Stay in El Hierro, Canary Islands
Constituting the emerged part of a volcano, El Hierro, whose Pico Malpaso rises to 1500 m above sea level, is the most western and southern island of the Canary Islands. Also least populated and smallest.
Valverde is the most important locality of this small island, also called Meridian Island because it was once the most western point of the known world. Backed by the mountain, it has the particularity of being the only Canarian capital not to be located on the coast.
Recognized as a biosphere reserve in 2000, El Hierro became the first island in the world of this size to be able to be self-sufficient in electricity thanks to a hydro wind power plant in 2014.
This ecological project is not the only one, manufacturing local biodiesel and organic crops, citizen cooperatives, free wifi in most of the frequented places, LED street lighting, El Hierro relies on green tourism.
An island of contrasts, El Hierro is made up of fertile land, bushy forests and luxuriant vegetation, cliffs, beaches giving access, with 46 points of immersion, to extraordinary underwater seabed attracting divers from all over the world.
El Hierro is also known for its fountain tree, the emblem of the island also called Garoé. A tree capable of collecting and capturing water from the fog deposited on its foliage.
A beautiful example of nature tourism which is developing through maritime links, notably with La Palma and Tenerife, complemented by an aerodrome providing flights between them.
Villa de Valverde, the capital of El Hierro, is situated on a mountainside and has barely 5,000 inhabitants. It has the particularity of being the only capital of the Canary archipelago that does not overlook the ocean.
The three districts of the city are Tesine, La Calle and El Cabo. They have a network of sloping streets lined with whitewashed houses, often with large gardens. The Santa María de la Concepción church, built in the 18th century, is the most important religious building in the city. You can admire the Cristo de la Columna, a Genoese sculpture.
Patronato de Turismo del Cabildo de El Hierro
Tourist office. Calle Doctor Quintero, 4 Tel: (+34) 922 55 03 26. Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Located on the territory of the municipality of El Pinar, on the southern tip of the island, La Restinga is the main seaside resort and the most important port of El Hierro.
30 km from Valverde, La Restinga is the southernmost village of El Hierro, the Canaries and Spain. Very famous for its scuba diving points, it has two small black sand beaches, a marina and a small fishing port. La Restinga is well equipped with hotels, bars, restaurants and tourist apartments.
Access: via HI-1 and HI-4 from Vallaverde.
The Garoé, the sacred tree of El Hierro
Venerated by the bimbaches, the ancient Guanches inhabitants of the Canary Islands, the sacred Garoé tree, symbol of the island’s identity, is located in the heart of the island in the commune of San Andrés.
It’s a lime tree whose foliage was able to retain enough water to water the entire population of El Hierro. Uprooted by a hurricane in the 17th century, the current tree has replaced it since 1949.
The sites are now equipped with a small interpretation and information center on the sacred tree and the values that characterize this mysterious place, as well as on the horizontal rain phenomenon that favors the distillation of water by the Garoé.
A 16 km route, the Ruta del Agua, was created by the inhabitants, both to pay tribute to it and to raise awareness among visitors about the management and quality of island waters.
Access: by HI-1 road from Valverde.
Frontera Rural Park
Frontera Rural Park occupies the southwest half of El Hierro Island. Land of hikes, the park presents us varied landscapes in which follow one another volcanic cones, woods of sabines or arid zones, beaches and rocky coasts.
Playa Arena Blanca is the only white-sandy beach on the island of El Hierro. It is the shape of the coast added to the swell and marine currents that participated in the formation of this beach whose sand is in fact formed from fragments of shells that gave it this white coloration.
Access: from Valverde by the HI-1 road which crosses the center of the island or by taking the HI-5 then the HI-550 road which runs along more or less the western coast of the island.
Pozo de la Salud
Literally the “Well of Health”, el Pozo de la Salud is discovered near the village of Sabinosa on a cliff formed by lava. The well is very famous for the therapeutic and mineral values of its waters.
Dug at the very beginning of the 17th century, one quickly noticed its curative virtues on cattle and men. Its fame then accosted on the other islands of the archipelago and once their qualities were attested, by Doctor Leandro Prez, the waters of the well of health were declared mining and medicinal waters.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a military engineer Ángel Rodrigo-Vallabriga Brito obtained the exploitation rights and registered the trademark ‘’Aguas de Sabinosa“. The bottling began, baths were then built in the ’60s, to be abandoned to the death of their creator, whose place bears his name in the village of Sabinosa, “Plaza Ingeniero Vallabriga.”
Pozo was then taken over by “Doña Valentina, la de Sabinosa”, a legendary figure of Canarian folklore who, with her husband, created the Casa Rosa bathing establishment there. In the ’90s, it was replaced by a modern and conventional hotel managed by the island council and offering traditional and curative baths.
Access: located on the south-west coast of the island, it is reached by the HI-1 road which zigzags in the center of the island by taking the HI-5 then the HI-550 and HI-551 roads which go along the coast.
La Peña Lookout
In Guarazoca, in the northwest of the island, the La Peña viewpoint shows the effects of the landslide that created the El Golfo Valley millions of years ago.
15 kilometers long and 1500 m high, the steep ridges and rocks are covered with very dense vegetation. At its feet, extends to the ocean a volcanic plain where vineyards and fruit trees are cultivated. From La Peña you can see the Roques de Salmor, the sanctuary of the indigenous giant lizards.
The mirador building was created by the famous Canary architect César Manrique, who used numerous plants, large glass roofs and stone ceilings to preserve the freshness of the site.
Inside the restaurant we discover the Canary gastronomy in which pineapple and fish have a place of choice.
Access: from Valverde via HI-1 then HI-5.