El Hierro, the smallest and wildest of the Canary Islands, is the least tourist congested island in the archipelago. Its location on the westernmost part of Europe made people in the ancient times believe that it was the edge of the Earth. Today, with the perfect blend of ever-changing terrain, rich cultural heritages, and historic villages, the explicit edge-of-the-world feel still hangs in the air.
Described as mostly parched and abrupt rather than gentle and charming, El Hierro’s dominant features are from its volcanic origins. Arid terrain dotted with unique flora awaits, making visitors feel as if they’re stepping into another planet.
Its boomerang shape is thought to be the result of a massive earthquake and several natural activities in the past. These natural phenomena created the awe-inspiring rugged landscape of the island including the amphitheater-like El Golfo Valley. Additionally, a large part of the island’s landmass sunk into the ocean, fashioning the amusing marine life around El Hierro.
At present, visitors of El Hierro can attest that there is no better artist than nature itself. The many natural wonders of each island wing keep guests entertained throughout their holiday.
Lush North East
The northeastern tip of the island is the dwelling place of its capital, Valverde. The town’s location is unique in a way that it is the only capital in the Canary Islands not on the coastline. Explore its old town, soaking up some typical Canarian architecture and centuries-old church.
Just a few kilometers from the capital, guests find themselves immersed in the slow and serene atmosphere at Tinor, which features delightful traditional homes amidst the greens of the surrounding countryside. Continue to Isora, a natural balcony of beautifully-restored houses overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Moving inland, pay a visit to the site of the sacred Garoe Tree. This life-saving tree once provided water to the whole island when fresh water was scarce as hen’s teeth.
Then, head over to the northern coast for some family fun in the water. Cradled in the shore of La Frontera is La Maceta, a collection of different sized natural pools that offer relaxation for all ages. To know more about the original island inhabitants, proceed to the Guinea Museum. Here, traditional air welcomes visitors along with its stone houses and underground lava tunnel.
Diverse Landscape in the West
While lush vegetation dominates the northeast and arid landscape in the south, the western wing of El Hierro is a mixed scene. The majority of this land area belongs to Frontera, a municipality known for its plantation of pineapples and other tropical fruits.
Begin with the hamlet of Los Llanillos, where visitors can take a stroll on past local orchards and charming old houses. Then, discover the most photographed juniper trees of El Sabinar. These fairy-tale looking wind-twisted trees never fail to enthrall its visitors.
Also in Frontera is the famed Charco Azul, one of the best natural pools on the island. This secluded gem is well worth a visit with its turquoise waters that offer an unforgettable bathing experience.
For some awe-inspiring views over the vast Atlantic Ocean and the imposing El Golfo Valley, swing by at Bascos Viewpoint. Perched on top of a crag, this natural balcony provides one of the most sensational sunsets on the island.
The southern coast of the island is where travelers find the best of the few beaches and diving spots. This volcanic area belongs to El Pinar, the youngest municipality of Spain.
For some breathtaking view over Las Playas Natural Monument and the emblematic Bonanza Rock Formation, stop at the Las Playas Viewpoint. Those coming from the east must also include Cala de Tacoron in their itineraries. Here, guests can witness the natural breakwaters do wonders to the raging waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Head further south to the peaceful fishing village of La Restinga. Aside from a slew of must-visit seafood restaurants, the scuba-diving spots here are also out of this world. Sail onboard a motor boat and explore the magnificent resources of the Marine Reserve in El Mar de Las Calmas. A few kilometers down the coastline is El Bajon, a submerged volcanic mountain brimming with marine life. The waters around this southernmost village is truly a diver’s paradise.