In the footsteps of Unamuno in Fuerteventura

D. Miguel de Unamuno was one of the most distinguished Spanish playwrights of the 20th century. His deep moral and ethical convictions led him to write, on more than one occasion, speeches against King Alfonso XIII, the dictator Primo de Rivera, General Millán Astray, and many others that restricted freedom of expression. 

His furious attacks on the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, in February 1924, caused his sudden dismissal as vice-rector of the University of Salamanca. He was also banished to the most deserted, isolated and desolate island in Spain: Fuerteventura.

Unamuno was 60 years old when he was exiled in Fuerteventura. Far from becoming a harsh prison of wind and sand, as the regime intended, it was an opportunity for Don Miguel to fall in love with a magical island. 

Thus he described his confinement on the island: 

“Sunbathing in the morning, lunch, siesta, chess game, reading, social gathering, dinner, night walk and from time to time excursion”. 

In another passage he recounts: 

“I have never slept better in my life. In my life I have better digested my intimate concerns!”

The philosopher spent only 4 months in Fuerteventura, from March to July 1924, enough time to leave a deep mark on his spirit and on the people here. 

Miguel de Unamuno House Museum 

Unamuno and the former republican deputy Rodrigo Soriano, also exiled to Fuerteventura by Primo de Rivera, settled in Francisco Medina Berriel’s pension.

Unamuno and Soriano called the humble accommodation “Hotel Fuerteventura”. Since 1995 the property has been converted into the Unamuno House Museum. It is an excellent enclave to start discovering Unamuno in his exile. 


The museum is located in Puerto del Rosario, in front of the side door of the capital’s church. 

The walls of the old “Hotel Fuerteventura” are the exhibition support of the written word of Miguel de Unamuno. The house recreates the atmosphere of a house from the twenties of the last century. It has photographs of the people who were part of the writer’s life on the island, as well as period furniture: the desk and the bed that he used. 

On the desk are the characteristic paper bow ties that Unamuno made.

The Miguel de Unamuno House Museum is dedicated to disseminating the work that the writer produced in Fuerteventura, and whose fundamental axis is the island. 

Montaña Quemada (burnt mountain) – Monument to Unamuno 

If you want to discover one of the corners that most captivated the Basque writer, you have to get to the base of Montaña Quemada. 

Montaña Quemada is a small volcanic cone, 366 meters high, that rises right on the border between the municipalities of Puerto del Rosario and La Oliva. 

There, at the foot of the volcano and looking towards the mountain of La Muda, stands an immense statue that reproduces the figure of Unamuno.

Although at first glance it may seem like a strange place for the greatest sculptural work that pays homage to Unamuno, it is not so strange if we read the following letters by the author:

 “If I saw that my end was drawing near and that I could not die in my own land, in my Bilbao, where I was born and raised, or in my Salamanca, where my children were born and raised, I would go to end my days there, to that holy and blessed land, there, and I would order them to bury me either on top of the Burnt Mountain or next to that sea, next to that rock where I used to go to dream or in Playa Blanca.” 

Getting to the monument in honor of Miguel de Unamuno de Montaña Quemada is easy. You have to do it from Tindaya, through a dirt track that you will find at the entrance of the town, and that goes south.

The easiest way to get to the trail is by parking at Casa Alta de Tindaya and heading for Calle Virgen de la Caridad. Just 100 meters from the Casa Alta de Tindaya you will see a path on the right. Take it and in just 20 minutes you will be at the foot of the sculpture. 

Some curious facts about the tribute monument to Miguel de Unamuno:

  •  It is about 7 meters high: On a 3-meter prism, stands the stone figure of Unamuno, which is 4 meters high. 
  • It took 10 years and 2 days to be officially inaugurated: The idea of making a great monument to Unamuno to plant it in Montaña Quemada was conceived in 1964. The sculptor Borges Linares made the sculpture following a sketch by Juan Ismael. 
  • Borges Linares finished it and presented it on November 20, 1970. The statue of Unamuno arrived in Fuerteventura in mid-1971. It was officially inaugurated on November 22, 1980, during the national tribute to Don Miguel.

Unamuno, a consummate walker and open-minded traveler, did not waste any of the opportunities that his new Majorero friendships offered him, especially that of Ramón Castañeyra, to tour the island. 

The truth is that all of Fuerteventura offered him novelties for his curiosity, and he dedicated part of his most intimate work to the island. 

For this reason, we invite you to do the same as this illustrious Bilbao native and walk through “These naked, skeletal solitudes of this scaly island of Fuerteventura!”, the Betancuria “without miracle-working friars” or “the mountains of this cameled island” .


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