In the heart of the Fuerteventura Island lies one of the great unsolved enigmas of recent history. This has awakened the interest of more and more people to discover the secrets hidden in the Casa de los Winter, located in the secluded natural setting of Jandía, near the Cofete beach, which is why it is also known as “the chalet of Cofete”.
But what is Winter House doing in the middle of nowhere, who had it built and why? These unknowns have generated numerous legends and speculations, although in this case we will rely solely on documentary evidence and leave aside the occult theories.
Construction of Winter House, located in a remote corner that is difficult to reach, began in 1946. Traditionally, reaching it required many hours of walking or travelling by camel. Although there is now a road, the conditions of the route do not make it easy to reach. The Winter House is located in Cofete, on an esplanade between mountains and an extensive beach, which has raised questions about the reasons behind its construction and the unique characteristics that make it stand out in the eyes of historians.
Despite the passage of time, the mansion has retained its luxurious splendour. Built in stone and concrete, it has an imposing tower on the right, with large windows offering a panoramic view of the Fuerteventura skyline. The interior of the house is equally spectacular, with two floors housing exclusive rooms such as dining rooms with fireplaces, bedrooms and other spaces of uncertain function. All the rooms are arranged around an interior patio and balconies with privileged views. Even original decorative details, such as a carved wooden crocodile, have been preserved.
Construction of Winter House began in October 1946 under the supervision of the German engineer Gustav Winter. The first two years were intense, but after that the work slowed down and in 1954 there is no clear record of whether it was ever completed. The fact that Gustav Winter lived in Madrid while his summer house was being built and received detailed weekly reports with photographs has made it possible to keep a detailed record of its progress, stone by stone.
This correspondence between the owner, the engineer and the work team has been a valuable source of information, including details about the budget, the progress of the work and the personnel hired. However, there is no clear understanding of the intention behind the construction of this out-of-the-way building, which has led to numerous complicated theories and legends.
The history of Villa Winter is varied, but the official version is that Gustav Winter had this building built to enjoy his summers on Fuerteventura, far from the hustle and bustle of his daily life. The existence of natural caves beneath the Winter house and the fact that Gustav Winter was of German origin in the midst of World War II has fuelled the imagination of the curious. This was amplified when it became known that the family never got to enjoy this summer residence, despite the enormous investment made and the hopes placed in it.
Interestingly, the first occupants of Winter House were not its owners, but the workers who were building it. Due to its difficult accessibility, the employees occupied the basement rooms and then the main rooms during the years of construction. Beginning in 1951, a road was built that allowed Gustav Winter to visit the house and spend several days seeing the progress in person. He was so excited that he left a written record of how he showed the unfinished house to personalities of the time and local authorities.
Gustav Winter’s idea was to promote Jandía as a tourist destination among his compatriots, so when he returned to Berlin in 1958, he tried to rent it out, but was unsuccessful. The house remained empty, with a few exceptions of friends who rented it for a few days. However, this was not enough and financial problems arose, which led to selling a large part of the Dehesa de Jandía property and then dividing the estate into four parts, which passed into the hands of Mr. Myhill, Manuel Girona’s daughters and the other two parts to Winter and his wife, Isabel Althaus.
In 1965, at the age of 72, Gustav decided to sell his share to buy a small house in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and enjoy his life. However, he also wanted to ensure that his precious residence had a future, so he made sure that it was no longer abandoned and paid the Pérez Acosta family to look after it and occupy it with his children. After two and a half years, the house was empty again.
Traditionally, it was on foot and with the help of animals. However, from 1951 onwards, the first road access was built, which coincides with the route used today. An unbeatable starting point for a visit to Casa Winter can be from the IFA Altamarena Hotel, through the Punta de Jandía road, which takes you directly to the house.
In short, the Casa de los Winter is a piece of history hidden in a remote spot in the middle of nowhere in Fuerteventura. Despite this, it continues to be visited by curious visitors and tourists attracted by its legends, as well as by its architectural peculiarity.