Welcome to my place . . . Fuerteventura

Singer and lifestyle coach Nicki Shira Byrne on what not to miss on the sunny holiday island

Nicki Shira Byrne lives on the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary islands

Nicki Shira Byrne lives on the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary islands

 

Nicki Shira Byrne is a singer and lifestyle and career coach from Dublin, who lives in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.

“I always wanted to live in the sun, ever since my parents started bringing me on holidays to Spain in the early 1980s. But I was tied to a profession as a dental assistant in Dublin, with a mortgage, car and boyfriend. It wasn’t until 10 years ago, when I took a year out and went to Thailand, that I realised that I could do what I really loved for my living, and live where and how I wanted, while doing that.

“I met my Italian fiancé, who shared a similar vision. In January 2016 we moved to Fuerteventura with our cat, and I set up an international lifestyle and career transition coaching business. I specialise in helping singers, vocal coaches and others to make their living using their gifts, while maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

“We welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Stella, into the world, here on Fuerteventura in May.”

Corralejo harbour in Fuerteventura. Photograph: Getty Images
Corralejo harbour in Fuerteventura. Photograph: Getty Images

Where is the first place you always bring people to when they visit Fuerteventura?

As a lifestyle and career transition coach, I host VIP days on the island, and once my clients have had a chance to have a good night’s sleep, I usually pick them up and bring them down to Corralejo harbour for brunch. The instant change from concrete street life, to turquoise sea, blue skies and coloured sails, gives an instant feeling of well-being and calm.

The protected sand dunes area of the island. Photograph: Getty Images
The protected sand dunes area of the island. Photograph: Getty Images

The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money, are ...

Beach beach and beach! Fuerteventura has so many beaches, all of which are different. Some are wild, with cliffs and crashing waves resembling the the west of Ireland, while others have white sand, and blue lagoons for swimming. The big attraction would be the sand dunes, which is a reserved area, and one can walk for miles and not see another soul.

Of course, you can also hike up any of the thousands of volcanos too, if you are that way inclined.

Fuerteventura’s many beaches are one of its attractions
Fuerteventura’s many beaches are one of its attractions

Where do you recommend for a meal eaten out doors?

Most places have outdoor terraces here, but for a truly authentic Spanish experience, tapas at Casa Domingos is a must. Cheap, tasty, and with lots of vegetables – strategically placed for decoration. It attracts tourists and locals, and even the teens go here for their fast food fix.

Where is the best place to get a sense of Fuerteventura’s place in history?

The old capital of Betancuria, named after Frenchman Jean de Béthencourt, who discovered the Canary Islands in the 15th century, not only became one of the first Franciscan convents in the Canaries, but is also one of the highest points on the island. It is a perfect view point to look down from and as well as to cool off when you can’t stand the heat.

Fuerteventura’s old capital, Betancuria. Photograph: Getty Images
Fuerteventura’s old capital, Betancuria. Photograph: Getty Images

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Fuerteventura?

Well, as the tax here is still just 7 per cent, cigarettes and alcohol would be a popular buy for drinkers and smokers. Fresh aloe vera products are in abundance here, as it grows with ease on this rock. Rub it on your skin, use it as eye drops, and you can even eat it, although I have yet to try this myself.

If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We’d love to hear from you.

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