gothic and renaissance architecture, due to reconstruction which spanned several different eras.

Baroque architecture in the church of Santa Maria de la Concepción, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

The interior has several magnificent altars, artefacts which are hundreds of years old and some intriguing artwork.

Alter inside the church of Santa Maria de la Concepción, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Casa Santa Maria sits just opposite the church. Built in the 17th century, and since restored to its former glory, it is a beautiful example of a traditional Canarian house. The building offers several interesting areas for visitors, including a museum, a lovely gift shop, café and restaurant.

Casa Santa Maria, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

We visited on a Sunday, so unfortunately the museum and restaurant were closed, as was the town’s Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology.

Our pursuit of coffee was not lost, however, as we discovered another café just across the road. It was perfect, with shady seating under the lush vegetation of its garden.

Café at Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

When visiting Betancuria, it’s also well worth passing by the ruins of the San Buenaventura Convent, just on the outskirts of the town. Today only the arches of the church remain as it was also burnt down by pirates in 1593.

I would definitely recommend visiting Betancuria on a weekday, to be able to explore more of this lovely town through its museums and other attractions. Aim for the morning, to avoid the larger coaches and so that you can finish off with a relaxing lunch or coffee in one of the pretty cafe courtyards.

 

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Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
Carnival time on El Hierro
One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
A journey through La Palma’s plant world
Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro
Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
Relax by the sea in El Tamaduste
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Swimming And Snorkelling At El Puertillo in North Gran Canaria
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
Betancuria, the ancient capital in the mountains of Fuerteventura
How to Enjoy an Easy Adventure from Puerto del Carmen to Puerto Calero
A walk across Llano de Las Cuevas in La Palma
How to Enjoy a Superb Luxury Sailing Trip in Tenerife
From Jungle To Desert at Maspalomas In South Gran Canaria
The sweetness of La Gomera and the Canary Islands – Palm Syrup
Cycling on El Hierro is a great way to see the Island
Isla de Lobos, a natural Paradise
Volcanoes, wine and British history in Lanzarote
The mini-Volcano Route, La Palma
How To Try And Do Tenerife From Top To Bottom In Three Days
Playa Santiago – A glorious mesh of sleepy fishing village and luxury hotel complex
A Day at the Canaribbean In Gran Canaria
Hermigua, the beautiful tropical valley of La Gomera with a Gofio Museum
How to Enjoy Authentic Lanzarote at the Lovely El Charco de San Ginés
La Gomera’s longest beach in the Valley of the great king – Valle Gran Rey
The Charm of Vallehermoso – The Beautiful Valley in La Gomera
How to Discover La Gomera With an Amazing Jeep Safari Adventure
Calle Cano: A Las Palmas Street Where Old And New Blend Together
Three places off the usual tourist track in Tenerife
La Gomera one of the most gorgeous island for hikers, ramblers and casual afternoon walkers
Poema del mar, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
An ascent of Bejenado
Four best places to visit in Fuerteventura
Up The Monte: Exploring Gran Canaria's Wine Country
5 Excellent Experiences to Try When You Visit Tenerife
Exploring the Barranco de las Angustias
4 best places to visit in La Gomera, by a Canary Island resident
A lovely walk from Mirador de Jinama to The bell tower Joapira
Walk the beautiful arid landscapes of Fuerteventura – Betancuria
In Gran Canaria And Sick of Sand? Head To The Parque Sur For A Siesta
Keep cool with a craft beer tour in Lanzarote
A walk from Arenas Blancas to Verodal (Local walk reference SL-EH2)
Tijarafe: touring La Palma's sunny northwest
Eco-friendly relaxation in the north of Lanzarote
Related
articles
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
Lanzarote sunrises
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
The Wild North of La Palma
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
How To Try And Do Tenerife From Top To Bottom In Three Days
Hermigua, the beautiful tropical valley of La Gomera with a Gofio Museum
How to Enjoy Authentic Lanzarote at the Lovely El Charco de San Ginés
The Charm of Vallehermoso – The Beautiful Valley in La Gomera
How to Discover La Gomera With an Amazing Jeep Safari Adventure
Three places off the usual tourist track in Tenerife
Four best places to visit in Fuerteventura
Up The Monte: Exploring Gran Canaria's Wine Country
5 Excellent Experiences to Try When You Visit Tenerife
4 best places to visit in La Gomera, by a Canary Island resident
Walk the beautiful arid landscapes of Fuerteventura – Betancuria
www.hellocanaryislands.com