El Hierro a brief description
Some years ago the smallest and quietest island of the Canaries was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
It is only 278 km² in size, the highest mountain Malpaso soars 1501 m into the sky and there are nearly10 000 permanent inhabitants.
This island is so unique because of the nearly untouched nature as well as the varied local climate, with permanently changing vegetation zones.
It is said that all 7 Canarian Islands are reflected in this small archipelago.
Hike through the fertile high plateau around San Andres or through the barren bizarre lava landscape in the northwestern and southern part of the island.
Get an impression of the forces of nature at the leaning Sabina trees.
Get a glimpse on enchanting fairies and gnomes in the magical forest.
Gaze at the sturdy Canarian pine on the camping- and fairground "Hoya del Morcillo" located in the pine wood that has survived several forest fires.
Take in the view of the Atlantic Ocean and capture the mood of the enormous play of waves.
Be guided through one of the oldest villages of El Hierro that was inhabited until the 1960s and is now a museum.
Tourism is an important source of income but is kept in a natural form. This means the existing hotels are very small and romantic, like everything on El Hierro. Most of the tourists find accommodation in private cottages.
The climate is as variable as the vegetation. The zones around the coast are normally warm to hot, in the middle altitudes there is often mist even in summer and in the higher areas temperatures are up to 40°C in summer and mainly below 10°C in winter.
So some good advice: always have a sweatshirt and a swimsuit in your car or backpack.
There are several typical Canarian restaurants on this island where you can get fresh fish and meat, often grilled on an open fire, at affordable prices. Unfortunately vegetarians have only a small variety of dishes, however you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables for a home cooked meal.
In many villages you can go shopping in corner shops or in bigger supermarkets in Valverde, Frontera and El Pinar.
The weekly market takes place on Saturday in Valverde from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m. and on Sunday in Frontera from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m. . The market in Frontera is a little bit larger and offers handcrafts too. For example lava jewellery, braided baskets made from willow or bamboo, knittings and crochetings, t-shirts and much more.
On both markets there are typical culinary highlights of this island available such as pineapples, papayas, mangos, bananas, figs, passion fruits, barbary figs and grapes. The Quesadillas produced from goat cheese are only made in El Hierro. More native products are for example honey, cheese and wine.
Culture and history
In the southwest area "El Julan" there are characters from abhoriginal "Bimbaches" to view.
In the Golfo you can visit the museum village "Ecomuseo Guinea" and the exhibition area of the giant lizard. You can ask us for the starting times of the viewing-tours.
In Valverde is a ethnografical museum "Casa de las Quinteras".
The holy tree "Arbol Garoe" with its interesting story is located in the north between Valverde and Guarazoca.
Really unusual for non-Canarians are the wrestling matches "Lucha Canaria" that are regularly transmitted on TV.
The animal welfare organisation "El Juaclo" presents a large bookstall on the weekly market in Frontera where literature is available for a small donation, or you can leave old books there.
On El Hierro the social-culture project "Bimbache openART" connects subjects of sustainability with social projects and art. In summertime they work a coloured programm during the course of a festival with artists from all over the world (inclusing artists with handycaps). The programm will be presented on El Hierro and also elsewhere. More information here www.bimbache.info.
Volcanoes and earthquakes
In July 2011 there were registered more and more seismic tremors that partly could be sensed by the inhabitants. After that many scientists came to El Hierro to install seismographs and inform us about each movement no matter how small it was.
A volcano erupted in October of the same year underwater 2 km off the southern fishing village of La Restinga.
It was a huge spectacle and a one-off event not only for the Canarians. The last volcanic eruption took place 40 years ago on La Palma.
Since that time we all sense from time to time some seismic tremors, more or less, but it has never been dangerous for the population here on the island.
How to get to El Hierro
a) BINTER CANARIAS operates several daily flights from Tenerife
Norte and Gran Canaria
b) NAVIERA ARMAS ferry connects the Island with Tenerife.
You should inform yourself shortly before your holidays about the departure-and arrival times because there are often some changes.
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Do you need to rent a car?
Yes! For exploring the island you should rent a car. There are buses but they are few and infrequent.
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