Driving in Fuerteventura – Tips, Advice and Local Laws




Tips for driving in Fuerteventura

Are you coming to Fuerteventura but unsure about hiring a car and driving around Fuerteventura, as you have never driven abroad before?

Is it easy to drive in Fuerteventura? The answer, fortunately, is yes!

Hopefully, I can convince you to give it a try. You will see much more of the island and be glad that you did, believe me.

It can be daunting and nerve-racking if you come from the UK and have never driven a left-hand drive car on the “wrong side” of the road.

But don’t worry. There is probably no easier place in Europe to do it for the first time than driving in Fuerteventura.

driving in fuerteventura - One of the many lovely empty roads in Fuerteventura
One of the many lovely empty roads in Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura’s roads are well maintained, well signposted and have relatively little traffic on them. Most drivers here are quite patient, perhaps more so than in the UK. And you will not have to worry about traffic jams as they are an unknown phenomenon here, thankfully.

On a lighter note, perhaps remembering to get in the car on the correct side is one of the hardest. I did get into the right-hand seat once when I was not thinking. It took a split second to realise there was no steering wheel in front of me. As there were people nearby, to save face, I made out I was looking for something in the foot-well before getting out and into the driver’s side. I think I got away with it!

You may find my article on renting a car in Fuerteventura helpful.

My tips for first time “wrong side of the road” drivers

The pedals (clutch, brake and accelerator) are all in the same place as in a right-hand drive car. The only difference is that you must use your right hand to change gear instead of your left. You will soon get used to that.

Tip 1. Staying on the correct side

Once you are driving, it is pretty easy to always be on the correct (right) side of the road. I think the “danger” times are when you stop, perhaps for fuel or to visit something. At that point, you could turn onto the wrong side of the road when leaving. Just make sure you take extra care after you have stopped.

Remember, the driver should always be nearest to the centre of the road, not your passenger.

Tip 2. Roundabouts

driving in fuerteventura
Fortunately there are no roundabouts like this one in Madrid

One of the big differences is that you will be going counterclockwise around the roundabouts, not clockwise. You will soon get used to that though.

No matter what they may think, the Spanish do not know how to negotiate roundabouts. They often don’t indicate or indicate incorrectly when approaching or are on a roundabout.

If the roundabout is single lane, that is not usually a problem. However, on two-lane roundabouts, many stay in the right-hand (outer) lane even if they are going all the way around to return the way they came. The safest thing to do, as wrong as it seems if turning left, for example, is to follow suit and stay in the outside lane.

Fortunately, there aren’t that many two-lane roundabouts you are likely to encounter when driving in Fuerteventura, so don’t worry about it.

Tip 3. Junctions

When you stop at a junction to pull onto a main road, look in both directions to ensure nothing is coming. That way, you won’t get confused and look right, as you might in the UK, and pull out in front of an approaching car from the left. Here, you need to look to the left, of course.

Tip 4. No Left Turns

In many places, such as the main street in Corralejo above, you cannot turn left into a minor road if there is a solid white line (even if there isn’t a “no left turn” sign). In this case, you have to go to the next junction, where there is a roundabout and come back on yourself.

You can turn left if there is a dotted line at the junction.

I have seen several tourists get stopped by the police for not realising this.

Tip 5. An unusual custom

Something you may come across is if you are following a few cars on a main road and you approach a turn off to the left, the cars in front may slow, and all of them indicate left.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all turning left as it is the custom here also to indicate left, even if you are going straight on, to warn the driver/s behind not to overtake as someone is turning left in front. Once the car turns left, the others behind cancel their indicators and continue.

I can at least see some sense in this.

Tip 6. Locals

If you are driving around the time of day that locals may be going to work or home, then be aware that they may get frustrated if you drive too slow or let your attention wander while looking at the views. You may be on holiday and have plenty of time, but the locals may have time constraints.

I have to admit I have been annoyed more than once when I have an appointment to get to and come up behind a hire car dawdling along on a long stretch where overtaking is not permitted.

Don’t be that tourist who “Has nowhere to go and all day to get there.”

Tip 7. Emergencies

Hopefully, this isn’t something that will happen to you, but if you do have a serious accident or come across one and need to call the emergency services, the number to call is 112. There will be an operator who speaks English – just ask “Hablas inglés” – do you speak English?

A few driving laws to be aware of

Laws similar to the UK

Just like in the UK, there are laws against:

  • using a mobile phone while driving (or even having one available as that shows intent to use it)
  • speeding
  • not wearing seatbelts
  • children in child seats etc. (Most car hire companies provide these free of charge)

Drink drive limit Fuerteventura

Of course, drunk driving is also illegal (and in my opinion, if you are driving, you shouldn’t drink anything anyway), but you should be aware that the legal limit is lower here than in the UK. It is only 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood here, whereas in the UK, it is 80 milligrammes.

So if you will have a drink, be aware that you can only drink half the amount you can in the UK before you are over the limit.

Don’t chance it. If you are driving, stick to soft drinks or alcohol-free beer (available in bars and restaurants everywhere here, unlike in the UK). Ask for a “cerveza sin alcohol.”

Laws particular to Fuerteventura (and Spain)

There are some specific laws to be aware of here. While some of these things might also be illegal in the UK, and covered within the “Driving without due care and attention/careless driving” offence, it would have to be proven that your driving fell below the expected driving level of a competent driver.

Here, they are specific offences (absolute offences) so if you were doing any of them, no proof is needed to show it adversely affected your driving. You were doing it, so you are guilty. Fines will be issued for any of them, starting at 100€ and increasing steeply.

Driving with an arm out of the window

If you like to drive with the window open (and who doesn’t here), make sure you don’t drive with your arm resting on the door in the open window. If you are seen, that will be an instant fine.

Driving without a shirt

Driving a car without a shirt on ie. topless, will get you a fine too. Perhaps if you are a good-looking young female doing it, the police may just let you off with a warning (a very long warning)!

Driving in flip-flops or barefoot

While it seems like a great idea just to wear your flip-flops for the whole of your stay or to come off the beach barefoot and just hop in the car to drive home, if the police stop you, they will not be impressed and neither will your bank account.

Pumping fuel with the radio on

Yes, really! Apparently, they believe that this may increase the likelihood of an explosion.

Carry spare glasses

If you must wear glasses for driving, you must carry a spare pair with you, which you might be required to show.

Stop means stop

driving in Fuerteventura

At a road junction with a stop sign (and it does say stop) you are expected to stop (and apply your handbrake, I believe.) That applies even if you can see for a mile that no cars are coming.

I have known a few people who have been fined for not stopping at a stop sign.

I must admit it is not a law I adhere to unless I have to for safety’s sake (or I see a police car). To quote one of my heroes, Douglas Bader, “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”

If you want to get advice on Spanish Traffic Law, and how it is applied, then you can download this pdf file written in English by Spanish Traffic Officers – Spanish Traffic Law.

driving in fuerteventura
One of the very few slightly scarier roads in Fuerteventura

How long does it take to drive around Fuerteventura?

There isn’t a complete ring road around Fuerteventura, but you can access almost everywhere if you want to explore Fuerteventura by car.

I estimate how long to drive around Fuerteventura, seeing most of the sites, would be 8-9 hours with only a few short stops.

The highlights of places to visit in Fuerteventura by car include El Cotillo, Corralejo, Betancuria, Jandia and Cofete.

The road from Morro Jable to Cofete is unmade, so it’s pretty bumpy in places. Although your hire car agreement will state that you cannot take the vehicle off of tarmac roads (even if you hire a 4×4, which is ludicrous) 95% of visiting vehicles in Cofete are hire cars.

I have taken hire cars on tracks that I would have thought twice about taking my 4×4 on!

Read: What to see in Fuerteventura

Hopefully, I have allayed any fears you may have had about driving in Fuerteventura and you now feel ready to bite the bullet and book a car for your visit. You may find my article on advice for renting a car here helpful.

Other Fuerteventura driving articles

Fuerteventura Roads – A timelapse of the roads in the north

This is my video about my favourite drive in Fuerteventura:


When planning a visit to Fuerteventura, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local driving regulations. Many tourists ask, “What side of the road do you drive in Fuerteventura?” Just like in mainland Spain, driving in Fuerteventura is on the right-hand side, so visitors from the United Kingdom need to adjust.

However, it’s important to note that there are specific rules and regulations to adhere to, such as the Fuerteventura alcohol limit, which is lower than in the UK. To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, it’s crucial to be aware of the drink-drive limit in Fuerteventura, which, like in the UK, is strictly enforced.

18 responses to “Driving in Fuerteventura – Tips, Advice and Local Laws”

  1. Mark Cornwall avatar
    Mark Cornwall

    Great advice. I can attest to the being careful not to drive on the wrong side of the road after stopping. I did, and drove over a mile without seeing another car coming down Mount Teide. Needless to say it was frightning seeing the whites of the oncoming drivers eyes and I consider myself lucky to have got away with it. But so easily done.

    1. admin avatar

      That was pretty scary Mark, or at least the thought of what may have happened. Thanks for the comment.

  2. John Townsend avatar
    John Townsend

    Really good advice especially the round-a-bouts. I would also add the locals all believe they are F1 drivers and sit on your tail to sort of push you along and they all speed. Most roundabouts have a 40KPH limit and the police bike are often pulling drivers over at round-a-bouts. There are also very strict rules regarding passing a cyclist with adequate clearance one and a half metres. The main roads are pretty good and rarely get busy and the scenery is wonderful.

    1. admin avatar

      Thanks John. I did wonder about also including the passing cyclists rules, as there are so many here particularly at this time of year. Perhaps I will. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Kelly avatar

    Wonderful article, however I am.hopeing to bring my motorhome doe a holiday do you know any sites I can stay at or advice if how to actually get there.like the procedures and ferries to use.
    Any advice greatly welcome.

    1. JP in Fuerteventura avatar

      As far as I am aware there are no sites here at all. Motorhomes park up anywhere (even though they are generally not supposed to) but there are hundreds here so in practice it obviously isn’t a problem. There is now a grey/black water dumping facility in Corralejo. There are two ferry routes and details here (it is about bringing dogs here but the ferry information is in it – https://www.jpinfuerteventura.com/categories/travel-fuerteventura-life/having-dogs-in-fuerteventura/

  4. Lee avatar

    Hi Jp,

    This blog is really helpful…

    Ive tried to find info on how parking works in Fuerteventura not been able to find much other than mostly street parking…

    In the towns i imagine its all street parking and some kind of parking machine to pay for your time?

    What about the beaches are they all paid parking and some kind of street (there prob is no street!)parking machines?

    Also i see in your YT vids that there are road pull ins probably near the interesting tourist places, do you have to pay for these or are some free?

    Do you need a lot of change for the parking meters and do they give change and what coins do they take…

    would be great to understand how the touristy areas or famous beaches work and the remote beaches that only cars can get too work with parking…

    Can you leave the car away from the beach if its off road and just walk down if only a mile away or something if you dont want to risk taking car off road and how would parking work then like can you leave the car some how legally?

    Ive never been to F-ra before and living in England for so long with all its parking regulations its a complete mind field when you go somewhere new…

    I imagine that F-ra is a lot more easy going but there’s probably still some information worth knowing?

    Thanks in advance for any help…


    1. JP in Fuerteventura avatar
      JP in Fuerteventura

      Hi Lee. Apart from in parts of Puerto (the capital) and at the airport, parking is free everywhere including the touristy places. This isn’t rip-off Britain after all! You are not supposed to take hire cars off road but frankly everyone does it. I have taken hire cars on tracks that I would have thought twice before taking my old 4×4 on. If you want to park and walk a mile or so to a beach then of course you can but you will be the only one that does. Have a great time.

  5. Lorraine Gillingham avatar
    Lorraine Gillingham

    Thanks for the article. Interesting, especially carrying spare glasses!! . I heard yesterday that cars cannot park (and not move) for more than 2 months otherwise the police can tow you away. Is this true? We are leaving the island for 3 months and (as usual) planned to leave it outside our house. It’s insured and ITV’d.

    1. JP in Fuerteventura avatar
      JP in Fuerteventura

      I have heard of that before and, in theory, it may be true. But how could they possibly monitor it or enforce it. The only way might be if a neighbour complained about it being there perhaps or if it became so dirty that it was obvious it hadn’t moved. I have never heard of a car being towed away because it hadn’t moved for more than 2 months. In fact I have seen obviously abandoned cars sit in the road for well over a year before they go. Did you know that you can’t wash you car in the street either as you can be fined (due to environmental reasons)?

  6. James avatar

    Thanks for the article! Very good info. My first time driving abroad. By the sounds of it I’m lucky it’s fuerteventura.

    Any recommendations on road maps? If you had the experience. The family and I love exploring so want the back up in case we get lost with no signal😄

    1. JP in Fuerteventura avatar
      JP in Fuerteventura

      Hi James. Most car rental companies will give you a map if you ask. This one is quite detailed on Amazon – https://amzn.to/3XfTYwK There aren’t that many roads to get lost on so you should be ok. If you have a dedicated satnav you will probably find that it has Fuerteventura on it. Even my old one does, not that I use it here. Good luck and have fun.

  7. Jo avatar

    Thanks for your really useful info – going to be our first time getting a hire car so this is all great to know. In your video of your fave drive I can see lots of areas that look like you could pull over and park up well off the road … is that allowed or is it likely to be a problem? Seems like too great a view to miss the chance of a quick ten minutes soaking it up – if of course its allowed. Many thanks Jo

    1. JP in Fuerteventura avatar
      JP in Fuerteventura

      Hi Jo. You should have no problems pulling off the road for a while. Have fun.

  8. Roy avatar

    I am coming over in December from the UK 🇬🇧 is there many pitfalls with this beside the right and drive 🚗 one.

    1. JP in Fuerteventura avatar
      JP in Fuerteventura

      the right and …? There are no pitfalls that I can think of Roy.

  9. Bernard Gosnell avatar
    Bernard Gosnell

    When planning a visit to Fuerteventura, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local driving regulations. One common question many tourists ask is, “What side of the road do you drive in Fuerteventura?” Just like in mainland Spain, driving in Fuerteventura is on the left-hand side, so visitors from the United Kingdom need to adjust.

    Am I reading this correct ? as you have stated in your summary Just like in mainland Spain, driving in Fuerteventura is on the left-hand side, should this be the Right hand side , regards, Bernard.

    1. JP in Fuerteventura avatar
      JP in Fuerteventura

      Oops. Thanks Bernard.

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