Spain Guide El Hierro – the smallest and the furthest south west of the Canary Islands, this tiny speck of rock in the Atlantic Ocean measures only 24km from the north to south coast and 27km from the west to east. Also known as the Isla del Meridiano, El Hierro used to mark the boundary of the western world, it is thought that Christoper Columbus stopped off on the island on his way to America and apparently that was the last major event to happen on the island. Like it’s near neighbours, El Hierro is of volcanic extraction and it’s steep sides plummet down towards the sea. It has some pretty spectacular cliffs with can rise up to a 1000 meters with the highest point of the island being Pici del Malpaso at 1500 meters.
El Hierro is not really an island on which you would be able to buy a holiday home or indeed settle, there simply isn’t a market, if property does become available it disappears very quickly). The population of this island is about 9000 and the capital city of Valverde is small but quite picturesque with many gardens and parks and a notable church. El Hierro was declared a biosphere reservation by Unesco in year 2000.
Tourism is not developed in any real way, and there is only a small airport on the island that connects with nearby Tenerife, a ferry terminal is the usual way of arriving on El Hierro and this to also connects with Tenerife.
El Hierro has no stretches of golden beach as found on some of the other islands ( there is a 14km stretch at El Golfo but this is covered with black ash) and to a certain degree this has helped keep tourism at bay, hotel accommodation is quite limited and in total there are about 1200 total beds available for occupation at any one time. One of the main hotels is the Parador El Hierro which is located next to the ocean and has approximately 45 rooms with very modern facilities and some wonderful views. If you want to visit this island and stay overnight then booking ahead is essential.
So if not for the long golden sandy beaches, why do people want to visit this island. Well for one thing, it has a near perfect climate with intense blue sky’s, the sea is always a wonderful deep azure blue and visiting at any time of the year is possible, the weather system is dominated by the very mild north east trade winds and in the winter months temperatures rarely drop below 17C and in the height of summer they are not much above 24C.
El Hierro attracts visitors who like complete peace and quiet, there are no real resorts and this beautiful island is a haven for walkers, cyclists, mountain bikers, scuba divers and anyone that simply wants to soak up the wonderful volcanic landscape. There are also many unique flora and fauna on the islands and the fishing and scuba diving are fantastic El Hierro has developed quite a loyal following of visitors, many return year after year and revel in this undiscovered paradise, the small fishing village of La Restinga on the South of the island, is becoming very popular with diving enthusiasts.
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