Betancuria is located on the west coast of the island of Fuerteventura. It is the smallest municipality with the population under 1000 (2015) and the area just over 100 km2 (about 40 square miles). Betancuria is located on the west coast of the island of Fuerteventura with neighbours Puerto del Rosario (north), Antigua (east) and Pajara (south). Given its landlocked location, Betancuria is not a beach resort at all. Unlike plenty other towns and villages on the island, it has a fair amount of historical and cultural heritage. It is located just about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Fuerteventura Airport.
In a tiny village Vega de Rio Palmas is located the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Peña, patroness of Fuerteventura. Every September, a festival is held in honour with great popular participation.
Another population centre is a bit north, in Valle de Santa Inés, where can be found the chapel Ermita de Santa Inés, built shortly after the conquest.
There’s also Museum of Sacred Art and the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum in Betancuria (town).
With just over 800 inhabitants Betancuria is the least populated municipality in Canary Islands.
History of Betancuria (town)
Betancuria is named after Jean de Béthencourt (French explorer from Normandia), who founded the town Betancuria with Gadifer de la Salle (French knight and crusader of Poitevine) in 1404. Betancuria Valley was the first settlement of the island and the first capital of Fuerteventura and of the whole Kingdom of the Canary Islands. Since the conquest, Betancuria became home to a number of government, religious and administrative bodies (council, courts, etc.).
In 1593 it was virtually wiped out by a Berber invasion, the Cathedral Church of Santa María de Betancuria was destroyed, although it was rebuilt years later.
Since the nineteenth century, Betancuria was gradually losing power to other towns (thanks to their economic development), such as Pajara, La Oliva, Antigua and Puerto de Cabras (Puerto del Rosario). In 1834 it lost the title of capital of the island when Antigua became the new capital.
The Archeology Museum (Casa Museo Arqueologico y Etnografico), the Betancuria Museum (Casa Museo de Betancuria) and the Museum of Sacred Art (Museo de Arte Sacro) constitute the main attraction hub in Betancuria. The Church of Santa Maria de Betancuria should also be visited once in Betancuria given this religious edifice is part of the historical heritage of the place.
Despite the apparently scarce tourist opportunities in Betancuria, the town is said to be the single locality on Fuerteventura which has been able to preserve much of its genuine Canarian character unadulterated by the tourism boom. At the same time, some believe Betancuria is one of the few places on the island where local traditional cuisine is strictly observed, which is always an incentive in terms of gastronomic tourism.
Tourist Information Office in Betancuria:
It’s always handy to have tourist information office details when you visit Betancuria. They can provide info on site and may show you some some pearls you wouldn’t know they even exist on the island.
Address: 6, Juan de Bethancourth, 35631, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Spain
Telephone: 0034 928 878 092
Fax: 0034 928 878 233
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 14pm
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