Located in the center of Fuerteventura, Betancuria is a charming village steeped in history and culture. It was once the capital of the Island, making it an important place for those who visit it. The name Betancuria comes from Juan de Bethencourt – conqueror of the island during 1405-1406.
Bethencourt decided to start building his village in an inland valley to better defend himself from attacks from the coast. This area was also more suitable for cultivation than the rest of the island.
Thanks to these characteristics, Betancuria remained the capital of Fuerteventura until 1834. Today it is a quiet village that lives mainly on tourism.
What to see and do in Betancuria
The main monument of Betancuria is undoubtedly the Iglesia de Santa Maria di Betancuria, the one that represents the symbol of the village. The conquerors built a simple oratory around the year 1410 on the orders of Jean de Bethencorurt, with Jean le Maçon in charge of the works. This church was built following the guidelines of the 15th century French Gothic style. In 1593 it was destroyed by Barbary pirates, led by the arráez Xabán, who devastated the city. The reconstruction work on the church began in the 16th century and ended only in the last decade of the 17th century.
Another building not to be missed in Betancuria is undoubtedly the San Diego Hermitage ( eremita de San Diego). The hermitage of San Diego is next to the remains of the old church of the Franciscan convent of San Buenaventura.
According to tradition, it was built in the place where there is a small cave where San Diego prayed, during his stay in Betancuria between 1441 and 1449.
As you walk between the white houses and the cobbled pavement of Betancuria, you can take the opportunity to try some local restaurants or admire the landscape that can be seen from up here.
If you then decide to stay the night, you certainly won’t find the big hotels on the coast, but you will certainly find a few rooms, lots of tranquility and a bit of Fuerteventura’s past.
- In Vega de Río Palmas, a locality belonging to the municipality of Betancuria, the Romerìa is celebrated on the 3rd Saturday of September, a festival in honor of the Virgen de la Peña, patroness of Fuerteventura.
- The 14th of July is the time to celebrate the feast in honor of San Bonaventura. The tradition was born, when in 1416 the convent of San Buenaventura was founded in Betancuria, who has since become the patron saint of the city.